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Old 10-10-2017, 11:08 AM   #361
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I think that points out how differently the trailers are used. Our travels tend to be long distance, on the road a lot. We get about 3 weeks on a tank, less if it's cold weather and we're using the furnace.

When you're on the road a lot you're not always sure when you're going to find a convenient spot to refill a tank. So, was a no-brainer decision for us, get the electric option. Nice to have options.

Ron
I get similar results. When less when boondocking in colder weather. Having the option of electric is a nice thing when available.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:10 AM   #362
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I have the electric water option. We love it. It is quiet; We just leave it on when connected to shore power; the water is always hot; it reduces the need to fill tanks.

We have never given a thought to the cost of propane. When you pay this much for a travel trailer it is just a nit.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:04 PM   #363
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I got the dual power option for my water tank. In 4yrs we have yet to fire up the hot water heater on electricity. The cost of propane used to fire the hot water heater is very minimal relative to the other uses we have for propane (furnace, fridge, stove, gas grill, firebowl), so I am quite unconcerned with the cost of heating water with propane. However, I do have that option of powering my hot water heater off of electricity should the need ever arise.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:53 PM   #364
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I know this is a stretch, but is there anyone out there who uses their on-board propane exclusively for the water heater (not for cooking, heating, outdoor fire pit, etc.) who can give a real-world example of how long a 20 lb propane tank lasts them? Or anyone with some basis for a real estimate, not simply a guess?
I doubt anyone uses the water heater exclusively so I'll take a stab at a calculation that should be pretty accurate. Suburban SW6D(E) water heater is 12,000 BTU/H input. Propane @ 60F has an energy content of 91,502 BTU/LB. The usage is therefore 0.131 LB/HR when operating the water heater (burner firing). If you have a 20 LB propane tank that would allow for 152.5 hours of burner operation...or almost 6.5 days continuous (unrealistic)....or if burner on for 2 hours each day about 11 weeks. The reason I say burner on is because once the tank is up to temperature it is well insulated and holds temperature quite well and will cycle. Just because the switch is on does not mean it is using propane. With a recovery of 10.2 gals/hr it takes ~35 mins to heat the 6 gallon tank to set point (130F). Therefore my estimate of 2 hrs per day of use seems realistic if you only turn it on for use a few times a day.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:53 PM   #365
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Depending on an individual's hot water usage, I think one could burn through $100 worth of propane in weeks or months, not "many years." Then there is the relative convenience/inconvenience of driving back and forth to a propane refill station, which again will vary greatly by individual (we feel lucky to have several options within a 15 mile range of our home). I know this is a stretch, but is there anyone out there who uses their on-board propane exclusively for the water heater (not for cooking, heating, outdoor fire pit, etc.) who can give a real-world example of how long a 20 lb propane tank lasts them? Or anyone with some basis for a real estimate, not simply a guess? We already have the 2-way ($200 on our build sheet), so it's not affecting any decision on our part. I'm just curious....
My 19 was picked up in May of 2014. I use propane for hot water, cooking , refrigerator and some heat. On average, I fill my propane tank every 30 days of camping or so. A local supplier fills tanks for about $7.00 one day per week. I think I’d have to live for many more years to justify getting a two way hot water heater.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:59 PM   #366
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................ A local supplier fills tanks for about $7.00 one day per week. I think I’d have to live for many more years to justify getting a two way hot water heater.
Some things just don't figure. We live in Ventura County, the ancestral home of Union Oil Company, and home to one of the largest oil fields in the country. We pay $25±/tank of propane, and you're paying what, a pittance! No fair.

