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Old 03-06-2021, 08:47 PM   #1
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
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Showers and city water

Taking our new-to-us 2014.5 AI out for a weekend trip. We'll have an RV water hookup and I'm wondering how the hot water heater keeps up during a shower?

Is it good for the first minute and then steadily turns cooler?

Can it maintain hot water throughout a 4 minute shower?

And last but not least, should I just fill my onboard tank and run that through the hot water heater and back into the holding tank via the outdoor shower for a few mins to heat up the entire holding tank prior to several (4) quick back to back showers?
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:14 PM   #2
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You turn the water on only long enough to get wet. Turn it off at the shower head while you soap up. Then turn it back on again to rinse off. You will need to learn how to conserve water, not just to keep from running out of hot water but also to keep from filling up your holding tank.

When the shower is turned off at the shower head it will continue to drip. This is meant to keep the water in the hose warm so you donít get a blast of cold water when you turn it back on. Be sure you turn the shower off at the valve when you are finished to stop the drip.

Why do you feel a need to heat up the holding tank? I see no point in doing so and again you are going to want to learn to conserve on how much goes in there or you are going to end up emptying the tank a lot more often then necessary.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:21 PM   #3
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I should also mention that 4 back to back showers is probably unrealistic. Especially if anyone has long hair that takes a lot of water to rinse the shampoo out. You are going to want to allow time in between showers for the water to heat back up. The good news is that heating up 6 gallons is a heck of a lot faster than your 50-60 gallon tank at home.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:26 PM   #4
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Four minutes? I aim for 60-90 seconds of running water. Of course, my hair is quite short!

In all seriousness, with two of us we can get four days out of 20 gallons of water. I generally turn the water heater on 15 minutes before I shower, and turn it off afterwards. No point in wasting propane if we donít have an immediate need for hot water.
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAAirstreamr View Post
Taking our new-to-us 2014.5 AI out for a weekend trip.
. . .
*** This is an Airstream Interstate motorhome. ***

Not sure if the trailer folks are familiar with the specifics of your hot water set-up. Could you please provide details?
[brand of heater, size of hot-water holding tank (if any . . . flow-through water heater maybe?) etc. etc.].

These details should be in your Airstream owner's manual, or in the mfg. pamphlet for the water heater.

Thanks.

PS -- on edit -- Indoor shower in toilet area, or outdoor shower? Just so folks can picture the situation. BTW outdoor shower grey water run-off is an important issue these days IMO. Good suggestion from Maggie in the next post. We had a small van camper a long time ago, and used the CG shower facilities exclusively.

Travel safe . . . and . . .
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:07 AM   #6
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If there is a bathhouse at the campground you are staying at, consider using their showers.

I do that almost all of the time.

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Old 03-07-2021, 05:51 AM   #7
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On "City Water" (from title) and you have a 6 gallon tank? If that's the case it's the same as my trailer and you'll get a good long shower, don't worry. 4 minutes not an issue, easily double that and then 15-20 minutes re-heat time.
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:07 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=GAAirstreamr;246856
. . .
And last but not least, should I just fill my onboard tank and run that through the hot water heater and back into the holding tank via the outdoor shower for a few mins to heat up the entire holding tank prior to several (4) quick back to back showers?[/QUOTE]

First . . . apologies for not saying this before . . . welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your new adventure!

In light of smithcreek's comment, perhaps we should all aim to use the same terminology?

Suggestions: [IMO]

-- city water -- supplied in a hose from the campground hose bib, and used by a faucet/shower without first going into any kind of tank
-- fresh water tank -- filled with good clean water before the trip or maybe at the campground
-- water heater tank -- where water heated by the heater stays until used
. . . [Some water heaters are "tankless" flow-through models]
-- holding tank
. . . grey water for sink and shower waste water
. . . black water for toilet waste

The terminology used in this thread is not consistent, so the above proposals are only that, but let's try to find a common ground IMO.

Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:00 AM   #9
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I like my shower.
The water heater gets pretty hot, so you'll be mixing it with cold.
You can run both electric and gas together to recover faster.
The shower head has a cutoff that reduces the flow to a dribble. Leave the mixing valve set open.
Get wet, push the cutoff, soap up, open the cutoff, etc.
I've never run out of hot water.
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Old 03-07-2021, 09:29 AM   #10
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If you want some "extra mileage" on your hot water with a conventional tank-based water heater and are either hooked up or have a big battery bank and inverter, you can turn on both the propane and the electric elements. That way, the water heats faster and keeps up a bit better if you're worried about running out of heated water while showering. That said, if you're taking long enough showers that this is a necessity, you should plan to be close to a dump station (or in a camping spot with hookups) so you can empty the grey tank more frequently.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:00 AM   #11
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If you have a 6-gallon water heater like mine, the water coming out is scalding hot. When mixed with cold, it will last much longer than the small size would imply.
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Old 03-07-2021, 12:00 PM   #12
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Biggest issue is gray tank capacity. 4 4 minute showers 16 minutes water running 2 gallons a minute 32 gallons into gray tank.

