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Old 07-15-2019, 04:06 PM   #1
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6 gal water heater and shower time

Good day to all.

The question I am about to ask is I guess simple to answer in some ways but being that we have not pulled the trigger to buy a motorhome I am doing as much home work as I can to help answer my wife's questions.....so here we go: Now I know that this answer will very depending on amount of time spent in the shower......How long can one expect to get hot water from there 6 gal hot water heater for a shower. Also how long does it usually take for the water heater to re-heat after someone takes a shower......I know silly question but really I cant answer this question.....

Thank you for your time to answer......looking forward to the future on the road.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:12 PM   #2
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My personal experience with a 6 gallon tank, about 5 minutes comfortably with continuous water flow. Takes around 45 minutes to reheat fully depending on water temperature entering tank. Well water here never really warms up much.

The 12 gallon tank I had in fifth wheel was almost unlimited in comparison. Or at least it seemed like it.

Terry
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:18 PM   #3
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We bought our very first RV last July. This was one of the key lessons we learned on our first trip. With the shower running non-stop, ours is usually out of hot water in 8-10 minutes? )I believe our water heater tank is 6 gallons) These type of showers are long enough for us when out camping, but it takes about 20-25 minutes to reheat the hot water tank.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:30 PM   #4
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If you use both propane and electricity at the same time, it shortens reheat time......
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:36 PM   #5
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6 gal water heater and shower time

....depending on what motorhome you buy, some models come with tankless water heaters, and others come with “aqua hot” or “oasis” systems which can provide unlimited hot water on demand...... just something else to think about.....in case the 6 or 10 gallon water heaters seem too limiting in their capacity.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:45 PM   #6
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We don't leave the water heater on..

When shower time, we turn it on, takes ten minutes or so to heat up.. We then turn it off..

Navy shower.. Turn the water on, wet down turn the water off, soap up, scrub, etc, turning the water on/off as needed. Then rinse.

We can usually both take a shower before we run out of hot water.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:14 PM   #7
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The short answer is if you have to ask your wife is not going to like showering in your RV. The long answer is a learning experience.

In the navy there were three kinds of showers. No showers, navy showers, and Hollywood showers.

On my first ship we could not make enough water and we did not take showers while at sea. On my subsequent ships we took navy showers at sea. Get wet and turn off the water. Soap up. Turn on the water and rinse off.

In port you could take a Hollywood shower using as much hot water as you wanted.

I like Hollywood showers. If you want one in an RV, park at places that have nice showers.

Our first MH had a 6 gallon hot water tank and our present 10 gallon. Both were heated by the engine when driving. Propane when camping. The third option is 120 vac.

My shower routine is to turn on the propane 10-15 minutes before getting into the shower to start with the water temperature as high as I can get it.

I start with a navy shower. Get wet and turn of the water. If I am running self contained I minimize how long I rinse. If I have hook ups, rinse with hot water for longer. With a 6 gallon tank I would start to run out of water. With a ten gallon tank you can go even longer.

Bottom line is a ten gallon tank is better but not a deciding factor.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:45 PM   #8
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If you aren't connected to plumbing, water heater size is less of an issue compared to tank sizes.

We camp off the grid mostly. We try to take showers with less than 2 gallons per person so we can mange the fresh and grey tanks the longest. It is mostly a sponge bath with a little more water for the final rinse. I use a small stainless bowl, dipping cup, camp duds and a handiwipe. I put a quart or so in the bowl, put duds on wipe, wet wipe, apply to skin, and do a second wipe with a rinsed wipe and repeat until body is clean., Dipping cup allows you to pull fresh water out of the bowl and lets the dirtier water go to the drain. I finish with a little shampoo in my limited hair and quickly rinse my head and body for the finish.

We use the same technique using a bear can for water hold when out backpacking in the wilderness. We just pick an isolated spot in the sun on a piece of granite when backpacking. The bear can allows us to haul the water several hundred feet from the stream so we don't contaminate it. The sun warms up the water for an hour or so before using it.

