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  • Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

    I'm putting a bathroom (sink and shower) in an outbuilding for a swimming pool. I appreciate any informed suggestions for the hot water supply.

    1. Two inch natural gas line. Also feeds pool heater.
    2. 100 amp electrical subpanel. Also feeds 2hp pool pump.
    3. Very light use. Mostly just the lav for handwashing. Occasional shower. Possibly a clothes washer in the future.
    4. Initially, this will be seasonal and shut down in the winter (Cleveland, Ohio). The building might be converted to a year-round guest house at some point.
    5. Energy costs here are very reasonable, especially compared to other parts of the country. But they are certainly a consideration. Generally, gas is preferred over electricity, if only because the perception is that it's cheaper. I don't know if this is still the case.

    Both installed and operating costs are an issue. I looked at the electric point-of-use tankless heaters that install inside a cabinet, but they seem too small to supply a shower. A smallish whole house tankless looks good on paper, if only because it won't use any energy during the 23-1/2 hours a day it's not fired up. But a small conventional tank may be much cheaper to install and not cost much more to operate.

    I'm open to suggestions.

    Ponz

  • #2
    Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

    Sounds like the perfect candidate for a gas tankless water heater.
    Last edited by drtyhands; 08-17-2007, 05:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

      Well, you should plan on the future. That sounds like it may be a full bathroom with laundry facilities for year round use.

      A gas tankless would be great in this application but a standard electric heater may be the cheapest solution for the short run. (But you knew that already)

      How often would it be used during the summer for showering and laundry?

      How do you plan to heat this building year round?
      Last edited by plumberscrack; 08-17-2007, 05:52 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

        This is only a thought but if you need to heat the building how about a gas fired heating boiler for hot water heat with a domestic hot water coil (heat exchanger) in it? You could ask about having 2 thermostats assuming it has electrical controls. One would be set to say 120F for the summer when you just want some hot water now and then but not much heat. The other would be set at 180-200F for heating. You would then (at the boiler) have a 3 way switch marked "Winter" and "Summer". Be sure to install a tempering valve for the domestic hot water for scald prevention.

        Now if you are wanting to hold down installation cost and only have enough heat for freeze protection for now, going all electric with a small tank type water heater and maybe electric wall or baseboard heat could save you some big money on equipment and installation cost. You don't have the issue of venting fumes either.

        Think about what PlumbersCrack had to say. What you go for really depends on how much use the place will get and what times of the year. No matter what you'll want some heat in there for freeze protection.

        Hmmm: Please tell about the pool heater. Maybe that could serve for other uses too???


        Note: Woussko is not a licensed plumber or plumbing contractor and really should stay out of this area. I just want you to think about things and that you do have options.
        Last edited by Woussko; 08-17-2007, 08:13 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

          Thanks for the replies.

          PCrack, until the conversion to a heated guest house, at least several years away, the shower usage would not be more than once a day, average. Probably more like three to four a week. (I'm installing an outdoor shower off the back, which I love. The wife thinks it's "yucky!". The kids will probably think it's cool.) The laundry facilities are a potential use in the future. I'm roughing them in because, well, it will be easy now. So hot water usage in the building for now figures to be about 100 per week. I don't think the lav will draw much hot water. It probably wouldn't be on long enough during a hand washing to even reach the faucet.

          I was planning on shutting the building down during the winter - no heat at all. Is this compatible with a tankless (or any other kind) of water heater? Can they be winterized? If I had to, I could set up a tankless so it could be disconnected and stored in the house. It's certainly small enough.

          For that matter, how do you winterized the rest of the plumbing? The supply from the house will be below the frost line. One thought was to install an air valve in the house and blow the pipes out like an underground sprinkler system. Will this work with copper plumbing? Am I better off with PVC or some other plastic? What about the fixtures?

          To heat the building when the time comes, I figure I'll have a few options. The total square footage, main floor and loft, would be about 550 sq ft. I could go electric baseboard, through-the-wall heat/ac combo units, or a conventional forced air furnace. I might even get a nice little gas-fired cast iron stove. At this point I've ruled out hot water radiant (and maybe even electric radiant) because of the lag time required to get the temp from, say 45 deg, to 70 deg on short notice. I also like forced air because A/C is easy to add.

          Using the pool heater is not an option. Unfortunate, because it is pretty much a 330,000 Btu tankless water heater. But it's a closed system full of pool water with a filter and a electric chlorine generator.

          Thanks again,

          Ponz

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          • #6
            Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

            Originally posted by ponz View Post
            Thanks for the replies.

            PCrack, until the conversion to a heated guest house, at least several years away, the shower usage would not be more than once a day, average. Probably more like three to four a week. (I'm installing an outdoor shower off the back, which I love. The wife thinks it's "yucky!". The kids will probably think it's cool.) The laundry facilities are a potential use in the future. I'm roughing them in because, well, it will be easy now. So hot water usage in the building for now figures to be about 100 per week. I don't think the lav will draw much hot water. It probably wouldn't be on long enough during a hand washing to even reach the faucet.

            I was planning on shutting the building down during the winter - no heat at all. Is this compatible with a tankless (or any other kind) of water heater?
            Can they be winterized?
            If I had to, I could set up a tankless so it could be disconnected and stored in the house. It's certainly small enough.


            Ponz

            Tankless heaters can be easily winterized simply by shutting off power & electricity, and blowing out all water from the heat exchanger and internal piping. Rinnai has some neat stuff for freeze protection, like a temp.activated solenoid valve that drains all water from the unit when opened, they also have a battery pack that can be used to protect it in the event of a blackout. I think that stuff is for people who are leaving the device on in the winter.(not really sure how cold it gets in Ohio)
            West Trail Mechanical Ltd
            Service. Commitment. Expertise.

            www.westtrailmechanical.ca

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            • #7
              Re: Options for seasonal, infrequent hot water supply.

              Ponz:

              I don't have much experience with this but, 2 summers back my wife and I spent some time in Oxford, UK. A local bed and breakfast had some type of small electric on demand water heater for the shower. It seemed to work fine. I am not sure this is the same one you are talking about, but for the next couple of years it seems this should be more than adequate.

              Once you start doing laundry, etc. you porbably need an upgrade.
              thepapabear<BR>When a bureaucrat has a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

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