Anyone with experience with demand water heater? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I am building my homestead again finally and considering a demand type water heater. Anyone ever used one? Pros and cons? Will it handle showers for my family?

-- Chris Tomlinson (, January 09, 2002


Not sure if this is what you mean, but we have a furnace with a little tiny tank; the water is basically heated "instantly" by a coil, (i.e. there is no large water tank being heated regularly). We had some trouble at first because our well water had sediment in it, which was blocking some mechanism, and thus we'd run out of hot water real quickly. Then we had a little Culligan filter put in, and it worked fine. We have 6 kids, 5 of whom take baths weekly plus more as needed, plus there are two adults who shower every day. Rarely a problem, except when you try to shower and do a wash at the same time. Sometimes the water in the upstairs bathroom takes a while to heat up, as it is the farthest room in the house from the furnace (great planning on the builder's part!). Overall, after we got out the kinks, it's working well.

-- Christina (, January 09, 2002.

In Guatemala, demand hot water heaters was prety much all there was to use. The ones I remember were small boxes in the shower and were not wired properly...I always said a prayer before I flipped the switch on or reset the breaker while standing naked in cooling water. The wires to the shower head wear there was a flow switch were also exposed.

However, if installed properly,I think they can save a fair amount of money.

-- Gary from Mn (, January 09, 2002.

I have one and have not quite figured out the best way to install it yet. It will only do about 1.8 gpm if it has to raise the temp of the water 90 degrees. We get our water from a natural spring with VERY cold water, so I'm afraid it won't provide enough hot water to do what we need. The plumber said that I could use it to pre-heat the water going into the (electric) water heater, but to me that seems to defeat the purpose of having the thing in the first place. I don't know, but will be watching this thread with great interest.

-- chuck in md (, January 09, 2002.

Chuck; Why not turn down your water heater thermostat (lower temp differential = lower heat loss) and let your water heater (in your garage ?) store 40 gallons of cold spring water and it should raise the temp of the water enough that the instant water heater does not have to raise it 90 degrees ? If your garage is maybe 40 degrees then the instant heater would only have to raise it 50 degrees (may get more gpm that way).In the milder months you could probably turn off the water heater completely. regards Tradesman

-- tradesman (, January 10, 2002.

We have an Aquastar on demand hot water heater and have been using it for over a year now. It uses propane and has a PV option we intent to use later, when we build our home and go off grid.

I can't praise this system enough! The hot water keeps coming as long as the tap is open and there is plenty of it. We don't try to do a load of laundry, take a bath and wash dishes all at once. I don't think the system would handle all that demand at once. If you get a good on demand unit, you should be able to take a bath and wash dishes at the same time, without running out of hot water. We can.

It sure saves a whole lot of propane tho. Before we moved and installed the Aquastar, we had the old type of hot water heater tank. That and the stove were the only appliances that used propane and we used a LOT of propane every month.

Now we heat with propane, cook with it and of course the Aquastar uses propane. Even with the heating here, we still use a lot less propane than we did in the other house and the difference is the way we heat our hot water.

By all means, go for an on demand unit. Ours paid for itself in less than a year just from the amount of propane we weren't using.

-- Carol - in Virginia (, January 10, 2002.

We have an Aquastar, too. Natural Gas. LOVE IT. DEFINATELY the way to go. Will never have a tank again.

You can shower for 24 hours, heck, for three weeks, and never run out of hot water.

-- Rose (, January 10, 2002.

I burned out 2-220/240 demand water heaters in 3 years and then bought a Paloma LPG demand heater and never had problems with hot water or burn out either.

-- hendo (, January 10, 2002.

We have an older Paloma, small size that I don't recall at the moment. Bought it used, and it works great. I would probably put in a new Aquastar if I built a new house, as they make a model that controls the maximum temperature of the water coming out, so it is usable with water that is solar preheated. They come in various sizes, capable of taking care of any use. The only disadvantage that I see is initial cost, but they are more efficient and last llonger than other water heaters.


-- Jim (, January 10, 2002.

Hello Chris,

Three disadantages that I know of are....the intitial expense which could run $400 dollars and up, if they are electrical you will need a 220 hook up, and gallons per minute water pressure has to be substantual. If you have all of this covered, you will be delighted with their results.



-- (, January 10, 2002.

We also have the Aquastar on demand water heater, propane version with the Powervent. We are very happy with it and it is saving us money (our electric bill is at least half of what it was with an electric hot water heater, and the Aquastar seems to use very little propane).

If you have hard water, a water softener is a good idea to extend the life of the unit. The tech support people at Controlled Energy Corporation (distributor for Aquastar) are very helpful if you have questions on installataion or operation of the unit.

-- Jane (, January 10, 2002.

We have been using an Aquastar for 6 years and I will never go back to a tank system. It is wonderful, no electric, just propane. The only problem we had with it was when it was realllly windy the wind would blow down the vent pipe and blow the pilot light out but we had to move the vent pipe when putting an addition on the back of our house and haven't had a problem since. The inital expense was about $500 but your not keeping a 40 gallon tank of water hot 24 hours a day for nothing so your not using that energy. I would put one in again in a minute.

-- Mary R. (, January 10, 2002.

Thanks for all the great input. It sounds like the Aquastar is the way to go.

-- Chris Tomlinson (, January 11, 2002.

i lived in alaska for 14 years and saw the above heaters used in remote places and can say for sure they are great. the amount of propane used is small and small tanks last awhile without changing. (fly in hunters and fishermen) there are a couple brands that have a battery that lights the pilot, instead of the fuel it takes to keep a pilot burning when not in use. when they break, repairs are easy to do. 10-12 years use, whithout problems is a common thing. the only thing i ever saw that people do when installing them that creates problems is. in small areas you have to give them a sourse of makeup air. example----when changing a trailer water heater out, the small cubby holes the old heater is in wont allow enough air for the burner to work right, then the heat exchanget gets carboned up and pluges. over time it melts out the heat excahnger and you dont get much in the way of hot water. the problem can be fixed by cutting a vent hole in the door or an ajoining room. on a scale of 1-10 i give them a 10.

-- Dan (, January 12, 2002.

The Aquastar is a great water heater. A friend has used one for about 12 years and loves it. We have an electric demand heater. It is ventless and about the same size as the Aquastar. Recquires 200 amp service, four 30 amp breakers and draws 93 amps when on. It has four heat chambers of 7000 watts each. We have hard water from a spring. After about 4 years use the water jacket had a small leak at a gasket. It was $60 dollars for a new water jacket and four new heating elements. Change-out was straight forward and took a couple of hours. I was very pleased when I got the old water jacket apart and saw almost zero lime deposits on the old elements and none in the wate jacket itself. I expected it to be virtually full of lime scale. I clean my shower head almost daily due to lime deposits. Anyway we love our water heater and find it to be very economical to use. We saw no real increase in the electric bill. The meter spins like crazy when on, but that's only for a few minutes a day. It is great to take a shower and never run out of hot water.

-- Paul Moore (, March 27, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