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Old 12-17-2016, 12:52 AM   #21
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I like to avoid water heaters with aluminum tanks which most of the cheap ones have. I once cut open an aluminum water tank and the jelly like slime that was in there was disgusting.

My favorite water heater is the Isotherm Spa series. Stainless tank, 750 watt element, heat exchanger and a mixing valve.

The mixing valve is nice in that it lets you heat the water much higher than is safe but it mixes cold with the hot as it comes out of the tank bringing it down to a safe temperature. That way you get a lot of usable hot water from a small tank.

The Spa series of water heaters is not cheap, it falls kind of in the middle price wise.

I may be biased as I sell these but I sell these because I really think they are a good value for my customers.
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
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I like to avoid water heaters with aluminum tanks which most of the cheap ones have. I once cut open an aluminum water tank and the jelly like slime that was in there was disgusting.

My favorite water heater is the Isotherm Spa series. Stainless tank, 750 watt element, heat exchanger and a mixing valve.

The mixing valve is nice in that it lets you heat the water much higher than is safe but it mixes cold with the hot as it comes out of the tank bringing it down to a safe temperature. That way you get a lot of usable hot water from a small tank.

The Spa series of water heaters is not cheap, it falls kind of in the middle price wise.

I may be biased as I sell these but I sell these because I really think they are a good value for my customers.
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:26 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I like to avoid water heaters with aluminum tanks which most of the cheap ones have. I once cut open an aluminum water tank and the jelly like slime that was in there was disgusting.

My favorite water heater is the Isotherm Spa series. Stainless tank, 750 watt element, heat exchanger and a mixing valve.

The mixing valve is nice in that it lets you heat the water much higher than is safe but it mixes cold with the hot as it comes out of the tank bringing it down to a safe temperature. That way you get a lot of usable hot water from a small tank.

The slime comment is concerning; I haven't noticed anything like that, at least from normal use... What would cause it? Why associated with aluminum?

Can a mixing valve like that be added to most water heaters? Ours is an Atwood, nominally 11 gal aluminum alloy tank (10.5 actual), and we've never run out of available hot water... but the mixing valve idea sounds interesting.

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Old 12-17-2016, 08:04 AM   #24
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The slime comment is concerning; I haven't noticed anything like that, at least from normal use... What would cause it? Why associated with aluminum?

Can a mixing valve like that be added to most water heaters? Ours is an Atwood, nominally 11 gal aluminum alloy tank (10.5 actual), and we've never run out of available hot water... but the mixing valve idea sounds interesting.

-Chris

This is actually a good idea. I've got water temp set very high so as to get more water from my small tank. I have to remember to warn guests.

Don't see why you couldn't make one up. eBay sells them for showers . Usually a closeout sale of someone s mismatch inventory. No one says it has to be connected to the shower stall.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:46 AM   #25
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A mixing valve should be standard fare when the tank is engine heated - 160+ degrees engine temp is scalding to the skin. The valve I have wasn't cheap at north of $100, but as said by an earlier poster, a serviceable valve could be made from off the shelf parts.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:59 AM   #26
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I like to avoid water heaters with aluminum tanks which most of the cheap ones have. I once cut open an aluminum water tank and the jelly like slime that was in there was disgusting.
100% correct. My prematurely failed Seaward comes to mind. Buying cheap usually means AL,
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:45 AM   #27
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Seem to recall my new (last year) water heater a 6 gallon Isotherm Spa was in the $300 US range. Outside was plastic, but not the actual tank. Came with a mixing valve and great insulation.

Hadn't given any thought to search for a less expensive unit.
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:53 AM   #28
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Replaced our 6 gal Kouma water heater w/ an Isotherm Spa 5.3 gal unit. No difference in apparent capacity, as mixing valve stretches hot water use out. Big advantage to us is that I can use our Honda generator to drive the 750 watt element after several days of no engine use at anchor. It would not push the 1500 watt element in the other heater. Also gained an amazing amount of space in the compartment.
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Old 12-17-2016, 06:47 PM   #29
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I had to replace mine last year. HopCar gave me an EXCELLENT price.

I was trying to figure out internet prices, shipping, costs of buying a 'cheap' model, then adding: stainless hoses, an actual Thermactic tempering valve, and the anode. Guess which brand comes with all standard? Isotherm! It was actually more affordable to buy the isotherm from HopCar ready out of the box, than part it out and try to 'cheap' it.

I fit an 8 gallon in the place my old 6 gallon was. 750 watts, more tempered water for showers, win win. Isotherm.

Thanks HopCar again for your terrific product, price and hospitality.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:06 PM   #30
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Capps, thanks for the kind words. Glad it all worked out.
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:29 PM   #31
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It's time to replace my water heater and in looking at what's available, I see units from Whale, Kuuma and West Marine, but they all seem to be virtually identical. Is this because they are the same units, or just the result of design limitations?

