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Author Topic: Why not use Tankless water heater in bus?  (Read 3174 times)
superpickle
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« on: August 08, 2007, 10:46:46 AM »

Everybody has Water heaters, I have a Tankless system in my home and plan on putting one in my Bus. They use very little propane and have No pilot light. Self starting burners.
Why do I NOT see anyone useing one.. HuhHuhHuh??
Yes, they can be a bit Expensive, But the one I put in here (Aqua Star) paid for itself in 4 years. I bought it on the net and it was easy to put in. Hardest thing was getting Old tank out.

Paul....   
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 10:49:43 AM by superpickle » Logged

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Devin & Amy
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2007, 11:02:02 AM »

Paul,
I have the RV500 unit.
I purchased it at RV Surplus for around $700.
It is an expensive option, but for my situation it was a must.
We have four children and live in the bus 3/4 of the year. If you need alot of hot water it is great.
I do strongly recommend the winterizing kit as you will invaribly hit a cold spell that will put you out of business without it.
HTH
Devin
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TomCat
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2007, 11:13:03 AM »

I have an RV500 as well, and recommend it highly. Only used 5 gallons of LP in three months.

Jay
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Sean
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2007, 12:22:54 PM »

It all depends on how you use your coach...

If you spend most of your time plugged in to shore power, then using LP to heat your water, whether that's a tankless system or a conventional one, is inefficient and expensive.  Better to have a conventional tank, where, in addition to LP burners for those times you are away from the pole, you can also have an electric element, and take advantage of the shore power.

If you do mostly boondocking anyway, then I would encourage you to consider a hydronic system.  You'll get all the heat and hot water you need for free when you are driving, you'll have easily available electric backup for when you do have shore power available (or happen to be running the genny for other reasons), and, when neither of those is an option, you'll have cheaper and more efficient diesel heat.

Hydronic systems are available in tankless configurations (e.g. Aquahot), or configurations that make use of tanks.

FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2007, 01:27:41 PM »

If you spend most of your time plugged in to shore power, then using LP to heat your water, whether that's a tankless system or a conventional one, is inefficient and expensive.

I fail to see the logic in this statement. Could you expand on it for me?

Jay
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Songman
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2007, 01:38:15 PM »

Makes sense to me... Heating water with electricity is more efficient than with LP.

Personally, I have a Hurricane hydronic system which is similar to what Sean was talking about.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 01:41:25 PM by Songman » Logged
TomC
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2007, 01:52:28 PM »

I have the cheapest water heating system you could have.  I bought 2- 10gal electric (120V) water heaters from Home Depot 13 years ago.  Have had nothing go wrong with them.  I drain them when I remember.  They are plumbed one into the next to have 20gal of hot water and the recovery of a 10 gal water heater.  The second water heater is wired through the inverter so to have hot water during the day going down the road.  My reasons- cheap to purchase, hardly any upkeep, silent running, no propane or radiator coolant lines or Diesel fuel lines necessary.  If the heating element goes out, I have another one with me, and those are about $25.00.  If the water heater leaks, a new water heater is about $250.00, at any Home Depot, Loews, etc.  Good Luck, TomC
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kyle4501
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2007, 01:56:23 PM »

If you spend most of your time plugged in to shore power, then using LP to heat your water, whether that's a tankless system or a conventional one, is inefficient and expensive.

I fail to see the logic in this statement. Could you expand on it for me?

Jay
87 SaftLiner

Most campsites I've used charged a flat rate per night for electricity - NO discount for using less.

With propane, you pay for what you have used when refilling the tank.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2007, 02:33:20 PM »

Sean wrote: It all depends on how you use your coach...

I can't even count how many times that statement has appeared on these boards,

and always just as relevant.

Its so important to know how YOU will use the bus and not just follow the pack.

The most we boondock is a weekend or a few weeks after a Hurricane(knock on wood), or a rest area in transit.

So going all electric was a simple route for me.  The cost of running the genny for these few times is cheap to

adding multiple sub systems.

I have a an RV 12 gallon electric/propane that I have only used on the electric so far, but have decided to sell it and do something

similar to TomC.  I was going with a propane cooktop and WH, but changed my mind due to our use pattern.

I will have LP to use outside though.

But if I was fulltiming or retired I would go a combined route, with more options.  Just my opinion.

Plus, I like using the cheaper electric, than my propane.

Cliff
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Sean
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2007, 04:03:06 PM »

If you spend most of your time plugged in to shore power, then using LP to heat your water, whether that's a tankless system or a conventional one, is inefficient and expensive.


I fail to see the logic in this statement. Could you expand on it for me?


Jay,

Kyle covered most of my answer -- if you're paying for campsites with electric hookups, then the electricity you use to heat your water is included already, so you might as well take advantage of it.  If you have an LP-only system, you'll be paying for the LP to heat your water, with no discount on your site.

That being said, even if you have an electric meter, electric heat is usually more cost-effective than LP.

There are roughly 86 K-BTU's in a gallon of LPG (slightly more for pure propane, and more still for butane).  That translates directly to about 25 KWh of electricity.  Since LP runs about $3/gallon (national average), and residential electric power runs about $0.10/KWh, you are already looking at a savings of $0.50 using electricity against a gallon of LP.

But it's not that simple.  With gas-fired heaters, some of those BTU's go right up the chimney, whereas almost all of the electricity consumed by a heater goes into making heat.  The numbers are just under 70% efficient for the best gas units, vs. 95% efficient for electric units.

So, unless you are in a place where the local cost of electricity is relatively high and the local cost of LP is relatively low, electric hot water will be more cost-effective.

Now, bear in mind, this is an apples-to-apples comparison.  In other words, a conventional storage-tank electric water heater will be more cost effective than a storage-tank LP water heater of the same size, or a tankless electric water heater will be more cost-effective than a tankless LP water heater.  There is an inherent energy loss associated with the storage tank, that tankless units avoid.  (Adding additional insulation around your tank can help reduce this loss, BTW.)

We opted for the storage-tank solution because we wanted to take advantage of the cheapest heating option of all -- free.  The hydronic loop in our 12-gallon model allows us to use waste heat from the  engine  to make hot water.  12 gallons of ~175 water last the two of us all night, and there is usually enough heat left in it in the morning to do the breakfast dishes.

When we are parked (away from electric power), we make heat from diesel fuel, which contains roughly 139 KBTU/gallon, 60% more energy than a gallon of LP for about the same price.  FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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Dallas
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2007, 06:01:37 PM »

Why not use Tankless water heater in bus?

One reason, and one reason only....

It's a tankless job, but someone has to do it!  Grin

♫♪♫♪♫♪
Tanks for the memories
With things that I always fuss,
Journeys on a bus....
Our wond'rous stay out at Cape May
And Vegas and roulette
How lucky I was...
♫♪♫♪♫♪

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NCbob
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2007, 07:39:43 PM »

Oh Dallas! You're without a doubt the only one of your kind in captivity!  Great comeback! Grin

We're fulltimers and have an electric hot water tank...a Raritan Marine model, although while it has a heat exchanger wherein we can run engine coolant through it, the P/O (in his wisdom) managed to turn it so the H/E couldn't be connected.

Be that as it may....if I had my druthers and had any way of coping with propane tanks (gave my propane stovetop to Cliff in the hope he could use it) I'd certainly opt for tankless hot water.  Ace and Susan built it into their H3 and don't have one squawk about it and they live in FL!

Why, we wonder, do we keep feeding power to an electric tank when we're not using it for the product?  Seems to me like feeding a cow good grain when she's not giving milk!

Our electric bills are always in excess of $40 a month whether we're in NC of FL.
Using a tankless heater would certainly cut that down...but you have to understand that Rednecks only bathe on Saturday night! Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Bob
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superpickle
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2007, 08:04:48 PM »

Why not use Tankless water heater in bus?

One reason, and one reason only....

It's a tankless job, but someone has to do it!  Grin

♫♪♫♪♫♪
Tanks for the memories
With things that I always fuss,
Journeys on a bus....
Our wond'rous stay out at Cape May
And Vegas and roulette
How lucky I was...
♫♪♫♪♫♪


 Shocked.. Oh my Gawwwwddd   I really thimk he should be BANNNEDDDD
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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2007, 08:31:30 PM »

Until the surge in oil prices this decade, it was almost always cheaper to heat with LP over electric.

I recently did a comparsion of heating a home with LP versus electric and electric seemed to be cheaper with LP going up in price so much.  I was shocked that electric was cheaper even before factoring in heat lost through the combustion process for LP.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 08:52:56 PM by belfert » Logged
gus
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2007, 08:47:13 PM »

My two objections to home electric water heaters are size and heating element fouling when using hard water. Sometimes they foul so much that the element has to be broken apart so it can be removed to install a new one.

I looked at one 4104 with a small house water heater and it took up most of one bay. The RV type 6 gal heater takes zero bay space. Ours has an electric heating element in addition to gas but we never use it because it is an amp hog and gas is so quick. The amount of gas used for the two of us is very, very small.

However; we're travelers not campers, so previous posts about type of bus use certainly apply.
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