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Old 07-02-2014, 04:22 AM   #1
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Adding electric element to propane only water heater

On our Salem 195bh we only have a gas option on the water heater. When we bought it the guy was telling us about an electric element that just screws in and has a 110 plug that you just plug in when you want to use it. Does anyone know anything about this?
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:46 AM   #2
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I think he was referring to a Hott Rod add-on element. I have heard of them but have no experience:

Hott Rod XP :: Diamond Group

Just from reading the literature, it is a 450 watt element so it wouldn't need that many amps compared to a regular Suburban water heater electric element which is 1440 watts.

It would take a little time to heat the water initially with only 450 watts, and you may still need to use propane if consuming much hot water (more than one showering) in a short period of time.

Maybe others can help.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:15 AM   #3
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Since this is a combination heater/anode, the anode is about 1/3 the size of what you are taking out to put the combination in. (actually, looking at the new packaging it is even smaller!)

It is very expensive (about 100 dollars each time). Hott Rod Water Heater Accessory - PPL Motor Homes

They sell a replacement "Heating Probe" for about 40 bucks; but it is NOT the anode material. You will need to buy a NEW complete unit to replace your sacrificial anode on the Hott Rod.

That means the entire assembly will need to be changed more than 3 times more often than the OEM anode with the same water conditions.

You can buy a lot of propane for that much money in my opinion.
The water heater does not use all that much.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:36 AM   #4
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Just an FYI thing, in case you have a Suburban or Atwood water heater that may still be under warranty, as copied from their Q&A there:

I noticed an add-on electric element for my water heater. What will happen if I use it?


Any alterations to a Suburban water heater will void its warranty. This includes add-on electric aftermarket heating elements. There are a number of heating elements being offered. These elements are supplied with different types of thermostats which are mounted in various locations of the water heater. These heating elements can lack critical safety controls. Use of these devices can lead to an out of control heating of the water tank and a catastrophic wet side explosion. The use of these aftermarket heating element devices may result in damage to components or the water heater. When aftermarket heating elements are inserted into the anode rod/drain connection, tank life is shortened by accelerating inner tank corrosion. This will be a non-warrantable situation.

-----------------------------------------

AFTERMARKET WATER HEATING ELEMENT DEVICES

WARNING
EXPLOSION / BURN INJURY

DO NOT
alter water heater, it will void warranty.

DO NOT USE
Aftermarket heating elements, they can lack critical safety controls.

Use of Aftermarket heating elements can lead to an out of control heating of water tank and a catastrophic wet side explosion.
The use of any 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, like the
addition of an aftermarket heating element device, will void the warranty
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:57 AM   #5
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Some really goos feedback guys. Thank you. Being as this was my first post, seems like a good group to be a part of. Think I'll stick with the propane.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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I made the same decision. We don't have elec start on the heater...sucks as it can be hard to light. I'm getting better after 3 years of practice though. LOL

The pilot blows out too often, so what we do is when we need hot water for a shower I go light it and shut it off after. For dishes we often wash in cold or just heat a pan on the stove. Prolly should get a nice microwave container instead! Or I can can use my coffee pot I guess.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:36 PM   #7
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Ours has an electric start and I am thankful for that. The only reason I was even entertaining the idea is because we plan on using the camper this winter too and I figured that it would burn through the propane pretty quick between the hot water and the furnace. Guess I'll just be buying a bigger tank.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter155 View Post
Ours has an electric start and I am thankful for that. The only reason I was even entertaining the idea is because we plan on using the camper this winter too and I figured that it would burn through the propane pretty quick between the hot water and the furnace. Guess I'll just be buying a bigger tank.
the W/H will not be the killer, the furnace will be. Once that water reaches temp it will hold pretty good. I tried on propane only in a normal day I heard the burner kit on 3 or 4 times only. You will burn more taking showers but still not that much.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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We thought the same thing and have a 195BH also. went camping during the winter for a weekend with temps down in the high 20s. Even with five people using the water and having the furnance at 68 degrees we had over half a tank of gas left and we have the standard 20 gallon propane tank. like people have said the furnance is the big user as well as the stove, but then in turn the stove rally warms up the small camper also
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prof_fate View Post
I made the same decision. We don't have elec start on the heater...sucks as it can be hard to light. I'm getting better after 3 years of practice though. LOL

The pilot blows out too often, so what we do is when we need hot water for a shower I go light it and shut it off after. For dishes we often wash in cold or just heat a pan on the stove. Prolly should get a nice microwave container instead! Or I can can use my coffee pot I guess.
Back in our pup days we used a large coffee urn next to the sink to make sure we always had hot water for dishes, spit baths, etc. Worked like a charm!
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