Originally Posted by lloyd
If we arenít using the hot water is it ok to turn it off and on when we need it, to save on propane
There's a "fine line" in any scheme to "save on propane".
Depending on the time between hot water use cycles, it may use less propane to "keep the water hot" than to "let it cool and reheat it later"....
We have found that during the day, if we're using hot water occasionally, in the bathroom and the galley, the water heater propane burner may run for a total of 4 or 5 minutes, in cycles of 2-3 minutes each. If we turn off the propane side of the water heater, when we do turn it back on for showers in the evening, it may run for 10-15 minutes, depending on the starting temperature of the water.
So, in our "dry camping hot water cycles" if we leave it on all the time, we see the burner operate for around 10 minutes during the day and the water is "ready for showers in the evening. On the other hand, if we turn it off and use the hot water stored in the tank, then in the evening when we get ready for showers, it takes 10-15 minutes to reheat the water stored in the tank.
So, for the way we use our water heater, it uses less propane (and the burner operates fewer minutes) by leaving it on rather than turning it off and then having to "start from scratch" every evening.... YMMV
When we're connected to shore power, we always leave the electric side on unless we turn the water off (when leaving the campsite). When doing it this way, we seldom use any propane to heat water as the electric element usually can keep up with demand for hot water.