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Old 09-17-2018, 03:04 PM   #1
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Seneca Tank Heaters

To those of you who have placed tank heaters on your water tanks, can you point me in the direction of what you used. Taking RVermonts ingenuity to heart, I look to support my fresh water tank in the same manner and plan to place insulation under the tank. Still, it would be wise to put a tank heater on it as well for those really cold (apparently -17 degree) nights in central Illinois. Additionally, what has anyone done to keep the lines going to the hot water tank safe; I placed heat tape and insulation on the lines in the wheel well.
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:53 PM   #2
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We took a little different approach to tank heaters, We chose to heat the entire compartment where the tanks are. That also helps us keep the inside warm too becuas the Seneca floor is the ceiling of these compartments.

We chose the 3-way electric space heaters that we picked up from wallyworld for $11/each on sale at the beginning of winter a couple of years ago. I mounted one in each of the compartments behind the rear axle so that they can not fall down, tip over or become a big fire hazard if we needed to run them while travelling (with the genny running).

We set each of them on low heat and adjust the thermostat so that they keep the compartment above 60 degrees. All three of them can run on a single 20A circuit I installed in the lower propane bay.

Our coldest overnight was +5F in Wendover NV for New Years Celebration. Fresh Tank full of water, using the black and grey like it was summer. Hint: Next time we will plug in the block Heater with an extension cord too... getting the rig started up after sitting 36 hours in the cold took a bit of effort.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:19 PM   #3
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I have sort of adopted this approach, I added a outlet in the wet bay for a heater that keeps the black tank, pump,valves and macerator warm. I add a heater to the fresh water tank compartment as well when it gets really cold. I will need to add one more heater for the grey tank over the rear axel but since this gets warm water from showers and the heater duct from the coach runs under it it hasnít been a problem yet.
My real concern is the pipes to the water heater. Eventually I want to move these to fully conditioned space but have not yet worked that out. In the meantime I will try to insulate them.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:58 AM   #4
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Tank heat

I knew Steve went this route and I have this in the wet bay where I feel some degree of safety as there is nothing easily flammable in there. However, in the water tank bay, I would like to have items for storage in that compartment and feel uncomfortable leaving the dogs in the truck with an electric heater in this particular area.

RVermont, I would love to see any ideas you have for insulation/heat to the water tank lines. I am modeling my water tank support and insulation system after your pictures.

Still, I would like to put a heating pad on that fresh tank.
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Old 09-27-2018, 03:53 PM   #5
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I just have the insulation under the tank for now. I am going to pull the wheel covers in the next few weeks and install insulation in the wheel wells to provide some sort of insulated barrier. I have also cleaned up the electrical in the cabinets in the bedroom and will be rerouting the supply and return to the water heater through this space. Currently the lines run over the top of the fresh water tank and in the back compartment which is completely exposed with a large surface area. By moving the water lines I can build a pass through area and hopefully have less exposed water piping to the outside.

I have installed the water heater bypass so I have a button that i push and water is directed back into the fresh water tank allowing the heater to heat the water without having to put it down the drain. I am thinking about installing an additional timer on this circuit that i could use that would automatically cycle the heater on a set period of time, this would allow the system to remain fairly hot and prevent the tank and lines from freezing up. This would not require any additional tank heaters as the system would use the existing circulation loop. Of course this would use propane and not electric so propane usage might be a concern.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVermont View Post
I just have the insulation under the tank for now. I am going to pull the wheel covers in the next few weeks and install insulation in the wheel wells to provide some sort of insulated barrier. I have also cleaned up the electrical in the cabinets in the bedroom and will be rerouting the supply and return to the water heater through this space. Currently the lines run over the top of the fresh water tank and in the back compartment which is completely exposed with a large surface area. By moving the water lines I can build a pass through area and hopefully have less exposed water piping to the outside.

I have installed the water heater bypass so I have a button that i push and water is directed back into the fresh water tank allowing the heater to heat the water without having to put it down the drain. I am thinking about installing an additional timer on this circuit that i could use that would automatically cycle the heater on a set period of time, this would allow the system to remain fairly hot and prevent the tank and lines from freezing up. This would not require any additional tank heaters as the system would use the existing circulation loop. Of course this would use propane and not electric so propane usage might be a concern.
Hmmmmmm great idea. A very simple upgrade to the Hot Water Bypass.

I have also been toying with another separate enhancement to the water heater bypass. Adding this pressure bypass valve into the line behind the solenoid valve - https://www.grainger.com/product/AQU...searchBar=true

With the Gerard water heater, then I can just turn the bypass on.. set the Water heater to the desired shower temp and turn on the bypass. It passes the heated water into the fresh tank because the pressure is above the "valve open threshold setting" and when the shower is running, the bypass valve closes - providing full water to the shower. When we take army showers and shut the water flow off - the hot water bypass valve opens due to the full pressure, and closes when I open the shower valve to rinse.
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:12 PM   #7
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Hmmmmmm great idea. A very simple upgrade to the Hot Water Bypass.

I have also been toying with another separate enhancement to the water heater bypass. Adding this pressure bypass valve into the line behind the solenoid valve -

Intriguing idea, this would stop the cold water pause after shutting the system off at the spray head. Basically you would be building an on demand hot water system and will provide heated water to the fresh water tank and systems and should help prevent freezing.

certainly worth investigating.
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