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Old 11-28-2020, 12:00 AM   #1
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2021 27' Globetrotter
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 23
Tankless Water Heater and Water Pump

I have a 2021 Globetrotter with the "new" on-demand tankless hot water heater.

I can't really figure out how to best use it and conserve water.

Sometimes you will turn on the hot water valve and it won't start up right away. Unless you are standing in the bathroom watching the monitor it's not possible to immediately know if it's working or not going to work.

If it is working and heats up in a reasonable about of time and you are trying to take your navy shower to conserve water by turning off the water at the showerhead (not the valve) the water pump will turn on and off over again. It will pulse repeatedly and makes a lot of noise. That can't be good for the pump right? This happens with both the indoor and outdoor shower.

If you use the valve to turn off the hot water, you'll have to start the process all over again and waste another 15 seconds of water or more to get hot water flowing again (assuming it kicks on in the first place.)

Standing in the shower with a bucket to catch and recycle cold water is not really something I want to be doing.

I think at this point it would be more efficient to try and take a really fast shower with hot water than it would be to take a navy shower with this specific hot-water heater.

I've also tried to keep the hot water following at a very low rate so the pump doesn't pulse on and off, but with enough flow to keep the hot water lines full of hot water and the hot water heater producing hot water. That's been some gymnastics that needs more field testing.

I am using up a lot of my limited water and filling my grey tank faster than I like.

Currently, I open the hot water valve and only the hot water value and then have to adopt a wait and see attitude ... unless I am in the bathroom where I can see the display which shows a fan spinning and the current water temp going up (if it works correctly) which can tell me it's going to work faster than standing in the shower with the cold water running.

I can not tell you why it sometimes seems to fire up quickly and work as expected and other times it doesn't seem to fire up at all or I am not patient enough because I am watching all that freshwater go straight to the grey water tank.

I'm not doing anything different. I am simply turning on a hot water value in either the bathroom, shower, kitchen sink, or outside shower.

Resetting (powering on and off) the hot water system seems to make it start more reliably, but that test is far from scientific and could be just random luck.

Unfortunately, I haven't been to a site with hook-ups where I don't have to be so stingy with the water and could do better testing.

I also don't like that you don't know if it's on unless you touch a button. It has a red light on the monitor, but that light will just tell you it has power. I have turned it off (or on) an accident countless times trying to figure out how to use it properly.

Yes, I read the manual.

I understand the principles of a tankless hot water heater. I have 2 of them in my home.

I am hoping for some tricks and tips to get hot water flowing and keep the line (for lack of a better word) "primed" without putting stress on the water pump.

I've only been out twice for about 8 days total with about 4 attempts at a shower with mixed results, so my real-world experience is pretty limited. I am hoping someone who has more experience with this will share any lessons they learned in the field.

So far, I am not a fan and am a bit frustrated with this setup. I think I would rather have a more traditional hot water heater.
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:30 AM   #2
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I cannot answer your question directly because I have the old Atwood. But I also have on-demand gas at home and have for years. You already know that some flow is required for the gas burner to ignite and there is no surge tank to provide hot water if you take Navy showers. We have to preheat water at home to avoid wasting a lot of water and circ pumps intended for that purpose did not, initially, have sufficient flow rate to kick on on-demand water heaters. Now circ pumps are available for that.
The conclusion is that Navy showers just don't work for on-demand. Based on numerous threads here, lots of people like on-demand in an RV, but no one has asserted that water conservation can be achieved. It seems that Airstream has moved away from meeting the needs of real boondockers with on-demand water heaters and electric-only refrigerators.
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:49 AM   #3
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As I read more and more about this year’s Globetrotters I come to the same conclusion as Larry—the target market seems to now be people who always use hookups. The electricity demand can be overcome, I assume, with an investment in a large lithium battery bank and solar. But there’s no easy way to store more water (fresh or gray)—you’ve got and mostly keep what you bring with you.

I like all of this model year’s improvements in theory but in practice I do not think they would work out for us.
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:24 AM   #4
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2021 28' International
Knoxville , Tennessee
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As much as I decry complaining about first world problems, I agree with the OP.

There is a great deal of water wasted with this “improvement”, and I’m anxious to read posts by those with ideas on how to deal with it.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:48 AM   #5
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I have one at home and love it. I would not consider one for my Airstream, as it is not a good unit for navy showers or water-saving dish washing. Marketed as a good idea, but really not.

