Today we ordered one of the most expensive investments for our home. We settled on the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Indoor Tankless water heater. Selecting such an expensive unit was a rather dramatic shift from our original Eccotemp L5 “Portable Tankless Water heater and Outdoor shower”.
I had read multiple articles online earlier this year about how many people were choosing to “jimmy-rig” the L5 units and use them inside their homes. At the time, I was having much difficultly tracking one of these down in Canada. When I had the chance to order one on overstock.com, I jumped at it. Amazon was sold out and there wasn’t a restock date available. When our little unit showed up in the mail and we hooked it up outside, it performed quite well. At the time, this was the best case scenario.
Eccotemo L5 Portable tankless water heater and outdoor shower.
Amazon: CDN$ 166.88
Placing a unit outdoors is not a winter solution in Canada. Once the pipes freeze it is game over. Our master plan was to make a portable mount and move it to and from the window when we needed to. When the time finally came to move forward with the design, I did a final google search and was horrified at my discovery. The Eccotempt L5 units were falling apart. There were reports of popping and banging sounds and lots of units were blown apart inside. I read about people nearly burning their RV’s down. I sifted through countless Amazon reviews by extremely dissatisfied customers.
This blogger went into pretty good detail about their experience. http://www.justrightbus.com/2014/06/EccotempReview.html
After that, I began looking into vented indoor units. The Marey Power Gas 10 L 3.1 GPM Tankless water heater was also quite affordable, so I started there. Then on to the customer feedback. There seemed to be a sliding scale of reviews for nearly every model or make we found. I stumbled upon a lot of warnings about “fake reviews” and bad customer service. I read so many reviews for so many models that my eyes almost fell out of my head. I didn’t feel good about any of them. I have a strong suspicion that the majority of the “mini” on demand hot water heaters are made in the same factory in China and branded by different companies.
Marey Power Gas 10 L 3.1 GPM
Amazon: CDN$ 365.99
Becoming the new model guinea pig.
We were tempted to take a gamble and invest in one of the new Eccotemp models that are coming out. They have a new shiny casing, and are in our price range. Almost too good to be true. With so many complaints of bad customer service, we didn’t want to risk making a blind purchase with no online reviews.
Hot and cold Fluctuations.
Extreme temperate fluctuations seem to be a major concern with mini units. In the cheaper units the flame must be manually adjusted when the hot water heater is turned on. This is not a problem for most, until you start playing with the hot and cold water. Warm water can turn to scalding water if you turn the cold off first.
Free of electricity.
Unfortunately, we were not able to find a unit that would support our needs 100%. We had to give in and go with a unit that needed a standard plug for the sparking mechanism though we would have preferred using a battery like in the L5 and some similar models.
Keeping a warranty for a tiny home application doesn’t seem promising. Most of the expensive units require professional installation to honor the warranty or are void if placed in such small square footage.
What we did learn from the warranty is how strongly each company stands behind their product.
Looking at the failure rates of the on-demand heaters which are fairly new to the market really put our purchase into perspective. We decided to make a bold step and buy an expensive model with glowing reviews. We will have peace of mind that our unit will live a long life and not leave us in -40°C with no warm water.
Our Takagi hot water heater should arrive in a week or two. As soon as it’s fired up, we will be posting about the pros and cons of our purchase.
Tagaki T-KJr2-IN-LP Indoor Tankless water heater
CDN$ 843.41 Marked down from CDN$ 1,265.60
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