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Old 10-09-2023, 06:36 AM   #1
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New Water Heater Selection

Greetings!

I am planning on replacing my water heater. It is a 6 gallon 15 years in service Atwood OEM. Great Unit.

I can get a Dometic 6 gallon with conversion kit for $475. So...

I ask for opinion, tank, tankless??? I boondock so consider that and tell me your experiences please.
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Old 10-09-2023, 08:24 AM   #2
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Tankless is fabulous when you are on full hook-up and like long showers. Not so much when you are hoarding fresh water out in the boondocks somewhere — being a cold start device that starts heating on demand, some water is wasted on every use.

Old school tanked water water heater (gas and electric) may seem Jurassic but generally reliable, simple to repair and more miserly with water usage…
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Old 10-09-2023, 09:10 AM   #3
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Rodster, We have the same trailer and my water heater is still plugging along. There is NO WAY I would go to an on demand heater. Do they not make the Atwood any longer? Mine has been very dependable and I would not choose to change.
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Old 10-09-2023, 11:07 AM   #4
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If you go tankless, go Truma only. The Girard is awful. Lots of threads on this topic. Truma may cost a lot at an AS dealer (pushing $3k), but Truma does install them at large RV shows for $1800 to $2000.
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Old 10-09-2023, 11:59 AM   #5
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Why are you replacing your current one? Nearly every part you could need to keep it running is available, including replacement tanks.
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Old 10-09-2023, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
Do they not make the Atwood any longer? Mine has been very dependable and I would not choose to change.
Dometic bought Atwood some years ago. They sell what is the same or very similar unit as a Dometic.
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Old 10-10-2023, 09:35 AM   #7
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Dometic doesn’t sell a direct fit replacement unit for the older Atwood and you have to install a patch to accommodate the square shape of the new unit. Suburban sells a direct fit replacement model 6AW6D and your Atwood door will fit this unit with no patch.
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Old 10-10-2023, 10:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 4RXLA View Post
Dometic doesn’t sell a direct fit replacement unit for the older Atwood and you have to install a patch to accommodate the square shape of the new unit. Suburban sells a direct fit replacement model 6AW6D and your Atwood door will fit this unit with no patch.
There is a door kit available to make the newer Dometic fit into the opening of an older Atwood. It looks nice when done right - there are two side filler pieces and a door in the kit.

The Suburban unit, from what I know, has a steel tank instead of the aluminum one of the Atwood, and now the Dometic.
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Old 10-10-2023, 10:48 AM   #9
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Personally, I would try to continue with existing unit and just replace element or what ever you need vs changing out to an on demand...as others state- the on demand uses a lot of water and there is a delay when you turn on/off without installing an additional small reservoir. My buddy has the new on demand in his 28' AS and his wife hates it which I read and hear here from others who have the on demand unit. I like that my 6 gal tank is electric or propane, and will keep water pretty hot for a night, even when switch turned off. My 2 cents...
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Old 10-23-2023, 09:46 AM   #10
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"I ask for opinion, tank, tankless??? I boondock so consider that and tell me your experiences please."

Tank version works best.
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Old 10-27-2023, 08:50 PM   #11
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We have the Girard tankless and for boondocking, it’s the worst thing to have for that type of camping. I would stay with a tank type or if really want tankless, I’d consider the Truma although, as previously posted, that is a more expensive option.
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Old 12-02-2023, 11:32 AM   #12
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Just got a new TT with tankless. Huge water waster. Looking at strategies for boondocks, so I would not go that way.
Hooked up with sewage, they work great.
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Old 12-02-2023, 12:11 PM   #13
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UNtil the hot water arrives at the spigot/faucet/shower….spill the cold water into a collapsable bucket and use for other things.

In the shower, we have a collapsible bucket on the floor while showering…catches errant water….which we use to flush the toilet instead of using fresh water.

If you are TRULY a dedicated boondocker…. add a pump and filter to pump water from your gray water tank to operate the toilet instead of using fresh water.
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Old 12-02-2023, 08:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G8trwood View Post
Just got a new TT with tankless. Huge water waster. Looking at strategies for boondocks, so I would not go that way.
Hooked up with sewage, they work great.
A few years back I was considering moving "up" to a newer trailer but then....I started reading about all the "improvements" they were making. On demand water heater was one. Another one was the all electric fridge. I certainly understand folks that have a paranoia regarding LP gas, so I am not talking about that. What I am concerned about, and this is why I am no longer looking at a newer trailer, is that they seem to be made with the full hookup folks in mind. When away from water hookup and sewer connections I can still take a hot shower without wasting excess water. My fridge works fine without draining my batteries. I love my Airstream for all of the nice benefits. Why would I want to go backwards?
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Old 12-03-2023, 10:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
A few years back I was considering moving "up" to a newer trailer but then....I started reading about all the "improvements" they were making. On demand water heater was one. Another one was the all electric fridge. I certainly understand folks that have a paranoia regarding LP gas, so I am not talking about that. What I am concerned about, and this is why I am no longer looking at a newer trailer, is that they seem to be made with the full hookup folks in mind. When away from water hookup and sewer connections I can still take a hot shower without wasting excess water. My fridge works fine without draining my batteries. I love my Airstream for all of the nice benefits. Why would I want to go backwards?


Ditto! If it aint broke, don't fix it! Propane works well and added bonus of electric or propane..why would you eliminate the propane? Little used by the refer; water heater always an option; and gas stove...vs "electric stove"? Seems like all electric with on demand system for showers have all sorts of complaints from folks who are "honest" vs propane/electric options...IMHO of course!
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Old 12-06-2023, 02:29 PM   #16
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I finally got the new WH installed. It was awful- one of the worst experiences I ever had with upgrading/replacing so far.

First, my old one worked fine. The motivation to replace was based on age- 17 years. They say 10 years is the lifespan. So, after the discussion with the camping store and the idea that fewer and fewer LP items were carried, I decided to jump. ok

Atwood, the OEM for Airstream was purchased by Dometic. In the world of LP tank water heaters now, it is Dometic or Suburban. Dometic still uses the aluminum of Atwood so no anode rod is needed. Suburban uses the steel so annual purchase of anode rod is required. I went with Dometic.

The Dometic has nearly everything different from the OEM. The water lines are totally located different, the width is way different so that panels are needed to fill in the sides at the cutout, the surprise was the depth. It is deeper and that posed another problem with the install- clearance. I ended up having to PEX it and run copper gas line and silver solder to extend it. The only part that was straightforward was the electric part. The pex cutter, pipe, crimpers, rings, elbow fittings, ring removal tool, all were just over $115. The special fitment door and panels was more than the standard door but not too much.
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Old 12-07-2023, 02:08 PM   #17
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Blew out all the lines yesterday, with 35lbs-40lbs PSI. My pigtail line I got on Amazon, with the on/off valve works great with the compressor. Once I had my tank pressurized, I went inside and one by one, opened each faucet till no water was coming out...there was just a little spitting spray left. I then held my foot on the toilet till no sign of water. To be sure, I then closed all the valves, opened the drain plug on the water heater and again, applied psi till no more water coming out. I put the plug back in, and with PSI on the system, I went back in to check each faucet/shower/toilet valves individually one at a time, to make sure I did not hear/see any water or major spray evident. I then left them all open, poured a cup and 1/2 antifreeze in all three drains, plus the toilet. This took about an hour total time. Same as last couple years, with no issues. I don't want to run antifreeze in my fresh water lines, and this method used by many here, works fine.
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