Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: On Demand Propane Hot Water Heater
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MichaelCO

Buena Vista

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Posted: 06/05/22 03:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a truck camper, but this question is actually for our non-profit food truck. Our food truck stays in one place at 8,000 feet altitude. We need an on demand propane hot water heater. We do not have access to enough electric to use an electric hot water heater.

I’ve been trying to research heaters, but the manufactures and distributors won’t say if they will work at 8,000 feet. They only say “it won’t as well”, but that doesn’t tell me much. Most of the manufacturers consider "high altitude" to be 2,000 feet. We would need a really, really deep cave to get that low here!

Two that I were looking at were:

• Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV Gas Water https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DW4GM81/?coliid=I2MINE5Y1F3VMO&colid=2059FVN8ZDRJQ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

• GIRARD 2GWHAM Tankless Water Heater https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019BWN8E2/?coliid=I13NSYHQMUDQAI&colid=2059FVN8ZDRJQ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Has anyone had practical experience with one of these or any other model that works at minimum 8,000 ft? The food truck will always be at this altitude, not just occasionally.

The hot water will be for washing hands and light dish washing, but the water needs to be good and hot to pass health department inspections.

Please help. I have been getting frustrated in my search.

Thanks,

Michael

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 06/05/22 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RV junk.

Not worthy of commercial food truck service.

You need to connect with place that constructs commercial food trucks and find out what they use, most likely is going to cost substantially more than RV water heaters and the commercial grade manufacturers will pass all health codes for food service.

High altitude service can be problematic, RV water heaters often have issues with high altitudes. Commercial units should be configurable for that type of service.

HERE is one food truck builder you could try contacting to find out what they use.

You also should reach out to your local food safety inspector folks as they are the ones that will need to build to and satisfy.

Food service is not a place to skimp or cut corners.

MichaelCO

Buena Vista

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Posted: 06/05/22 04:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can try contacting a food truck supplier, but I would think that RV people out in the rockies would camp at much higher altitudes than towns with food trucks. Worth a shot though.

Still would like to hear from other RVers.

Michael

ernie1

Sacramento,California,USA

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Posted: 06/05/22 07:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Michael: I'm a retired Environmental Health Specialist better known as a health inspector and worked for 30 years as a health inspector and one of my duties was to inspect and permit food trucks.

Firstly, I want to answer your questions and doubts about how to equip this vehicle. I, myself have an rv with a Truma water heater and just came back from a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which is at an elevation of 8,000+' above sea level and the unit worked just fine. What you need is a minimum of 120 deg F of hot water for hand and utensil washing. As far as the 8,000' elevation goes, I would, once you are set up on location, call a local mobile technician to have him reset the propane regulator to a pressure that's appropriate. This is especially true since you indicated you won't be moving the truck once you're setup.

Secondly, if you have doubts or questions about health code compliance, try reaching out to the inspector assigned to the area you'll be operating at. Inspectors appreciate that you're trying to meet code requirements and that you're cooperating.

ernie1

Sacramento,California,USA

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Posted: 06/05/22 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Michael: You stated. that your group is a non profit and I'm wondering who you'll be selling food to? If it's to only a private group like church members of a local social club of some sort you may not even need a health permit.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 06/05/22 08:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MichaelCO wrote:

I can try contacting a food truck supplier, but I would think that RV people out in the rockies would camp at much higher altitudes than towns with food trucks. Worth a shot though.

Still would like to hear from other RVers.

Michael


Just because a RVr might camp at 8000 ft and is able to keep their water heater working, doesn't exactly mean you will be able to do so also.

There are some RV water heaters which are not "adjustable", the fuel to air mixture is fixed, no shutters and no different orifices.

Not trying to make this difficult or expensive, but the reality is if there is ever a question about your setup, it is on your shoulders as the builder for the proper operation of said equipment. Granted only talking hot water in this case but all it takes is one person to get sick and the entire operation will get shut down.

On demand water heaters are not exactly known for stability in water temps and the water temps do change considerably with the input temp and water flow. The faster the flow and the colder the input water the lower the output temp will be. They also have a specific water flow requirement before the burner will turn on, not enough flow and you get cold water.

For these reasons, it is imperative you get in contact with your local food safety inspectors, they most likely will be able to get you very specific detailed info on what they require and why any old RV water heater may not be a good choice.

ernie1

Sacramento,California,USA

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Posted: 06/05/22 09:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Michael: Let's try not to make a mountain out of a mole hill here. Follow my advice by doing a little research into what I mentioned regarding water temps, resetting of propane pressure and contact with your local health inspector. Not necessarily the health department.

To be clear, and I base this on 30+ years of experience, if ever a food poisoning complaint about your vehicle/operation occurs and you have an inspected, approved and permitted unit it will generate an inspection and not an automatic closure.

GDETrailer: Please do not speak about things you are NOT educated nor trained to do. You are only inflaming this matter and are of no help for someone trying to solve a problem. Enough already man!

Michael if you have further questions fire. away. I'll give you answers that are true based on my background and qualifications and not mere speculation.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 06/06/22 02:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My $0.02. Get a bigger generator and a residential/commercial all stainless water heater.

Buy once, cry on once.

wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 06/06/22 04:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok what happens is at high altitude the air is thinner. So you may need to adjust the air/fuel ratio (Air thinger) on the burner.. With the added air flow it will heat a bit slower but it should still work just fine.

Talk to a DEALER of on-demand water heaters in your "Target" area. they will know now to adjust them for altitude. And they will know how well they work and which brands work best... (Or make them the most profit. Beware that).


Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times


MichaelCO

Buena Vista

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Posted: 06/06/22 02:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ernie1, Thanks for your replies.

Another option I think we will do for now. We have a little ~2 gallon hot water heater that you put on a counter for tea or hot chocolate (not for plumbing, just for counter service kind of thing). We can heat water in that and put in the wash sink (one of 3 sinks for washing). My understanding is you don't need hot water for hand washing, only dish washing and cleaning. We only wash a few utensils or cutting board usually once per day.

We serve pre-cooked gourmet hot dogs and brats. Our non-profit provides paid work experience for teens and young adults with learning disabilities. So we keep it easy for them. There are no customer dishes to wash. We serve on compostable paper and cardboard containers.

ernie1, does that sound reasonable?

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