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Old 11-28-2020, 11:15 AM   #6
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2021 23' Flying Cloud
Hansville , WA
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I have also learned about the challenges of the tankless hot water heater. First off all the red button tells you that there is power to the hot water heater and if you push it tell you the setting of the heat. I turned mine to max of 124 F. I agree you waste a lot of water waiting for the warm water. I think the hot water faucet has to be wide open to get the heater to turn on. There is an off button on the water heater accessed from the outside of the AS. That would turn the heater and red light off. When I talked to our dealer about it, they didn't understand the red button either. We are all figuring it out. Haven't mastered the shower yet because we have only been on short trips and have not been hooked up to public water or sewer yet. I am sure I will like it when hooked up to public water and sewer and the grey tank valve is open for the long shower!
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:24 PM   #7
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Coming from a 5th wheel with a 75 Gallon grey tank to a 30 Gallon grey tank in our AS is an adjustment. Add to that having to run the water for such a long time to get it hot really makes it a challenge. It remains to be a learning curve for us which we shall endure and learn.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:43 PM   #8
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2021 25' Flying Cloud
Miami , Florida
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I'm having the same issue in my 2021 FC and it was a big letdown. This seems like it would be very addressable if it were designed with a small tank to buffer the hot water.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:57 PM   #9
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Wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by numbakrrunch View Post
I'm having the same issue in my 2021 FC and it was a big letdown. This seems like it would be very addressable if it were designed with a small tank to buffer the hot water.
This is very distressing to hear. My new 25 Globetrotter is arriving in January and now I am worried. The water heater in my 2017 FC worked perfectly.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:15 PM   #10
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We have a 2020 with a tank. It heats us so fast we don't turn the heater on until a few minutes before we need to take a shower. I have thought about tankless as we too have them at home. I love them. However, I can't say I think having one in the Airstream is a very good idea. I was will wait until Airstream figures this out before I buy another new one. I agree there needs to be a couple of gallons holding tank that the tankless fills. That would allow you to turn off the water and soap up then turn it back on just as the tank version.

I am sorry that those of you who've bought the 2021 Airstreams are having to be the beta testers. Maybe Airstream simply believes that most of their customers don't boondock.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:24 PM   #11
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I have a 27 Globetrotter on order and just asked if I could opt out of the tankless. No can do. Also, would probably prefer a propane/electric fridge. How do you like the electric only fridge? I have a 23' International and used to the conventional water heater and Dometic Propane/Electric. Worried about the water conservation you mention and also running fridge when boondocking.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:25 PM   #12
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I have a Precision PV 550 instant water heater in my TT and A.O. Smith in my home. Because of the long distance from the home heater to the faucets compared to the TT the use patterns are different. No matter what type of heater you have the initial hot water has to travel a distance from the heater to the desired faucet. Also, a minimum flow is required to turn on the heaters. Therefore, the best way to take a Navy shower is to learn where the optimum position on your mixing shower valve. Now turn on the valve all the way hot using the initial cold water to wet down your legs and feet. My heater is about four feet away so the clod water starts to warm up pretty quick. Now as the warm water arrive turn the mixer handle back to the optimum setting you have already noticed. Turn off the water when you no longer need it. Just keep repeating this process until you are done. I really like all my instant heaters they do save gas. I can see the difference on my gas bill and how often I fill my propane tanks. A couple of hints: make sure all your faucet strainers and spray head nozzles are open and clean. I prefer a full-time water filtering system it really helps to keep the water clean. Also a heavy duty water pump with higher flow makes thing much nicer. Then all you need is electric power, water, and gas and you are in business.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:54 PM   #13
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We just picked up our 2021 FC 27FB and had a chance to try the new set-up for 3 nts while on full hookups. Like the on-demand and the fact that with 4 of us, we no longer run out of hot water, although do see how this will be an issue boondocking. As the OP said, it takes about 15 secs. AS solved one problem only to create another.
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:02 PM   #14
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Thanks for the reality check! We have a 2021 Flying Cloud ordered. I was afraid of this problem. I just sent a email to sales to see if I could have the old school hot water heater installed. Unless there are those of you not having these problems. So it you stop the water flow it cools right off. Seems not functional in a ď TRAVELĒ trailer?
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:20 PM   #15
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2021 27' Flying Cloud
Wake Forest , North Carolina
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Ditto! Tankless fail in FC

Yes, this is a real problem for us on our 2021 27' FC FBQ. Hot water is almost unusable. We have resorted to heating water on the stove and keeping it in a thermos for convenient hot water. The only benefit of tankless would be with water and sewer hookups. Sorry. That's not us.

Will airstream rectify the failure? Is the any hope? Or will we just have to spend the money and buy a tank hot water system and rectify it ourselves?

I'm very disappointed!
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:32 AM   #16
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I wonder if some inventive owner could attempt a modification similar to home circ pumps using the installed water pump. If you installed a bypass valve, say under the bathroom sink, that pumped from the hot water side to the cold water side...and turned the pump on, it should pump hot to cold and allow enough flow to keep the water hot. It would require turning on the pump and operating a bypass valve only when you wanted to take Navy showers and it would be noisier than just a regular shower...but it could work.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:26 AM   #17
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2021 27' Globetrotter
Los Angeles , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickP View Post
How do you like the electric-only fridge?
I also wanted a hybrid refrigerator because I typically don't have hook-ups and was worried about having an electric-only fridge.

I like the fridge size and how cold it can get it.

I need more experience to tell you if I think it's going to work out, but I a robust solar set-up to feed the batteries and always use the "Sleep" setting on the refrigerator at night.

I don't like how low the battery voltage drops with what seems like a normal day of low usage, so I'm already strongly considering upgrading to Lipo after just 2 trips.

