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Old 10-23-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
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Converting gas hot water heater to electric

I have heard of people sticking heater elements in the drain hole of the tank. Has anyone done this? Is it safe? I have a gas 6 gallon atwood that I would prefer to be electric. Please let me know of your thoughts on the element idea or any other conventional idea to fix my problem.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:36 PM   #2
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Take a look HERE if you decide to do it.

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:58 PM   #3
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Suburban water heaters have a sacrificial anode rod attached to the drain plug. If you exchange the plug with anode for a plug with a heating element, you will loose the corrosion protection for your water heater. As far as I know, the conversion kits do not contain any kind of provision for corrosion protection.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:08 PM   #4
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The OP says his water heater is an Atwood 6-gallon model, which doesn't use an anode rod.

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Old 10-24-2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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check the "hott rod" kit. i have heard good things about it, but don't remember where.
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:26 AM   #6
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Did this to our heater (Attwood) approx 10 yrs. ago. Works great. Bought kit at Camping World. Requires that you cut a hole in the outer insulating jacket on the heater so that you can mount the thermostat. Also need a 110 volt source. I set ours up so that I can simply plug the heater into an outlet that is located on the outside wall next to the heater.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:41 AM   #7
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Did this to our heater (Attwood) approx 10 yrs. ago. Works great. Bought kit at Camping World. Requires that you cut a hole in the outer insulating jacket on the heater so that you can mount the thermostat. Also need a 110 volt source. I set ours up so that I can simply plug the heater into an outlet that is located on the outside wall next to the heater.
Irwin, do you remember which kit you used? I installed a Hott Rod in my Atwood water heater drain plug (to the OP I didn't stick it in the drain plug) about six years ago and it has worked great. It is stainless steel and the Hott Shot rep said they have not had a single case of galvanic corrosion causing a failure. They guarantee your water heater in case of a failure. Atwood does not recommend or encourage the electric heater but many have used either the heater or brass plugs without a problem. BTW electric water heating is one of the best modifications I have made on my MH.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:19 AM   #8
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On J Walker's advice, I installed a HottRod, too. It has been wonderful - a great mod. We pull into a CG, plug into the post, flip on the water heater switch and, by the time that we have everything else settled, we have hot water - no muss, no fuss.

I did the installation myself and admit it is a pretty tight fit. On my Atwood 6gal, I had to loosen the mount for the gas valve to get the rod into the tank. I simply followed the directions for the rest of the install and have had no problems since.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:20 AM   #9
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The OP says his water heater is an Atwood 6-gallon model, which doesn't use an anode rod.

Rusty
Sorry, I missed that when I posted my warning. Guess I'll have to read more carefully.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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I installed a "Lightning Rod" and it works great. No problems, 3 years.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:35 PM   #11
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The problem with the electric heater rod is recovery time is S-L-O-W.

Even if you install one, you will probably want to turn the propane on when bathing or doing dishes.

Ken
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:18 PM   #12
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Why are they so slow? Are any quicker than the other? Why can't I find a regular hot water heater element that fits and wire it in? I have used them in biodiesel production by putting them in pipes and circulating the oil and methoxide past it. Is there a problem with getting the tank too hot too fast?
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:02 PM   #13
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The problem with the electric heater rod is recovery time is S-L-O-W.

Even if you install one, you will probably want to turn the propane on when bathing or doing dishes.

Ken
Ken, I had that concern when we first added the electric circuit. We have never had a problem, even with multiple showers in a row. I admit that we've never done the 15 minute variety but we haven't always had Navy showers either. Six gallons of very hot water seems to go a very long ways.

We've had the HotRod installed several years and I cannot remember the last time that we used the WH on propane.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:26 PM   #14
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I read that the Lightning rod takes 45-90 minutes to get to 125. Is the HotRod like that? I plan to either pick one of these everyone has suggested or do something on my own tomorrow.
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