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Old 10-25-2011, 10:00 PM   #1
ElliotA's Avatar
2006 28' Safari S/O
Fort Collins , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 44
Adding Electric Heater to Atwood

I have a 2006 28' Safari with an Atwood propane only water heater. My previous trailer had a Suburban combination propane/electric water heater and I miss having the electric heating capability.

Today at Camping World I noticed that for $109 they were selling a conversion kit to add electric heating. It replaced the drain plug with a heating element plus adding the associated thermostat and wiring.

Is there a reason my Airstream did not include electric water heating (electrolysis?) and would it be OK to make this electric conversion?

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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2001 27' Safari
Bella Vista , Arkansas
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 68
I'm toying with the idea of adding a 'Hott Rodd" heating element to an Atwood 6 gal heater. (I have 2001 28' Safari with the crossways queen sized bed. I haven't quite figured out where and how to install the electrical thermostat, although I've thought of wedging it between the tank and the lower portion of the styrofoam insulation surrounding the tank. How did you run the wiring?
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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1997 30' Excella
1961 26' Overlander
1954 22' Flying Cloud
1981 28' Airstream 280
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,436
If you follow the directions furnished with the hott rod, it says to postition the thermostat on the lower half of the tank. This means you will be cutting out some of the styrofoam insulation in order to install it. The instructions are very clear and concise. They do work well. We have one also. About 30min install time.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
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2010 28' Flying Cloud
Lower Alabama , USA
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 658
Many folks make this modification and I have found it handy thus far. I suspect AS doesn't do it for cost reasons. The hurdle for getting this mod in place is the 110V power for it and deciding where to put the switch.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:53 AM   #5
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2005 19' Safari
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We boondock mainly when and where our furnace is infrequently needed. Usually, we camp where overnight lows are 40-45 degrees and above. However, we do use quite a bit of hot water when our two teenage granddaughters travel with us; and we have had only instance when two 30-pound propane tanks didn't last an entire year. That was when we camped in mid-winter in Denver for over a month, in single-digit overnight temperatures. Then, each (single) 30-pound tank only lasted 2-3 days.

The point is, our hot water heater doesn't seem to use that much propane; and I don't see why a 120-volt AC hot water heater would be necessary. (At least, our water heater doesn't with our particular camping conditions.)

Do others use significantly more propane each month or year?
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