I have a generator that can do 30 amps, but it's pretty big and obnoxious for just charging the batteries and not running the AC or heatpump, so I'm also now looking for something 1000 watts for topping the batteries off in the morning before letting solar do it's thing during the day.

I know that's not a great answer to your question BUT....

In summary, I like the refrigerator and I'm still researching/wondering if it's just too big and draws too much power for 5-7 day boondocking adventures. I think it's fine if you don't mind running a generator a little bit every day and have solar.
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirParkOnly View Post
I have a 2021 Globetrotter with the "new" on-demand tankless hot water heater.

I can't really figure out how to best use it and conserve water.

Sometimes you will turn on the hot water valve and it won't start up right away. Unless you are standing in the bathroom watching the monitor it's not possible to immediately know if it's working or not going to work.

If it is working and heats up in a reasonable about of time and you are trying to take your navy shower to conserve water by turning off the water at the showerhead (not the valve) the water pump will turn on and off over again. It will pulse repeatedly and makes a lot of noise. That can't be good for the pump right? This happens with both the indoor and outdoor shower.

If you use the valve to turn off the hot water, you'll have to start the process all over again and waste another 15 seconds of water or more to get hot water flowing again (assuming it kicks on in the first place.)

Standing in the shower with a bucket to catch and recycle cold water is not really something I want to be doing.

I think at this point it would be more efficient to try and take a really fast shower with hot water than it would be to take a navy shower with this specific hot-water heater.

I've also tried to keep the hot water following at a very low rate so the pump doesn't pulse on and off, but with enough flow to keep the hot water lines full of hot water and the hot water heater producing hot water. That's been some gymnastics that needs more field testing.

I am using up a lot of my limited water and filling my grey tank faster than I like.

Currently, I open the hot water valve and only the hot water value and then have to adopt a wait and see attitude ... unless I am in the bathroom where I can see the display which shows a fan spinning and the current water temp going up (if it works correctly) which can tell me it's going to work faster than standing in the shower with the cold water running.

I can not tell you why it sometimes seems to fire up quickly and work as expected and other times it doesn't seem to fire up at all or I am not patient enough because I am watching all that freshwater go straight to the grey water tank.

I'm not doing anything different. I am simply turning on a hot water value in either the bathroom, shower, kitchen sink, or outside shower.

Resetting (powering on and off) the hot water system seems to make it start more reliably, but that test is far from scientific and could be just random luck.

Unfortunately, I haven't been to a site with hook-ups where I don't have to be so stingy with the water and could do better testing.

I also don't like that you don't know if it's on unless you touch a button. It has a red light on the monitor, but that light will just tell you it has power. I have turned it off (or on) an accident countless times trying to figure out how to use it properly.

Yes, I read the manual.

I understand the principles of a tankless hot water heater. I have 2 of them in my home.

I am hoping for some tricks and tips to get hot water flowing and keep the line (for lack of a better word) "primed" without putting stress on the water pump.

I've only been out twice for about 8 days total with about 4 attempts at a shower with mixed results, so my real-world experience is pretty limited. I am hoping someone who has more experience with this will share any lessons they learned in the field.

So far, I am not a fan and am a bit frustrated with this setup. I think I would rather have a more traditional hot water heater.
Hi AirParkOnly,*numbakrrunch,*27ftToaster,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information, email and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can learn more and share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customersupport@airstream.com

Thank you.*
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:59 PM   #19
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The issues with tankless water heaters in an RV are as simple as they are predictable. Tankless water heaters are great for one thing and one thing only: endless hot water whilst showering. This benefit is only available to those camping with water and sewer hook ups and a very large propane tank.

Once you are Boondocking, or in any situation where the water supply is limited, the waste water tank is limited, and the propane available is limited, tankless water heaters become a liability.

So now airstream has a dilemma. Do they continue to appease one segment of their market while continuing to ignore the pleas of another, or do they bite the bullet and make the tankless water heater and option? Only the market will will determine.
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:40 AM   #20
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I should also add that Atwood and others have attempted to address the needs (really, to be honest, wants) of those who want to luxuriate in long hot showers whilst camping by offering an option added to conventional RV water heaters that super heats the water in the six-gallon tank, and adds a mixing valve on the output side such that you effectively get 9 gallons of hot water.

Yes, this isn't exactly unlimited hot water, but then, how many hours do you want to spend showering?

One reported issue with this set up is that the mixing valve itself can become blocked with calcium and other deposits that build up over time, and require cleaning or replacement.

A key advantage of this set up is that the WH can be powered by electricity or propane and it retains the exact dimensions as the conventional RV WH.

Alternatively, those with conventional RV WH can achieve more or less the same result by raising the temperature of their WH and mixing in cold water at the faucet, but need to be careful not to scold themselves when opening just the hot spigot.

Those wanting to maximize water and energy conservation can alternatively lower the temp of the WH, thereby encouraging short navy showers.

I should also add that in some foreign countries with more lax regulations, they have an electric shower head (!) that heats the water as it comes out. When in use, it's important to remember not to touch the shower head, unless you want to experience what wet electricity feels like jolting through your body.
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