Convert hot water heater from propane to electric/propane

Stove, cooktop, refrigerator, microwave, icemaker, etc.
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Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Convert hot water heater from propane to electric/propane

Post by chuckster »

Thanks, All!

Well, looks to me the Lightning Rod is the best solution for Suburban water heaters to me. Researching, found Camco makes one too but not with replaceable anodes. I definitely want anode protection. So, I need to decide is the $150 and my personal time to install worth the propane savings? Right now, we are not even half-time RV'ers so would take some time to recoup money spent. That said, having another winter project for the coach is kinda alluring too!

Take care,
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:23 pm

Re: Convert hot water heater from propane to electric/propane

Post by JoeyD »

Depending on how much hot water you require at any time, you can plumb/wire a small demand/tankless electric water heater downstream of your propane(or reclaimed engine heat via internal heat exchanger similar to the Atwood. The benefit of the internal heat exchanger is the availability of using the dhw to heat the engine block).
The demand heater would sense incoming temperature and turn on/off based on the temperature.
The advantages to this is that the sacrificial anode is left to protect and serve.
The on-demand will standby until it's required.
Be safe
'95 Sahara/Cummins 3530.
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Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:51 am

Re: Convert hot water heater from propane to electric/propane

Post by »

Moonwink wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:23 am ... 20V1.3.pdf

I found this helpful PDF covering Suburban water heaters produced by The Heartland Owners." It shows a plug for the electric element to the left of the drain plug/anode rod. I'd be surprised if all the water heater tanks didn't come ready for an electric element. If that's the case, isn't there some way of upgrading a non-electric Suburban water heater to electric?
My '96 Suberban 10 gallon "gas only" water heater has no such "plug",
'96 Sahara 3530, mine since '01
250 hp 3126 Cat, MD3060 Allison

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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:12 pm
Location: Russia

Convert hot water heater from propane to electric/propane

Post by Debrapiept »

The delay for any kind of water heater is the same if the pipe distance from the water heater to the faucet is the same. Either way, you have to get from the device that is heating the water to the outlet where you want the hot water to exit. We have used tankless propane water heaters for years and have found that the hot water is available much more quickly than in any house we have ever lived in with a big hot water tank. But that is probably because the tankless heaters we are using now are located in the bathrooms and the big tank was always in the basement, further away from where the water was needed.

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