Author Topic: No hot water  (Read 3593 times)

hooplady

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No hot water
« on: February 19, 2023, 07:50:17 PM »
I'm posting in the "Share Your Badassity" section even though I don't think this really meets the requirements...yet.

My tankless hot water heater stopped working last week, planning on calling tomorrow to at least schedule an appointment. But truly, I'm in no rush. Cold showers have been inconvenient but invigorating. I live in a very mild climate. Dishwasher may be used a bit more since it has its own heater, most of my laundry is perfectly fine in cold water for a few rounds.

I might opt to switch to a gas-powered tankless which will surely take longer. I guess my question is, how long until this would actually qualify as "Badassity"? How long have others gone without this luxury?

GilesMM

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2023, 08:15:03 PM »
Does it have power?  Any error codes?  Any suggestions in the manual about this behavior?

yachi

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2023, 10:36:33 PM »
Do you have anything else using gas?  For my natural gas I need to pay a $16/month charge that goes toward nothing more than having the service.  It's very apparent in the summer as the only usage is our gas (tank style) water heater, and more than half the charges are the fixed costs I can't reduce.  In the winter we have a gas-fired furnace for heat so the monthly charge is not so large compared to usage.  If I had to add a gas service I wouldn't do it just for a water heater.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2023, 07:54:44 AM »
Does it have power?  Any error codes?  Any suggestions in the manual about this behavior?
I don't have a circuit tester but I've re-set all the breakers to see if something tripped. No lights at all on the unit, methinks it's dead.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2023, 07:58:11 AM »
Do you have anything else using gas?  For my natural gas I need to pay a $16/month charge that goes toward nothing more than having the service.  It's very apparent in the summer as the only usage is our gas (tank style) water heater, and more than half the charges are the fixed costs I can't reduce.  In the winter we have a gas-fired furnace for heat so the monthly charge is not so large compared to usage.  If I had to add a gas service I wouldn't do it just for a water heater.
I do have gas already and I'm in the same boat - it's only for the stove so most of my monthly charges are the fixed fees.

GilesMM

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2023, 08:09:03 AM »
Google the brand and model and "no power" and see what pops up. 


If it is plugged in to 110v with a normal plug, confirm that plug has power (plug in a hair dryer or whatever to test it).

snic

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2023, 06:09:43 PM »
Much of the world's population doesn't have access to a shower. Probably the most common way to bathe around the world is to heat up some water on a stove (or fire), dilute it into a bigger bucket with cold water until it's comfortably warm, and squat next to the bucket to soap yourself and then rinse yourself with a dipper or a cup. I wouldn't choose to do it this way but am perfectly happy to do it when necessary.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2023, 09:54:26 AM by snic »

uniwelder

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2023, 06:25:27 PM »
I know that in central Mexico (sunny mild climate, similar to Italy) most houses have solar thermal water heaters.  There's a series of vacuum solar collector tubes connected to a decent size tank.  As long as you don't use huge quantities of hot water, it keeps up pretty well with demand.  You could probably buy one for the same price as a tankless heater and never worry about paying for gas again.

BC_Goldman

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2023, 07:12:42 AM »
Back when I first found MMM, I turned off my hot water heater for a month for a personal challenge of getting my electric usage to come in below 100kWh for a billing cycle. I made it, but it wasn't fun.

I at least had decently warm water for the first few days by keeping showers short.  Based on looking at the months prior, I knew my two options were no hot water or no refrigerator. It was also during the summer so cold showers weren't so horrible at that point.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/lowest-july-electric-bill!/msg131654/#msg131654

Indio

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2023, 07:24:19 AM »

Our family went 11 months without hot water and live in the northeast. When the hot water tank sprung a leak and all of the HVAC wanted $$$$$$$ to repair it, I rethought our use of fossil fuels and it triggered my desire to move the house to net zero, which is an ongoing process. Our heat was also hot water radiators so we had to bundle up, but it kinda felt like indoor camping. BTW, water comes out of the ground warmer in summer so that wasn't too bad. Washing my hair in winter, when it felt like stabbing ice shards, was quite challenging.
Now that I have heat pump hot water, I can adjust the water temp using the system app and still take showers on the cool side. Many people are buying cold water plunge tanks, when they could just turn off their hot water.

