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Old 08-21-2014, 03:19 PM   #1
emptynest
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Water Heater

I was told by the person servicing my RV today, that during the summer you should run your water heater on gas do to the amps it takes up under electric.

I have never run it under gas, but we rarely run both air conditioners at the same time.

He said under electric it uses 10 amps. I would appreciate thoughts on this.

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Old 08-21-2014, 03:29 PM   #2
PackerFan
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I always run mine on electric while using both A/C's and have never had a problem. The 50 amp service has two 50 amp legs and the A/C's are divided one on each leg. The water heater is on one of these legs with only one A/C. So if the water heater pulls 10 amps and that one A/C pulls approx. 20 amps that is only 30 amps so there is 20 amps left for other items on that leg of the service. Hope this makes sense.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
1retired06
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We also use electric when on a 50A site, particularly if we are not on a metered site. Why burn our propane when electricity is part of the site rate. I do kick it on propane once in a while just to keep the lines clean and working.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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I agree with above. If you were in a 30 amp site it would make sense to run on propane only to reduce the chance of tripping the park breaker if you were running AC and microwave an/or some other high current devices.
But if on 50 amp hookup, no need to worry about it.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:16 AM   #5
WaltBennett
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Sometimes I wonder where these people get this kind of stuff. It's simple math.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:00 AM   #6
8.1al
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We run our water heater on electric with 30 amp service all the time. We just have to remember to turn something off if we want to use the microwave.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:34 AM   #7
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Charlie's exactly right. It's a hundred or better out here now and both AC's, water heater, frig, TV, Microwave, and the dryer all running at the same time. No problems. On 30amps, one AC and you really have to watch what else is running.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:29 AM   #8
RichR
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I always use both,have for the past several years.
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:46 AM   #9
HelloFreedom.us
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We have a 2005 3400RL and even though our propane stove works, our hot water has stopped producing.

We have always been in 50 amp RV Parks so I am not understanding about the posts I've read about using electric instead of propane. How would I do this? We always turn on our water heater using the on/off switch behind the panel on the left side of the coach.

I've also read recommendations saying we should remove a "check switch" that is only needed for "winterizing" - which we do not need since we will not be in a winter type condition.

Before we go and have our Propane tanks refilled thinking that is the answer (which we are not sure of now that our stove lights) can anyone offer some guidance for us newbies about what could be causing our hot water to not work?
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:25 AM   #10
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Lance and Lynn,
For a little more information, why was the service guy there? Were you having a problem with the electrical, or with the water heater?
Maybe his advice pertains to the repairs he made.
People have different opinions on whether gas or electric costs more money, and certain area and RV parks charge much more than the norm, so his advice may have a financial slant to it.
When I am at an RV park, I usually use Propane for the water heating, when I need a quick recover on the hot water, I run the gas and electric at the same time. Just my preference.
Any resistance heat appliance will use a lot of energy dollars, and the water heater is no exception, but to heat water it also takes a lot of Propane, really not too much difference in the cost per heat cycle.
If you are on 30 amps, then the water heater will cut into your available power available to the entire trailer.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:50 AM   #11
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Brett and Cheri,
I can feel your enthusiasm and happiness in your posts, glad you are enjoying the Rv lifestyle
The 'Check switch' they are talking about is probably the check valve in your water heater lines, they do clog up at times, but I leave mine in the system, I think it's best to do that. It is possible the heater is working and the line is clogged, or just not working. I think you could go outside and feel the 'pop-off' valve, or pressure relief and if it is warm, or hot then it is a clogged line if there is no hot water at any faucet. if it is cool, then the heater is not working.
I removed and cleaned mine and took a few pictures:

http://s112.photobucket.com/user/Jim...0check%20valve



Edit for link



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Old 10-11-2014, 05:44 AM   #12
BB_TX
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by HelloFreedom.us

We have a 2005 3400RL and even though our propane stove works, our hot water has stopped producing.

We have always been in 50 amp RV Parks so I am not understanding about the posts I've read about using electric instead of propane. How would I do this? We always turn on our water heater using the on/off switch behind the panel on the left side of the coach.
.............
Is your water heater not working on both propane and electric? Do you mean the panel on the outside of the left side of the coach? Do you also have a switch inside the coach? If you are using only the outside switch and not the inside switch the water heater is working on electric only.

If like mine, the switch inside the trailer controls the water heater on propane only. The switch outside, behind the grill/cover, and on the lower left hand corner of the water heater itself, controls the water heater on electric only. You have to remove the cover and turn the switch on to operate on electric. And remember to turn the switch back off later, particularly if you ever drain the water heater.

If you are only using the switch outside on the water heater itself and it is not working, you may have either a bad heating element or a bad hi temp cutout switch.

I typically turn both the inside switch (propane) and the outside switch (electric) on at the same time to improve the recovery time of the hot water.

As noted above, when on 50 amp electric power is no problem. If on 30 amp it make mean a little juggling of appliance usage to avoid tripping the 30 amp breaker.

And just a second thought. You did not somehow turn the switch to bypass the water heater did you?
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:18 AM   #13
HelloFreedom.us
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Ozz, thank you for the kind post. Could you please re-post the URL? http://tinyurl.com/OzzWaterHeaterCkValve is not yielding a page for us. Many thanks again, Brett+Cheri
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:26 AM   #14
HelloFreedom.us
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Hi Bill and Patricia, Thank you for taking the time to respond.

