Click here to see our current water tank structure (November 2016)
Following up on our last article seen HERE , I’m going to start off with a brief overview of what’s been happening with our water heater..
On demand water heater update:
After reading the portable eccotempt L5 horror stories, we decided to shy away from using the one we had. After days/weeks/ months of reading mixed reviews for the other models, we decided to invest in a good one. We ordered the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Indoor Tankless water heater ($843.41 on Amazon) because of the wonderful feedback. Unfortunately it came damaged in the mail. After our refund we ordered another one and not realizing it was natural gas. Then we were told that we have to wait 1-4 months for Takagi to restock.
We finally surrendered and landed a refurbished Eccotemp FVI-12-LP model from Amazon for pretty cheap ($291.35). It was our best option if we want to get our water running any time soon. Thank goodness it comes with a venting kit (see below)! Right now I am in the process of cutting the vent hole which is no easy task with the tools we have on hand.
Water in Canada
Here is a brief rundown of our setup. We couldn’t find any Canadian winter water solutions online so we created our own design. Stay tuned as we post our trial and error updates.
We have a 250 gallon water tank outside that’s surrounded in straw bales and draped with insulated tarps. The tank sits on an pallet that is packed with straw to keep it from absorbing the cold from the frozen earth. We have formed a structure that retains heat similar to a sweat. It takes a small amount of heat to keep the temperature above 0C. We have constructed a basic tin can rocket stove that we will be venting outside, but for now we are using a propane heater. The tank is pressed up against the house to benefit from the radiant heat. I watched a helpful youtube video that demonstrated how well radiant heat from a house contributes to keeping water tanks warm. We purchased electrical heat tape to keep the water hose that leads into the house from freezing. The electrical output on the tape is impressively low so our solar should handle it no problem. Even better, the hose we have is easy to remove if it does freeze. All it needs is an hour inside by the fire and it’s good to go.
*note the water pipe that runs into the house is removed in these pictures.
Our water was running smoothly all summer and since it has been cold and our on demand heater was unsafe we have resorted to manually collecting water and showering elsewhere. We expected our outdoor water tank was frozen solid after months of neglect, but once we put a space heater inside the enclosure we realized that it was just the outside walls of the tank that were iced over *phew*. In a week or so hopefully things will be running smoothly with the new on demand water heater.
What was your experience like? What did you do about water in the extreme cold? Any new idea’s that you are exploring? Knowledge is power. Let’s fuel this movement!
I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂
All the best,
-The Copper House