GilesMM

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2023, 07:28:51 AM »
You guys are tough.  I need a steamy hot shower.  I can't bear even a warmish one!

sonofsven

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2023, 08:19:50 AM »

Our family went 11 months without hot water and live in the northeast. When the hot water tank sprung a leak and all of the HVAC wanted $$$$$$$ to repair it, I rethought our use of fossil fuels and it triggered my desire to move the house to net zero, which is an ongoing process. Our heat was also hot water radiators so we had to bundle up, but it kinda felt like indoor camping. BTW, water comes out of the ground warmer in summer so that wasn't too bad. Washing my hair in winter, when it felt like stabbing ice shards, was quite challenging.
Now that I have heat pump hot water, I can adjust the water temp using the system app and still take showers on the cool side. Many people are buying cold water plunge tanks, when they could just turn off their hot water.
But you don't need to turn off your hot water to get cold water.
Wait, are you Wim Hoff ? ;-)

lhamo

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2023, 12:27:14 PM »
When we were in the process of emptying out our condo in Beijing I went back for an extended period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A couple of days after I arrived, they shut down the hot water service to the entire building for some emergency repairs.  It was out for nearly two weeks.  During that period I heated water on the stove and carried it to the bathtub to use for a sponge bath every few days.  Really made me appreciate on-demand hot water!   

former player

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2023, 01:20:11 PM »
I haven't had my hot water tank on for two years now (it's working, just turned off).  I have point of use electric heaters for the showers.  It's only me in the house, so rather than heat up a whole tank and keep it warm all day I just heat what I need for a shower when I need it.  Hot water in the kitchen is from a kettle, clothes are washed on cold.  Eventually I will get tired of always washing my hands in cold water, but that's the only downside and the energy savings are considerable - there is a cost of living subsidy for our high energy prices in the UK this winter and it's basically covering all my energy use.

The only use I have for a heated tank of water would be to have a bath.  I'm having my bathroom renovated at the moment (original 30s badly hacked about in the 70s) so may celebrate with a tank of hot water when it's done.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2023, 03:16:37 PM »
I know that in central Mexico (sunny mild climate, similar to Italy) most houses have solar thermal water heaters.  There's a series of vacuum solar collector tubes connected to a decent size tank.  As long as you don't use huge quantities of hot water, it keeps up pretty well with demand.  You could probably buy one for the same price as a tankless heater and never worry about paying for gas again.
You would think that solar would be a no-brainer in my climate but when I priced one out before (many years ago) it was far more costly than I thought. Also, others in my neighborhood have had issues getting approval for something as simple as solar panels on the roof. I do foresee a few gallon jugs in the sun in the backyard this week, just to tide me over. I have black paint and Reflectix...

uniwelder

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2023, 03:55:04 PM »
I know that in central Mexico (sunny mild climate, similar to Italy) most houses have solar thermal water heaters.  There's a series of vacuum solar collector tubes connected to a decent size tank.  As long as you don't use huge quantities of hot water, it keeps up pretty well with demand.  You could probably buy one for the same price as a tankless heater and never worry about paying for gas again.
You would think that solar would be a no-brainer in my climate but when I priced one out before (many years ago) it was far more costly than I thought. Also, others in my neighborhood have had issues getting approval for something as simple as solar panels on the roof. I do foresee a few gallon jugs in the sun in the backyard this week, just to tide me over. I have black paint and Reflectix...

Are you in Italy or Florida now?

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2023, 04:09:17 PM »
Are you in Italy or Florida now?
Still Florida. Haven't ever been to Italy.

Edit: you're thinking of @Hula Hoop :-)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2023, 04:13:59 PM by hooplady »

Alternatepriorities

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2023, 08:31:53 PM »
I was seven years old before we had true running water and twelve before we really had hot water. There were a series of improvements from dry house to full plumbing over those years. Adding and septic system was a bigger quality of life upgrade than adding a pressure tank, which was a bigger upgrade than finally having hot water on demand. Once the wood stove water heater was working we did have 350 gallons of water that was too hot to touch all winter long when long essentially free hot showers are a wonderful luxury.

I'd say that even avoiding paying a plumber emergency rates to fix your heater qualifies as a bit of badassity. If you can take the time to find a way to replace the broken system with one that improves your quality of life and lowers your expenses going forward that's even more badass!

