Jayco RV Owners Forum

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Old 07-08-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
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Cool Instaneous water heater

Our new 31FS has a Girard Instant on water heater....no tank. It's supposed to save LP, produce an endless supply of hot water and weigh much less than a standard unit with a hot water tank. I suppose it does save gas and weighs less and maybe, just maybe, if I could get everything set right it could provide that endless supply of hot water for those lovely long and leisurely showers that are such an endless pleasure in a little tiny RV shower stall. Sorry, I guess my frustration is showing! Few RVers in their right mind take long leisurely showers with a finite amount of fresh water and holding tank capacity, the idea of a long shower escapes me. However, without a doubt the most frustrating aspect of this system is my inability to get the settings to deliver a continuous supply of hot water to the shower or any faucet. It seems that to work right you need to know the temperature of the water in the fresh water tank or the city water connection. Of course, I always carry a thermometer to check those temps before ever turning on the hot water!!!!!!! You also need a very steady water flow and must be great enough to keep the water heater sensing flow so it remains lit. So don't dare flush the toilet or turn on any other faucet in the coach. Maybe you should even advise your neighbors not to use their water too. This means a flow restricter to save water in the dry west can't be used. What were these designers thinking?

The markings on the temp controller in the bathroom imply that how you set the knob is a matter of how hot you want your water. Wrong! It is the temp of the water being fed to the water heater. Set it cooler in a hot climate, in the middle range in mid-range external temps, and at the high end in a very cold climate. It would have been nice to know this before I stumbled onto it on Girard's web site as part of a modification to their original instructions. It's worth noting that even the dealer did not realize what that knob did. They acknowledged that they couldn't tell that there was much difference in water temp coming out of the faucets no matter what the setting. Turns out there isn't supposed to be, the setting relates to the incoming water temp, not the outgoing.

But what really frosts me is that the water heater just turns on and off randomly while showering. Of course, this results in going from scalding hot to freezing cold water at any time while in the shower. Few people die from getting a splash of cold water in the shower. When I was younger, a lot younger, cold showers might even have been a good thing. However, scalding one's customers is not. This could lead Jayco, Girard, and perhaps even the dealer down a legal trap they would much prefer to avoid.

Does anyone out there have any idea how to get this thing to work the way those good old-fashioned, but hopelessly unmodern tank water heaters that we have all used for a hundred years work.

2014 Greyhawk 31FS/2013 Chevy Captiva Sport
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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Having the same problem.... no solution yet on our end. Ive been told that there is a learning curve in controlling the temp but ours gets hot and cold as well. Ive been told also that water pressure can influence the tank-less heaters so using a pressure regulator may disrupt the water heater as well.

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Old 07-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #3
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I've longed to see these things in RVs... Sorry to hear that you're having trouble. I thought the residential units could adjust for incoming water temp, but maybe not...
Hope they come up with a fix.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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Incoming water temp

You are probably right that the residential units do adjust to incoming water temp automatically. I think they would have to. An RV is a very different beast. It moves to different areas so you could get widely varying incoming water temps in the course of a few days or even hours. RVs are not as insulated as a home water system so the water temp in the fresh water tank could easily vary almost minute by minute. I'm convinced this is a great technology, unfortunately we seem to be the guinea pigs who are teaching the maker how to make it work. Sort of like having a beta version of Windows 9 running the water heater. The production version will be great, but I'm afraid those of us with the beta version are stuck until this one dies and we can replace it with either a new and better version or go back to what worked for all those years.
2014 Greyhawk 31FS/2013 Chevy Captiva Sport
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:34 PM   #5
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Water heater

My brother in law owns a 5th wheel with that type of water heater he has told me he learned its all about water pressure if not the right amount of pressure you will get cold shower so the first thing when he gets to a sight he checks the pressure
2000 FORD F-150 V-6/4.2
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:50 PM   #6
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My father-in-law is having the same problem, scalding water one minute and freezing water the next. My local service place called Girard. They (my service peeps and my FIL) have been told by Girard that this is certainly not supposed to be happening and that it sounds like a wiring issue. When my FIL went to Jayco earlier this month, he mentioned the issue to them, and they seem to not know what he was talking about. I will revisit this again once he has his warranty work done, he just got back from a 4 month long trip...hope it helps fix some of your issues.
2014 Seneca 37FS, 2012 Mazda2 on a Master Tow dolly
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:16 PM   #7
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Now I know I am not crazy! The dealer that sold us our Melbourne 29D last year thought I was when I described this exact problem to them! "No lady, that is just how it is supposed to work!" We finally learned to turn on the hot water and just inch on the cold water until it was kinda the right temp. Sometimes that worked. Water pressure and outside water temp! We must all complain until Jayco gets tired and fixes this dangerous problem.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:55 AM   #8
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Don't even add a drop of cold water. I always set the heater off of the shower. Open the hot water valve completely, and adjust the temperature control knob until you get the desired temp. Yes, gpm and incoming water temp are the two variables here. That's why they changed to the knob. The knob adjusts the burner's btu output. The original units only offered a high and low switch. With the new unit, I haven't been in a situation where I could not achieve the desired temp - and that includes climates from -6F to 114F, 18psi to 80psi.

The scalding that you are experiencing is called "limiting". It is generally the result of the temperature selection being set too high. I forget the exact number, but let's say it's high temp limit is 115 degrees. When the discharge water temp hits 115 degrees, the burner shuts off. When the water cools below that, the burner re-fires. That is the cycling that you describe. The temp setting needs to be adjusted so that the discharge temp doesn't reach that limit. You don't need to measure the temp. Just adjust the knob until it's comfortable. Yes, a sudden, major drop in water pressure will change the temp. To be candid, that has only been a problem for us once. We hated the original version because there simply was not enough adjustment. We love the new version.
Brian, Mary, kids, beagle - Moose, and mutt - Maggie.
2012 Greyhawk 31FS
2013 Ford Explorer Toad
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:13 PM   #9
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We are having the same issue. The only suggestion the dealer had was to replace the unit with the old style hot water tank, about $1000. If we had a do over we would not have purchased a coach with this option.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:52 PM   #10
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The biggest issue that I have with the on demand HWH is how much water is wasted to the grey tank before the hot water appears at the faucet and, I suppose, that is in direct relation to where the HWH is located at the very rear of the Seneca.

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girard water heater, instaneous water heater, water heater

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