Hot Water

Part of my quest to go total electric is figuring out ways to heat water without burning propane. A few years ago I mounted a large black pipe on the roof of Minnie and let the sun heat my water. It works quite well when I have good sun and it’s not too cold out. The only problem is that you have to use the water late in the day and long before the sun goes down. If you wait too long, the water cools quickly to an unusable temperature. In the cold days of winter, it’s sponge baths or burn propane for a shower. I longed for an occasional shower right before bed without burning propane.

I started exploring small electric hot water tanks that are made to mount under the kitchen sink and give you instant hot water without waiting for delivery through long pipes from the main hot water tank. These tanks usually hold only 3 gallons of supply and recover quickly. I found a prime deal of 20% off on one and ordered it for a Christmas present to me.

I puzzled over where to mount the unit and came to the conclusion that pulling the propane water heater out and installing it in the same place would be easy and give me hot water to all my sinks and shower.

I spent the last two days disconnecting the old unit and installing the new electric one. Parts here in Quartzsite are twice what they cost at Home Depot, but the hardware store is close and had Sharkbite connectors I like to use. Four connectors and a propane plug cost me almost $50.

I have been testing it out today and I think it’s going to work fine. With all my batteries and solar, heating the water only uses a small percentage of my power. I timed my shower and came up with 4.5 minutes of hot water. That’s plenty for me( I don’t spend much time washing my hair). The only thing that concerns me is the fact that it takes 1850 watts of power when heating. That’s almost maxing out my inverter. The specs said 1500 watts. I’ll have to be careful to turn everything else off when I use it.

As with everything I tinker with, I’ll undoubtedly find out more as I use it. I’ll try to update how it’s working in a later post.

7 Responses to “Hot Water”

  1. Donna says:

    Wow, good thing you got that discount on the unit, because it sounds like you used every bit of it and more for the connectors. Enjoy your warm bedtime showers!

  2. RV John says:

    How is the water heater doing Dale? Also, how the knee doing?

  3. Dale says:

    So far the hot water tank is working fine. We have had several cloudy days here in Quartzsite so I have to be somewhat careful how I use my power. Along with clouds the sun is about as low in the southern sky as it can get. I have some panels that tilt, and that helps capture the sun, but the rays coming through so much atmosphere don’t have the intensity that they do in the summer.

    I also put my Starlink on a timer – the router lets you set up a schedule that will shut down for certain hours – and have it turn off through part of the night. About the only appliances I cant shut down are my fridge and freezer. I’m still using propane for heat in the morning. It figures out to $1.00 a day for propane. I can afford that okay.

  4. RV John says:

    Glad to here the water heater is working out. You got a good size solar system now, must be a lot of cloudy days in a row to not get enough power. I guess to do everything by Electric, one needs a really big system.

    How the knee doing? I am thinking about maybe getting started on my other knee the next time i visit VA. I think my next appointment is in Feb some time, I’ll see if I can get things rolling then maybe.

  5. Dale says:

    I sometimes have to juggle my battery juice when I get a few cloudy days. I have not had to run my generator so that’s a good thing. I just bought an electric blanket so will see how much that uses overnight. The only time it will feel good is long morning when it gets cold. We have had a few nights that have gone below freezing here in Quartzsite.

    The knee is good. I had the flu the last three days so haven’t exercised it much. I live alone and don’t go many places so I don’t know where I caught it. I made a run to Parker Walmart last week and that’s probably where I got it.

  6. RV John says:

    I hear I am just getting over a round of the flu too, I think Walmart is a minefield of bugs!

  7. Daryl says:

    Be sure to put a water leak sensor next to the hot water tank. I have had four of those in the last 10 or 15 years, and not one has lasted more than about three years, including the latest Bosch. They all started leaking.

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