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Oakland, CA

Posted By Bakari

I had been looking forward to buying a tankless instant water heater before I had even moved out of mom's place.

Unfortunately, each place I lived had a perfectly good water heater already.
Besides, my 6 gallon tank was no where near as wasteful as the 80 gallon monstrosities in regular homes.

Then, last week, the tank began to leak.
I had my excuse.

I discovered that there is only one company which makes instant water heaters specifically for RVs. Having no competition, they price it around 5 times higher than others.
I decided to go with a small house/cabin unit instead.
I found the least expensive one online; it arrived quickly. It spent a week in the box as I didn't have the time to install it. When I finally did, turned out I hadn't considered the vent when I measured, and it wouldn't fit. Damn.

I sent an email asking about exchanging it for a smaller unit.
Within 15 minutes they called me by phone. They said they couldn't accept a return since I had already begun installing it.
I was ready to just sell it on craiglist and buy the smaller one, accepting that it was my own stupidity to begin installation without measuring, plus the website did clearly say the original box was needed for returns, which I had already recycled.
And then, without being asked, the guy offers me a 15% discount on the new smaller one I was going to have to purchase. He emailed a custom order form, with a price even slightly lower than what he had just offered over the phone.

Wow. Beyond expectations.
The only business I know with customer service like that is, well... my own!

If you ever need a water heater, seriously, this is the place to buy:
And no, I don't get anything for recommending them. Come on. You know me better than that, don't you?

So, now it'll be a few days before I get the smaller unit and I can install it properly.
In the meantime, I was sick of being without hot water so I jerry-rigged the one I have into place. Between some parts from my old water heater, a flexible metal pipe I found on the street, a piece of wood 2x4, and a generous amount of tape, I have hooked up the water heater. It leaks a little where its attached to random-found-pipe, so I have to put a bowl under it while the water's running.

But as far as the heater itself goes...
you turn on the faucet, and within a second, the fire is blazing. You turn it off, poof, like that, its out.

It is much hotter than my old one ever was.
The total flow rate is higher too - its like taking a shower in a real house!!

I had gotten used to low flow showers. I had forgotten how pleasant being drenched with warm water while naked can be.
Well, I guess once my propane tanks ran out. In a few months.

As I was taking my 30 min long shower, I thought about how I am actually saving energy overall, compared to before. While before I was limited in the length of a shower when the hot ran out, the tank also kept the water hot 24hours a day, while I was a sleep, while I was at work, always.

The biggest unit they sell should be enough for a one bath house. For a really big house, if everyone wants to shower at once, you can double the capacity by linking two of them in series.
Or using with an existing tank heater, you could leave the tank at its minimum and have the output of the tank go into the instant, which would then raise the temp the rest of the way only when you turn on the hot faucet.
Way more energy efficient, endless hot water.
While an 80-gallon tank heater is anywhere from $600 to over $1000, a 4GPM tankless is only $325.
Why tank heaters even still exist, I really don't get.
Akin to American's rejection of the metric system and Dvorak I suppose.
Well, at least you know

Posted By Bakari

I was inspired partly by a book lent to me by the first person I ever went out on a date with
(almost a year ago already!)
and partly by the container gardening class I was brought to on Valentine's day by a more recent date.

Yet another person I dated recently is thinking of doing a similar project, and so I have some information and materials to offer her.

When I first jumped into this new experience of dating I wasn't sure what to expect - but rainwater collection was surely no where in my mind as even the remotest possibility.
We actually don't pay for water in the trailer park, (its included in the rent) and RVs use very little water anyway by their nature.

On the other hand, CA is in a drought (again), one never knows when the next earthquake (or revolution perhaps?) might cut off the municipal supply, and I have every intention of starting to (attempt to) grow food as my next project.

Since the trailer doesn't really have gutters, I started by applying a thick bead of silicone around the perimeter of the roof, except above the slide and the awning, so that the water will flow to the low areas.  More silicone on one side of the slide, and the awning has always drained to one spot anyway.

I built the spouts primarily from layers of aluminum tape so I could shape it precisely the way I needed.

The tape feeds into a funnel (mesh covered to keep out the crap), which goes into the pipe.

On the slide side its basically just a long piece of straight pipe,

cut around 2/3s down and rejoined with a flexible connector so that it can bend around my bedroom window. 

The awning side was more of a challenge as it has to go around a number of various corners and through narrow spaces to get to the storage barrel on the other side of the house.

Instead of trying to measure and cut and join a whole bunch of short plastic pieces, I used flexible aluminum dryer vent. 

(Due to the character limit on this free blog space which piggybacks on my business website, you will have to read the rest on my original blog, on MySpace.  The best pictures are yet to come!)