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Old 09-23-2016, 09:29 AM   #1
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1973 23' Safari
1970 27' Overlander
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 174
tankless water heater recommendation

Getting ready to purchase a water heater for my 1973 safari. I've read through many posts here and on other RV sites and I believe I have decided on tankless. I've seen a bit here and there about different brands - the precision temp seems to be the Cadillac and I am wondering if the higher price tag is worth it. It does have more BTUs than the others. I would love to hear members' experiences with these tankless water heaters. I am looking at the Girard (2nd generation), Atwood (50,000 BTU model), and precision temp.
Thank you!
Greg
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:58 AM   #2
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2011 27 FB International
Vancouver , British Columbia
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I put in the Atwood since it is sized to replace the 6 gallon atwood tank that was in the trailer. To my understanding, the atwood is licensed from precisiontemp, they just build it to the size that fits the 6 gallon space. Otherwise exactly the same from what I can see in pictures.

I'll give you some of our experience with it.

a) be sure that you purchase from a dealer you trust. I purchased from a dealer [who ultimately took back and gave full refund so good on them] who apparently had a gray market unit. It arrived broken, Atwood wouldn't cover repair.

b) the atwood requires a certain amount of water flow for the furnace to turn on. If your water pressure is low, it is possible you may not be able to get enough flow. I used to use one of those camco 50psi water regulators, and had to ditch it for a regulator that I could adjust and increase to 65psi.

c) turning on cold water while someone is in the shower is a bad idea (water is diverted away from water heater, causing it to shut off, shower ends up cold)

d) the winter/summer adjustment doesn't help. Setting to summer seems to make the unit require more water flow to turn on, we had to leave it on winter setting.

e) if you have mixed faucet valves (like we do) you're experience may not be great. [edit: I read in another forum that people have switched out the blended faucets to get separate hot/cold water valves, supposedly that works much better.]

Overall, I feel it's a pretty finicky system, if I had this experience before switching out I think I might choose to leave it as-is. It certainly is nice to take longer showers and not have to wait for 20min after the 1st person took a shower. It's noticeable how much less propane we use. Using hot water for dishes is a real pain (sometimes physical) since even a little bit off full-hot reduces flow enough to shut off the furnace.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:00 AM   #3
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1972 31' Sovereign
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felton , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg1410 View Post
Getting ready to purchase a water heater for my 1973 safari. I've read through many posts here and on other RV sites and I believe I have decided on tankless. I've seen a bit here and there about different brands - the precision temp seems to be the Cadillac and I am wondering if the higher price tag is worth it. It does have more BTUs than the others. I would love to hear members' experiences with these tankless water heaters. I am looking at the Girard (2nd generation), Atwood (50,000 BTU model), and precision temp.
Thank you!
Greg
i took the plunge and went for the Precision Temp ... it was a direct replacement as far as size to fit into my '72 Sovereign .. pulled the old unit out, this fitted in perfectly with no cutting etc needed. It was works like a charm but still understanding how it really works, think as mentioned before, it requires good water pressure, the internal trailer pump should be fine. I couldn't get steaming hot water on my last trip with city hook up, just warm, i think this maybe have been due to water pressure valve limiting the flow. I gotta play around with it. My wife loves the unlimited shower time though, when hooked up of course ! We noticed that gas pressure to the stove top is very reduced when shower is on. I think these heaters like good LP pressure to work well too. Customer service was VERY responsive too, answering all email questions on installation = same day or soon next day. i love it, and think worth the price but haven't tried the cheaper models, they could be just fine too ..
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:15 AM   #4
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2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
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I have a friend that built a tiny house on wheels. He is using the Precision Temp. He seems very happy with its performance.
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:36 AM   #5
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2016 30' International
Florence , Alabama
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It's really hard to believe that tankless is not just standard in RV's at this point. I've put 5 units in at my homes over the last few years and some family too. When we just got our new AS I was surprised to see that no-one seems to even offer it as an option; you have to go rip out your factory unit and upgrade yourself.

Tankless just makes sense for RV applications - it's smaller, instant and limitless heat, and much more efficient on propane.

Regarding the person who observed a drop in gas pressure to the stove while using the water heater - that's because the gas lines are undersized. On residential units you have to run much, much larger gas lines for tankless than for the normal units. I bet if you redid your gas lines from the tanks to the water heater and went up a size you would not see a drop anymore.
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Old 10-28-2016, 11:19 AM   #6
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1973 23' Safari
1970 27' Overlander
Boerne , Texas
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I went ahead with the precision temp. Installed quite easily - I had to slightly enlarge the vertical height on my outerskin to fit it in. It is also slightly more narrow so I added some aluminum; the flanges on the water heater are quite large, so they will cover up what I added. Looks good. My trailer is still gutted, so will be awhile before I can try it.
Greg
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:37 AM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
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felton , California
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Originally Posted by joshjack View Post
It's really hard to believe that tankless is not just standard in RV's at this point. I've put 5 units in at my homes over the last few years and some family too. When we just got our new AS I was surprised to see that no-one seems to even offer it as an option; you have to go rip out your factory unit and upgrade yourself.

Tankless just makes sense for RV applications - it's smaller, instant and limitless heat, and much more efficient on propane.

Regarding the person who observed a drop in gas pressure to the stove while using the water heater - that's because the gas lines are undersized. On residential units you have to run much, much larger gas lines for tankless than for the normal units. I bet if you redid your gas lines from the tanks to the water heater and went up a size you would not see a drop anymore.
that's very interesting , great idea ... no clue if it's been put to the test in an RV, ! but worth trying ... my pipes are 40+ yrs old too ..
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