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Old 11-19-2014, 11:57 AM   #1
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Tankless vs Tanked advice needed

My Suburban SW10DE in my Monaco Dynasty is toast and I need a replacement.

I have read many posts on tank-less here with some of them being pretty old and the advice on whether to get one is mixed. Some people love them some people hate them.

Now that it is late 2014 I am wondering if the improvements make them more palatable than in the past. I am looking at the Girard M model (adjustable BTU) and the Atwood 90205 50K BTU model. Prices are about the same for each and each will require me to change the door.

Also looking at just replacing the Suburban with either another SW10DE for $378 or going whole hog with the SW16DE 16 gallon model for $519. Space is not an issue and since I already weigh 33K pounds the weight probably doesn't matter much. And I use my existing door.

Would really like feedback on the two tank-less systems insofar as their reliability and etc. Money for the units is not an issue nor is the weight.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:29 PM   #2
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I did a lot of research into tankless water heaters and came to the conclusion; not yet. I continue to research and think they are very expensive and not fool proof yet. Expense not only in initial purchase, but much 'fine tuning' and repair needed. Add to that the fact that an RV moves and bounces down the road, varying water pressure, etc. and I just think they need more engineering and reliability to make it worth the investment.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
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I think tank-less are propane only; no electric. The only time we use propane is when we forgot to turn on the electric element and we need hot water now. A friend has tank-less on his Phaeton and it's been troublesome.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:36 PM   #4
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In my experience I prefer tankless or on demand as they are so called. They are very expensive of course. A heat exchanger installed on your hot water line might not be such a idea bad either. Although they can cost just as much as a tankless. Atwood makes an excellent on demand water heater. Very reliable. Going for a commercial rv tankless heater or a top of the line unit will eliminate a lot of problems and you won't have to worry about a limit to hot water. But again you will pay a pretty penny for them.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
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My parents had one installed in their 1958 KenCraft TT. It was a first at the time and worked OK, until he didn't winterize it well enough and froze the water regulator causing the special metric break apart screws. In that time frame metrics were almost unknown and the special ones unobtainable.
Personally I'll keep our 10 gallon, electric/DSI/motor aid unit.
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:14 PM   #6
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Our 2012 Phaeton came with an on demand water heater and after some doubts initially, would change to one in an instant if we didn't have it. Never run out of hot water and uses very small amount of propane for heating the water plus the 'winter' position keeps the temperature at 40 degrees to prevent freezing.

Hope this helps....burfurd
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Old 11-19-2014, 06:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info/advice

I really appreciate everyone's responses to my question.

My decision is to go with the Atwood 50K BTU unit.

The issues appear to have solutions, in particular the flow issue that other posts have alluded. I have good flow with my pump since I upgraded to a higher flowing model some time ago. The flow restrictors have also been removed.

It will probably take awhile to fine tune the use of the heater but that is okay.

Probably the only negative issue is that I will have to change out the door and this means I will be doing some painting when the weather warms up. I needed to do some paint repairs anyway.

The Atwood may now include the winter modification that allows use when it is freezing. If not, there is an option to add the capability.

I realize that this is propane only but don't have a problem with that and since I have been running just propane for some time (the electric portion of my current heater is bad) it won't be an issue.

Once I am up and running and have some experience with the tank-less system I will post install pictures and my evaluation.

Thanks
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Old 11-20-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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To get a decently high temperature with a tankless needs a lot of power. We looked at one for the S&B kitchen because of the distance from the house water tank. For the flow rate the dishwasher needed, we were looking at about 8KW and maybe putting a 220V line to the kitchen. A typical RV umbilical to a 30A power post wouldn't be able to handle that, so I would stick with a tank if you want to use electricity to heat the water when you can.

DW and I never had any hot water shortage issues on our rig's 6-gallon tank, even if we took our morning showers within a few minutes of each other.
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:48 PM   #9
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Correction. A tankless or on demand water heater runs on propane, not electricity. That's why an inline heat exchanger installed near the fresh water pump fittings is an excellent idea. They use niether propane. Like a coffee maker a heat exchanger takes very little power and water heats instantly as it passes through it. In fact water can get dangerously hot, so be careful. Especially in the shower. But again they are much more than a regular rv water heater or a tankless. About $500.00 for inline heat exchanger. But they are far superior to any water heater technology.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:15 AM   #10
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This will never change:
Advantage tankless: Never ending hot water, You can draw off 1 gallon, 10 gallons or 100 gallons (Assuming you have that much fresh water to draw from) and it will all be hot.. Tank type run out eventually.

Advantage Tankless; When you do not need hot water ZERO Fuel use.

Advantage tanked: At very low flow rates the flow sensor in the tankless may fail to detect and thus not provide hot water.

Advantage tanked: Since the heaters are smaller, you can use gas or electric (A tankless Electric is possible but in a 30 amp rig you will have very low flow and on a 50 you won't have much left over. )
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:26 AM   #11
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After retiring from plumbing and gas fitting, and having taken courses in servicing tankless- I can tell you unless you enjoy fiddling with such things buy the simple, reliable, DSI storage type tank water heater. There is a newer model 10 gal that acts like a 30 gal- it does this by storing water at 160 to 180F & then uses a mixing valve to bring temperature down to 125 to 130F. You can also get it with a coil so that while running down the hwy your MH can heat the tank of water. There are so many different controls in the tankless, it isn't every service person who has the experience to trouble shoot them, and certainly they won't have parts- unless you luck out at a large RV dealer.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:43 PM   #12
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A few years back when I researched tank-less heaters I decided to stay with the tank heater. My simple reasoning was that I did not have any interest in dealing with the issue that come with tank-less model. The tank just kept it all so much simpler. If I want to conserve energy it quite simple to simply turn off either the electric or propane to the tank. And of course I have the choice of using either electric or propane. I do not find that the water heater uses enough electric or propane for it to be and issue. The wife and I have yet to run out of hat water even when showering one after the other.
So I just do not see any need for a tank-less. To me it is a solution looking for a problem.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jablair View Post
A few years back when I researched tank-less heaters I decided to stay with the tank heater. My simple reasoning was that I did not have any interest in dealing with the issue that come with tank-less model. The tank just kept it all so much simpler. If I want to conserve energy it quite simple to simply turn off either the electric or propane to the tank. And of course I have the choice of using either electric or propane. I do not find that the water heater uses enough electric or propane for it to be and issue. The wife and I have yet to run out of hat water even when showering one after the other.
So I just do not see any need for a tank-less. To me it is a solution looking for a problem.
My sentiments exactly. Just replace what you have.
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