We have only used 50 amp service the entire time we have had our Montana 3400RL. We have only used the outside on/off switch because we do not know about an inside switch. From what I am reading, the outside switch is for using the Electric, so if that is the case, then this statement must be applicable to us:

>> If you are only using the switch outside on the water heater itself and it is not working, you may have either a bad heating element or a bad hi temp cutout switch.

You also asked this:

>>> And just a second thought. You did not somehow turn the switch to bypass the water heater did you?

I do not know of any other switch than the one to turn on the water heater outside which I assumed was for lighting the pilot light on the propane, so it sounds like we did not know what this was for after all.

This does not sound like a DIY job. Or does it?

Brett
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:41 AM   #15
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We have a 04 Montana and it has a 30 amp service, when it's hot we will run the Refrigerator and the water heater on propane, The Air conditioner, Micro wave, along with the TV and other dodads that run in the RV have reached their max amps or very close to it, without popping a main in the fuse box. so we do have to rotate the power in the RV or pop a fuse. I believe 04 was the last year that Montana put a 30 amp service in there units. I have since installed a two outlet 30 amp sub panel for electric heaters in cold weather 1 in the bed room and 1 in the front room. we also run all other on electric on electric saving Propane for the floor furnace to heat the RV.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:16 AM   #16
BB_TX
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by HelloFreedom.us

.........
.......
You also asked this:

>>> And just a second thought. You did not somehow turn the switch to bypass the water heater did you?

I do not know of any other switch than the one to turn on the water heater outside which I assumed was for lighting the pilot light on the propane, so it sounds like we did not know what this was for after all.

This does not sound like a DIY job. Or does it?

Brett
I am speaking from the viewpoint of my '07, so your '05 may be different.

On mine there is a large switch in the outside convenience center (where water hookups are) that is labeled water heater bypass. Turning that switch operates a valve that bypasses water around the water heater.

As for the propane switch, mine is located on a wall panel at the steps going into the bedroom. There are two switches, one for the water pump and one for the water heater (propane). When the WH is operating on propane you can definitely hear the burner firing when outside.

As for DIY. Troubleshooting and repairing the heating element and/or hi temp cutoff is not a complicated task. BUT. It does require a good understanding of and being comfortable with troubleshooting electric circuits. Can be dangerous if not careful. There have been some earlier postings about the process.

Maybe someone who has or had an '05 model can verify my statements.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:30 AM   #17
richfaa
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When in Florida for the winter we pay the electric and Water bill. We run the hot water and fridge on propane most of the winter .We never compared cost but our propane usage is not all that bad. Electric in Florida is high per KWH.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:14 AM   #18
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Brett & Cheri: While it is too late now, in the future you should start a new post about your problem rather than tagging onto someone else's issue.

On a 2005 Montana, there are two water heating systems. One is Propane powered and it turned on/off by a rocker switch inside the RV near all the other switches (water pump, lights, slides in/out, etc.). The second method is using 120V electricity which is turned on/off by a rocker switch outside on the left side of the RV behind the water heater door.

It sounds like you always use electric power. That rocker switch is a cheap plastic affair that doesn't hold up well to repeated usage. When it fails it usually (but not always) feels funky (not a crisp click) when activated. It is easy to check with a voltmeter. Just pop it out of the panel. Remember one side is always hot when you are connected to shore power.

Less likely is the thermostat/high limit switch behind the rubber "Reset" buttons outside in the water heater panel. Removing the rubber cover will expose the thermostats. There are two, one, for electric, on the left and one, for the gas operation, on the right. If the electric has failed there will be obvious damage visable (burnt wire of contact).

The other possibility, although remote for you, is the heating element. If the heater was on electric (even if only for a few seconds) and the water heater tank was empty or drained, the element is toast. Since you fulltime, I doubt you drained the tank and have this problem.

I would start with the cheap switch. In the meantime, you can run the water heater on propane by activating the switch insdie the RV on the control panel. Since you apparently haven't used this system before, I hope it works. If it doesn't you have another opportunity to test your diagnoses/troubleshooting skills.

Call me if you want more information. I think you might have my number but just in case I will PM it to you.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:31 PM   #19
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Brett and Cheri.

It took me about a year to figure out what the HW switch inside the RV was for. It was to turn on the gas/propane to heat the hot water tank (HWT). BUT, there is a 120V switch on the HWT accessed from outside the trailer which turns on the AC to heat the HWT instead of using propane. When connected to shore power, we turn the switch on to use AC to heat water. When dry camped, we turn on the switch inside the trailer to heat the HWT. Is my wife and I shower one after the other and we are connected to shore power, we also turn on the inside (gas/propane) switch to heat the water faster.

Maybe you have not found the AC switch on the HWT itself and it is in the "Off" position. Or maybe it is faulty. I replaced my switch last year.

It's another thing to check out. Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:31 AM   #20
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I have always ran my HWT on electric 30 amp or 50 amp, of course we rarely use the microwave. But we have never had a problem even on 30 amp here in Texas where the AC runs non stop. Now come shower time we flip on the propane too to give it quicker recovery. Momma don't like it when she runs out of hot water in the middle of a shower. I would rather conserve my propane so I don't gotta run and get a tank filled....

If you are looking for the electric switch for the HWT it is not marked, it is in behind the metal cover where the HWT is and you have to look at the very bottom left behind a little pipe to see it. Its just marked on and off.
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