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Old 01-31-2004, 08:41 AM   #1
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"Water Heater" & SS Flex hose?

I just got my new Atwood "Water Heater" in the mail yesterday and am sizing up my plumb in options.

Is there any reason I "can't" use stainless steel flex hose from the existing copper pipes in to and out of the Atwood?

It would sure save me some hassles to do that, but I want to be sure I am not opening myself up for trouble. The Atwood manual doesn't say I can't, it just doesn't say I should.

Any expertise would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:20 AM   #2
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SS/rubber hook-up lines

The SS hookups are marketed for easing the grief of hooking up potable water systems - go for it!

The only caveat would be to watch for a "cold water use only" warning, but most are designed for piping to faucet hooks ups of either cold or hot water.

As a manufacturer, Airstream was more interested in saving a couple of bucks on the initial installation, rather than facilitate later maintenance.

What ever makes it easier, and can be economicaly justified, should work for you.

Please let the Forum know of the outcome of your repair, and post some photos!
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:24 AM   #3
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Sneak,

I did, and now I kinda wish I hadn't. It is not an issue of leaks or anything like that, it is a flow issue. The SS hoses that come with a 1/2 IP end do not have the same inner diameter as the pipe you are connecting to, so the in and out flow of water is restricted. I can see a difference in flow from hot to cold when connected to campground water.

I may decide to change them out at a later date if it really is an issue. The worst thing about it is that the shower is hard to get the temp just right. Of course my shower is as far from the water heater as you can get

If you can use the kind that are designed for a home water heater installs (I found those post install) then I would think the flow issue would be moot. I believe Atwood is trying to prevent people from using the white nylon ones due to the fact that they are not rated for hot water and could burst
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:35 AM   #4
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Thanks. Good advice. I will look for the larger ID flex, and if not, just replumb them with the proper size copper.

I don't want to forfeit the water pressure for ease of installation!

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Old 01-31-2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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Just wondering.......

Brett:

What type of piping is used in the Argosy?

The '87 345 has 3/8" polybutyl tubing (I think, it is the gray tubing with metal band clamp connectors). The end connectors to the appliances are, however, 1/2"NPT, and then, of course, you have cross back to the standard 3/8" for the user hookup - coach piping terminations to faucet hookups.

I just replaced the sink faucet, and am experiencing low flow conditions at that faucet only, but I wonder if the the faucet came with the new 5 gpm (I think) flow restrictor required on new home builds. Of course, the RV's generally have a water pressure considerably less than most residential homes. The original plumbing had the same sized 3/8" flex termination hookup as the new faucet.

There did not appear to be much of a difference between the ID of the polybutyl and the ID of the 3/8" flex.

Just wondering if there was any difference in the construction between the years.

Thanks,
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:05 AM   #6
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Lightbulb Just a thought

Sneakinup
Congrats on your new water heater~
I just wanted to ask you, if you'd given any thoughts to installing the water by-pass system for winterizing your water heater while you're at this stage of the project??

ciao
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:39 AM   #7
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What a crazy bunch of lunatics we are when we get excited about a new water heater! I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw it on my front porch. LOL

Yes, I am considering doing the bypass. While I have the cabinet enclosure off I might as well do it right. Not much use for it here in Florida, but there is no telling where I will end up after my son goes off to college in 2 years.

I will of course document the process!
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:52 AM   #8
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Dennis,

I have the same gray PEX tubing. I converted the connections over with a compression style brass fitting at the water heater. At the faucets I used the pex to threaded connector compresion fitting. I have used the SS braided lines for faucet hookups, but as long as they are both the same size they should offer the same restriction. On the Water Heater inlet and outlet I remember the line was a half inch pex, but in my 76 with copper I thought it was bigger???

I also have a flow issue with my kitchen faucet and I need to study the directions to see if I can remove the flow restrictor as well.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:54 AM   #9
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Hey man~!!

Quote:
What a crazy bunch of lunatics we are when we get excited about a new water heater! I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw it on my front porch. LOL
You can "tell" a streamer from the regular run of mill lol

Look forward to your progress reports.

Question:
Why did you choose an Atwood over an Suburban heater?

ciao
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:43 AM   #10
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I chose the Atwood for a few reasons, mostly from other opinions read on this board, as well as the fit works best for my situation. I liked the idea of the aluminum tank. I am somewhat prejudice when it comes to aluminum!

The included door, which I will paint to match my painted trailer. The price was comparable. I have heard nothing bad about either mfg'r, so it was more of a gut decision.

I got the 10 gallon LP/110V model. The unit that came out was also a 10 gallon.

Funny thing, as I am working diligently on fabricating my curtains, I have on HGTV. They just happen to show a water heater installation with the copper flex pipes and fittings. Now I know exactly what I need. Geez, don't ya just love the information age!
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Old 01-31-2004, 12:48 PM   #11
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Wacky Water Heater

I replaced my water heater with an Atwood last year.

Unlike most here, I had a lot of problems with the installation. Mostly with water leaks and getting the gas line just right.

You can read about it here.

I did use the flex lines because I could not get the plumbing lined up w/o leaking. We used it and did not notice too much flow restriction. So its fine for us.

I also used the flex lines at each sink and the toilet since I replumbed the entire trailer.

You may be able to use the original water heater cover. I did.

But if you do, make sure you add a rubber gasket to the bottom of the original door to match the one on the new door. This keeps the wind from blowing out your pilot ( if you bought a pilot model).

Good luck. Here is a picture for ya.

If you look carefully you can see the water heater bypass I added.

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Old 01-31-2004, 05:32 PM   #12
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Sneakinup,

Just though about this. Looking at Tim's pictures reminded me. The heater will not fit into the coach from the outside, you cannot slide it in the opening without a fight. The old one will come out with no problem thru the skin.

The new ones are designed to install from the inside. You push it thru the opening and then fold out the mounting flange. This is fine at build of the rig, but in your case you need to have the entire cabinet gone to do that.
What I did in both of my coaches was to cut the strap that holds the 2 halves of the tank insulation on, slide it in with the bottom under it, and install the top from the inside. I have also had to cut the top in half to get it into the space that the heater needs to fit. Once I get all the pieces installed I use 2 air duct zip ties to replace the strap I cut.
The zip ties are available at home depot. If you try to install it from the outside you will have at the least an insulated top that looks like Tim's. At worse you could bend the skin to the point that it stays bent. Don't forget to use furnace tape putty around the outside to seal the flange to the skin. You can use vulcem, but the furnace tape works and will make it easier to remove the heater next time.
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Old 01-31-2004, 06:15 PM   #13
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Brett,

Thanks for the info...

My old HW has been out for a long time, and the interior linen cabinet has also been removed as well as the toilet being out, so I have complete access to the opening from both sides and room to move around.

Out of curiousity, I just looked at the Attwood, and all of the insulation, as well as the front metal housing is of the exact same dimensions. The flange for securing the unit is the only portion that is larger, leading me to believe that the unit will slip in from the outside flush against the skin.

Once the rains stop here, I will carry the unit out and see which way it will slip in easiest. As an added preventive measure, I am going to secure aluminum flashing underneath the unit just to prevent the floor from getting wet, should anything decide to leak. They actually suggest that in the manual. If I am feeling really ambitious, I will construct a pan for it to sit in with a drain.

The installation appears to be pretty straight forward. Attwood doesn't really give that good of an installation sheet. Not enough pix!
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64
If you try to install it from the outside you will have at the least an insulated top that looks like Tim's.
Humm....

I think I'm offended.
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