Edit: At least our Escape is very, very economical on propane use.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:06 PM   #367
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Very efficient! At that usage rate, it seems one should travel with a just a single 20 pound tank and save the weight of the other on the trailer tongue.
I think ETI wants a heavier tongue weight, there were some issues with light tongue weight on earlier models, the ones with just propane, now with the box and batteries and propane up front the issue has been solved
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:47 PM   #368
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I believe it's 91k btu's in a gallon, not a lb.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:03 PM   #369
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I got the dual power option for my water tank. In 4yrs we have yet to fire up the hot water heater on electricity. The cost of propane used to fire the hot water heater is very minimal relative to the other uses we have for propane (furnace, fridge, stove, gas grill, firebowl), so I am quite unconcerned with the cost of heating water with propane. However, I do have that option of powering my hot water heater off of electricity should the need ever arise.
For the first three weeks with our new camper the propane on the water heater did not work because of a faulty circut board - a common n problem with Suburban water heaters. It was great having the electric option. Once we used it for a bit, we were hooked; we only use the propane option when there is no Shore power. As with the old cereal advertisement: “Try it you will like it”. If you don’t try it you will never know if you like it.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:11 PM   #370
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I doubt anyone uses the water heater exclusively so I'll take a stab at a calculation that should be pretty accurate. Suburban SW6D(E) water heater is 12,000 BTU/H input. Propane @ 60F has an energy content of 91,502 BTU/LB. The usage is therefore 0.131 LB/HR when operating the water heater (burner firing). If you have a 20 LB propane tank that would allow for 152.5 hours of burner operation...or almost 6.5 days continuous (unrealistic)....or if burner on for 2 hours each day about 11 weeks. The reason I say burner on is because once the tank is up to temperature it is well insulated and holds temperature quite well and will cycle. Just because the switch is on does not mean it is using propane. With a recovery of 10.2 gals/hr it takes ~35 mins to heat the 6 gallon tank to set point (130F). Therefore my estimate of 2 hrs per day of use seems realistic if you only turn it on for use a few times a day.
One of my closest advisors on the forum has pointed out an error in one of my units which has my numbers off by a factor of more than 4. I stand corrected. Propane energy content is 91,502 BTU/GALLON or 21,548 BTU/LB. The usage rate is 0.557 LB/HR. With a 20 LB tank this results in ~36 hours of burner operation...or 1.5 days constant...or more realistic, 2.5 weeks at 2 hours of operation per day.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:08 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
One of my closest advisors on the forum has pointed out an error in one of my units which has my numbers off by a factor of more than 4. I stand corrected. Propane energy content is 91,502 BTU/GALLON or 21,548 BTU/LB. The usage rate is 0.557 LB/HR. With a 20 LB tank this results in ~36 hours of burner operation...or 1.5 days constant...or more realistic, 2.5 weeks at 2 hours of operation per day.
I like your first answer better!
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:18 PM   #372
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Thanks for calculating all that and explaining it so clearly. I'm glad someone was paying attention in Math class. I was too busy in Math class flirting in with my then future wife of now 35 years and still going strong!
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:25 PM   #373
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Therefore my estimate of 2 hrs per day of use seems realistic if you only turn it on for use a few times a day.
Whatever. I don't really care if it saves a few pennies or not.
If it helps extend my boondocking time, that's nice. Besides, on the few occasions when I have to pay sometimes high prices for little more than a parking spot it's nice to at least use the electricity.


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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
Some things just don't figure. We live in Ventura County, the ancestral home of Union Oil Company, and home to one of the largest oil fields in the country. We pay $25±/tank of propane, and you're paying what, a pittance! No fair.
Yah, tell me about it. There's an oil refinery locally. We drive across Canada and the US and nowhere is the gas price as high as it is here. Even in the most remote of places.


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Old 10-10-2017, 10:36 PM   #374
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We have the dual mode water heater and the 120v mode came in handy when the igniter board failed.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:53 PM   #375
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Depending on an individual's hot water usage, I think one could burn through $100 worth of propane in weeks or months, not "many years."
Here's some data for you: I left home on April 12 for a long trip in my trailer. To date I have spent $171.96 on propane refills. And I broke my fridge in August, so it isn't using propane.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:06 AM   #376
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Dual power water heater

For comparison, we've put a little over 40,000 miles on our 21' and have refilled five propane tanks in the three years, and not all were totally empty. Our local Costco charges $1.79 per gallon, so around $40 so far.
We have shore power about two-thirds of the time, and take showers in the trailer if the campground showers are not sufficient, or there aren't any.
Having paid for the dual power, I figure we'll be coming out ahead in about another 100,000 miles.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:16 AM   #377
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... We already have the 2-way ($200 on our build sheet), so it's not affecting any decision on our part. ...
I should have clarified that was $200 CAD, or $150 USD at the time.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:26 AM   #378
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Here's some data for you: I left home on April 12 for a long trip in my trailer. To date I have spent $171.96 on propane refills. And I broke my fridge in August, so it isn't using propane.
Me thinks your signature explains more use than others..... you love the stuff...
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:26 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
For comparison, we've put a little over 40,000 miles on our 21' and have refilled five propane tanks in the three years, and not all were totally empty. Our local Costco charges $1.79 per gallon, so around $40 so far.
We have shore power about two-thirds of the time, and take showers in the trailer if the campground showers are not sufficient, or there aren't any.
Having paid for the dual power, I figure we'll be coming out ahead in about another 100,000 miles.
about par as our use
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:59 AM   #380
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