Originally Posted by smb4me
Even the newer model will not have insurance against a future seepage.
Correct, mostly. The double wall will HELP in case one of the walls cracks/fractures, but over time if you continually let water freeze and thaw in there it will probably break.
This is possibly my biggest gripe with the SMB I bought. While they didn't know at the time, they specifically told me I could use it skiing in sub-zero temps, turn on the engine, and have hot water. Flat plate leaking aside, this statement was patently not true: if you freeze water in your lines, it takes a LONG time to unfreeze them. Luckily (?), my van was only two weeks old before the freezing broke my flat plate inlet pipe.
If I had know the *&(&*($&(* pain in the ass the flat plate was going to be, I would have gotten a used one that I had been asking about. Thus, I paid, I am embarrassed to say, an additional $22,000 for a new van mainly to avoid the propane system (extra weight, lost storage, and at the time I thought more of a pain).
Now mine is mounted inside, and that's the way I'll mount my new one. SMB will not put it inside due to potential safety issues (hot fluid spraying on someone), but since mine's under a cabinet, I'm OK. I am much MORE worried about forgetting to drain it every frickin time it's below freezing outside. What if you forget, or the drain valve freezes before you can drain the hot water line? The first time that double wall one freezes.... is it safe? How bout the second time? Third time? At what point are you slowly poisoning yourself? Thus, mine is inside, and never freezes.
If a person were almost never to be below freezing, I think the flatplate is awesome. Otherwise, I'd pass if I were you.