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Old 02-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #11
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Good deal. As an aside, please remember to turn off the switch to the electric heating element if there is any chance the heater tank is void of water. Many a camper has burned up their element by forgetting the switch is on and their tank is drained either by removing the anode/drain plug or sometimes even the low point drains.

Its explained in the FAQ link from post #2 here.

Happy Trails.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lckeehne View Post
We have 5th'r and use it to dry camp. Hook'd up honda 2000 generator and got an generator overload error. I have isolated it to the water heater. Whenever I hit the electric switch on unit (not propane switch) it causes the overload.
Any guidance? Do I need to replace entire w/h unit? Causes?



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This can happen if you have your refrigerator set to Automatic. If your frig switches over from gas to electric it would be too much for the generator to power both the refrigerator and the hot water heater. You can fix the issue by manually placing your frig on gas. The refrigerator uses very little gas when operating it. Not much more than a pilot light.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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generator overload

I use a 3500 gen set, and always use the electric water heater.
You can tell when the water heater kicks on, since the genny "loads' up, then about 15 minutes later it "relaxes". We wait till it kicks off to start showering, in the morning, which always kicks it in due to the influx of cold water. Then after the showers, we wait till it kicks off again, to use the hair dryer. It won't run both.
Then while it is still off, we can run the microwave to heat pre-cooked sausage or bacon. then I shut off the water heater, and let the unit run for perhaps half an hour to top off the batteries, and let the sun get fully on the solar panels.
This routine happens about every 3-4 days. Otherwise we shower using the propane to heat water. Just depends on what is happening that day.
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #14
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Just asking when dry camping why don't you use your water heater on gas???

For us using the water heater on electric is a rare occurrence (30 A trailer) ...... In the long run you use very little gas using the water heater.

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Old 02-21-2016, 11:04 AM   #15
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I prefer to use the gen set, most mornings, since it also charges the battery while using the water pump. And since the gas water heater is such a huge use of propane. It is a minimum of 40 miles round trip to town, on mostly dirt roads, so I try to keep that to one trip per two weeks. We keep two 5 gallon cans of gasoline, two of diesel fuel, and two extra tanks of propane, for the 30 day season.
Since someone is going to ask, we use an outdoor privy that we dig, and bury, with a pretty nice set up, shielded, and roofed, with tarps, lots of hand sanitizer, fresh water for washing, and wipes, paper, everything. . That keeps the trips to town to empty the black tank to once if we absolutely have to. We have women in camp, and use three RV's. The inside toilets are for the women early in the morning or if it is snowing or otherwise too cold to go outside.
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Old 02-21-2016, 02:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by hankpac View Post
I prefer to use the gen set, most mornings, since it also charges the battery while using the water pump. And since the gas water heater is such a huge use of propane. It is a minimum of 40 miles round trip to town, on mostly dirt roads, so I try to keep that to one trip per two weeks. We keep two 5 gallon cans of gasoline, two of diesel fuel, and two extra tanks of propane, for the 30 day season.
Since someone is going to ask, we use an outdoor privy that we dig, and bury, with a pretty nice set up, shielded, and roofed, with tarps, lots of hand sanitizer, fresh water for washing, and wipes, paper, everything. . That keeps the trips to town to empty the black tank to once if we absolutely have to. We have women in camp, and use three RV's. The inside toilets are for the women early in the morning or if it is snowing or otherwise too cold to go outside.
Actually the water heater uses very little propane. We use less than two thirty pound bottles a year. 6 weeks of camping including using the furnace in March, October and November.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:39 PM   #17
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Yes, the hot water heater doesn't use much propane and many folks forget all of the parasitic loads that a camper can draw on AC.

My camper has an 80 camp charger and 40-70 amp charge rates is not unusual between my battery banks. The charger alone can draw 1/3 of the available generator capacity of 3,000 watts in my situation.

Forget to turn the auto switch on the fridge, run the microwave, use the electric hot water heater and you are exceeding the max load of the generator(s).

I run fridge and hot water on propane all of the time and with the heater running all night, I have never gone thru an entire 30lb propane tank in any of my camping trips which range from 7-14 days. I've disconnected the a/c power cord from my hot water heater so it is never turned on by mistake especially when the tank is dry.

I am barely able to use two 30lb propane tanks each summer but out of habit, I top off each camping trip just to be safe.

BTW, I used to run my generator constantly to "save'" propane that the fridge would otherwise use....I found out that I am probably using 3/4 to 1 lb of propane a day if even that much.
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