View Full Version : Barn Water Heater, Please Advise!

Oct. 21, 2009, 09:46 AM
I am looking to install a water heater in my outdoor wash stall to have access to hot water for the colder months, primarily for washing off my horse when needed.

Will yall please give me your advise how what size water heater, electric or propane and how much it cost you to buy and pay per month?

I have a small, three stall barn with an outdoor wash rack flush to the back wall. The barn has lights, electrical sockets and a breaker box but I don't think the breaker will stand too much power going to it. Even now, if I have too much running in the barn, the breaker will trip. I have access to another breaker box I can run the wire too for the water heater, just requires trenching and buying the wire to lay underground. More $$$.

I have 3 horses but they do not live in the barn where the wash stall is. I use it for tacking up, keeping a horse in if sick, etc. So, the use of hot water is minimal, only riding one horse daily and other wise would just use the hot water for tack cleaning, washing off horse boots, etc.

I have also heard of a water heater that is more expensive up front but that doesn't run all the time. Only comes on when you turn on the water? Costs less money per month supposodly.

Please help!I am excited to get this project underway and have the manpower to do it but want to install the best heater for my situation that is the most cost efficient!


Oct. 21, 2009, 11:22 AM
Do a search for "Hot Water on Demand" water heaters. There are various sizes depending on how many gallons you need to heat and in what time frame and they are far more economical to run

The one we are looking at is about $450.00 so not horribly cost prohibitive either and they only run while they are heating the water, unlike hot water tanks which run constantly via electric, propane or gas to maintain the ambient temperature inside the tank whether you are using the hot water or not

Good luck! :)

Oct. 21, 2009, 11:38 AM
I have one of the "hot water on demand" water heaters in my barn. I rarely use it, but it is really handy when you do! I have the pop on ends to my hoses so it is easy to attach. I just hook it up when I want to use it, let it run a second and we are good :) I am not sure how much it cost (it was a gift) but it doesn't use any power when not running.

Oct. 21, 2009, 12:54 PM
If you do get a tank-less hot water heater ..make sure that you have an experienced plumber put it in....and by experienced - I mean one who does this specific installation! We had one when we first built our barn/house and it was a disaster. I still believe that God had to have interviened for our home not to have burned down and/or that we did not get zapped to death!

With that said.. if you live where it gets really cold and the the tankless heater is going to be exposed to those kinds of temperatures, the water may not get 'hot'..only warmer. That was another issue we had with ours.. even though we live in South Texas, I never got a 'hot' shower or bath in the winter months ...and our tankless water heater WAS in a environment controlled laundry room!

If it had worked - I would have loved it...but we had so many issues until we finally gave up and had an old fashioned one put in.

Oct. 21, 2009, 03:16 PM
We put in our own tankless (on demand)water heater in a house and it worked very well and pretty easy to install. You just need to make sure and buy a big enough unit and put it in the right place. It was great on energy too!!! I am planning on putting another one in my barn at the new place.

Oct. 21, 2009, 03:56 PM
With your sketchy electrical system you should probably consult with an electrician prior to trying to pick out a domestic water heater. They can give you an idea of what you have available electricity wise and that will help you decide what you might be able to do water heater wise.

You just need to make sure and buy a big enough unit and put it in the right place.Where you locate the tankless water heater really is not the issue as much as its ability to heat a certain amount of water to a certain temperature.