Best Water Heater??

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persh

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I'm about to buy a 6-gallon water heater for the tent trailer and install an outdoor shower. I've been looking at Suburbans and Attwoods. Which of these brands do the best job? Pros or cons?? Is there some other brand that I just be considering?? ???
 

Ron

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We have had both and I don't really have a preference of one over another.  Either of the two brands you mentioned should do a good job for you.
 

Bob Buchanan

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persh said:
I'm about to buy a 6-gallon water heater for the tent trailer and install an outdoor shower. I've been looking at Suburbans and Attwoods. Which of these brands do the best job? Pros or cons?? Is there some other brand that I just be considering?? ???

A few months back I bought a '96 Adventurer. I figured $2,000 should cover the stuff I would find that I did not find before the purchase. Have not had to spend that much as yet -- but I "did" have to replace the Atwood water heater tank. It began leaking and caused quite a mess under my frig area. It had a series of pin sized holes. During my tests of the rig, I was not hooked up -- and didn't notice the leak. However, when I hooked to shore water, the additional pressure made it happen and the leak became very apparent..

When getting it repaired I learned from the mobile repair guy in Austin that the Atwood uses an aluminum anti-corrosion cladding tank whereas the Suburban uses a porcelain lined steel tank. He said it would last up to twice as long before the typical little pin holes would start happening. I only needed to replace the tank -- so stayed with Atwood. However, if the whole unit had to be replaced, I would have gone with a Suburban.

I "did" read somewhere that the Atwood has a more efficient burner that uses less propane than the Suburban -- but don't know that for sure. Me thinks I would prefer using more propane than replacing the entire floor under the heater if a leak went undetected.? :)

Edited 5/30, 10:39PM PDT to correct Atwood tank description per Ned and Gary.
 

Ned

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I believe that Atwood uses an aluminum tank, not steel, and should last longer than a steel tank.  Ours lasted over 9 years, we just replaced it after lots of winters in the hard water of AZ.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Atwood RV heater tanks are aluminum with an anti-corrosion cladding and do not require an anode rod to protect against electrolysis, as do the Suburbans. In fact, adding an anode rod to an Atwood can actually cause electrolysis and the pinhole problem that Bob discovered and Atwood recommends against use of anode rods.

I've had excelent service from Atwoods but would not be opposed to owning a Suburban either.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Ned said:
I believe that Atwood uses an aluminum tank, not steel, and should last longer than a steel tank.? Ours lasted over 9 years, we just replaced it after lots of winters in the hard water of AZ.

Thanks, Ned and Gary. I've modified my post to properly describe an Atwood tank.

The fellow that replaced my tank said he replaces more Atwoods than Suburban's -- and that a Suburban will last up to twice as long. He did say that mine going out at 9 1/2 to ten years was longer than most. Of course the owner before me was not a full timer as you are Ned, and only put a little over 40k on the coach in that time.

So, with my random sampling of "one" repair guy, I pass this info on.  ;)

He "did" appear very high on the porcelain lining tho.
 

BernieD

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Bob

I wouldn't think that the Suburban has the porcelain lining. It provides the anode as a sacrificial lamb to the electro/mechanical effect of the water on the tank lining. If the tank lining was porcelain, it wouldn't have the reaction. It is my understanding that the Suburban tank lining is bare steel.
 

Ron

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Per the Suburban specs they are  porcelain lined and they do require the anode rod .(  http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-water-heaters/801319.htm ) The Atwood water heaters have an Aluminum clad tank?Less weight and the cladding eliminates the need for an anode rod.  ( http://www.atwoodmobile.com/Products/water/prelight.cfm)

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The fellow that replaced my tank said he replaces more Atwoods than Suburban's -- and that a Suburban will last up to twice as long. He did say that mine going out at 9 1/2 to ten years was longer than most.

I think that tech may have been a bit biased - no doubt he worked in a palce that sold Suburbans.  ;) Let me offer two  counter-examples to balnce the evidence:

In 1995 we bought a 1986 Wilderness trailer with an Atwood manual gas water heater.  Traded it in 1998 (now 12 years old) and still had expereinced no water heater problems.

In 1998 we got a 1990 King of the Road 5th wheel with an Atwood DSI water heater. Traded it in early 2000 (now 10 years old) and had expereinced no water heater problems.
 

Lou Schneider

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The anode rod is required in the Suburban, but it's only there for insurance.  If the porcelain is perfectly applied and remains perfectly intact (covering 100% of the steel) the anode rod is not necessary.  If a pinhole or other imperfection exposes steel to water, the rod then protects it.

One failure point common to both water heaters is the steel insert where the incoming pipe threads into the tank.  It's protected by the anode rod on the Suburban, unprotected on the Atwood.

Want to guess where my Atwood water heater failed?
 
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