Please help me decide - hot water tank - yes or no

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by mark30, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. mark30

    mark30 New Member

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    Ordering a new Aliner Classic; have all of my options figured out but am having difficulty deciding on whether or not to get the hot water heater/tank. Please help me decide.

    Right now, leaning towards no hot water tank for the following benefits:
    • No need to winterize the hot water tank if I don't have one; plus avoid the need to install a hot water tank bypass valve.
    • Save trailer weight.
    • Since space is limited, more storage space for other stuff (where the hot water tank would have been).
    • Save propane (does anyone know much propane a hot water tank uses per day?).
    My current thinking is to heat water on the stove when needed such as when washing dishes. When at full-service campgrounds, will use the shower facilities. When boondocking will find alternate ways to keep clean. Don't believe the camper's 11 gal water tank holds enough water to support showering? Plan on keeping the camper for many, many years so want to make the right decision!

    What is your advice? Will camping be good without a hot water tank? Or do the benefits of a hot water tank outweigh the disadvantages? Does the "less is more" expression hold true in this case? What is your experience? Pro's/con's?
     
  2. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

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    Our Aliner didn’t have hot water and i never missed it, but I seem to recall my wife commenting on the lack of a WH once or twice. We bought it off the lot without a WH Had we ordered it I may have ordered one just in case I wanted to use the outside shower. The sink is pretty small in the Aliner so we did not do many dishes inside the camper. Cold water was fine for washing up, brushing teeth, etc. I loved the Aliner for its simplicity.
     
  3. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    My wife likes ours. We only run ours when we need hot water and it only uses gas when it's on, so the gas consumption is up to you. It's a personal choice.
     
  4. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    I never once used water in either of my popups... there was no shower and the sinks seemed useless for anything other than holding keys & some clutter, so a water heater would have been pretty useless. My tt is a different story.... I guess it just depends on how you camp and maybe more importantly, whether or not you plan on showering in/ at the camper.
     
  5. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    My current pup has no hot water tank. We boondock half of our trips and heat water on top of the stove when when we need it for showers and such. That sometimes gets to be a pain. So my next pup/camper (possibly an Aliner), I want a water heater.

    EDIT: I can easily take a shower using less than three gallons (less than two if I have to), so 11 gallons of hot water is easily three showers for me!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Personally when it’s just me camping I don’t bother with my hot water tank, and sometimes don’t even bother undoing the bypass. Now when my mom camps with me, she however feels you have to have it, no other way around it. I still have the mentality that less is more and almost always have hot water on the stove so using it to wash dishes isn’t that much of a stretch.i bought my camper used though and it was already included. Unlike yours I have more room for things too. If you see yourself taking showers at camp then the hot water tank will be worth it. The only other thing I can think of is resale value but not very many people worry about that with pop ups. Taking sponge baths are simple and easy for me, mom however is too used to the finer things and no way would she consider anything less. So in short, it depends on the rest of your family their needs and wants. I bought my camper with myself, mom and niece in mind in addition to my dogs. So I had to make sure it included things they want within reason as well.
     
  7. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    No. We never had one and we only boondock. One more thing to break.
     
  8. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    I bypassed mine as soon as I got it and have not touched it since. I guess hot water to wash dishes is nice, but not necessary. I would rather have the storage space it takes up back.
     
  9. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    My pup doesn't have one and I never missed it. The hybrid has one that's never been used. The DW and DIL are avowed Glampers so the one in the 5er gets used all of the time. I would say ask the pickiest person camping with you regularly to decide. From what you listed as your camping plans, I don't think you would use a WH much.
     
  10. Jim Whitehouse

    Jim Whitehouse New Member

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    Got our new ALiner May 2018. Didn't want AC but furnace,and hot water were deemed necessary. After 60 days camping (35 days continuous travel) rarely fire up the HW tank. Kettle is quicker and uses less propane. Sponge bath when no shower facilities. Thinking about On Demand HW. Could use the extra space in the HW compartment for storage (ALiner's are short of storage) or another water tank. We carry an extra 60 liters of potable water, would be nice to let Val take some of that. We are former tenters, so anything up off the ground is luxury.
     
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  11. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I use my HW every time I go out. It is a nice luxury to have warm water to wash your hands, and I use the hot water to feed into my camp kitchen for dishwashing duties. However I do not boondock, and winterizing is not as intense down here in TX. My pup also has the HW under the sink in an area that would not be conducive to additional storage anyway since the converter and such is run through the same cabinet.
     
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  12. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Personal preference. As long time tent campers, and with no HWT (nor sink/water supply) in either pup, we were very used to heating water on the stove. (For that matter, my grandmother's house didn't have a HWT until I was in college, and our cabin never did.) Our 17' TT arrived with a HWT, and I have to admit, I enjoy it a whole lot more than I ever thought I would. It's so much easier to do basin baths, wash my hair, and do dishes using the HWT. On occasion, we still heat water on the stove, either outside if we want, or on the rare occasions when we take the TT out while winterized.
     
  13. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    After 20 yrs camping in popups, a hybrid, and a couple of travel trailers my wife & I are returning this spring to a popup for the simplicity and because we're downsizing to only camp a few weekends each season when friends / relatives are also camping, unlike the multi week trips we used to take years ago when our boys were younger. Obviously we've become used to having full facilities in our TTs, which we did make full use of, so it will take a bit of adjustment to not have these amenities in a popup. My primarily goal in owning a popup is to get us out of the weather, sleeping up off the ground, and as a place to store our related camping gear between trips. As such I would have been quite happy this time around to find a basic camper - no A/C, no fridge, no furnace, no water heater - but as it turned out I found a mint 2005 Fleetwood Resolute (always stored indoors) that does have all these options, excluding A/C so I expect we'll probably use them simply because they're there. To me, whether you require / use amenities like these is really personal choice and how you expect to use the camper ... remember, with the water heater option you'd also get an outside shower mixer faucet but without the WH option normally you wouldn't. I'd be quite happy to pass on a water heater and simply heat water on the stove as needed for washing dishes, etc, but that normally also means no outside shower.

    That said, an A frame may be a special case as they all offer fairly limited interior space anyway so if I were buying a new one I'd much rather invest in a high wall model like the Rockwood A213HW that has no shower but does have a built in cassette toilet, a good size DSI fridge, and twin beds that convert to a king, and simply pass on the indoor shower, knowing that because it does also come with a water heater it would also at least have an outside shower faucet.

    http://www.forestriverinc.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=386&Image=15975&ModelID=2132#Main
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I have the water heaters in both rigs. I love having hot water like that. In my clipper, I can go to the bathroom in the middle of a cold night and wash my hands in hot water before climbing back into bed. In the FnR, it takes a bit longer for the hot water to reach the faucet, so I catch the cold water in a bowl, etc., to use for dishes come morning. Same with brushing teeth. I have not used the shower in either rig.

    I leave my water heater turned on 24-7 while I am camping. It does not use that much propane. Neither does the fridge or oven/stove. I can go 30 days plus on my 15lb propane tank in the clipper (I don't use the furnace) with both fridge and water heater running the entire time.

    Since I broke my hand last summer, my fingers have become very sensitive to cold. I could not imagine washing my hands in the middle of the night with cold water only. It would be far too painful. And staying up to heat a pan of water at 4 am is not conducive to a good night's sleep.
     
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  15. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    I thought a water heater was unnecessary until I had one. I guess it's not necessary but I really like it. A lot. I turn it on when I wake up and turn it off after breakfast cleanup. Water stays warm enough for comfortable hand washing for the rest of the day and I repeat at dinner.

    I don't know anything about "winterizing". That's not a thing here. Sounds awful. :)
     
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  16. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    The annoyance being that any pilot model water heater is a true PITA to light, compared to DSI versions usually installed in TTs that simply require the push of a switch to start. If the OP's intended ALiner can't be ordered with a DSI water heater but just a basic pilot model I'd be inclined to pass. JMO.
     
  17. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Interesting - never have heard of a "15 lb tank", just 5 lb, 10 lb, 20 lb, 30 lb, 40 lb, etc. [?:~{]
     
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Neither of mine have inside electronic ignitions. That's part of why I leave them running 24-7. I don't want to relight them multiple times a day - that would be a pain. But the propane usage is minimal with my usage, so I don't worry and just leave them lit for the trip and have hot water at any time.
     
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  19. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, my last fill we checked the poundage and it takes "about" 15lbs. It's a 1975 tank permamentally attached to the motorhome and was sized by volume not weight. I believe it's a 40gallon tank.
     
  20. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    We're talking about a new one though--it's gotta be DSI!

    (Yeah, I agree that the ones with pilots are a PITA. When I bought my used popup I was sure I'd be replacing the water heater first thing and was pretty excited that the water heater AND fridge didn't need that kind of nonsense!)
     

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