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Old 04-29-2019, 08:00 AM   #1
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Tank Heater - Temperature Regulation...?

Can one run the ETI water tank heaters with a minimum of water in a tank? The tank heater manual specifies that the heater comes on at 34 deg F, but doesn't mention if it's all right to run the heater with a minimum of water. Simply said: Will the heater over heat with a little water to heat?

It's in the mid-20's over night here in Colorado, and while I have half a tank of fresh water, only a couple of gallons in the gray water tank.

Thank you, in advance, for you advice.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:37 AM   #2
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I do not think you need any liquid in the fresh or grey tanks that would impact the optional tank heaters. They are thermostatically controlled , on @ 30 and off @40, whether the tanks have liquid or not. But they are 12v heaters so it is recommended you are hooked up to electric.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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Unless the tank is full you won’t get any water out of it.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:04 AM   #4
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We've already camped in our Escape at least five nights where the nights have gotten below 20 degrees, one night down to 15, plus numerous nights at 20-32 degrees. We run the furnace at night, have the insulation under the camper, and also have heating pads underneath the fresh/grey tanks. We've yet to run the tank pads. It would take days to freeze your tanks in the mid-20's.

PS: we live in Minnesota and are very familiar with camping in freezing weather.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:18 AM   #5
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Thank you CPAHarley & Perryb67.

This is the first time we've experienced extended below freezing temperatures with our new 19'er. We live at 8,300' elevation in the Colorado Rocky Mtn Foothills and it probably won't get above freezing here for several days. So, I want to be cautious and kind of set "rules" around below freezing temperatures for the trailer.

With our previous Scamp trailer, I didn't worry about a single night's temperature above the mid-20's, but this will be multiple days. Also, as an abundance of caution I've put a ski hand warming packet in the external shower cubby since it's outside the insulation. I've also set the thermostat at 45 deg and opened the appropriate cabinet doors to circulate the warmth.

BTW... In addition to the heating pads, we did get the ETI insulation package. And since the trailer's in the driveway, it is plugged in to "city power".

Thank you, again for you thoughts.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:38 AM   #6
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smart item using the ski hand heat pad. I fill my enclosure with insulation. Once we winterize it should be safe.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeBoulder View Post
With our previous Scamp trailer, I didn't worry about a single night's temperature above the mid-20's, but this will be multiple days. Also, as an abundance of caution I've put a ski hand warming packet in the external shower cubby since it's outside the insulation. I've also set the thermostat at 45 deg and opened the appropriate cabinet doors to circulate the warmth.

BTW... In addition to the heating pads, we did get the ETI insulation package. And since the trailer's in the driveway, it is plugged in to "city power".
With this additional information, with days below freezing and only 45 degrees in the camper, I'd be running our pads too! We purchased our pads for extended days below freezing in the shoulder seasons when we're hooked up to electrical.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
Unless the tank is full you won’t get any water out of it.
Please forget this response about the water heater. I tried an edit to delete it but it didn’t take.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:29 PM   #9
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Oh, yes. The water heater's also "on" to keep things warm.

(As I type this, it's started snowing. Gotta love spring time in the Rockies!)
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EscapeBoulder View Post
Can one run the ETI water tank heaters with a minimum of water in a tank? The tank heater manual specifies that the heater comes on at 34 deg F, but doesn't mention if it's all right to run the heater with a minimum of water. Simply said: Will the heater over heat with a little water to heat?

It's in the mid-20's over night here in Colorado, and while I have half a tank of fresh water, only a couple of gallons in the gray water tank.

Thank you, in advance, for you advice.
I have had a few nights in the mid 20s, in Florida. So I added a tank heater to my gray and fresh water tanks per the manufacturers directions. (In my case the manufacturer is UltraHeat.) UltraHeat indicates on their website that the heaters should be turned on:

"Only when fluids are present within the holding tanks and drainage pipes, and the outside temperature approaches freezing and remains below.

Failure to observe either, could result in damage to your system." I call this and confirmed verbally that it is necessary to turn them off when above freezing and that there should be some fluid in the tanks. The issue of fluid in the tanks seems to relate to not heating the tank material and or damaging the heaters.

I also use a pipe warmer on the pipes running across the belly of the camper. They seem to have a thermostat so they are less sensitive to damage if left on, but they must have water in them. I confirmed this verbally.

They do offer a thermostatically managed switch, but this was overkill in my case.

There may be differences with other brands.
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