When you're trying to live in only 200 square feet or so of space, every inch counts. In most homes, multiple tankless water heaters are installed near the faucets and appliances that draw from them so you can run the dishwasher and shower at the same time. If you're trying to only use one or two water heaters in your tiny house to save as much space as possible, try these tips for getting more hot water out of fewer units.
Arrange Your Schedule
Sometimes living in a tiny house means changing your usual routine. Aim to wash clothing and dishes when you're relaxing after dinner instead of in the morning when you're showering for work. If you're sharing your tiny home with another person or an entire family, set up a schedule in a place everyone can see so you can work together to keep hot water chores separate. Since the on demand water heater doesn't need a long wait to heat up again after a bath, you only need short intervals of a few minutes between different uses.
Outsource Your Water
When you're working with such a small space, it makes sense to take out some of the appliances that use hot water too. Heading to the laundromat eliminates the need for a dedicated tankless water heater and gives you more room for more essential equipment. If your tiny house is mobile and you regularly stop in at campgrounds and RV parks, try using their showering facilities so the dishwasher at home can run at the same time.
Control Your Flow
Reducing the amount of hot water used by each appliance also goes a long way when you're dealing with the limitations of a tankless water heater. Each model offers a specific amount of hot water per unit of time generally described as the gallons per minute (GPM). Changing your showers so they use one GPM could free up a gallon or two per minute for other demands. Aside from buying the most water-thrifty appliances, you can try easy habit changes like
- Turning the water off during showering and only running it to wet yourself and rinse off
- Washing clothing in cold or lukewarm water instead of hot
- Using a water-saving method for washing dishes, like using wash and rinse bins instead of running water from the tap.
Expand To Solar
Don't be afraid to mix and match different water heating options to create a hybrid system. Adding a solar water heater to your roof allows you to take advantage of the sun's free energy on clear days, resulting in plenty of extra hot water for doing a few loads of laundry and dishes all at once. The tankless water heater remains available all the time so you can still enjoy your daily shower or a soak in the tub on days when the sun isn't shining. Timing your hot water chores to the weather conditions can be a little inconvenient, but it was the only option for centuries before the tumble dryer was invented.
Go With Gas
Finally, stick with a model powered by natural gas or propane if you're looking to squeeze as much hot water out of the unit as possible. The largest models with flow rates of five GPM or more rely on a live flame because the electric heating elements used in the other units simply can't react as quickly under that kind of demand. By investing in a more expensive and larger gas tankless water heater, you can get everything done with an appliance located in a convenient spot instead of losing space in different areas by using multiple slightly smaller units.
To learn more about tankless water heaters, talk to an HVAC company like Smedley & Associates, Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning.