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Old 05-22-2018, 04:03 AM   #1
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hot water heater question

So looking at the control panel (the thing that has all the tank level lights on it) there is a button to turn on the hot water heater There is also a light that says "pilot not lit". So is this pilot something I can light before we go camping and have it lit while traveling or do I need to wait until we arrive at our camp and then light it? I have already checked and the heater valves are in the correct position.
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:24 AM   #2
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Pretty sure you shouldn’t have to light anything. Again, pretty sure, that light only comes on when you turn the switch ON and something is not working normally (automatic).
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Regarding the part of your question as to leaving it on while traveling...my opinion is NO. It waste LP and you have a fire going in your camper, fueled somewhat by high winds. Not a good thing at gas stations either. I leave mine off when traveling for safety and conservation as it will continually cycle on and off. If you heat the tank before leaving, it gives you a hot water for lunch stops and hand washing while underway. I also turn mine off after all the morning showers when we will not be using it for the rest of the day and maybe leaving the camper for the day. Let it re-heat after showers and shut it down. I have the dual gas/electric water heater so I use electric when on hookup to save gas.
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:59 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. Good advice
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
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Pretty sure you shouldn’t have to light anything. Again, pretty sure, that light only comes on when you turn the switch ON and something is not working normally (automatic).
Semi-true: you may see that light come on when you first turn on your water heater (no need to heat hot water).

And yes, turn off the water heater when traveling;

as opposed to your refrigerator which you can leave on while traveling (except for designated tunnels and refueling at gas stations).
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:01 PM   #6
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Well I looked and it has an electronic ignition for the water heater so I am no sure what the "pilot light not lit" light is for. Maybe it's just there for a different water heater. You can clearly see the electronic sparker in the furnace tube
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:06 PM   #7
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The electronic sparker is what lights the pilot light. Piezo Ignition or something similar.
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:48 PM   #8
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Gritz is spot on. The water heater doesn't need to be on constantly. When driving, it CAN be on, but why? It poses more of a chance of an issue then just shutting it off before traveling (part of your getting on the road checklist) and when you stop for gas, it is definitely something that should be turned off (like the furnace, etc.)

And yes, the light for the pilot not lit will usually be on for a few seconds when you turn the water heater on until the piezo (electronic) igniter fires up the propane (you can often hear the "whoosh" from it lighting.) There is nothing for you to light manually.
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Old 05-22-2018, 03:27 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. I ran water thru the tank bypass set up and it worked fine. Nice hot water. Odd thing though. I half filled the water tank and tuned on the pump and the water thru the sink on cold did fine. You could hear the pump, damned loud lol. I turned the sink control to hot and the water pump would surge. Pumped hot water fine but it did surge on and off. It did seem like the time between surges got longer and longer like it was trying to build up pressure. The service tech at Tom Johnson's said that was normal as it was trying to build pressure. He said if it surged when no taps were open then there might be a pressure leak.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:12 AM   #10
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Water Heater

I have Gas/Electric water heater also. When I get to my camp site level and hook up my water and electric is it alright to just turn the water heater on and us it on electric? I am a new owner going on first trip. Help!!
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:01 AM   #11
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I have Gas/Electric water heater also. When I get to my camp site level and hook up my water and electric is it alright to just turn the water heater on and us it on electric? I am a new owner going on first trip. Help!!
Yes after you are plugged in and level you can turn it on, electric. Only thing I watch is if the AC is running mine occasionally trips the post breaker as between the HWH and AC we are pulling more than 30 amps.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:09 AM   #12
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Water Heater

Would it be better if I put the A/C on low. Would it still trip the breaker?
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:20 AM   #13
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Water Heater

I don't plan to leave the water heater on all the time. Only when needed. I am thinking I also have to turn on the pump for using the water when needed too. Is there any advice you would give a new RV owner like my self? Any advise is welcome!
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:21 AM   #14
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Would it be better if I put the A/C on low. Would it still trip the breaker?
The fan speed won't make that much of a difference. If you're where you need to run the AC continuously then just run the water heater on propane instead of electric.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:55 AM   #15
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Water Heater

Ok do you know how much time it takes to heat up the water in a 6 gal tank?
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:18 AM   #16
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Did you close off the bypass? You won't get hot water with the bypass open. If it pumps cold water ok, and surges only on hot, then the tank probably is not full and pump is compressing the air. Close the bypass and let the hot water run for awhile, it should stop pulsing. If not, another problem is present. Does the pump shut off when all faucets are closed? If so, then turn the hot water on at each faucet--should spit/pulse for a while as it blows the air out, then should steady up. You can do this without the water being hot, by the way.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:08 PM   #17
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with dual powered water heaters, like yours, you can run BOTH at the same time, to heat water quickly, such as if you have multiple back-to-back showers for everyone, or you can run only the propane, or only the electric...whichever method works best for you and any given 'situation', while traveling, camping, or off-grid.

here's some hints:

regardless of whether you have your 'electric' switch ON, it will ONLY work when you are plugged in, or running the generator....so leaving it in the ON position ALL THE TIME hurts nothing, as it is not 'running' anything until you are plugged in, etc.

you can run the water heater on PROPANE anytime you wish, even if you are plugged in or on the generator - it's simply a 'quicker' way to heat the water, when needed, or it may be the ONLY option if you are NOT plugged in, etc....
remember this, too: your propane will ONLY be used 'as needed' to keep the temperature of the water at it's proper temperature - if the electric element is in play, chances are, even if you have the propane switch ON, it will probably RARELY ever actually come on, as the electric will probably work well most of the time.

================================================== ==
Leaving the propane ON while traveling(?)... it's actually not uncommon for many RVrs who are traveling to leave the water heater on, and ready with hot water when they arrive, whether at the plug-in campground, or when off-grid overnight in a parking lot, etc. Your propane is designed to be fine to be used whether moving, or not, so no worries - the flame is not 'outside' where it can be 'blown out' by the wind, it is contained in a 'box' that only serves the bottom of the water heater's holding tank. Use it if you need to, regardless of traveling or sitting.

================================================== ===
Furnace propane, while traveling(?)...sure, the same applies. If it's really, really cold while traveling, your FURNACE can be the difference between an 'enjoyable' drive, and one where the vehicle's heater just can't keep up, and your feet are freezing!



enjoy... do what works best for you..... have fun!


For most folks with propane/electric dual powered appliances:

- propane while traveling
- electric while parked, on shore power
- dual propane/electric in situations where 'quick' heating is needed
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:43 PM   #18
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Ok do you know how much time it takes to heat up the water in a 6 gal tank?
about 20 min.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:46 PM   #19
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I don't plan to leave the water heater on all the time. Only when needed. I am thinking I also have to turn on the pump for using the water when needed too. Is there any advice you would give a new RV owner like my self? Any advise is welcome!

Do you turn off the heater at home between uses?? It takes 20 min to heat up. Leave the WH on. It only comes on when needed to maintain heat.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:47 PM   #20
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Water Heater

Everyone has been very helpful! I thank you all for your advise. I am looking forward to Happy Camping Thanks again!!!
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