Would I go back to life without hot water? Yes for a while if it meant I could live affordable somewhere really beautiful and peaceful while I came up with a way to build out a solution... I'd have to have an exceptional reason to go lower down the tech tree than a composting toilet and grey water gravity feed system though. Outhouses just are not that fun.

Cranky

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2023, 10:17:41 AM »
I know that in central Mexico (sunny mild climate, similar to Italy) most houses have solar thermal water heaters.  There's a series of vacuum solar collector tubes connected to a decent size tank.  As long as you don't use huge quantities of hot water, it keeps up pretty well with demand.  You could probably buy one for the same price as a tankless heater and never worry about paying for gas again.

My grandfather built a similar solar hot water system for his house in Florida in the 1950s!

uniwelder

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2023, 10:38:58 AM »
Are you in Italy or Florida now?
Still Florida. Haven't ever been to Italy.

Edit: you're thinking of @Hula Hoop :-)

Yes, thank you.  Nevermind about the solar thermal then.  In more permissive, low tech areas, it seems to work very well at minimal cost.  Its generally more costly to install solar thermal systems in the US than photovoltaic if you want to heat water.

Sibley

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2023, 01:24:52 PM »

Our family went 11 months without hot water and live in the northeast. When the hot water tank sprung a leak and all of the HVAC wanted $$$$$$$ to repair it, I rethought our use of fossil fuels and it triggered my desire to move the house to net zero, which is an ongoing process. Our heat was also hot water radiators so we had to bundle up, but it kinda felt like indoor camping. BTW, water comes out of the ground warmer in summer so that wasn't too bad. Washing my hair in winter, when it felt like stabbing ice shards, was quite challenging.
Now that I have heat pump hot water, I can adjust the water temp using the system app and still take showers on the cool side. Many people are buying cold water plunge tanks, when they could just turn off their hot water.

So, you went an entire winter without central heating the northeast, where it gets below zero? IE, you risked frozen pipes and all the associated risks? That's cheap, not frugal. Also, you reference family. You unilaterally decided to make your entire family go without heat or warm water for 11 months, in the cold. If you have children, that likely qualifies as child abuse.

Take your cold showers all you want. Don't glorify stupidity and abuse.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2023, 06:31:53 PM »
Thank you all for sharing your badassity on this subject! Day 7 with no hot water and so far so good.

Ironically, in my hula hoop days (alas, not lately) I always had rolls of black tubing that I could have used to make a quick solar water heater. I haven't been making hoops for a while but I might just get 50-100' for this project and make hoops when I'm done with this experiment.

bill1827

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2023, 02:14:34 AM »

Our family went 11 months without hot water and live in the northeast. When the hot water tank sprung a leak and all of the HVAC wanted $$$$$$$ to repair it, I rethought our use of fossil fuels and it triggered my desire to move the house to net zero, which is an ongoing process. Our heat was also hot water radiators so we had to bundle up, but it kinda felt like indoor camping. BTW, water comes out of the ground warmer in summer so that wasn't too bad. Washing my hair in winter, when it felt like stabbing ice shards, was quite challenging.
Now that I have heat pump hot water, I can adjust the water temp using the system app and still take showers on the cool side. Many people are buying cold water plunge tanks, when they could just turn off their hot water.

So, you went an entire winter without central heating the northeast, where it gets below zero? IE, you risked frozen pipes and all the associated risks? That's cheap, not frugal. Also, you reference family. You unilaterally decided to make your entire family go without heat or warm water for 11 months, in the cold. If you have children, that likely qualifies as child abuse.

Take your cold showers all you want. Don't glorify stupidity and abuse.

That's more than a little harsh.

He doesn't mention burst pipes, so presumably didn't have any. He says the family were adequately clothed, so they don't seem to have suffered from excessive cold. On th eface of it it is certainly not child abuse.

I was brought up in a house with only one room regularly heated in winter and hot water was only made when needed. It was uncomfortable but not life threatening or abusive.

He was just recounting an experience and seemed to be neither advocating it nor recommending it.

Chris Pascale

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2023, 10:33:36 AM »
This reminds me of when our oil tank ran out. I was going to schedule a Saturday delivery with an extra charge for getting the hot water heater going, but my wife said, "no, I have a plan."

The plan was this: Kids went to bed with 2 blankets. Space heaters from Target. Showered at the YMCA for a week.

