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Old 03-23-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
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Question Ever used the ELECTRIC part of your water heater?

I just found out that my water heater not only uses gas but it can also be switched to electric. I havent done this yet and am wondering if anyone else has ever used the electric heater instead of the gas and if so what are the advantages and disadvantages, other than using less propane that is.

It appears to be a standard 6 gallon heater and is in my 2006 Rockwood Ultralight 2701SS.

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Old 03-24-2009, 03:08 AM   #2
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electric heating is slower than the propane heating. but if you have electric hookups, the only advantage, i know of, is not using up propane to heat water.
also, using both at the same time, heats the water faster.

since we rarely camp with any hookups, we've only used the electric a couple of times.

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Old 03-24-2009, 05:03 AM   #3
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We, the wife and myself, use the electric water heater element all of the time. Seldom do we find that we need hot water before the electric element has had time to do the job and almost never do we run out of hot water. The best answer to your question is to try it for yourself and see how it works out for you.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:07 AM   #4
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The DSI (direct spark ignition) combo water heaters have been around a long time, and most trailers have them now. There may still be a few around that only have gas but the combination is generally the rule now.

We use the electric half whenever we can to conserve propane. We may as well use the campground's electricity instead of our propane.

You can use both combined if you want or need a fast heat up of water. Once the water is hot, turn off the propane.

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Old 03-24-2009, 07:48 AM   #5
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We usually only use gas in addition to electric when we want fast recovery (when we want to take showers in sucession). Mostly, we use electric because it saves propane and we've already paid for the electricity. Yes, you can run both at the same time.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:19 AM   #6
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Like the folks said, try it.
We use electric whenever we have power available.
LP gas is pricey and a bother to change out tanks.
Why burn gas when you're already paying for a site with an
electric hookup.

Do be careful and remember to shut off the electric AND gas functions
when ever you are not on either city water or electric pump.
In other words, if you don't have water pressure from somewhere you don't
want your water heater on either and now you have to remember another thing
to shut off.

That's why I always preach to MAKE AND USE A CHECKLIST.
I saw a guy drive off with his TV antenna up once.
I moved my trailer with a rear jack down-- it bends the crap out of it when you
do that.
It will immediately burn out your heater element if you turn it on with no water
in the heater tank!
Use a check list!!!!!

PS. you will probably find you have to turn on 2 switches to get electric water heat.
One is a circuit breaker found in your power panel.
The other is a little "hidden" switch found in the outside water heater access panel.
It often hides behind a gas line so you may have to look closely to find it.
It also may have a safety wire or clip in it that you'll have to remove the 1st time
you turn it on.
After that you can just turn off the breaker inside if you want the electric
heater off.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:16 AM   #7
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I did't realize that I could use electric for a while after we bought our TT. After looking into it, I tried it and it did not work, I've always wondered if the electric element was bad when we picked up our unit. Anyway, I replaced the electric element which was bad, but I have not had a chance to tried it yet. As stated before, do make sure the electric element is off when you are done camping and make sure it is never turned on if the water heater is empty, it will burn the element. Currently the water heater in our TT is empty so I have the outside switch off and te breaker off.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
We usually only use gas in addition to electric when we want fast recovery (when we want to take showers in sucession). Mostly, we use electric because it saves propane and we've already paid for the electricity. Yes, you can run both at the same time.
Same for us. If you are in a campground paying for electricity why use propane which is more expensive? When in a campground we use the electricity as much as possible, with our old Fleetwood motorhome we would carry a 1500w oscillating space heater to heat the rig instead of using the furnace. In our new Georgetown we have the electric fireplace which will do a fairly good job of heating the rig as long as outside temps don't drop below 40.

Use the gas a little as you have too in my opinion, its for those times when you don't have hookups.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:55 PM   #9
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We always camp with hookups! the electric part of the water heater stays on the whole stay and we run the propane when taking back-back showers. on our first Cherokee I found the electric switch a few months after bringing it home. I turned it on, but it still didn`t work. turns out it was never plugged in!!! plugged it in and it worked great.

BTW, never run the electric heating element without water in the tank! it will burn up the element within seconds!
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:56 PM   #10
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electric water heater

Thanks everyone for this post. I just went out to my trailer and found the electric hot water heater switch(hidden), that I couldn't find before. I too was unsure if there was a electric heater in the tank.

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