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Old 01-26-2015, 05:39 PM   #1
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Hott Rod vs adding electric tankless water heater

Would a Hott Rod heating element be better/worse than adding a 120V electric tankless hot water heater in route with the propane water heater?
I ask because we are about to go full time and with a 6gal water heater, we don't get much shower time with it. I know converting to an on demand water heater would be the best, but I'd really rather not spend a grand on it. If either of these would be useless in bringing us up to about 15min of hot water then let me know. Thanks
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:48 PM   #2
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A Hott Rod won't increase the amount of hot water, it just uses electric power instead of propane to heat the 6 gallon tank, and does it slower than propane. To increase the hot water supply you'd either need to install a larger heater (10 gal) or an instant water heater. For what it's worth, we have a 6 gal heater with factory electric/propane and we can wash dishes and get two comfortable showers in the morning. Depending on how old your heater is, it may need flushed.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:45 PM   #3
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I would have to recommend the Hott Rod.. You could then run both electric and propane, to make the recovery time a lot shorter. It always worked for us, when we had a 6 gallon water heater.
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:51 AM   #4
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I think you're going to have to compromise on something.

Your water heater is 6 gallons. You want to have 15 minute showers. Even a very efficient shower head like the Oxygenics unit are still going to use 2 gallons per minute.

So, a 15 minute shower is going to be 30 gallons at 2 gal. / minute. That means your water heater has to be able to keep at least 1/3rd of it's capacity hot constantly.

That's just not going to happen, even with both propane and an electric element going.
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:10 AM   #5
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Hott Rod "Burns" around 450 watts (six gallon model) of electric, that's 1/3 what my Electric element burns (roughly) and round 1/5-1/6 the heat of the gas burner.

An electric "tankless, at Motor home power levels, good for perhaps half a gallon per minute, NOT enough for a shower.

Propane tankless can heat as much as 2-3 gallons per minute, (In RV sizes, in house sizes even more) but the amount of electricity needed to heat water that fast exceeds the capacity of a 50 amp oulet (needs 75 in fact)
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:46 AM   #6
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Learn how to take a sailor shower.
Add the Hott Rod. it has a adjustable setting to set it to higher temp and run LP the same time when taking a shower.

Once you get use to the sailor shower you will still have some hot water left after 2 showers in a row.

After shower turn LP off and use the free campground electric for the Hott Rod

For longer showers use the campground showers.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:58 AM   #7
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If you want a really long shower, use the campground facilities. No way can two people take a Hollywood shower with 6 gallons of hot water back to back
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help. I'm very good at the quick showers, but my wife fails to grasp this concept. I'll probably just add the Hott Rod to save on propane and convince my wife to use the campground facilities after her shifts.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:54 PM   #9
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Hott Rod voids your water heater warranty and, while the do work OK (I've installed two of them) they aren't enough to keep up with water flow. Great for keeping the water hot between uses but not much more. Turn on the propane and take short showers or get a 10 gal water heater for a slightly longer shower.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:53 AM   #10
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We do not full time nor have we had a 6 gallon tank.

We get good results from the 10 gallon tank while on propane. The water gets so hot that the mixture at the shower head is likely 2 parts cold and one part hot.

That makes about 30 gallons of warm water available available.

I did install a Hott Rod in our Attwood 9 years ago. It does not provide as high a temp water as does the propane side. But, it still requires at least a 1:1 mixture at the tap.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:32 PM   #11
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Camco makes one also, available on Amazon. We installed this version and it worked like a charm for the time we had that RV...
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:23 AM   #12
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Lived with a 6 gallon heater in my last coach providing showers for me, the wife and two adult daughters and never ran out. My current coach has a 10 gallon Suburan with a factory calrod and never runs out either. A demand water heater that would keep up would use all available power from the pole leaving little to none for you AC or other systems.

Try adding the calrod or consider upgrading to a 10 gallon heater with a calrod and run both at the same time when showering.

Currently I run the rod to keep the water hot and only turn on the gas when there will be back to back showers.
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:53 PM   #13
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My experience with the hot rod is that it will get the water really hot. It just takes a longer time to get it there. Two navy showers are quite possible with a 6 gallon wh, and it is a good idea to turn on the propane during the time.
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