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Old 02-10-2010, 12:02 PM   #1
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Cost of Aqua-Hot use.

Over the last 4 months I've kept track of the miles/time/fuel for the motorhome, the generator and the Aqua-Hot system as there have been several inquiries regarding the cost of using the Aqua-Hot. I arrived in Pahrump, NV and filled the tank. Stayed there 30 days. Moved to Nellis AFB RV Park in Las Vegas where we stayed 90 days. That's 120 days. Went home for Christmas for 20 days so no use then. So the calculations embrace 100 days. I ran the generator 4.5 hours to exercise it and 5 hours when the power was off at Nellis AFB, so 9 hours of generator use. I drove 69 miles from Pahrump to Las Vegas and 65 miles from Las Vegas to Searchlight, NV where I purchased fuel. I topped off the tank which took 46.8 gallons. I generally get between 7 and 8 MPG so I used 7 for the calculations. The generator should use approximately .5 GPH under load so that was used. So, the coach used 19 gallons, (134/7) the generator used 4.5 gallons, (9 X.5), which totals 23.5 gallons. We used the Aqua-Hot to heat domestic water, the coach, and twice to heat the engine prior to starting. We have a washer and wash clothes every other day and showers every day. The 1650 watt electric element is on 24/7. So, the Aqua-Hot used 23.3 gallons of fuel in 100 days which equal .23 gallons per day or approximately $.67 per day. I'm curious how this would compare with propane use under similar conditions.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:22 PM   #2
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BOB BOB BOB ! I just read your post, I'm not a doctor but I think you need to get out more. Just a thought !!!

PS, It does look like a neat system.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:59 PM   #3
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Chuck said - "BOB BOB BOB ! I just read your post, I'm not a doctor but I think you need to get out more. "

X2 LMAO!!!
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:23 PM   #4
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Bob,
Awesome record keeping! I do know that diesel packs about twice the amount of energy than propane. Figure out how much diesel you used for non-driving purposes and double it for propane.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:48 PM   #5
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Sounds WAY better than LP to me. In really cold weather when I have to use the two LP furnaces in our coach, I figure my 37 gallon LP tank (which of course fills only to 80% of that capacity) will last maybe two weeks and we won't be really comfortable much of that time. If I don't have to use the furnaces, I can run the WH and refrigerator on LP occasionally and use the cooktop and burn maybe 20 gallon of LP in a year.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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BOB there is still an unknown and that is the number of kws of elect where use in heating the unit. In my rig when pluged in the elect,water heater will keep up with most of our demand and one 1500 watt air heater will keep most of the rig warm. As far as cost diesel is about half the cost of propane per btu. When dry camping I use about 2gal of LP in cold 30degree weather. Nice record keeping good luck.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:27 PM   #7
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Now if only there were separate fuel tanks so that great aqua hot and that genset didn't have to pay road tax on every gallon of diesel fuel. Big rig refers use separate tanks for just that reason. At least electric or LP are road tax free.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:34 PM   #8
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Autofish, the reason I didn't include the cost of electricity is I was plugged into 50 amp shore power that was free. I realize the cost of electricity is generally included in the CG fee but it would be difficult if not impossible to make a determination of that cost.
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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I believe the energy content of propane is around 93,000 BTU while diesel is around 130,000 BTU, so it's more like 50% more, not 100% (2x) as was stated.

A propane RV forced air furnace is, I believe, around 55% efficient (in addition to being noisy and an electricity hog as well), so it goes through a lot of propane. Not sure about the Aqua-Hot efficiency, but my TwinTemp (very similar to Aqua-Hot but propane fired) is about 85% efficient and I would think the Aqua-Hot should be somewhere in between.

Big advantages of the TwinTemp are no smell, quieter and cleaner burning, and no costly annual service required (thanks to clean burning).
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspande View Post
I believe the energy content of propane is around 93,000 BTU while diesel is around 130,000 BTU, so it's more like 50% more, not 100% (2x) as was stated.

A propane RV forced air furnace is, I believe, around 55% efficient (in addition to being noisy and an electricity hog as well), so it goes through a lot of propane. Not sure about the Aqua-Hot efficiency, but my TwinTemp (very similar to Aqua-Hot but propane fired) is about 85% efficient and I would think the Aqua-Hot should be somewhere in between.

Big advantages of the TwinTemp are no smell, quieter and cleaner burning, and no costly annual service required (thanks to clean burning).
Fuel Energy Content and Unit Conversion Tables

This may help. Your numbers are closer
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
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Bob...Very good info to have, as we are currently trying to decide whether or not to go with Aqua-hot on our next coach. I just wish it were not one more thing that needs yearly maint. It may still be the better way to go.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:25 PM   #12
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Becks, I think the yearly maintenance would be well worth it. Remember that there are many additional advantages besides using less propane. And the TwinTemp ( Welcome to PrecisionTemp.com ) unit even avoids that since it burns propane. Not sure which companies offer it (Alfa did before they went out of business).

I retrofitted the TwinTemp in an Alfa 5th wheel (they never offered it in 5th wheel, just their MHs, don't know why), and retrofitting a hydronic system is a big job, but I've never regretted it. It's just so much more comfortable. I can switch between the old furnace and the TwinTemp with the flick of a switch, so comparisons are easy, and dramatic. Not only is it immensely quieter, it heats so much better.

Remember that the hydronic heater boxes blow horizontally, while floor registers in forced air systems blow the heat straight up to the ceiling. The heater boxes spread the heat throughout the coach so much better than floor ducts.

The hydronic systems (AquaHot and TwinTemp have pretty much the same specs) have a capacity of 55,000 btu/hr (input) and at 85% efficiency can supply 46,759 btu/hr (55,000 x 0.85) actual heating inside the coach. The typical RV furnace is 35,000 btu/hr @ 55% efficiency which gives just 19,250 btu/hr. So the hydronic system bring the temperature up much quicker and holds it better. And they'll use significantly less fuel to do it.

Putting up with an RV furnace may be OK for short-time use in warm weather, but for full-timing or cold weather use, the AquaHot/TwinTemp route is the only way to go, IMHO.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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jspande.....Now you really have me re-thnking the Aqua-Hot route, and leaning that way again. Thanks for the info. Nice thing is it is the last decision we have to make, as all other things have been decided right down to the last detail.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:22 PM   #14
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I think Autofish has the secret to your meager use of AH fuel. Since I must pay for my own electric, I use the AH on diesel only. My results are very much different than yours. I've used about 50 gallons of fuel per month here in Benson, AZ during Jan and Feb. To me, that's a lot, and expensive.

For 'becks', you might be interested in visiting this site HydronicRVHeating : Hydronic-RV-Heating to learn about the technical challenges of the AH. They are very complex and 'qualified' service people not everywhere as they are with the standard propane furnaces. That results in lots of self-diagnoses, and frustration. When they work, they are very nice. As for me, I won't own another one for various reasons. Good luck in your decision.

Gary
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