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Thread: New water heater for shop ?'s

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member TravisG's Avatar
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    Default New water heater for shop ?'s

    Howdy fellas. Got a couple of noob questions. I have just finished the rough framing on a 50'x50' shop. I am looking for any recommendations on a high efficency water heater. I don't really need a lot of capacity really. I just have a toilet, a hand sink and a shower(that will rarely be used I imagine) I am running lp gas to the shop if that helps. I am also at about 5500' of elevation. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You either have to maintain above freezing temperature during the winter or completely drain all of the plumbing in the winter. I have a natural gas overhead furnace in my shop/garage and set the thermostat at 55 year round. Even in the dead of winter, it only takes a few minutes to raise the temperature to comfort level. If you want to be able to shower, you will need a tank in the 30 gallon size area, but I doubt that even a 50 gallon tank would cost much more than a smaller one.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Bradford White seems to have a good reputation here. In the same capacity, they have multiple models, so some careful study of their website may help you choose the features/efficiency you desire. At least a few qualify for energy star rating, but not all.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Get a $199 electric 30 gallon from True value and wrap it like christmas in r-30 or all your old winter jackets. Most for the least.

  5. #5
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    What ballvalve said. With the huge standby loss of LP-fired tanks the as-used efficiency factor in this low-volume use situation will be quite low- less than 50% efficiency even with a power-vented version. The cost of a condensing tankless up to the job of supporting a mid-winter shower would be astronomical compared to the actual savings standby loss.

    At current LP & electricity pricing in CO, an electric tank is the way to go. It's standby loss is already quite small compared to an LP burner, and can be made much lower with additional insulation.

    Don't stop at just insulating the tank itself- roughly half of the standby on an electric tank is heat conducted out via the near-tank plumbing, so 5/8" wall closed cell pipe insulation on everything within 10' of the tank (including the cold feed and the t & p valve outflow) is called for. In new construction you might as well put in on ALL of the hot water distribution plumbing. (It's now required by code in some areas.) True Value sometimes carries 5/8" or 3/4" wall thickness pipe insulation for half-inch pipe, but otherwise it's available online, Graingers, or plumbing supply distributors. Home center box stores only carry 3/8" wall goods.

  6. #6
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    And a switch to turn it off if its an occasional use would make it a real energy saver.

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