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On-Demand Hot Water Systems for Barn?

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  • On-Demand Hot Water Systems for Barn?

    Does anyone have experience with On-Demand hot water systems for use in the barn? I currently have a 50 gallon hot water heater in my tack room that services my tack room and wash stall. I am wondering if an On Demand system would save electricity and be more economical and efficient. Has anyone changed their hot water heater to an on-demand system? Likes/dislikes? Pros/cons? I am thinking of going with this system once my hot water heater needs to be replaced. Thanks!

  • #2
    I have one for my masterbath. If you are the only one using it, private barn, maybe. But they do use a lot of electric when you do need hot water. I have boarders and my own children in the barn. I would hate to think what my electric bill would be if I had one in the barn. I would ask an electrician. You might be better off with a newer, more efficient unit. I can understand wanting to save $$ on electric, I'm the electric police at my house lol


    • #3
      I sort of looked into one, but was told my barn wiring was not suitable because they draw so much power. That scared me off because I am paranoid enough as it is about having a proper and safe electrical system at the barn.

      If I was going to install one, I would sure make sure I hired someone who would do it correctly.

      I have used these in the house with mixed results. I have a big gas one for my house, and it is wonderful. I had a smaller electric one for my garage apartment and its output was not as strong. I also had a very small point of use electric one in the bathroom under the sink, but it wore out pretty quickly.
      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


      • #4
        They do draw a lot of power, but if you wire the barn suitably (ours draws 60 amps) they are FANTASTIC. Endless warm/hot bath water on demand, and ZERO power used to heat water when I don't need it.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          I have one in my barn and it saved me a ton on my electric bill. In the summer the only complaint might be that you have to wait if three horses in a row get baths and your the 4th one waiting. But the wait is only a few minutes. Just check that your breaker has enough power. Your electrician can tell you that in a jiffy.


          • #6
            Originally posted by goldponies View Post
            I have one in my barn and it saved me a ton on my electric bill. In the summer the only complaint might be that you have to wait if three horses in a row get baths and your the 4th one waiting. But the wait is only a few minutes. Just check that your breaker has enough power. Your electrician can tell you that in a jiffy.
            Did you have an older standard hot water heater in the barn before? My electrician told me to forget about saving money with an on demand heater because they draw so much electric when they are in use.

            I do like the one in my master bath for the large tub, it saved me from having to put a larger heater for the house. I wish I had put in a gas model on demand for the entire house.


            • #7
              I don't even have the hot water heater in the barn plugged in during the summer lol. That saved me money. But I'm in FL, not much need for the hot water in the barn during the summer, lol.


              • #8
                My electrician told me to forget about saving money with an on demand heater because they draw so much electric when they are in use.
                You sort of have to do the math. If you're keeping a tank of water hot all the time and very rarely use it, an on-demand heater will likely save you money. If you don't mind waiting for hot water, one of the portable propane ones might be an option. But a real, in-line, on-demand heater will provide ENDLESS water at the same temperature. Yes, it uses a lot of juice to do so, but if you are only using it every now and then, it works out to costing less than keeping a tank of water hot all the time.

                I might use mine once in three months, or I might use it several times a day. But my barn's electric bill is low, and I don't have to waste space with a big hot water heater, nor worry about that thing malfunctioning and making a mess, much less the cost of keeping all that water hot all the time.

                Some people use the traditional tank heaters and keep them turned off unless they know it's "bath day" or something. That would be a good option for someone who uses hot water only on "special occasions" and has the time and wits to turn it on a few hours beforehand. I have neither time nor wits, so I just keep my on-demand heater there on standby when I need it.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  Make sure the particular unit will provide enough flow in gallons per minute to suit you. The small ones don't make much hot water, and the big ones are big bucks, not only to buy, but to operate. We're doing 7 1/2 gpm in our wash stall, of which more than half is hot water. It doesn't take many minutes to wash a horse at that rate, but that's the way I like it.


                  • #10
                    Deltawave, is this your personal barn or do you have boarders? If I didn't have boarders in my barn, or my kids, I could see how it would save money But other people aren't going to care about my electric bill, so I don't think I want them to have endless hot water I do have a small water heater in the barn. It's enough to soak alfalfa cubes, do a load of wash, give a bath. If I was the only person at my barn I would love an on demand system I like the one in my house I guess it just depends on the situation.


                    • #11
                      My little barn, no boarders.

                      Maybe put in a coin-operated timer?
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                        My little barn, no boarders.

                        Maybe put in a coin-operated timer?
                        Thats a thought


                        • #13
                          Have you thought about doing two things:

                          1 - Install one of those insulation kits, which you can get a a place like Lowes or Home Depot

                          2 - install a timer that turns the water heat on just for a specific time.

                          I would take to a electrician, and price the insulation kit and timer kit. You might come out about as well off. My dad put in one for our house, and it worked well.


