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Old 05-11-2021, 06:56 AM   #1
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Hott Rod water heater conversion kit

Hi,I have a 6 gallon Atwood LP gas water heater and I would like to install the Hott Rod electric conversion kit so I don't have to use propane when we have an electric hookup.

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...nd/DGR6VP.html

Our water heater is 16 years old, but I drain it after each trip so I'm assuming it will last indefinitely with proper maintenance.

Atwood advises against installing any aftermarket heater kits as it will void the warranty, but the warranty is long expired.

Has anyone installed this kit and how well does it work? Any problems?
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:53 AM   #2
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No experience with this, actually I didnt even know they had this kit out until your post. I am interested in installing it on my WH now also. Hopefully someone will come along with some knowledge on this topic.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:25 AM   #3
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Friend installed one 2yrs ago there full-time still working great they never use propane anymore.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:27 AM   #4
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I used one for over 10 years in my last motor home. No problems and it worked great. The insulation has to come off (I cut a hole in the cardboard and insulation) to install the thermostat, you'll need to find a 120v wire and install a switch. I used a relay with a 12v coil to control the 120 volt, it allowed me to locate the switch in a convenient location and use a convenient 120v wire.

You've probably figured out the heater will have to come out to drain the tank. Not so obvious is that the wires will need some type of connector(s) to keep from twisting them in a knot when you take the heater out. I used quick connects, if you do it every time I think I'd look for a 2 pole connector that's easier to get apart. And probably not reconnect it until I'd filled the tank. It only takes a few seconds of power to the element with and empty tank to burn the element out. I did it once, and the replacement is pretty much the cost of the kit.

It's nice at shower time, propane and electric give a lot shorter recovery time. Once parked if there was electric it was always on. The electric thermostat was set a little lower than the propane thermostat, I'd turn the propane on about half an hour before any heavy use of hot water and it really helped.

Short of making sure you don't burn it out accidentally I found no down side, it's one of the better upgrades.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baraff View Post
Hi,I have a 6 gallon Atwood LP gas water heater and I would like to install the Hott Rod electric conversion kit so I don't have to use propane when we have an electric hookup.

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...nd/DGR6VP.html

Our water heater is 16 years old, but I drain it after each trip so I'm assuming it will last indefinitely with proper maintenance.

Atwood advises against installing any aftermarket heater kits as it will void the warranty, but the warranty is long expired.

Has anyone installed this kit and how well does it work? Any problems?

We installed the HottRod 2 years ago after replacing the water heater control board on our 20 y.o. Attwood WH.

With both electric and propane it provides redundancy and as mentioned in an earlier post , quicker recovery when both heating sources are used together.

I drain the WH at the end of summer , which requires removing the electric element . I left enough wire to pull the element without having to disconnect the wiring. After reinstalling the heater element I just slide the excess wire back through the rubber grommet into the space behind the WH.

I have found the element builds up a calcium deposit after a season of use . I soak the element in white vinegar for 24 hrs. which cleans it like new .

For safety , I turn off the heater switch and the 110v electric breaker in the panel to ensure the element isn't turned on by accident when the WH is empty.

We're very happy with the conversion , and have probably recovered the cost in propane savings.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:15 AM   #6
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I have installed several for my customers they were all happy with the results. The only downside was the fact that you had to remove the hot rod to drain the tank. All said it was worth it for the results.
The obvious big gain was free hot water. Let the campground pay for it. You need something for free the way campgrounds charge today. (We paid $2.00 a night for state park campsites in 1968. Today it is $40.00 plus.)
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:14 PM   #7
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Installed the Hott Rod in our 6 gallon Atwood close to 18 years ago. It's more than paid for itself in that time. Not everyone will have the same results but we never have to turn on the propane side for it to keep up. It does fine by itself for the three of us and our short showers. I really like having the adjustable thermostat.

For maintenance, it's easy to unplug the element and unscrew it out of the heater for the annual cleaning and flushing of the water heater.

Used the Hott Rod in two motorhomes and have had great results. Some say they're a bad idea but from my personal experience, they work great.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:27 PM   #8
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I installed one in my last toy hauler trailer. I sold it 3 years ago.

The Hott Rod worked fine all during our ownership. Saved propane when hooked up to pedestal power.

It has to be installed per their directions and wired correctly. I ran a separate circuit and breaker for it to be extra safe.
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:03 PM   #9
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We used a similar product on the Atwood heater in our old (1988) fifth wheel with unmitigated success. Maybe there is some way an owner could screw up doing this, but I think Atwood is mostly just trying to scare off low-cost competition.


A Hott Rodd or similar is particularly attractive for a 30A RV because the heater element is easily plugged to a secondary outlet and thus doesn't eat up art of the 30A main power supply.
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:18 PM   #10
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Thank you all for the responses! Sounds like the Hott Rod is the way to go. I will order one tonight.
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
We used a similar product on the Atwood heater in our old (1988) fifth wheel with unmitigated success. Maybe there is some way an owner could screw up doing this, but I think Atwood is mostly just trying to scare off low-cost competition.


A Hott Rodd or similar is particularly attractive for a 30A RV because the heater element is easily plugged to a secondary outlet and thus doesn't eat up art of the 30A main power supply.
NO
Atwood is just not going to cover damages under warranty from an aftermarket product that they have no control over....
Simple

The Hott Rod and simialr Lightning Rod heater elements work OK
They are just smaller wattages (325W - 450W) so they do not heat as quickly as an OEM element would (1400W) but will heat/maintain the heat
They come with their own set of t-stats
Ones for Suburban even come with small anode rod (less then 1/2 the OEM size/length)

As long as owners remove the element and drain/flush WH Tank they are not an issue
Course folks need to drain/flush WH Tank regardless!

Per Atwood
THE USE OF AFTERMARKET HEATING
ELEMENT DEVICES MAY ALSO RESULT IN DAMAGE TO COMPONENTS OR WATER HEATER.
Atwood’s written warranty states
- “failure or damage resulting from any alteration to our water heater is the owner’s responsibility”.
ANY ALTERATION, SUCH AS THE ADDITION OF AN AFTERMARKET HEATING ELEMENT DEVICE, WILL VOID THE WARRANTY


In regards to those Pilot Controlled Models
• Temperatures produced by these heating elements can exceed the 190˚F. limit of the ECO on pilot model gas control valves.
This gas control valve contains aone-shot ECO. When this ECO blows, the control iscompletely non-functional and must be replaced.
THIS IS A NON-WARRANTABLE SITUATION.


In regards to both Pilot and DSI Models
• When Aftermarket heating elements are inserted into the drain plug, customers are more prone not to flush their tanks. Not flushing the tank accelerates tank corrosion on both our pilot and electronic ignition water heaters creating a situation
where the tank may have to be replaced.
THIS IS A NON-WARRANTABLE SITUATION


Simple......drain/flush tank routinely
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:49 PM   #12
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The HottRod is an upgrade that will actually pay for itself from the savings from buying less propane.

For the times your propane HW heater goes on the fritz , and it's not if but when it happens , you'll be glad you have the electric back-up.
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:52 PM   #13
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I've installed 2. They do work, but are slow compared to gas.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
They do work, but are slow compared to gas.

Slow compared to an Atwood with factory electric too. A 400 watt heater is going to take a lot longer than a 1440 watt factory heater. But it will "git 'er done".
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