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Old 12-14-2015, 11:27 AM   #15
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Water conservation issues...sponge bath...shower pan (an idea I like personally)... I really hate to be indelicate, however, there are certain areas where my sponge wouldn't go. So, when primitive camping (we should be getting our airstream in 2016, FINALLY!!!) we sponge bathe and take along baby wipes for those areas where the sponge need not go.

We then get the added bonus of smelling like the fresh changed grandkids!!!!
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Old 12-14-2015, 01:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Siegmann View Post
When in areas with moderate-hard water, I've noticed that turning the water heater on and off after each use seems to generate more calcium deposits/crystals that get trapped in the faucet/showers fixtures. Maybe my imagination.... don't know for sure.
Could be!

The constant heating eventually bakes the calcium carbonate knocked out of the water by heating, into a solid coating that will break up but it will likely be larger flakes that stay put in the tank. Starting and Stopping the heater still makes scale but it may be smaller flakes because the heating cooling cycle dislodges the scale on the wall of the tank as metal expands and contracts. Smaller particles are carried away to the taps.

I'm not sure about savings on only heating when you need it. I do that, and logically the heat lost from a continuously hot tank has to be made up if you try to keep the tank hot all the time, so you use gas just to keep it hot. But it still uses a lot of gas to get the water back to temperature and the determining cost savings factor will be whether more heat is lost "up the chimney" when the heater is working so hard to catch up. I suspect the most efficient approach is to heat when you need it.
I usually only heat the water to the temp I need it for dishes or shaving then shut it off, unless I'm planning to shower.
I also do not like the noise of the heater when I'm sleeping so it is off all night
JCW
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Old 12-14-2015, 01:54 PM   #17
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All of these issues are just part of the reason we went with a tankless water heater. The primary reason was wife enjoys her hot hotel showers on the road, and we rarely boondock long enough for water or propane conservation to be an issue. Besides, not having 42 pounds of water that far forward of the axles helps with weight distribution.


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Old 12-16-2015, 04:09 AM   #18
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I would leave it on all the time so hot water will be there when you need it. On my 10 gal suburban water heater I've found that the pilot light will keep the tank warm and have used just the pilot position for long periods of time in the summer, not even needing the main burner. However the last several years I've used just the electric option adding extra insulation all around the water heater including filling the burner compartment with insulation. This seems to be the most energy efficient approach. I was careful that rain can't get the insulation wet. Leland
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Old 12-16-2015, 06:32 AM   #19
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I asked this same question last year

I wondered that because water took a long time to cool off that it might make sense to turn the water heater off.

I suspected that the water heater would use more propane heating a tank full of cold water than it would use to keep hot water hot

But the bottom line was, the cost to leave it on was not a big deal. Someone did the math and thought that leaving the heater on would only cost about 25 to 50 cents a day. ( actual cost may vary )

Most people didn't care about the money, and opt for convenience

I don't imagine a trailer of your age has a heater with a pilot light.
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Old 12-16-2015, 06:09 PM   #20
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That was a question on a Thermodynamics Final exam in my engineering class. It's always better to turn it off. The rate of heat loss is reduced as the water slowly cools. Even with electric heating (basically 100% energy conversion) it's more efficient to heat the cool water than keep it hot.

Nobody would question heating water on the stovetop 2x per day is cheaper than leaving the kettle running all day.

From a "C" Thermo Student...
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Old 12-16-2015, 08:00 PM   #21
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Plus it's better for the planet not to use the extra energy. It's only a little bit, but it adds up.
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Old 12-16-2015, 08:10 PM   #22
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We replaced the factory installed six gallon hot water tank system with a Truma "AquaGo comfort" instant on water heater in both the 23D and the Classic. The Truma weighs about 24 pounds less than the tank system and we lost about 50 pounds of stored water weight as well.

To prevent freezing, his models Truma will energize a tiny heater and circulate the water in the heater coils when the ambient temperature drops to 41 degrees or lower. The Truma unit is physically smaller than the removed system as well. It does require a small amount of 12Vdc to run the control circuitry.
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Old 12-16-2015, 08:36 PM   #23
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That was a question on a Thermodynamics Final exam in my engineering class. It's always better to turn it off. The rate of heat loss is reduced as the water slowly cools. Even with electric heating (basically 100% energy conversion) it's more efficient to heat the cool water than keep it hot.

Nobody would question heating water on the stovetop 2x per day is cheaper than leaving the kettle running all day.

From a "C" Thermo Student...
Then again the water heater doesn't stay on all day.
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Old 12-17-2015, 10:14 AM   #24
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If you're camping in the cool where a space heater is required, the heat loss from the hot water is gain to the trailer. No net loss involved. You pay for it from one pocket or the other. In summer the situation would change as heat transferred from the HW to the trailer is not a blessing.
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