Looking at the lower cost units at this time only, up to say $350.00. Thank you.
I agree with Bay Pelican's advice to use what fits best. In my case, it was one of those ubiquitous 11G Kuuma/Force (IIRC) square SS water heaters. It replaced the original 1977 water heater and it fit perfectly. Mine was on the low end of the budget at $350-400 also. That was 8 years ago and it's been fine. It was one of my easier mods/repairs since it fit in so nicely with no real need for adaptation.

Incidentally, I removed the temp compensating valve to allow dangerously hot water that lasts much longer than before removing it. Just thought I'd mention it as a possible way to extend hot water duration. It's effective for adults who know about it but could be dangerous for children. I plan to reinstall the valve for safety reasons before selling FlyWright.

Let us know what you decide to buy.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:21 AM   #32
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Just to make it clear for people unfamiliar....not directed at anyone in particular.....just those that aren't positive...

There are valves that regulate engine heated water from heating the water in the tank above their regulated temp.....and there are mixing valves that regulate the water temp coming out of the water heater.



Make sure you know what you have and whether you really want to change it.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:14 AM   #33
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What is the life expectancy of a quality tank. Mine is 29 y/o . I swapped out the 240vac element 16 years ago for a 115 vac as I had a couple of places that didn't have 240service at the dock.
The unit runs great, I'm just wondering about age and when it will fail.
I swapped out my perfectly fine refrigerator last year because I was R/Ring my saloon windows and since they were out.....
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:28 PM   #34
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Timely discussion for me.
We will be closing on the 1985 35' Senator ( fly bridge sedan) before the new year. One of the survey items is a corroding 1700 series Raritan. No leaks yet and it works, probably the original. The owner is going to supply a new one of my choice. He suggests a 11gal Atwood. I like the Isotemp spa as discussed here. AC/DC 115, 750watt. My other thought is to just replace the Raritan. I like glass or SS tanks and not exited about the Aluminum. Also my Genset is a 3.5 KW NextGen. Old Norcold refrigerator and new Mermaid HVAC heat pump.
Use will mostly SOLO, sometimes two and on shore power as little as practical.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:43 PM   #35
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CWO, don't settle for the Atwood, it is not an equal replacement for the Raritan.
That said it's not worth killing the deal over. If he won't spring for a Raritan or Isotherm, get him to give you a price reduction and buy the water heater you want.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:02 PM   #36
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Thanks HopCar. My thoughts also.
I am leaning towards the ISOTERM. How big?
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Old 12-19-2016, 05:26 AM   #37
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Depends which size u get in gallons but my 8 gallon isn't much bigger than the old sure 6.

Nice thing with thevisotherms, you can deck or bulkhead mount, rotate to accommodate better plumbing fit and the mounts keep it off the deck where the square ones you need to build runners for or they may sit in water and corrode through the bottom.
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Old 12-19-2016, 05:44 AM   #38
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What is the life expectancy of a quality tank. Mine is 29 y/o .
The unit runs great, I'm just wondering about age and when it will fail.
Here is an approach I took. I replaced an older water heater before it leaked. My justification was that I was not selling the boat in the next few years, that sooner or later I would be replacing the water heater, and that any decent water heater I bought now would easily last until the end of my ownership of the boat.

Thus I bought a new water heater and installed it at my convenience, at the dock (I am usually not at a dock) with plenty of access to plumbing supplies. Did I buy it a few years early, likely. But it is likely that I will never have to worry about it again. Worth the carrying charges on a $300 item.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:12 AM   #39
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In reality, like even home water heaters, some people might get 30 years out of one, others less than 10.

My wild a**ed guess would average around 15 for the cheaper aluminum tank ones and maybe 20 for the nice glass lined or stainless. Some might last longer but get replaced out of convenience or the exterior or wiring or maybe even parts force early retirement.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:51 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I like to avoid water heaters with aluminum tanks which most of the cheap ones have. I once cut open an aluminum water tank and the jelly like slime that was in there was disgusting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
The slime comment is concerning; I haven't noticed anything like that, at least from normal use... What would cause it? Why associated with aluminum?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWO KPM View Post
I like glass or SS tanks and not exited about the Aluminum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
CWO, don't settle for the Atwood, it is not an equal replacement for the Raritan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
My wild a**ed guess would average around 15 for the cheaper aluminum tank ones and maybe 20 for the nice glass lined or stainless. Some might last longer but get replaced out of convenience or the exterior or wiring or maybe even parts force early retirement.

What is it about aluminum that's not good?

Ours is an Atwood with aluminum tank; I'm not religiously wedded to it... but it's worked fine for 14 years now. I've had to replace the ECO and thermostat, twice, once semi-early on and then once again about 5 years later.... but that's not closely related to the material of the tank.

So what's bad about aluminum? What's the "jelly" and have I got some? What causes it? What's a (temporary?) fix? Does it not exist in a stainless tank?

Why is stainless better? And then, too... ref "nice glass-lined"... glass-lined what?

-Chris
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