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Author Topic: Propane water heater-how long to heat?  (Read 8406 times)

efhole

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Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« on: August 17, 2011, 10:02:19 AM »
After only one camping trip with the TT, I have yet to use any hot water for showers, etc. Last night (camper is in my driveway), I thought I would give the hot water heater a try. I flipped the propane switch and it fired right up. I put about 7 gallons of water in my water tank to recycle through the heater and waited about 10 minutes. I could hear the flame blowing, but when I turned on the hot water, it wasn't even warm. How long does it normally take the propane to heat the water? By the way, the water heater also has an electrical option, but apparently, it doesn't work. I have left the switch on for hours at a time and no hot water. Any suggestions on how to fix this? Thanks!
Ford F250
2004 Fleetwood Wilderness 5th Wheel

Clay L

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 10:05:16 AM »
Mine is hot in about 20 minutes or so.
The water heater was full in both cases wasn't it?
When you say you had water in your tank do you mean your fresh water tank or your hot water tank?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 10:08:01 AM by Clay L »
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats)
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Victory

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2011, 10:07:46 AM »
Is it possible that there is a bypass valve and that there is no water making to the hot water tank?
Robert & Cathy McWhirter
1996 Gulfstream Sun Voyager
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Clay L

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2011, 10:12:13 AM »
Is it possible that there is a bypass valve and that there is no water making to the hot water tank?

That's a good thought.
But it could be bad news. If the winterizing valves/valve are in the winter position the electric element could very well be burned out since it must have water in the tank to keep it from overheating.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2011, 10:14:33 AM »
About 20 minutes would be normal for a 6 gallon tank.  Check the tank bypass valves, as Victory suggests. They are usually located on the back side of the heater tank, where the water inlet & outlet pipes are.

And make sure there is water in the tank!  You can cause damage if there is not. With the heater off (tank cooled down) and the water pump (or city connection) on, open the PT relief valve, which is accessible via the outside access door. Water should gush out.
Gary
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efhole

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 10:34:24 AM »
By-pass is off and there is water in the hot water heater tank. I base that on the fact that owner's manual says that there is water in the hot water tank when you can turn on the hot water spigot in the gally and water comes out and also double checking the by-pass system. All valves have been turned to the same directions as pipes.
 I guess I just didn't let it heat long enough. I will try again tonight.
What do you guys think might be the problem with the electric switch/heating? Burnt element perhaps? If so, how would I confirm?
Ford F250
2004 Fleetwood Wilderness 5th Wheel

AndyinLexington

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 11:04:15 AM »
Mine is warm enough to shave with after ten minutes.  Shower after 15 minutes.  I don't shave or shower with burning hot water though.  I like it above room temperature but not too hot.  20 minutes to shower temp is probably a good average.
Andy Holmes
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Molaker

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 11:07:25 AM »
All valves have been turned to the same directions as pipes.
If your system is a typical 3-valve system, the cross-over valve s/b closed.  This would certainly explain why you have little or no hot water.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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Ned

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 11:11:47 AM »
Quote
All valves have been turned to the same directions as pipes.

Are you sure that's the operating position?  Post a picture of the valves and we can verify if they're in the right configuration.  I think Tom has it right, the valve on the bypass pipe should be closed and the other 2 open.

Just getting water from the hot water faucet doesn't mean the tank has water in it if the valves are set for bypass.
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efhole

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2011, 11:20:09 AM »
It is a typical 3 valve system and all 3 are open. I will close the middle one this evening and try again. Thanks for the advice.
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Ned

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2011, 11:39:59 AM »
I suspect that will do it.  Be sure to run the hot water to fill the tank before turning on the gas burner or electric element.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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2007 GMC Canyon

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efhole

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2011, 11:58:01 AM »
Will do Ned. Thanks. For winterizing, I'm assuming the valves will be opposite, i.e. middle one open, outer ones closed?
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Ned

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2011, 12:08:28 PM »
Yes.  If you study the piping and valves it should all make sense.

Here's a page with diagrams of the different bypass systems.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 12:10:58 PM by Ned »
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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efhole

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2011, 12:50:53 PM »
Oh yeah, the diagram makes perfect sense now. Thanks again for everyone's assistance!
Ford F250
2004 Fleetwood Wilderness 5th Wheel

Ned

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2011, 01:12:09 PM »
You're welcome.  Now go take a hot shower :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

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DearMissMermaid

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 05:59:01 PM »
Mine takes about 15-20 minutes to heat completely. I can hear the whoosh of the gas burner, as soon as itturns on, so it's easy to notice when it  shuts off, then you know the tank is topped up to hot temperature.

Outside temperature will affect it too, and the cold water temperature. So in the winter, it will take longer to heat up, in the summer less.

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tswms

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2011, 06:11:42 PM »
I figure about 2 cups of coffee..
Tony
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efhole

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2011, 07:31:57 PM »
Finally got back from the weekend Labor Day trip and got to check out my hot water heater. After postioning the bypass valve in the correct position, I was able to get the much coveted hot water, but only with propane. Apperently, my electrical switch for hot water doesn't work. If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this, let me know. If not, I will get it repaired next time I take it in to the dealer. Thanks!
Ford F250
2004 Fleetwood Wilderness 5th Wheel

Ned

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2011, 08:22:44 PM »
It's not likely to be the switch but either the circuit breaker for the heater is tripped or the heating element is bad.  If you can use a voltmeter, you can check for 120VAC at the element.  If you see voltage there, then the element is bad.  Start with the simple things (like the circuit breaker) and let us know what you find.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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2007 GMC Canyon

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Jeff

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Re: Propane water heater-how long to heat?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2011, 09:25:37 PM »
When you check for voltage at the element check across the two thermostats also. If the thermostat or ECO went bad you would get no voltage.