Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion tankless water heaters

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    I need to install a tankless water heater…yes, I know that solar, or piggyback off my woodstove would be much better, but it is a State agency I have to impress, and soon

    Trying to choose between ExcelAmerica 1.6 gpm tankless gas water heater NG VentFree 10001P1, and EccoTemp LPG L5 Portable Gas Tankless Water Heater

    Can anyone offer actual experience with either of these units?



    I use the EccoTemp LPG L5, I can’t speak about the other one, I can say that I am very happy with my EccoTemp LPG L5. The only thing I didn’t like about it is the hand held shower nozzle, it leaks at the connector, and the on-off switch is very difficult to use, if your hands are wet or soapy, forget it, it’s nearly impossible to function.

    The temperature of the water that comes out is very defendant on the temp of the water going in, so in the summer, we turn the heat down and in the winter, we turn it up. I also set the temp to be the hottest I would like it all by itself, I don’t try to turn on the hot and the cold water to blend them, if you do that, while you are adjusting the water temps, you are wasting water and gas, so set it to the temp you want when using only the hot water.

    After reading about the other water heater, I would say this looks like it may be a better water heater, it requires no batteries or electric hookup, and it doesn’t need to be vented, it does cost more though, I would say that if you can afford it, get this one, if money is very tight, then get the one I have, it works and it works good.



    I just watched the video for ExcelAmerica 1.6 gpm tankless gas water heater NG VentFree 10001P1, even though they say they don’t use batteries, it clearly shows a battery compartment with batteries in the unit, here is where I found this:


    If this unit does require a battery, then the only better thing about it is the fact that is is ventless. You will have to decide if that is worth the extra $$$ or not.


    Some other relevant information (for those of you who are still interested in the unit):

    The Eccotemp L5 is a pretty hearty unit, it lasts for an incredibly long time if used properly, and can provide a very economical and useful service to off the grid practitioners.

    It’s not without flaws, but for the money it’s arguably the best unit ever produced in the genre. It will need a bit of fine tuning and will need a few minutes of setup, but it’s perhaps the best unit for 2-4 people on the market under $300/insert your currency here.

    You can check out a review on it at this url:

    And purchase it here from a specialty supplier who knows a thing or two about the unit:

    The off the grid lifestyle is about being self sufficient economically efficient, and suffering in lifestyle as minimally as possible, and this unit meets these requirements all with ease. It’s worth a look if you need a good value, and a dependable unit, and aren’t afraid of a bit of fine tuning.


    The idea behind a tankless system is that it heats the water as you need it instead of continually heating water stored in a tank. Tankless heaters have been the norm in much of Europe and Japan for quite some time, but they haven’t gained popularity until recently in the United States — largely due to the green movement.


    There are many within the green building and energy efficient movement that are somewhat opposed to tankless water heaters. They are certainly the right choice for many situations especially for off-grid people who already have propane infrastructure.

    However, many feel tankless are not the greenest choice for most situations. At least two very good studies (by Consumer Reports and University of MN) find that its not cost-effective to switch from existing tank water heater to tankless.

    People who are using solar to pre-heat should be aware of the problems associated with using tankless.

    Other general problems with tankless: Most dont work with low flow fixtures, Cold water sandwiches, lose supply during power outages, dependence on a non-renewable resource, a possible increase in overall energy use due to endless supply.

    Yes, tankless eliminate standby losses but if they arent the newest,cutting edge models, then their pilot lights burn just as much energy as the standby losses of a tank. There are new electric tanks available that are very efficient, simple and easy to maintain, easy to add insulation too, work great with solar, and can be fueled with renewable electricity. The new Rheem Marathons fit this description while being affordable and dont have Anode rods to maintain.

    All this being said, LP tankless makes the most sense for off-grid with propane infrastructure. Just be sure to get one with electronic ignition, efficient condensing technology, and of course be aware of the effects of occupant behavior.


    My boating buddies like the excel product. One guy outfitting a charter boat had to downsize because the Units produced too much hot water. The lower flow model was sufficient.

    northern person

    The Bosch 260 is a very good choice for the cabin when using an RV pump, these can be setup for natural gas or propane. They are also very compact


    Springtimehomes wrote:

    There are many within the green building and energy efficient movement that are somewhat opposed to tankless water heaters.

    However, many feel tankless are not the greenest choice for most situations.

    What are these objections and drawbacks. Inquiring minds want to know.


    I thought I had covered it but I will sum it up: By going with Tankless you are committing to an unrenewable resource for the fuel.


    you can do electric tankless. but they are 1500 wats . also require 8gauge even though they are 120. its a project to run a new circit unless you dont mind conduit. another option for electric if you have existing solar thermal is to take a lowboy 6 gal conventional tank switch the single original element with a 12v element. plumb it in to the indirect side of your holding tank and run with glycol as a suplimental source when the sun wont do the trick.

    also the new woodfired heatexchangers for hot tubs are claming to heat a hot tob to temp in three hours with kindling. wood is more renuewable then propane.

    springtime kudos on the new marathon tanks it seems like there design to be very modular. their new compact exchanger all pre-plumbed with controls lox like a nice unit too. haven’t seen the price yet. i be their proud of it.

    cheers g

    northern person

    Gordo if its 1500 watts on 120 volt a number 14 or 12 guage wire is all thats requred. The amperage would be about 12 amps.

    regards NG

    northern person

    Has anyone travelled to South or Central America the have a shower head that has a electric element inside it. I found they work ok but you need to keep your distance from them. I am fairly tall and found I could get a slight electric shock at times


    ng — i agree im just going off the manufacture specs when i looked into them.. i haven’t seen one in person { the electric models) maybe they have a capacitor or transformer in them. actuall that would be pretty cool to have an internal transformer and flip the line before it runs to the load. only if it had an internal switch relay or the transformer would be a huge ghost load.

    peace g


    Greetings from Canada! Here is our log cabin, we’ve tried the Coleman hot water heater, returned it, also the Zodi X40 Outfitter, returned it, now we are thinking of the Eccotemp. We’d like to use this indoors, for showering in particular. Heating water on the wood stove is our current system, and filling the sink for dishes, or the rubber tub for a bath. We have a gravity fed poly tank which we fill with either jugs of water from town in the winter, or from our well/pump/hose in the warmer months. Does anyone have a user experience with the L5 or the L10 from Eccotemp?

    Thanks in advance,


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