Propane hot water heater Propane Usage

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Propane hot water heater Propane Usage

Postby bdosborn » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:03 pm

Has anyone used a 6 gallon propane hot water heater? How much propane do they use over a weekend? Is that why larger trailers always have twin propane tanks?
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Postby apratt » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:26 pm

I have a 17' 5th wheel and it has a 5 gal hot water tank. I use it all year on a 20# propane bottle and never run out. That is about 10 to 15 weekend camping trip and 2 week elk hunting trip in the snow country and that includes using the stove, frigerator and heater. To me the hot water doesn't use that much propane. 8)
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Postby bdosborn » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:15 pm

Cool. That's great news since I already bought one. :R
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Postby madjack » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:51 pm

BD...I lived inna 21" Swiss Colony for 3 years...6gal water heater, 3 burner range and oven and central furnace (in the deep south) I had 2, 7.5gal tanks and refilled one every couple of months...they have 2 so that you always have a spare when needed....
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Postby HumbleHut » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:14 pm

Ditto,
you pay more for "RV" appliances because they are extremely effecient. You should have no problem with using it on your Tear.
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Postby bdosborn » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:19 pm

Double cool. That means I can probably use a Home Depot barbeque tank and maybe fill it twice a summer. And I can swap it with the barbeque if its low and I want to bug out.
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Postby 48Rob » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:53 am

Hi Bruce,

I have an 11 pound tank.
(The standard BBQ. tank is 20 pounds)

I have a 6 gallon propane water heater, with standing pilot and a 2 burner stove.

Starting with a full tank, we have thus far spent 16 days camping, with an average of 2 meals cooked, 2 showers, and dishwashing.
The tank is not empty yet (but has to be really close...)

We also have an adaptor that allows a 1 pound disposable tank to be hooked up if the big tank runs out while camping.

Rob

PS. I really like the standing pilot model, as the pilot alone keeps the water hot all night.
The burner only kicks on after a shower.

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Postby bdosborn » Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:02 pm

48Rob wrote:Hi
PS. I really like the standing pilot model, as the pilot alone keeps the water hot all night.
The burner only kicks on after a shower.


Rob,

I got the standing pilot as well so that's great to know. For once buying the cheaper model paid off! :lol:
I like your idea for the 1 pound tanks. The reality is that it will be at least 4 trips to the home center for fittings. I'm really challenged when it comes to plumbing. :cry:
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Postby Micro469 » Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:46 pm

48Rob, can you give a little more detail on youe propane plumbing? Like, the knurled screw going into the tank, where can you get it and how does it seal, the small pipe in front of the 1lb tank, what's it for and maybe even the sizes of the parts.... :roll: 8) :lol: ;)
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Postby 48Rob » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:45 am

Bruce,

I think it took me at least three trips....

John,

The large round handle is an easy to screw on/screw off adaptor used by places that fill propane tanks.
Kind of like the nozzle end of a gas pump.
It has a small somewhat recessed o ring that makes the seal.

The small pipe in front of the 1 pound bottle is called a "drip leg".
It serves to catch water droplets and any other gunk or impurities in the propane.

The idea was of course to go for the brass look.
The same thing can easily be accomplished with black pipe fittings, or even pre made flexible LP hose.
The important items are the shut off above the 1 pound bottle fitting, having that fitting pointing straight down (the top of the bottle in use must point straight up, to allow only gas into the line. Other angles can allow liquid propane into the system...not good) and the last is the regulator.

No matter where the regulator is located, the main and disposable bottle must be upstream, so that gas from either tank passes through the regulator before entering any appliance.

The fittings and pipe are 1/4" and 3/8".

Rob

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Postby jimqpublic » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:31 am

I don't think the RV models are really "extremely efficient", but the tank is small and you don't usually use that much water so they don't use all that much propane. While the main burner is going it uses about 1/2 pound of propane per hour. It takes about 20 minutes to bring a full tank of 70 degree water up to 130 degrees.

A couple notes:
-I have an electronic ignition model. It is really nice to be able to flip a switch to light the water heater. The downside of this is that it uses ~1 amp of 12volt power to hold the gas valve open whenever the burner is going. OTOH your pilot model doesn't use a lick of electricity.

From past experience the pilot models can blow out if the wind is gusty. If you have this problem a solution is to buy a "Pilot Relight" conversion kit which will relight the pilot if it blows out. This is an approved accessory. They're available in a 12 volt direct wire version and a 9 volt battery version. It uses only a tiny bit of power to operate a sparker instantly if the flame goes out, before the thermocouple cools off and shuts the gas down.

The main reason for dual tanks is that it lets you run one tank empty. The autoswitching regulator then starts drawing from the second tank preventing the fridge or heat from going off in the middle of the night. Then you can take the empty tank to be filled without any disruption.

I have dual tanks but the only time I've approached using them up was on a three week trip with night time lows around freezing where we kept the furnace set nice and toasty. Even on that trip I would guess that I used as much propane for my little Weber Gas-Go Anywhere grill as for the other appliances. For a teardrop I think a single 20 pound tank is more than enough. In fact a 10 pound tank would probably be fine. Just check your local refill opportunities. Some places have a minimum charge that's more than 10 pounds (2.2 gallons) worth of propane.

PS- I looked into using the water heater to provide hot water for a hydronic heating system. It turned out the only good low amperage circulating pumps would have cost $200 with a total parts cost for the system of about $400. I dropped the idea- especially considering that I already have a furnace in the trailer.

Instead I removed the insulation off the top of the water heater and replaced it with a removable insulation blanket. I keep it off in the winter and that helps to keep the chill off in the trailer. It keeps the person sleeping against the end wall a bit warmer since it keeps the bottom of the bed warm.
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Postby Jiminsav » Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:25 pm

Rob, don't you need a shut-off valve before the big adaptor when you use a 1 lb bottle, seems to me the gas would blow through the open end of the big connection.
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Postby madjack » Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:37 pm

Jiminsav wrote:Rob, don't you need a shut-off valve before the big adaptor when you use a 1 lb bottle, seems to me the gas would blow through the open end of the big connection.


...you wanna bet he leaves the big tank in place and shuts the main valve to it when using a 1# cannister...Ibetchabuddy ;)
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Postby Nitetimes » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:05 pm

There should be a one way ball valve inside that fitting.
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Postby Jiminsav » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:37 pm

madjack wrote:
Jiminsav wrote:Rob, don't you need a shut-off valve before the big adaptor when you use a 1 lb bottle, seems to me the gas would blow through the open end of the big connection.


...you wanna bet he leaves the big tank in place and shuts the main valve to it when using a 1# cannister...Ibetchabuddy ;)
madjack 8)

well, if he were like me, when the tank ran dry from my own stupidity, he's chunk it across the campground.. :x
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