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Old 01-23-2015, 08:44 PM   #1
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Hot water tank inadequate

I bought a new Minilite in the fall and the hot water tank is listed as 5 gallons but produces only about 1.5 gallons of hot water. It quickly recharges and the water is very hot but you can't even get a quick shower out of it before the temperature is ice station zebra. Has anyone exprerience a similar problem? Any suggestions for a fix? Unfortunately the dealer is 1500 miles away and the dealers around here won't work on a unit they didn't sell so the repairman will be me unless I decide to visit Niagra Falls again. I would appreciate any words of wisdom.

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Old 01-23-2015, 08:46 PM   #2
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Actually the Water heater is warrantied by the water heater manufacture. Call the manufacture and ask for a recommendation as to where to take it for warranty repair. You don't have to take it to a Forest River dealer.

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Old 01-23-2015, 08:49 PM   #3
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Are you taking "navy" showers or letting the water run? With a 5 gal tank you get wet turn off water on shower head, lather up, rinse off. Another place to look is the water bypass on the back of the water heater. If you have left the bypass valve open it will allow cold water to mix with the hot.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:35 PM   #4
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It could be the bypass valves, although the usual symptom for that is lukewarm water and not hot water that doesn't last long enough.

If the water heater has a temperature adjustment then turning it to max will help.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:44 PM   #5
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As stated the #1 culprit for "tepid" water is the bypass valve left in "Winter" or bypass. Make sure the valve is horizontal (or across the pipe).

The #2 culprit is the outside shower wand valves left open with the handset valve closed. This allows cold water to enter the hot water pipes when using any hot water in the coach.

5 gallons is actually plenty of hot water if used as the Navy trains and the water is not diluted with cold water.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:01 PM   #6
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Has anyone mentioned the bypass valves yet?

If it is doing 'some' heating then I would tend to think that it's probably not a defect issue. It 'could' be, but my money is on an open or defective bypass valve.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:47 PM   #7
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If I were to take a shower, without turning the water off a few times during the shower, I'd be out of hot water before I get finished. I have the Oxygenics showerhead and a soft pause button. Here's a simple explanation of a Navy shower.

Get everything wet
Push the pause button
Shampoo the head
Push water back on
Rinse out shampoo
Push water off
Lather up with soap
Push water back on
Rinse everything off

I have plenty of hot water. The next person needs to wait about 10 mins and if they do the same as above, they'll have plenty of hot water too. I just use the water heater on gas. I could use the electric element but I'm too lazy to go out and flip the switch and then I'd forget it was on 1 day and not have water hooked up and burn the element up.

I know the bypass valve has been mentioned (at least once) so I'll ask if a water regulator is being used? If not, I'd imagine a good volume of water is going thru the water heater before it gets a chance to heat up. I also give it about 30 mins to heat up good before I get in.

Here's some pics of my shower.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:59 PM   #8
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If you've got the chintzy brass valves like these for your water heater inlet/outlet/bypass valves, your bypass may look closed, but may really be open.

Replace them.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:05 PM   #9
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If a bunch of us will be showering, I will turn on the gas heater in addition to the electric. It seems to keep up better when both heaters are running, but we do still need to take start & stop showers.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:46 PM   #10
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Thanks folks. Sounds like I was expecting too much out of this tiny tank. I appreciate the time you took to educate me and also post pictures to make it crystal clear. I'll stop my Army ways and join thd Navy

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