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Old 05-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #1
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Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Hi All,
I was looking ahead in my build and started giving some thought to a hot water system. I'm thinking tankless is the way to go. Two advantages is space and fuel. No need for a separate hot water tank and since it's on-demand I could fuel it from a 1lb propane cylinder.

1 lbs of Propane ~=22000 Btus;
POWER GAS 5 L LPG 34,614 BTU/h / 60 ~= 577 BTU/minute ;
22000/577 ~= 38 minutes of hot water

On the down side I'd have to provide a powered vent but that shouldn't be too big a problem.
In no particular order, here are the leading 5 candidates:

Camp Chef Triton Hot Water Heater
Eccotemp L5 - Portable Tankless Unit (scroll down the page)
EZ 101 - Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
Marey Heater Corp. POWER MINI GAS
Marey Heater Corp. POWER GAS 5 L LPG

All of these model look somewhat similar. Heck for all I know they are all made in the exact same factory in China.
Yes I know some of them say to only use outside but that's just legalize so if you kill yourself they will be in the clear. This is not like a heater that would left on while you're sleeping. It will only be on while I need hot water which will most often mean I'm standing outside the van taking a shower with the doors open. Not too worried there.

Does anyone have any experience with using one of these particular heaters or insights on using a tankless water heater in general?
Thanks,
Dave
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:01 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

I'm using a setup that I'm surprised more folks haven't caught on to. I use an Isotemp Marine water heater that you would normally find in sail and large powerboats. It runs off a simple open loop coil that runs from the radiator and cycles through the tank and then back again. It can also be heated with AC power if desired.

I like this system because it requires no additional power to keep hot water. When I drive during the day the water is constantly heating. Once I stop I've got at least 24 hours of hot water ready to go. The tanks aren't too expensive and the hookup is fairly straightforward. Check it out!
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Dave

I considered using one as well, my main reason not to use one was venting and their appitite to consume large amount of air. I could not figure a way to vent it in a safe manner. You are correct that it is a on demand appl. an in theory would not be used when you sleeping. I ended up using a standard 8 gallon water heater behind the drivers door on a rb 50 plan. Check out e bay their is one model that is battery powered! Try Craigs list too some guy is selling them for 125.00


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Old 05-13-2010, 08:16 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

UPDATE: This idea won't work with a 1lb propane cylinder. Best I can tell the max BTU/hr for a 1 lb cylinder is around 9000 BTU/hr. Too low for this application.
Back to the drawing board.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:14 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

I am using a small tankless that I bought from West Marine. It runs off the 110 Volt inverter. I had SMB West install it when they did the build out last year. Work great, plus no current or for that mater "Fuel" use until I want hot water.
Jim
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Hey Jim,
Does it pull down the batteries much when you use it?
Dave
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:54 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Dave
From what I can tell, its draw down is about 1/2 of what the microwave uses. I only have it on the sink faucet. There is a hand valve under the cabinet to adjust the flow. The more water flow, the faster it makes the water hot. I mostly use it to wash my face and hands in the morning and to wash silverware after eating. I have been using it for almost a year now and would not do without it. They use them on boats all the time. Like I said,"NO water flow, no current draw."! Eheber at SMB west was impressed on its performance per draw. Oh and I have the 2000 watt inverter and two, 4D AGM batteries under the Green Machine.
Jim Palmer
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

This is interesting:

http://stores.gonetankless.com/-strse-4 ... Detail.bok

Here are a couple of threads on this same topic:

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/s ... hp?t=50943

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/s ... hp?t=33024
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:51 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Tom, thanks for bringing this thread back to the surface.
I'd like to learn more about a tankless water heater option.

The VistaCruiser uses a tankless model, labeled as "Warm on Demand".
The one performance drawback I see is that it only heats the water 30deg above water temp.
Not sure how that would work out. Perhaps good if the water starts above 70deg but below that seems like it's not hot enough. I wonder what model Gulfstream uses and how that compares to some of the other models mentioned.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone using a tankless water heater?

Here is a tankless marine water heater that I've seen used in a conversion over on Expedition Portal

http://www.precisiontemp.com/pt_rvmd_m500.html

It vents to the outside via a stainless steel vent tube; there is a small vent cover that installs on the side of the van. This is a much nicer installation than other water heaters that use a large grill/opening on the side of the van. The unit can be installed under the sink. Note that this water heater is not cheap but it the weight and fuel savings are substantial. It's also made for marine use so it's built to last!

Here's the link to the conversion on Expedition Portal (the van was converted by Custom Mobile Interiors in Ohio):

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/s ... hp?t=20079

HTH

Rick
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