When I got paid, we got an oil delivery. Wife watched a YouTube vid on how to get the water heater going to save us $75.

Sibley

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2023, 03:02:39 PM »

Our family went 11 months without hot water and live in the northeast. When the hot water tank sprung a leak and all of the HVAC wanted $$$$$$$ to repair it, I rethought our use of fossil fuels and it triggered my desire to move the house to net zero, which is an ongoing process. Our heat was also hot water radiators so we had to bundle up, but it kinda felt like indoor camping. BTW, water comes out of the ground warmer in summer so that wasn't too bad. Washing my hair in winter, when it felt like stabbing ice shards, was quite challenging.
Now that I have heat pump hot water, I can adjust the water temp using the system app and still take showers on the cool side. Many people are buying cold water plunge tanks, when they could just turn off their hot water.

So, you went an entire winter without central heating the northeast, where it gets below zero? IE, you risked frozen pipes and all the associated risks? That's cheap, not frugal. Also, you reference family. You unilaterally decided to make your entire family go without heat or warm water for 11 months, in the cold. If you have children, that likely qualifies as child abuse.

Take your cold showers all you want. Don't glorify stupidity and abuse.

That's more than a little harsh.

He doesn't mention burst pipes, so presumably didn't have any. He says the family were adequately clothed, so they don't seem to have suffered from excessive cold. On th eface of it it is certainly not child abuse.

I was brought up in a house with only one room regularly heated in winter and hot water was only made when needed. It was uncomfortable but not life threatening or abusive.

He was just recounting an experience and seemed to be neither advocating it nor recommending it.

Is it? We don't know. All we have is one person's word for it. For all we know, if we were to speak to their family, we'd find out that yeah, the pipes didn't burst but they were cold at night and daddy (assuming male, didn't check) screamed at anyone who complained or even mentioned that it was cold.

WE DO NOT KNOW. And the abuser is going to say exactly what was said, just as someone who is reporting a situation which was ok. So yeah, maybe it was fine. But I spend a lot of time on the part of the internet where it wasn't fine, so I'm not going to give that pass. If you reasonably have the option to heat the house, then you need to heat the house.

Zamboni

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2023, 04:47:51 PM »
You are more rugged than I am.

The couple times in my life I've been without a water heater, I've ended up boiling water on the stove so I could have a hot bath. Seriously even like two days and I'm agitated if I'm home without hot water. I do fine without it if I'm off camping for a week . . . probably because my tub isn't calling to me daily.

Hot water and ice. These are the two opposite luxury miracles of modern society that I have no wish to go without.

couponvan

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2023, 09:28:21 PM »
Does it have power?  Any error codes?  Any suggestions in the manual about this behavior?
I don't have a circuit tester but I've re-set all the breakers to see if something tripped. No lights at all on the unit, methinks it's dead.
Have you tried the GFCI buttons directly on the outlets? It may be in a different outlet than the water heater. Have you checked that the outlet itself is producing power? (Plugging in a lamp or something and having it work.) Have you checked the reset button on the tankless water heater itself? There’s usually a safety reset if the water gets too hot for some reason that shuts everything down.

BC_Goldman

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2023, 08:23:03 AM »
After years of having a non-functional garbage disposal, I found out I just needed to push the red button on the bottom to reset it. Sometimes you get lucky and find out the fix is easy.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2023, 03:40:45 PM »
Does it have power?  Any error codes?  Any suggestions in the manual about this behavior?
I don't have a circuit tester but I've re-set all the breakers to see if something tripped. No lights at all on the unit, methinks it's dead.
Have you tried the GFCI buttons directly on the outlets? It may be in a different outlet than the water heater. Have you checked that the outlet itself is producing power? (Plugging in a lamp or something and having it work.) Have you checked the reset button on the tankless water heater itself? There’s usually a safety reset if the water gets too hot for some reason that shuts everything down.
This is hard-wired and either 220 or 240v, I've re-set the circuit breakers that are labeled as Hot Water Heater, as well as every other double circuit breaker in the box. No joy.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2023, 07:13:25 PM »
Today was the first day I craved a somewhat warmer experience. I found that two cups of water heated in the microwave for two minutes gave me enough hot to mix with cold for a semi-luxurious shampoo and bath. I also discovered that a large bowl set upright in the dishwasher yields plenty more, for those times when I actually run this appliance. I used that to bathe a foster kitten - I'm fine with the shock of cold water for myself but I'm not subjecting any other sentient beings to the experience.

