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Old 09-25-2019, 08:52 AM   #1
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Hot Water Heater Use

Newbie Question. We only need hot water at night (bathing) and in the morning (dish washing). Question: is it better to leave the hot water heater on all the time or just turn it on prior to use/need.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:04 AM   #2
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I leave mine on electric most of the time. I will turn on the propane switch and heat w/ both when we're showering.

The only time I turn it off is if I'm already using two high draw appliances (AC and microwave, or AC and DW's hair dryer, AC and coffee maker). Afterwards it goes right back on electric.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:05 AM   #3
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I don't know if it's "better" one way or the other. But if we're operating on propane we just turn it on right before we need it. That way we don't waste gas if it pops on when we're not around. Been doing it that way for years and it hasn't caused any issues.

We rarely hook up to electric, but if we do, I just leave it on.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:19 AM   #4
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We only use propane for heating water just due to convenience.... only heat water when we know we need it....Shower. Takes maybe 15 minutes to heat the 6 gal. Generally leave it on for 15 mins or so after shower and then turn it off. That water in the tank will stay hot for 12+ hours.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:49 AM   #5
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Turn it on and leave it on. Then you have hot water whenever you need it not just when you 'think' you need it.
It won't use much resources either way. (LP/electric)
You'll not gain any longevity by using it sparingly.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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One of those "whatever suits you best" questions. NO real BEST answer; just depends on what suites you best.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:12 AM   #7
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We only use electricity for heating water for convenience and for economics since we're always at sites with electricity. Well, once in a while we'll add propane heating to the mix for faster recovery IF we have grandkids or other unusually high hot water users around. I turn my electric element on as soon as I'm hooked to the electrical pedestal and to the water spigot (I never use a spicket!).
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:12 AM   #8
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In our rig, the hot water heater is installed right below my 2 year old daughter's bunk. For me, I have piece of mind at night turning off the HW heater when we put her down to sleep.

Then in the AM, I'll turn it back on while making my coffee and it will be hot by the time we need morning showers.
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Old 09-25-2019, 01:54 PM   #9
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We mostly boondock and we turn it on propane and leave it on. When we do camp with electric, we put it on electric and leave it on. That way we know we always have hot water and don't have to think about it. As for propane, it just doesn't use that much.
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Old 09-25-2019, 02:05 PM   #10
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Mine is propane-only, and I fire it up as soon as I get plugged in. It really doesn't burn much propane,and once it heats the water it just runs for a few minutes every hour or so to maintain the heat. I don't allow kids in my camper, so I'm not really worried about safety.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:06 PM   #11
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On balance, the energy consumption will be SLIGHTLY more to maintain hot water than to heat it only when needed. But the difference in propane consumption will be trivial.

The extent to which the hot water tank loses heat due to poor insulation is the extent to which you must then reheat the water to bring it up to temp. The maintenance energy consumed will be very modest.

Your furnace and fridge (if running on propane to boondock) will each use more.

I have a PUP, boondock exclusively in the mountains of Colorado at 8500 feet or more, and it's very rare to have to switch to the second propane tank, and when that happens, it's because the furnace is running more than 50% of the time overnight trying to keep us reasonably warm. It's rare, but sometimes it snows in July in CO!! We've camped and woken up to a skim of ice on the dog's water bowl outside.

So, at roughly $13/20 lb. propane tank fill, I don't think it's worth the headache to fiddle with cycling the hot water heater on and off. But that's just me. You asked for opinions. That's mine.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeuncool View Post
We mostly boondock and we turn it on propane and leave it on. When we do camp with electric, we put it on electric and leave it on. That way we know we always have hot water and don't have to think about it. As for propane, it just doesn't use that much.
I am mostly a boondocker as well. I only turn on the gas switch before I need hot water and after I use it I turn it off. Doesn't use much Propane but it does use MORE. In a normal day it might come on two or three times just to keep a tank hot, even if hot water hasn't been used.

I'm rather stingy with Propane as I often boondock for a couple weeks at a time and would rather have the gas used in maintaining a tank of unused hot water for cooking and furnace.

As said earlier, whatever fits ones needs and desires works.


On that note I have been known to flip on the electric switch when running my generator for either the microwave or when charging batteries because the sun has been hiding behind clouds and my Solar Panels have fallen behind. Generator's running so why not?
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark M View Post
In our rig, the hot water heater is installed right below my 2 year old daughter's bunk. For me, I have piece of mind at night turning off the HW heater when we put her down to sleep.

Then in the AM, I'll turn it back on while making my coffee and it will be hot by the time we need morning showers.
Love your thinking that way. Safety always.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grafen View Post
Newbie Question. We only need hot water at night (bathing) and in the morning (dish washing). Question: is it better to leave the hot water heater on all the time or just turn it on prior to use/need.
Thanks
What do you do at home? Do that.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:44 AM   #15
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I run mine on propane and electric just to have the faster recharge time. There is probably no need too (for my water usage)so maybe I need to switch to electric only, save some propane. I do shut mine off at night but its not for any kind of energy savings or the such. Our bed faces the control panel on the far wall and the two blue switches for the hot water heater are just enough to annoy me. So I shut them off. The microwave and radio on the side wall give enough of a glow to act as a night light. Of course we do have to set the clock on the micro wave otherwise my night light blinks too much.

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