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Thread: Need advice regarding tankless (or other) WH for cabin

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Catherinew's Avatar
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    Default Need advice regarding tankless (or other) WH for cabin

    I own a cabin that's been in the family for three generations. We have well water and have never had an indoor bath or hot water. We are putting in a bathroom, and I want enough hot water for sponge bathing or warm showers. We don't use it in the winter and it is unheated in the winter months, except for the occasinal visit when we build a fire in the antique stove (its only heat source). There is no washing machine or DW and none are planned. Our needs are therefore simple and I'm hoping to install a simple water heater that will supply enough hot water for bathing. If it's less complicated than stove-heating water for dishes, we will tote hot water from the bathroom to wash dishes.

    What do you all recommend? Thanks so much. I am totally new to your site and it looks very helpful!

    Catherine

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What energy sources do you have available? What size is the electrical supply (main breaker or fuse)? How cold is the incoming water from the well? Do you have natural gas available or willing to put in a propane tank? An electrical tankless will be limited in volume unless you have significant electrical power capacity - the smallest one might overload your power panel. A tank-type electrical WH is probably the easiest to install and probably wouldn't tax the incoming power. I'd turn it off and drain it for the winter. You must ensure it is full of water prior to turning the power to it, or you will quickly fry the heating element(s).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    The Bosch 1600H propane fired tankless is about as good as it gets for off-grid & cabin use: No electrical hookup, vents with cheap B-vent, and is nearly as efficient as it's forced-draft microprocessor controlled tankless brethren, is more than enough to run even a HOT shower at 3gpm, and it takes up far less space than a tank. They're as simple to install as a propane fired tank HW heater, but DO pay attention to minimum gas-plumbing pipe diameter/length if it's more than a few 10s of feet from the pressure regulator.

    There are cheaper versions available with battery-powered ignition that come in different sizes from Marey (of Puerto Rico) that look & feel like the same Chinese designs used all over Latin America & tropical Asia, but I like the Bosch better.

    For more money the smaller (electronically controlled) Rinnai units designed for mounting on the exterior of the house are pretty nice, and would take up ZERO interior space.

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    DIY Junior Member Catherinew's Avatar
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    Default We have electricity-120 V.

    It's not capable of supporting much, but it runs a refridgerator and a few lights. We are in the process of installing our first, simple running water.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Catherinew's Avatar
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    Also, we have propane for a gas stove.

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Your modest electrical supply is not likely large enought to support an electric tankless. Check with your propane dealer on your tank capacity and whether it will deliver the btu's needed for hot water.

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