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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Tankless propane water heater
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Brian Ray
Member
# Posted: 6 Jul 2020 20:10
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Hello, I am currently using an Eccotemp L5 battery ignition propane tankless water heater in my off grid cabin. https://www.eccotemp.com/eccotemp-l5-portable-outdoor-tankless-water-heater/ This is rated at 1.5 gallons per minute.

This water heater has worked fine for our needs - showering, dish washing, etc., But I recently had a scary occurrence with it. While showering, the burner remained lit after water flow had stopped. When I turned the shower head back on, I got a burst of water, then high pressure steam. Luckily I didn't have the shower head pointed at myself at the time. After exiting the shower, I saw the top of the water heater glowing red and quickly shut off the propane.

Eccotemp support was helpful and offered suggestions for diagnosis and repair, but I don't think I would ever feel safe using this thing again. I would think a unit like this would have safeguards in place to prevent such a dangerous situation, but this situation proves otherwise.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a replacement? Maybe something more safe? I do like the battery ignition.

We are collecting rainwater and using a 12 Volt RV water pump to supply the heater.

Thank you

Bruces
Member
# Posted: 6 Jul 2020 21:10
Reply 


I have the same unit and last week I had a small leak that had drained most of my water storage tank .Anyways ,I thought I had lots of water ,but after a few seconds the heater started spitting as the pump picked up enough to send it through .I did 100% notice it kept trying to relight itself when it had the bursts of water pressure .I can only blame myself (actually the pump fitting o ring is leaking ) and can only say the heater did shut off each time it lost pressure and restarted ,so I am satisfied with its safety systems .Mine is brand new in May this year ,so it might be a little different than an older model .

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 6 Jul 2020 21:11
Reply 


They do have a safety built in but sounds like it must have failed. I test mine regularly buy lowering the flow enough that it shuts the burner off

I think it’s a fluke that yours failed and not sure any of the other units that are similar would be any different

Think your stuck with a hot water tank if you won’t trust another on demand unit

Lots of eccotemp units in service and this is the first I’ve heard of that. But in the real world anything can break

paulz
Member
# Posted: 6 Jul 2020 22:11
Reply 


My L5 is 4-5 years old, works perfectly. Perhaps some debris in the line? Anyway, like FishHog said, everybody has the darn things, if it was a common fault it'd be documented.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 7 Jul 2020 07:05
Reply 


If your going to buy a new one I suggest getting away from the Ecotemp brand. All these L5 L7 and L10 ratings are false. You need to find the temp rise at a specific gallon a minute. Any other rating the manufacturer states is prob just there own rating with there own specs.

I bought an iHeat from homedepot for about $30 more than the ecotemp l5. If I remember right it has nearly 2x the temp rise of the L5. I have left ours out in rain storms and have prob burned about 40lbs of propane through it.

The ecotemp you have now could be plumbed in to just supply warm water to the sink. Less chance of a full body burn there.

Brian Ray
Member
# Posted: 7 Jul 2020 14:21
Reply 


Thanks for the replies, it sounds like these units are usually reliable and safe. My L5 is about 7 years old, I think I'll replace rather than repair. Maybe the newer units have been improved.

I'll also look into the iHeat brand. I noticed many of the different brands look identical, possibly made by the same manufacturer and just branded differently.

Bruces
Member
# Posted: 7 Jul 2020 17:34
Reply 


I got my l5 in Canada at Walmart.ca for $135. Canadian best price I found by $50.00 at the time .

Gary O
Member
# Posted: 14 Jul 2020 00:06
Reply 


Bought, hooked up the L5.

Seems our water straight outa the well, is too cold (approx. 38°F)
Just got tepid water

Returned it

Maybe the L7 or L10 would be better (?)

Don't know, don't care

I'll make my own coil unit

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 14 Jul 2020 08:16
Reply 


Gary. That's why the temp rise at a specific gpm matters so much. The ecotemp brand L5 has a very poor temp rise to GPM ratio.

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 14 Jul 2020 08:42
Reply 


Agreed. L5 is small if you are starting with cold water. My L10 will heat my water with ice in the tank more than you need

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