Suburban Water Heater Question

fredhead

Member
Jul 30, 2019
67
Norfolk. VA
I have a 6 gallon, manual light suburban water heater. I have a question about operation modes that I can't find the answer in the manual.

On our recent camping trip, I lit the water heater, let it heat up and after washing dishes went outside and set it to "pilot" thinking that I'd set it back to ON in the morning for hot water for breakfast dishes.

Problem was, in the morning, before I set it to ON I had hot water.

Question is, should the main burner fire up when the control is set to PILOT?
 

kcsa75

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2013
5,933
Kansas City
Is it hot water or warm water?

I don't know about the operation of your water heater, but we normally fire ours up in the evening to wash dishes, then shut it off when we're done. But we still have warm water in the morning to wash your face and hands, etc. Which tells me the Styrofoam insulation works pretty well.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,455
Nj
Is it hot water or warm water?

I don't know about the operation of your water heater, but we normally fire ours up in the evening to wash dishes, then shut it off when we're done. But we still have warm water in the morning to wash your face and hands, etc. Which tells me the Styrofoam insulation works pretty well.
I leave mine on now, they dont use up a lot of propane. I did shut it off in the pup. As long as the noise dosen't bother you, no need to. I left mine on for like 3 months by accident. Lol.
 
I have done and experienced the same thing. Turns out, the pilot will actually be enough to keep the water in the tank hot if it sits long enough and the ambient temperature isn't too cold. Once I have the tank heated, I turn it to Pilot and leave it unless I know we are going to be using a fair amount of hot water that it would need to be on to recover fast enough. But since we primarily boondock, that's not very often.
 

MOBYDICK

New Member
May 6, 2015
5
I have a 6 gallon, manual light suburban water heater. I have a question about operation modes that I can't find the answer in the manual.

On our recent camping trip, I lit the water heater, let it heat up and after washing dishes went outside and set it to "pilot" thinking that I'd set it back to ON in the morning for hot water for breakfast dishes.

Problem was, in the morning, before I set it to ON I had hot water.

Question is, should the main burner fire up when the control is set to PILOT?
The main burner shouldn't go on at night if it's just set to "pilot". In my situation, we camped in some places where the wind came up at night and blew out the pilot. After doing this so many times, I just got a new electronic ignition heater and wired a switch with a light indicator inside the pup so that I can turn it on and off inside. We shut ours at night and still have pretty warm water in the morning, even on cold nights.
 

DanZaw

Member
Jun 16, 2021
40
Our popup had the same water heater.. I just lit the pilot, turned it to "on" and left it.. I only turned it "off" when we were packing up or going out for the entire day. .
This is exactly how it should operate. Light the pilot, turn the appliance on, and leave it that way until your packing up. It keeps the water to it's temperature automatically.
 

tlhdoc

Active Member
Oct 2, 2004
182
I have done and experienced the same thing. Turns out, the pilot will actually be enough to keep the water in the tank hot if it sits long enough and the ambient temperature isn't too cold. Once I have the tank heated, I turn it to Pilot and leave it unless I know we are going to be using a fair amount of hot water that it would need to be on to recover fast enough. But since we primarily boondock, that's not very often.
My experience also. The little flame will keep the water hot.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,455
Nj
If you shut it off it will stay hot also. Lol. Im my experience, the water heater does not cycle on and off all that much. Even when its cold out. The benifits of turning it to pilot or even off are virtually nil. The fule consumption of the water heater is very low. I can't think of any real benifit to turning it off or to pilot. At first, I did think it would be a benifit, and did it for 2 years. But then I saw really no diffrence in propane reduction when keeping it on. But you can do whatever you want. Its your camper.
 

F. Jake Glotz

Member
Sep 1, 2021
46
Boise Idaho
Like many others, I light the pilot and leave it on while camping especially when connected to city water. It only cycles when we use hot water as the incoming water cools it down a bit. I leave the door open to remind me to turn it off. The double check it turning off the propane when pushing in the front bunk.
 




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