Originally Posted by gruntx30
I have my water heater in the electric mode rather than propane. Do you leave both the water heater and water pump on constantly or only on demand.
A s far as the water heater, it's an operator choice depending on your needs, and such. You can use only electric, or only propane, or both at the same time if you need the fastest hot water recovery rate (ie like several taking showers in a row).
The water heater has two thermostats that regulate both the propane side and electric heating element side. The thermostats only allow whichever side is turned on (or both) to power up to heat the water when the temperature inside the water heater falls to a certain temp. Just like your water heater at your house. You just leave the appropriate switch on, and the thermostat will turn the heating on/off as needed to maintain the temp.
If you only turn it on when you are expecting to use hot water, then you are going to need a 15-40 minute lead time to heat the water up before using. Most just turn on whichever side (or both) they want to utilize, and then leave it on until breaking camp. This way they have hot water immediately.
This FAQ may help, if you have a Suburban water heater, but even if you have an Atwood, the above still applies.
Suburban's electric switch and much more
You only usually need the pump, if you are camping at places without city water (and have your onboard fresh water tank filled with water). If you are connected to a city water supply, then you don't need the pump, usually.