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Old 03-29-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater?

Hello,
Just wanted to know how everyone feels about a hot water heater. Is this a must have option for SMB'ers or can people live without them? Any alternatives maybe? Any input is appreciated.

Its getting close to build time and we want to know how many of you really use your H20 heater. Thanks

Ray
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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I do and don't. It's been kind of an 'ehhh'. When I remember to turn it and need it, it's nice to have hot water. But most times I turn it on and off without using it.

I did take a shower in death valley and it was nice- the only thing that made it bearable was the hot water.

At this point I would put a hot water heater in a new build.

There is a stand alone coleman unit that runs on propane, if you want to have the option without the permanence.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: Hot Water Heater?

A 'Must have' is based on type of camping.

I have a generator, so power is not issue.

As a 'family' camper it is very handy. Not sure the wife would not be without one.

If I were to camp for more than a weekend and in a remote area, a hot shower is very handy. Solar shower or stove top is an option. So is campground shower or 'sponge' bath

If you were to 'live' in your SMB for up to a month(like the previous owner did), hot water is a must

If occasional use is warranted, a hot water dispenser would take up much less space and capable of boiling hot water, nice for a quick cup of tea, oatmeal etc. Not sure SMB would install one though...

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Originally Posted by surfgeek33
Hello,
Just wanted to know how everyone feels about a hot water heater. Is this a must have option for SMB'ers or can people live without them? Any alternatives maybe? Any input is appreciated.

Its getting close to build time and we want to know how many of you really use your H20 heater. Thanks

Ray
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:08 PM   #4
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I have it and it's awesome. After a long dusty mtn bike ride in the desert - it hits the spot. My rig is used for both play and work so it comes in real handy to quick clean up before i have to meet an acct (not always, but I have been known to sneak a ride or two in before meetings...)

That and it was one of the few options the wife really wanted to have while we were looking for a SMB.

FYI - mine is the propane w/ 6 gal tank

-d
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:08 PM   #5
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I use my Espar more as a way to pre-heat the diesel motor. To tell the truth, if I had a gas motor I would look into a flat plate only and find a way to insulate from cold. It’s no big deal to crank up the motor for a shower or shower when the engine is still hot. The only problem is the necessity to regularly drain the system in cold climates. I always set the Espar to come on during temps that dip into the lower teens and up into low 30s. This has been an advantage for the Espar. I do not use water from the tap for anything except for dishes, brushing teeth, and a few other applications dealing with heating something up (and it’s rare I use it for these applications but this is a single guy talking). I opted out of propane for my own reasons, but if I had propane I would have the water heater. As far as the Espar water heater I’ve had problems and it will take some more “beta testing” before I know whether I made a mistake deleting the propane. The Airtronic has been flawless to date.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:38 AM   #6
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For hot water I have an Instahot. SMB put it in for the previous owner. It is good for making a cup of tea or coffee or filling up the basin to wash dishes. Only issue is it seems to take some time to heat up when it is real cold outside so you waste some water.

steve
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:57 AM   #7
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We have included a water heater in our build.... like Mmocken said, it was one of the few things my wife wanted and I think I would hear more if we didn't have it....

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Old 03-30-2008, 10:05 AM   #8
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We had a hot water heater in our previous popup camper. Seldom used it. When we designed our SMB we did not include a hot water heater.

We heat water on the stove and do sponge baths when needed. My wife pours water and helps me wash my hair and vice versa.

We spend time in National Parks and can almost always find a shower every few days. When remote camping for extended periods - see above.

The cost and space of the water heater were too much for the amount of use it would get. And the storage space issue was the bigger issue. When we are living in our SMB for a couple of months at a time, every bit of space is used for something.

Personal choice.

Mike and Dorothy
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:27 AM   #9
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A hot water heater? You don't need a water heater if the water is already hot!

My water heater is the Espar Diesel, and it works well.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:17 PM   #10
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We just have the hot plate heat exchanger. A huge advantage of it over the propane system is the amount of space it saves. The disadvantages are that you lose out on an extra 6 gallons of water storage and you need to have the van running to get hot water (which is scalding hot).

It has worked great for our purposes. We use it a lot after surfing on those cold winter mornings with the exterior shower. Get back to the van, turn it on, start working on getting the wetsuit off and the water is hot by then. We have also used in the backcountry. It is obviously a bit noisy, but it also is an excuse to recharge the batteries a bit.

It was definitely an option my wife could not live without.
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