We used to do this outdoors in a pop-up shelter, car camping before the camper. We would use a 2 gallon bucket with water warmed on a stove and battery powered shower head. I don't have much hair and my wife keeps hers tailer short so that helps.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:18 PM   #9
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Atwood 6 gallon uses a 8,800 btu burner and a 1400W element
Element has recovery time of 6.2 gal/hr based on initial fill with 70*F water
Propane has recovery time of 11.6 gal/hr
Both at same time -----17.8 gal/hr

Atwood 10 gallon ---10,000 btu burner/1400W element
Element...6.2 gal/hr
Propane..13.5 gal/hr
Both ......19.7 gal/hr


Suburban 6 gallon uses a 12,000 btu burner and a 1440W element so should be faster recovery BUT
Electric is 6 gal/hr
Propane is 10.2 gal/hr
Both at same time is 16.2 gal/hr

Suburban 10 gal ----12,000 btu burner/1440W element
Electric is 6 gal/hr
Propane is 10.2 gal/hr
Both is 16.2
(Same ratings as 6 gal tank)


Shorter reheat times if water is already hot....20-30 minutes




**Suburban Combustion/exhaust chamber is stacked and on far right side of tank where as the Atwood Combustion/Exhaust Chamber is diagonal from bottom right to top left of tank ---hence more surface contact area/heat transfer using lower btu burner. Elements roughly the same


Atwood 10 gal best bang for the buck (GC10A-4E)
Better unit would be one with 'heat exchanger'---hot coolant from Engine heats while driving
GCH10A-4E
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patspage04 View Post
Good day to all.

The question I am about to ask is I guess simple to answer in some ways but being that we have not pulled the trigger to buy a motorhome I am doing as much home work as I can to help answer my wife's questions.....so here we go: Now I know that this answer will very depending on amount of time spent in the shower......How long can one expect to get hot water from there 6 gal hot water heater for a shower. Also how long does it usually take for the water heater to re-heat after someone takes a shower......I know silly question but really I cant answer this question.....

Thank you for your time to answer......looking forward to the future on the road.
If you have not pulled the trigger yet.... suggest you also look at MH with aqua hot system. You get hot water all day long. Our previous MH had a 6 gallon tank and we will never go back to that. Plus... it heats the inside of the coach so much better than propane.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:47 AM   #11
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Noticed you are kinda new on IRV2 and wanted to say hello!

My WH is a 10 gallon so I can't really answer that question. We run it on AC all the time, and just before taking showers we also turn on the propane. It's OK to run both at the same time! The recovery is faster that way!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:25 PM   #12
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If we have full hookups the water heater can handle a full shower easily. Otherwise its get wet, turn off, soap up, and rinse. Mostly limited by the waste tanks, not hot water.
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:49 PM   #13
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Hello Patspage04
All good input from fellow RVers. Both the Oasis and Aquahot are "On Demand" water heaters that burn diesel to give you continous hot water for showers. A 10 gallon works well, as most have stated. I can attest to this as I have a 10 gallon in my coach. However, another solution if you found a MH with a 6 gallon tank is to replace it with a Truma On Demand tank, about $2K (cost and installation). Do not look at other mfgs., since they all have reported problems. The main thing with on demand types is water pressure. If you plan to boondock, then stay away from on demand types - they simply do not work well with lower water pressures. If staying at standard RV parks where you are connected to city water, then enjoy the "Hollywood Shower". You simply will not run out of hot water. Down side is they do consume a bit of propane gas. A small price to keep the wife happy.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:23 PM   #14
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If you are thinking about a MH with a 6gal water heater, just make sure it can run on elec/propane at the same time. This SHOULD provide enough how water for showers, assuming you are fairly quick about the process. Incoming water temp has a lot to do with it also...
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