Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The last great battle.....

7:54 am - Tuesday - March 10th - Wittmann, AZ - 56° F, 79% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the northeast.....heavy cloud cover today, rain today with a forecast high of 69° F.  The view this morning.......↴

I needed some wire loom, cable routers, self tapping screws, and a couple of hose clamps  to properly finish the Girard Tankless water heater installation so TLE and I drove into Surprise to trade some dollars at Home Depot for these items before I returned to water heater wars.  Frankly, at the beginning of the day I had no idea if I would finish the Girard Tankless installation as there was a lot still to do.....

Ready for installation

.....we returned from Surprise around 10:30 am, and thus began the, hopefully, final battle of water heater wars....the actual installation and activation of the Girard.  There was a lot to do, and periodically the 'Hockwald Way' intruded into the process, but the water heater went in pretty easily all things being considered.....

 Physically installed...ready to hook up gas, water and 12 volt electric

.......then it was time to tackle what I believed would be the most difficult part of the installation.....connecting the cold and hot copper pipes to the appropriate connections on the back of the unit......cold water to the bottom threaded nipple, and the hot line to the upper threaded nipple.  I attached a Sharkbite fitting with a female threaded side to both of the nipples, then began to route the Pex tubing using the existing positions of the 38 year old copper tubing.  Ultimately I had to shorten the cold water copper supply line about 6 inches, and that decision made everything else work.  It was challenging, and ultimately I found a combination which allowed me to route the hot water outgoing line around the cold water supply line and successfully connect them both......

 After a lot of anguish I managed to install the Pex/Sharkbite stuff and once again restored water flow through the new Girard Tankless water heater, and the rest of the coach

....the first time I turned on the water to test my connections TLE immediately reported a leak on the hot water outgoing line where it connected to the copper.  I turned off the water and massaged the connections a little more to be sure they were all seated properly, then turned on the water once again.......SUCCESS!  No leaks this time!  Next up I connected the new gas line.  Initially I smelled propane, but after unscrewing both ends of the line, and then making sure the ends were properly seated I turned on the gas once again, and no leaks.......

Wiring, and gas connected

......next up was to connect the 12 volt power, and the data wires (send information to the digital monitor).  Initially the digital monitor did not work.....no power.  Wait, what?  I tested those lines (hot, and ground) several times.  After further investigation I determined the ground was faulty, so I found a better ground connection, and then it worked.....

And we have ignition!

.......I could write a novel about all the minor errors, and problems I encountered throughout the day, and there were many, but in the end I endured, and had the final victory around 7:20 pm Monday evening.  Once everything was successfully connected I, being quite dirty, and smelly from a very long day of work, took the inaugural shower (of course I turned on the hot water in the bathroom to verify I was getting hot water first)......and it was perfect!  Unlimited hot water is the holy grail of those of us who live in an RV.  

Some may wonder why I chose to install a tankless water heater instead of just installing another tank type water heater (in our case 12 gallons).  Well, there were several things which influenced my thinking: 1) The tankless uses way less propane, as it only ignites the burner when there is demand for hot water, and shuts off as soon as the demand ceases.  The tank type has a pilot light continually burning, and when the temp drops below a certain preset point the burner ignites, and heats the water back to the desired temperature.  2) The tank type water heaters available in the same size as my 38 year old one costs almost $700....when you add in the Pex/Sharkbite stuff it gets close to $850.  I was able to purchase the Girard for $429 (+ tax), way lower than other Girards I looked at, but this was a 'scratch and dent' item being sold on eBay with a full warranty.  Even with the purchase of the very expensive Sharkbite connectors my total costs were still under $550.  3) Of course the concept of limitless hot water, the Holy Grail, is a very big enticement, right? 4) Since there is no 12 gallon tank full of water, which weighs a little over 100 pounds, and the weight of the tank type water heater is close to 40 lbs. all by itself, there is a big weight savings.  The Girard weighs in around 20 lbs, so 20 lbs. versus around 140 lbs.....easy decision.

So, there you have it......I finished when I finished.....I was more than willing to wait until Tuesday to finish, but it all came together Monday.  Now it is time to begin checking more things off my 'To Do' list, which is long.  There are just three weeks remaining until we begin our northward trek to Alaska....we are so excited!

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. The tankless makes sense all the way around.....thanks for sharing all the positives.....I have never really inquired or researched the difference. Glad everything came together in just a few days. I'm excited to follow you guys on your Alaska journey.

  2. Me too want to see lots of pictures, Of the trip....Have fun......

  3. Good Job! Doug and Michelle