How big is your gray tank?
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Old 03-07-2021, 12:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAAirstreamr View Post
Taking our new-to-us 2014.5 AI out for a weekend trip.
. . .
When you get back, please let us know how the trip went. Without the specific details of the hot-water set-up in your Airstream Interstate motorhome, the feedback is going to vary quite a bit. There are questions in earlier posts which will help refine the discussion IMO.

Thanks.
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:47 PM   #14
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I mean this in the nicest way possible, but if you donít have an Airstream Interstate, maybe you shouldnít be answering???.....
`
You donít have monumental minutes to sit and enjoy your shower. I can say when we had to use ours when the derecho blew through last fall and we had no electricity in our home for hot water, even with it being quick, it was a luxury then.

You do want to keep in mind what the other posters brought up, your tank will fill quickly, and you will run out of hot water eventually. Youíre going to shut your water off in between soaping, shampooing, and rinsing. I was in there between five and ten minutes, and had the water shut off probably more than half the time. I also have medium length hair. One trick is to use leave-in conditioner if you have any length of hair, too. I think you just do hit the water off just because youíll be afraid of all of what I just said. The two things I couldnít tell you are if you can take consecutive showers or how long you can exactly go without having your water get cold. It was okay for me, it got a little less warm by the end, but not cold. I would probably try not to shower one after the other though.

Trust me, I like semi-long showers, but you just adjust. Itís part of the fun of it!

We have the same year, so hope that helps a bit. One last thing, we also didnít have electricity to the RV due to that storm, I was only running on propane.
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:32 PM   #15
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We have never used the shower on city water, so we are always conserving water usage. Wife showers first then me immediately after, and I have never run out. With the knob on full-hot it has been way to hot for me. The heater recharges faster if you have it on both electric and gas. I'm told you can do this, but have never tried it.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:40 AM   #16
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RV Hot Water Use

It sounds as if you want to run shower water back thru the water heater. The incoming water and shower drain are not connected in any way. Shower water goes to gray tank. Water heater feed comes from fresh water tank or city water connect only.

Your probable 6 gallon or so water heater works better that you might expect. The tank heats to approximately 180 degrees farenheit, much hotter than your home hot water is allowed to do for safety reasons. The beauty of you very hot Airstream hot water heater is the "mix" valve on the water heater. While the tank is probably 180F to start, the mix valve uses incoming cold water from either source to blend the water output to a safe temperature. In doing so, your 6 gallon water heater will probably produce 10-12 gallons of heavenly hot shower water, and from the time that probably the first person showers, the tank will probably fire up and start reheating. Four "quick showers" might short the last person UNLESS everyone is an experienced and motivated RV showerer. Best advice, be at the head of the line or lay back a few minutes and give a bit of recovery time. The rv water heaters do a pretty amazing job.
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:53 PM   #17
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I see what you are thinking. Use the hot water heater to warm up the fresh water tank- extending available hot water without waiting for it to heat up. I imagine that would work, but I would not warm it up very much (freshwater tank not meant for hot water).

If you are connected to sewer, then of course no issues with filling up greywater tank. But like mentioned, the greywater tank is pretty easy to fill up (at least in my 2006 AI).

I do like all the rest mention- get wet (turn off water) soap up, turn water on and rinse. But if the hot water tank was fully hot, I suspect a 4 minute shower is possible. But then you will have to wait for the tank to heat up.
The less water you use, the quicker you can have showers.

The Hot water tank on mine is just propane, I think most (all?) of the AI come that way?
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Old 03-08-2021, 02:10 PM   #18
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Not sure in your Interstate vs our TT's, but couple thoughts we have learned to go by. First, we don't need nor do we, take a shower every day- every couple days works tyically unless really sweaty/dirty/filthy feeling.....that is, (unless we are at a camp shower facility, and have access to unlimited water!) Second, (assuming your not hooked up to city water and drain? the goal for us is to be "frugal" with your on board water...when we do shower, we each will monitor who can use the least amount of water to complete shower. Other comments above such as using shower head turn off valve, are also great. Third, we got a water saving Oxygenic Fury shower head to help conserve. When on the road, conserving water is pretty important for us.
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:06 AM   #19
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Check the bypass valve on hot water tank line. Last year after de winterizing, I left the bypass valve open and could not understand why the shower water turned cool so fast. Turn off bypass, nice warm shower.
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:45 AM   #20
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If you also have a sewer hookup you can take a very long shower as the water will run directly into the sewer city if you left it open. As to how many back to back showers you can take at a time that is one of those “it depends” answers. Such as length of each shower,hot water usage and whether or not you are only using your gray holding tank or are attached to sewer
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