I guess I'll call an actual professional next week to see about getting this fixed, but it's nice to know that I can take a bit of time to get the best solution available (instead of panicking and taking the first bid).

couponvan

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2023, 08:26:48 AM »
I grew up in a house you had to build a fire to get hot water and also for heat. On-demand hot water is not child abuse. Not child abuse. All of the Amish children are not being abused.

bill1827

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2023, 01:19:00 PM »
He doesn't actually say that children were involved. He says "my family", which may involve children but it may well not.

If there were children exposed unprotected to sub zero temperatures I have no doubt that social services, prima facie, would consider that to be child abuse.

As there is no information about the actual conditions it's all conjecture.

TreeLeaf

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2023, 01:42:26 PM »
He doesn't actually say that children were involved. He says "my family", which may involve children but it may well not.

If there were children exposed unprotected to sub zero temperatures I have no doubt that social services, prima facie, would consider that to be child abuse.

As there is no information about the actual conditions it's all conjecture.

Ah - this is an excellent point. There may not be children involved at all. We could be reading way too much into the post.

If adults want to leave the heat off then more power to them. :) My first winter living with my spouse before we had kids we only heated the house to 50 degrees all winter. Fun times.

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2023, 02:37:09 PM »
Update: I finally caved, new unit is being installed next week. A worthy experiment and I feel better prepared for Hurricane Season in case I have to deal with this again.

Just Joe

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2023, 03:24:10 PM »
FWIW after the fact - look at a heat pump water heater next time. ~$115 to heat 50 gallons of water for the year. Well suited for warm places. Side benefit of acting as a dehumidifier.

We love our's. Part of a larger project to get off propane and minimize gas usage during the milder months. 

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2023, 03:45:26 PM »
FWIW after the fact - look at a heat pump water heater next time. ~$115 to heat 50 gallons of water for the year. Well suited for warm places. Side benefit of acting as a dehumidifier.

We love our's. Part of a larger project to get off propane and minimize gas usage during the milder months.
Thanks, but don't those require a tank? That was the biggest issue in my 100+ year old house.

billygoatjohnson

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2023, 11:49:07 AM »
Hell yeah you the man! If I didn't have roommates in my house I would consider the challenge and shut the water heater off!!! The one place I really appreciate having hot water is I hand wash dishes, using cold water/soap would take a bit longer to wash the greasy/fatty stuff but could be done! Thank you for the future idea/inspiration.

P.S I live in MInnesota and only shower when feeling dirty. Often every 3-4 days. But once in a while I just get the chills and can't get warmed up and jump in the shower for 5-10 minutes. I think if I drank some warm water and put on an extra layer of clothing this could be fixed haha.

Currently keep the house in the winter 66-68 for the roomies too. If it was just me, probably 50.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 11:54:08 AM by billygoatjohnson »

Just Joe

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2023, 12:29:43 PM »
FWIW after the fact - look at a heat pump water heater next time. ~$115 to heat 50 gallons of water for the year. Well suited for warm places. Side benefit of acting as a dehumidifier.

We love our's. Part of a larger project to get off propane and minimize gas usage during the milder months.
Thanks, but don't those require a tank? That was the biggest issue in my 100+ year old house.

Yes it is like a traditional water heater with a heat pump on top (extra 18" of equipment). If you use more hot water than the 50 gallon water heater can supply then the traditional heater elements come on to catch it up and the heat pump takes over again.

The "Energy Star" sticker says it uses an estimated $115 worth of electricity vs $450 for a traditional electric water heater. There are also 120v versions that only have the heat pump, not the higher current electric heater elements for warmer parts of the country. Mine is 220v so I had to run a new circuit. 

Do you not have space for a water heater tank in a utility room or garage?

hooplady

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2023, 01:29:31 PM »
Do you not have space for a water heater tank in a utility room or garage?
Unfortunately no. There's no garage or utility room, not even any closets on the first floor. There is attic space but pretty sure it's against code to put a tank there. Tankless units are quite popular in my neighborhood because of these limitations.

Just Joe

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Re: No hot water
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2023, 07:15:43 AM »
Yep, that looks to be your only solution. Good luck to you.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!