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Old 06-20-2021, 10:41 AM   #1
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New Camper runs out of hot water fast

My new camper with a Dometic 6 gallon hot water heater seems to run out of hot water super fast. My previous rug had an Atwood 6 gallon and we could take normal length showers without running out. I’ve had it back to the dealer and they said everything works correct. I just did an experiment. Let the gas heat up the tank until the burner shut off. Then started the shower at normal temp. After 2 minutes the burner kicked on. By 3 minutes I was having to reduce the amount of cold at the faucet to keep it warm. By 4 minutes it was ice cold even with only the hot water running but with some intermittent bursts of warmish every few seconds.

Any idea what’s wrong? I noticed there are no check valves on the back. The shower is right next to the hot water heater. Bypass seems to be correct or I wouldn’t have any hot water, right?
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:49 AM   #2
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How "hot" is the hot water when it's done heating? I wonder if the thermostat on yours is wonky and cutting off too soon. Our is "burn you hand hot", and lasts for a full shower.
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Old 06-20-2021, 11:57 AM   #3
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Pretty darn hot. I can bring a thermometer next weekend but sure seems like it would scald.
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Old 06-20-2021, 12:09 PM   #4
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Check that your bypass valves are set correctly.
Check that outside shower is off at valves, not just shower head.
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Old 06-20-2021, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdresch View Post
My new camper with a Dometic 6 gallon hot water heater seems to run out of hot water super fast. My previous rug had an Atwood 6 gallon and we could take normal length showers without running out. I’ve had it back to the dealer and they said everything works correct. I just did an experiment. Let the gas heat up the tank until the burner shut off. Then started the shower at normal temp. After 2 minutes the burner kicked on. By 3 minutes I was having to reduce the amount of cold at the faucet to keep it warm. By 4 minutes it was ice cold even with only the hot water running but with some intermittent bursts of warmish every few seconds.

Any idea what’s wrong? I noticed there are no check valves on the back. The shower is right next to the hot water heater. Bypass seems to be correct or I wouldn’t have any hot water, right?

Atwood is just now named Dometic. Same stuff.

https://www.dometic.com/en/se/rebranded/atwood

A common cause of short hot water is if the bypass valve is not fully closed or faulty. Check this thread:

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...st-103381.html

Another reason can be if the outside shower wand has the faucets open, but the on/off button on handheld wand is on. This allows cold water to cross over into the hot water line.

EDIT; Mr. Dan beat me while I was typing and getting links. LOL
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:01 PM   #6
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:03 PM   #7
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Shower technique

Another cause is taking showers with a continuous flow of water vs. intermittent flow. We do the latter and we’ve never had a hot water problem with a Suburban 6 gallon, which I believe is also the Atwood and Dometic. This is one huge player in the RV component market.
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:28 PM   #8
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Have you measured the amount of water in s five gal pail and not my time?
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:43 PM   #9
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If you take a shower as you do at home, you will run out of water. The best way I can explain to campers is to take a “military” style shower. Turn on water get yourself wet, turn off water soap up, turn on water to rinse off an wet your hair, turn off water shampoo your hair, turn on water rinse off hair. Done. This accomplishes two things; it conserves water so your grey tank doesn’t fill up quickly and conserves the hot water as you only have 6 gallons of hot water unless you have a tankless water heater. Most do not realize that when taking a normal “Home” shower you can use 20 to 30 gallons of water depending on how much time you spend in the shower. Some it may be more.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:41 PM   #10
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How fast is the water flowing? Do you have any kind of flow restrictor on the shower head? If you take a five gallon bucket and fill it with the shower, how long does it take?

Given that the water is obviously heating properly, my first guess would be that the flow rate is to high and you need some sort of flow restricting shower head. I might add that I really can't imagine an RV shower with a standard 6 gallon water heater in which I could take what I would call a normal shower.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bdresch View Post
Pretty darn hot. I can bring a thermometer next weekend but sure seems like it would scald.
Bring it. As any scientist or engineer will tell you, it's all BS until it is measured.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:00 PM   #12
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If you take a shower as you do at home, you will run out of water. The best way I can explain to campers is to take a “military” style shower. Turn on water get yourself wet, turn off water soap up, turn on water to rinse off an wet your hair, turn off water shampoo your hair, turn on water rinse off hair. Done. This accomplishes two things; it conserves water so your grey tank doesn’t fill up quickly and conserves the hot water as you only have 6 gallons of hot water unless you have a tankless water heater. Most do not realize that when taking a normal “Home” shower you can use 20 to 30 gallons of water depending on how much time you spend in the shower. Some it may be more.
X2-the only way to shower in an RV.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:17 PM   #13
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New Camper runs out of hot water fast

If I had to military shower while camping, I would quit camping.
Any and all water heaters should provide ample hot water for a normal shower with gas and electric on.
Wife and I have been able to take normal showers, back to back in this camper and our last camper.
If your camper requires a military or navy shower, there is a problem.

If dry camping, we take the sink baths.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:23 PM   #14
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We have an Oxygenics shower head and never run out of hot water, with back to back showers. DW is NOT a water miser by any means and would sell the RV if she had to take a Navy shower.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:38 PM   #15
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I checked the outside shower and it’s turned off at the knobs.

Bypass appears to be correct unless the valves are bad. It’s the 2 valve system listed in that other thread and the knobs are both pointing towards the tank.

When I was testing I felt the bypass hose to see if hot was bleeding into it but the bypass hose never got warmer.

I don’t think the shower head is using too much water, same junky low flow head with the shutoff that I’ve had in my last 2 campers.

I do understand “camper showers”. Used to have to take them when I didn’t have access to city water. I have taken more/less normal showers when on city water in both of my last 2 units and never ran out of hot water.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:40 PM   #16
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check wattage of heater element , could be 1000w or 1440, 1500, but prob a low wattage element or starting to burn up element. mine went out slowly.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:04 PM   #17
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I'll go with the idea that the flow rate on your new trailer is significantly higher than on your old one. A flow rate of 2.5 gpm will drain your 6 gallons in about the times you post. At 1.5 gpm you get several more minutes. Possibly the flow restricting washer that should be in the shower head wasn't installed. You can try buying a washer or swap to an Oxygenics shower head.

I had to upgrade ours because the pressure in the OEM head was insufficient for my DW to wash her hair. Oxygenics upped the pressure coming out and solved the issue. We don't have an issue with running out of water with our 6 gallon WH.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:05 PM   #18
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You guys really just leave the water running the whole shower, never use the soap up feature? That seems incredibly wasteful, whether at home or in an RV.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:15 PM   #19
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We have an Oxygenics shower head and never run out of hot water, with back to back showers. DW is NOT a water miser by any means and would sell the RV if she had to take a Navy shower.
Wellll I was in the Navy, my wife not. I contribute to the hot water conservation a little more than She does...
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:29 PM   #20
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In three RVs to date, wife and I have never run out of hot water, back to back. Get in, get the wash job done, maybe turn off water for 1 minute while shampoo hair, then rinse. We never use propane when hooked up to electric.
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