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Old 05-25-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
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Why can't I use an electric water heater ?

Is it because they pull to much amperage ? More than the have at most c/grounds ? What do most c/grounds supply ? I wanted to put a small electric w/heater in the closet and do w/o the propane all together, everything else is electric soooo - - ?
Thanks !!
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
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two ways water heater exists. So you can install one. But you have to check if you won't overload circuits if use with AC, or MW...
Some forum members will tell you more about the electrical issue.
suburban has some : Suburban > Products > Water Heaters > Specifications
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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You can get a dual powered water heater. They use propane, or electric (or both) depending on your needs. If you go the route of using electric you will want to look into how much amperage you camper is set up for. The water heater on electric pulls a good deal of juice. In my set up I can not use the water heater in tandem with the AC or presumably with electric heat. This can be dealt with by putting in a larger breaker box though.
I would try and stay with a RV type heater since it wont require extensive reworking of the camper.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:58 AM   #4
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Back when we had a SOB Trvel Trailer, we did not trust the propane hot water tank system so we had electricians come in and install a twenty gallon electric one and they fixed it to be right in the living area and we sat a tv on top of it. It used a lot of electricity and you had to juggle appliances in order to get the hot water...this also includes and incredible electric bill to go with it.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #5
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Thanks !! My 78 Excella is basically stock, and WELL used. The couple I got it form went to every state, and almost every providence in Canada. as well as their last trip - Alaska at the ages of 84. Soooo - It's in a state of partial gutting. Space is not an issue since I removed some of the cabinets, etc. We will only use it (mostly) at campgrounds here in Fla.
Does anyone know what kind of amperage this camper is set up for ? Is that in my manual ? Can I just put in another breaker/line for the w/h ?
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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30 amp service is a campground standard for a trailer of your size, but you can also get 50 amp sites. If you were to add a 2nd air conditioner as part of your re-do then you might consider the higher service application.

Best of luck,

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Old 05-25-2010, 01:40 PM   #7
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One solution is to install a "RV Water Heater Lightning Rod" in your existing unit, it only draws 4 amps, but at only 425 watts it may take a while to heat up the tank.

6 Gallon RV Water Heater Lightning Rod
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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You Airstream is limited to 30 amps to redo for 50 amp service is expensive but can be done

Reason for propane is some folks don't camp in full hook up camp grounds.

You can buy duel electric / propane water heaters but will be limited in what other appliances can be used at the same time when heating with electric.

With a 6 gallon hot water tank propane with recover much quicker than electric.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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... do w/o the propane all together, everything else is electric soooo - - ?
Thanks !!
What will you use for cooking?
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:21 PM   #10
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We put in a 6 gallon, electric only hot water heater in our '64 Tradewind. We have it parked for the summer at campsite with electrical included in our annual fee so there was no reason to get a (much more expense) system designed specifically for an RV. We are also using a regular, electric only fridge and have propane only to the stove. This is contrary to the standard advice on airstreams, but we don't really have plans to use the trailer without electricity.

We've had no issues with it drawing too much power, but we are also in a climate where A/C is not required so nothing else is much of a power draw.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:36 PM   #11
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Microwave, BIG toaster oven (pizza size ) and a 2 burner hot plate. We don't do alot of HEAVY cooking when we camp. We grill too. She usually has 3 or so meals (one pot stuff) chilli, chicken pot pie, etc already made and frozen so we just put one in the sink on the way out in the a.m. and heat-n-eat. We camp to SWIM !! in the springs of fla. So we swim all day and eat at night ! Maybe some bisquits for b-fast, but that's about all.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:37 PM   #12
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We stay 4 days max and flat rate for campsite per day so electrcity usage doesn't factor in.
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:42 PM   #13
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I doubt you could use your microwave, or your toaster oven, or maybe even hotplate while the AC is on, at least not with 30 amp service. Our rig (84 MH) has a switch which lets you choose either Microwave OR AC.
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:11 PM   #14
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One solution is to install a "RV Water Heater Lightning Rod" in your existing unit, it only draws 4 amps, but at only 425 watts it may take a while to heat up the tank.

6 Gallon RV Water Heater Lightning Rod
Our unit came with a Lightning Rod in the water heater. It heats up fairly fast--but we don't use that much hot water when camping usually. We often don't even turn on the propane in hot weather--we mostly do easy meals using the microwave and toaster oven usually.
The LR is not wired into the trailer, in our case. It has a separate cord I just plug into the campground power pole--in addition to the 30amp cord. Works fine that way, no problems.
If your water heater is in good shape otherwise, it may pay to just retrofit it with one of these Lightning rods.
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