                          • Original Poster

                            Well, I have a 5 stall private barn with 4 horses. I looove my hot water. As I said in my original post, I have a 50 gallon hot water heater which does take up quite a bit of room in my little tack room. I don't bathe my horses in the winter. In the summer, I do use the hot water so my horses can have warm baths after I ride them (I am only riding 2 of them). After I ride, I hose them off and maybe once a week or every other week give the ones I ride a good shampoo which takes longer and uses more water. in the winter though, I give all 4 horses very warm water in their water buckets (each get 2 buckets). I also have an electric heater for the tack room. It is like a radiator with oil in it that heats up. My electric bill for my little one person barn can be as much as $130.00/month in the winter months and $20-$30.00/month in the summer months. I am looking for a way to save money in electric bills. I also want to put a small water treatment system in as I am on my 3rd hot water heater in 12 years due to the hard water.


                            • #15
                              Our house builder say no to on demand systems, not with our water, so high in minerals, unless we get some fancy filtering system and keep it up very well.
                              That is just one more consideration, according to him.

                              The water heater has a recirculating pump, so there is warm water on demand at any point in the house.
                              I dunno, seems that either way you are spending plenty.


                              • #16
                                I have an acquaintance who recently got severe carbon monoxide poisoning due to her on demand water heater not being properly vented. Not really an issue with the heater, but please make sure they are vented properly!


                                • #17
                                  I have a Titan on demand electric heater in my house. I am also on a well and haven't had a problem with it, 7 years so far. Pretty sure their website says well water isn't a problem. You might want to look into the new GE electric water heater. They are supposed to be pretty efficient.

                                  You could also look into some type of filter for your water. I have an iron filter on my system. I also have a water softner, but haven't used it in a while. I don't think I would want the horses drinking the softened water. Also it would cost a lot for all the salt. My system is split so the house would get the softened water but not the barn or the sprinkler system.

                                  Do you drain the electric heater you have now? If not, that might help. Over time sediment builds up on the bottom of the heater.

                                  Let us know what you find out


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Halfling View Post
                                    Does anyone have experience with On-Demand hot water systems for use in the barn? I currently have a 50 gallon hot water heater in my tack room that services my tack room and wash stall. I am wondering if an On Demand system would save electricity and be more economical and efficient. Has anyone changed their hot water heater to an on-demand system? Likes/dislikes? Pros/cons? I am thinking of going with this system once my hot water heater needs to be replaced. Thanks!
                                    Where you at???

                                    There are two types of "on demand" systems, gas and electric. Most folks don't want gas in a barn, so you're likely looking at the electric product. Gas is much more efficient, raising the temp. of the water much faster and for less energy input.

                                    One of major limittions with the "on demand" system is that there is a limit on how fast the water can be heated. Remember that the cold input water must be raised to an output temp. is a very short period of time. Gas does a better job, but if you don't want it then you have to see what your local conditions are. Manufacturers have charts showing input, output, and flow rate data for their units. Check them before you make a decision.

                                    When I researched the issue about a year ago I concluded that that East TN is about as far north as you can go with an electric unit and still have reasonable efficiency. Most plumbing contractors around here won't install electric units in houses due to the number of complaints received over output temps. They will install gas units.

                                    There have been several threads on these devices over the years. Do some searching and you'll get a lot of information.

                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                    • #19
                                      $130 electric bill for the barn!! Our house is around that. Love the geothermal system.

                                      How warm are you keeping the tack room in the winter? I have a little electric wall-mounted heater and keep it at forty degrees. Warm enough to feel HEAVENLY on a single-digit day and to keep the pipes from freezing. Winter electric bill (I also have a very powerful heated waterer and run a heat lamp and radiant heater for the chickens) is <$50. In the summer (no waterer heat, just lights, fence, and on-demand H2O, it's around $15.

                                      Is your tack room well insulated? Can you crank the thermostat down? It sounds like that's your biggest draw. You can also put buckets of water in the warm-ish tack room to warm up passively during the day rather than filling them with heated water at night.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        My barn sounds a bit similar to the OP. Private, 6 stalls 4 horses, heated tack room and a traditional water heater. In the summer my electric bill is around $20. The tack room is insulated and we keep it around 45° in the winter with the addition of a tank deicer I might get up to $100 for a really cold month. ("really cold" is most days not getting above freezing but rarely a low below 10°)

                                        When I built the barn the additional charge to increase the ampage and up grade the box to handle an on demand was significant. The additional cost of the unit plus installation started pushing the cost toward a 1K. That stunned me. Considering how low my bill is now when the heater isn't on I struggle to think I could have had enough savings to get a payback for years and years.

                                        Before you spend much time on it talk to an electrician about the cost to set your barn up for it. My cost was for initial installation, a retro fit will be more expensive! I would bet if you're looking to save money the faster pay off would be to look at your insulation.