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Old 07-14-2005, 03:59 PM   #1
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what water heater?

Well. I'm renoing a heavily used 1963 Trade Wind to use as a stationary summer cottage. I'm trying to do it on a budget but since I found out that the pipes had frozen and I have to replace the plumbing, the costs have been climbing!

Now I find that the water heater also needs to be replaced (why am I not surprised?)

A contractor friend says "go electric." There's a six gallon number at Lowe's for $178. There's also a $158 tankless, same place.

A plumber friend says propane is more effecient, cheaper and that an electric heater will tax the 20 amp service I have here at my campsite. She also said that the tankless won't heat water enough for a hot shower.

Should I spring for a specialized trailer heater? Camper's Barn has one for $278.

Are there other options that I'm unaware of?
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Old 07-14-2005, 04:20 PM   #2
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If you have, or are planning, an air conditioner, you may run into issues trying to run it, and your water heater at the same time. Forget about adding a microwave if you want carefree camping.

If you think you will be a typical camper (I know, that is a subjective term), you would be better off with a propane-only version. Propane is definitely faster for heating the water no matter what kind of camper you are.

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Old 07-14-2005, 06:01 PM   #3
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Are there other options that I'm unaware of?
Since your trailer is going to be used in place, you can get a small tin outdoor storage building. They can be as small as 3x3, and about 5' tall, and erect it next to the water heater access on the trailer. You can put a standard household-sized propane water heater in it, and plumb it into the trailer. It shouldn't be a problem, since you are re-doing the plumbing anyway. It will be big enough to not run out of hot water while showering, and being propane it won't bother the electric powered appliances. Just make sure you drain it before the weather turns freezing.
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Old 07-16-2005, 01:29 PM   #4
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Well, I'm really a quite simple "camper." No AC, no TV (cable internet, tho').

I might not be at this site next summer, so I don't think I'll invest in a house...

But I think I'm going to order a regular propane camper heater from Dyers, $229. Then I guess I'll have to make the exterior hole smaller so that it fits right?
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Old 07-16-2005, 02:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaRita
But I think I'm going to order a regular propane camper heater from Dyers, $229. Then I guess I'll have to make the exterior hole smaller so that it fits right?
You might have to modify the plumbing a bit to fit the new water heater.
Look around, and take measurements first. Atwood and Suburban brand water heaters seem to be the most common ones. 10gal water heaters are usually a bit larger than 6gal models, meaning the unit might fit without doing bodywork. I don't know how much you care about how it looks, but I think your trailer, if still in nice condition, is collectible, and the less you butcher it, the more enjoyable it will be in the long run, either for you or perhaps the next owner. A 10Gal water heater will also give you longer and hotter showers....
Good Luck!
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Old 07-16-2005, 02:42 PM   #6
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Thanks Uwe, my trailer is in pretty rough condition, worse than I thought when I first got it (for a song, luckily). I do want it to look nice and keep it as fairly original, at least on the outside. The water heater I'm considering is a Suburban. I checked out the 10 gallon one, to see if it would fit better, and it does, but I figure that if I've got to make the hole smaller, what difference does it make whether it's a bit smaller or a bit more? As for the size, I'm only going to be using the trailer in the summer when I don't need all that much hot water for a shower.

But -- the doors they sell that goes with the water heater are all white. Yuck! What should I do about that?
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Old 07-16-2005, 03:20 PM   #7
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But -- the doors they sell that goes with the water heater are all white. Yuck! What should I do about that?
You can either paint it, or take it to a chrome shop.
I painted my water heater door on my previous trailer with Aluminum paint from Home Depot, and it lasted quite well and took the heat just fine.It looked great. I just lightly sanded the original finish first with 220 grit paper. It does take a long time to completely dry, so don't touch it too soon. Mine ended up with a set of finger prints from it's impatient owner ( me).
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Old 07-17-2005, 07:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaRita
The water heater I'm considering is a Suburban. I checked out the 10 gallon one, . As for the size, I'm only going to be using the trailer in the summer when I don't need all that much hot water for a shower.
There is another option, if you want to install an RV water heater. You can get a 6 gallon water heater that runs on propane, plus it has a 110v AC heater element inside. The advantage to this is, if you are not using the air, you can switch on the electric element to keep the water hot, and save propane. Even 30 pound tanks will go dry in a suprisingly short time. Depending on where the trailer is, this may become an issue if you have to remove the propane tanks and take them in to town to be refilled.
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:21 AM   #9
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I'm not sure I understand about "going dry." Does this mean that the water evaporates? Ummmmm..... I expect to always be hooked up to a water source, in fact, I removed my water tank.

Sorry, I'm just so clueless about this stuff! Tanks for your patience!
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:33 AM   #10
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I'm not sure I understand about "going dry." Does this mean that the water evaporates? Ummmmm..... I expect to always be hooked up to a water source, in fact, I removed my water tank.

Sorry, I'm just so clueless about this stuff! Tanks for your patience!
Umm, no. I was referrring to the annoying tendency of propane tanks to become empty at the most inopportune time, like just before you want to take a shower, late Sunday evening.
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:02 PM   #11
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Just an update -- I ordered a Suburban 6 gallon tank with powder white cover, which I will paint, as uwe suggested. And now I plan to always have extra propane on hand, too.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions!
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