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Old 08-30-2015, 09:23 PM   #1
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Talking Tanked or tankless?

Have found out Iíll need to replace the hot water heater on my 1990 Excella...

My question here is for those who have researched this or who have done the deed... Are there any mods to be made to the existing electrical & plumbing? Any mods needed to be made to the hot water compartment if I were to go with a tankless system?

Pros & cons... I donít plan on doing a whole lot of boondocking where running out of water would be a problem. The fact that it is on demand indicates a savings in propane... The tankless system Iím looking at is the Girard brand - Girard Tankless LP Propane RV Water Heater - $481.98... canít think of a whole lot of cons at this moment as I havenít started the project yet. Replacing the current tank with a similar system takes away the unknowns of fit and such but if all thing are equal, the price isnít that much higher than a regular 6 to 10 gallon system - I like the on-demand aspect of energy use...

Any experience out there I casn draw upon to help make this decision?
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:37 PM   #2
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We replaced our old unit with that same model last year. Its been great, because of water flow, it's better to turn the heater down and have the shower turned on full and no temperature change during the shower.
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kootenayken View Post
We replaced our old unit with that same model last year. Its been great, because of water flow, it's better to turn the heater down and have the shower turned on full and no temperature change during the shower.
Was there a need for any modifications to the water heater compartment, wiring or plumbing, kootenayken or did the Girard unit “plug" right in with existing wiring/plumbing?
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Old 08-31-2015, 02:32 AM   #4
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I used a precision temp 550. Swapped right into same space as the 6 gallon Atwood. Wife loves it....


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Old 08-31-2015, 07:22 AM   #5
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I really like the standard heater with the tank. I really hated the electrical tankless heater I had in a house 20 years ago.
Direct ignition gas with a 6 gallon tank for me. It really does not use much propane. We generally just run it for a little while before dinner and in the am. Water stays warm all day sow we can whe fact that it is on demand indicates a savings in propane... ash at lunch and other times during the day. We go about a month on a bottle of propane while traveling. That includes fridge, stovetop, water heater.

"The fact that it is on demand indicates a savings in propane..."

I doubt the truth of that statement. I think the on demand will use more propane. It is not like comparing a 50 gallon tank to a on demand in a house. I think of the little 6 gallon tank with its 1.5 inches of foam insulation as buffer and an effeciency improver to the heating.

I replaced the units in both trailers. For one I got the electric/gas combo. Was a waste for me. The gas works so well and is so cheap that I never plug in the electric.
So I do not see any advantage to the tankless and some potential disadvantages.
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Old 08-31-2015, 07:32 AM   #6
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I like the 6 gallon Atwood water heater we have. With two people taking showers in the AM we have never run out of hot water. In fact, we shut it off during the day and still have plenty of hot water for the rest of the day. We will turn it on to get some more hot water for the evening dishes then turn it off again for the overnight. It takes about 15 minutes for us to get hot water again in the AM.

I suppose if we were always parked at a full service campground (water, sewer and electric) a continuous hot water heater would allow us to take 10 minute long showers like we do at the house. But then when not at such a campground, it would be pointless.
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:44 AM   #7
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The Girard was smaller than the Atwood. It required a trim plate to cover the opening left from the Atwood. Had the trim plate made up at local sheet metal shop, installed it with Olympic rivets first, then installed the thankless unit as per instructions.
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:05 AM   #8
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We like the tank style water heater as well, never ran out of hot water. We also turn it off at night and during the day. It's on in the evening and morning (sometimes), plenty of hot water.
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Old 08-31-2015, 02:39 PM   #9
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I don't like the extra weight of the 6 gallons of water that far forward in my AS. Besides the noise when it heats in the middle of the night. Wife is happy with her endless showers and therefore I'm happy. The 550 is the same width and about 3/8 of an inch taller. It fit nicely in the original hole.


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Old 09-03-2015, 12:47 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies and experiences. All good info. All my previous Airstreams have had the H2O tanks and I've been contemplating going tankless.

Thing of it is, on a tankless, is the water immediately hot or does it take a bit to heat up? Boondocking has capacity limits so even just a bit at every shower or dish wash adds up. It may take a bit for the water heater to heat up but when it does, its all hot...
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:08 PM   #11
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Our tankless is about 8' forward of the wet bath shower. It takes about 5 seconds to get hot water. That said, even with a tank water heater there is an obvious delay over that distance. I do agree the tankless might use a bit more water, but with our PrecisionTemp it does not seem to be excessive. It lights off very quickly when you open a faucet.

For boondocking I have a Solar Shower that holds about a gallon or so, heats in the sun, and only needs a privacy screen to use.

Admittedly, my wife's love of long hot showers is not really boondocking compatible. 😄


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Old 09-03-2015, 08:31 PM   #12
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What about ...
ē Winterization? Normal bypass?
ē Scaling in the tubes being heated? Filter the water first, descale periodically, etc?
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:11 PM   #13
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We have a Suburban 6 gal tank with DSI and electric heating element.

This system keeps the water hot by electric and the propane only comes on for fast recovery.

It cut our propane use 70% compared to using propane only on our Casita.

Actually at this point in time I haven't installed the propane system in the Tradewind yet. But we've been camping a month in our all electric Tradewind.

The other plus is it costs way less then a tankless unit
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:16 PM   #14
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Winterization, blow out with compressed air, refill system with RV antifreeze. Don't need bypass valves as there isn't that much water in it. Camping in cold weather, it has heaters for the electronic parts and will briefly heat up to avert freezing. We've camped down to 20 degrees, and except for city water hose freezing up, no issues. Kept AS comfortable with forced air heater, ran tank heaters at night while on Shore power. No biggie... Still took hot showers with water heater set to 'winter' for extra boost.


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