Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Pleasure of Hot Water At Anchor

On Hold Fast, we wanted the freedom of cruising on our sailboat without sacrificing the luxury of on-board hot water.  We had heard about tankless water heaters installed for space and energy efficiency in apartments in Japan.  Space and energy are always a concern on a vessel, or a vessel we can afford anyway.  Myron’s extensive research into an on-demand solution led us to Excel America's propane unit sold through Amazon

We deliberated over where to install our tankless unit and ultimately placed it in the galley next to the stove.  This location simplified access to the lines for propane and water.  Furthermore, the galley hatch serves to vent heat just as it does for the stove, although not much heat is noticeable when the unit is engaged.  Below is a picture of the Excel unit located in our galley:

We have heard that units suffered from battery ignition corrosion problems.  We have not experienced any corrosion issues and suspect corrosion experienced by others may be due to installation of the unit in an outside locker.  Our tankless hot water is plumbed to the galley sink for dish washing and to the forward head for showering.  Since we have sufficient hot water if we have motored for 30 minutes or more to our anchorage, we typically do not engage the tankless solution until day two at anchor.  To switch over to tankless hot water, we turn a valve that routes the water away from the engine heated hot water tank.

We have been asked “does the tankless use up our propane quickly?”   Not that we have noticed.  We already carry two 20-pound composite propane tanks, therefore an on-demand propane water heater was a simple upgrade.  Each 20-pound bottle lasts at least two months with daily demands to cook, bake, BBQ and heat water.  We can be well into the second bottle while seeking a refill on the first.  We experimented with heating water using our Honda generator.  After more than 15 minutes, the water was just getting warm and did not stay warm for more than a few hours.

Click here for Excel America's Tankless Water Heater.

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