Thursday, May 08, 2014

RETHINKING PROPANE: Removing the Paloma Hot Water Heater

After dismantling the Hillerange Stove and adapting it to my new cooking burner. My attention turned to the Paloma on demand hot water heater. It was still in good shape and working but, since I no longer wanted to rely on a 22 year old propane hose snaking below the cabin sole to deliver propane gas to it and the stove. So it was time to remove it.

I had not actually used it for hot water in about two or three years preferring to take Joy showers off the stern or cockpit showers using a solar shower bag. Though it was a reliable provider of hot water when I was working and living on board in New York City back in the mid 1990's to 2001. I'd use it take a shower everyday before heading off to a midnight shift keeping electrons flowing through the wires in midtown Manhattan. Now that I am living on board only in warmer seasons and in more secluded locations I  won't miss the unit.

The Paloma water heater on BIANKA was installed behind a custom built cabinet with some extra joinery to hide the gas supply line, water hoses and also an AC line for a microwave used by a previous owner located in another cubby.

Removing the wood covers showed the various hoses connecting up to the unit:


Two hand screws on the bottom sides of the heater allowed the cover to be removed:

It then was pretty easy to access the water heater connections and remove them:


The gas supply and water hoses came off pretty easy:

Two bolts and nuts held the bottom bracket of the heater to the bulkhead:


A single bolt and nut held a bracket on the upper part of the heater to the bulkhead. This was more difficult to access. So I went around the back and just loosened the screw until the nut fell off. I was then able with a little wriggling to remove the water heater from behind the cabinet:

With the Paloma water heater removed a nice amount of storage space was opened up:


I'm already planning on adding another spice rack below the cabinet. I'll see what else I can fit into the area left by the removal of of the Paloma. Always good to have more storage space on board.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting project-article in Practical Sailor a few issues back about adding a solar water heater to a water heater. It was basically a black-painted tray with coils of black-painted copper tube covered with acrylic. An Arduino micro-controller with two thermistors and a relay switching a pump and a valve, and some plumbing hardware. If the coolant temperature in the coils was higher than the water temperature in the tank, it would switch on the pump and circulate the coolant through. He mounted the panel between his dinghy davits if I recall. Cost was under £100 and took a weekend. He plumbed into the diesel coolant lines. He said he never had to run the engine for hot water and was considering disconnecting the water tank from the engine completely.

What I take away from your story of simplify-simplify-simplify and the above is that there are so many energy gradients available to us on a sailboat. With a proper re-examining of our resource usage, we probably have more energy than we need. At any rate, definitely something to consider.

Cheers,

/Jason

Mark R said...

This is a very interesting documentation. I love how you provided clear pictures of how you removed your water heater, as it would help our friends out there and give them an idea how to remove their water heating lines themselves. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Mark R @ Pure Plumbing Service

Capt. Mike said...

Jason
Yes, simplifying and recycling is one of my continuing goals on board. Also the way I use things also changes which causes me to reevaluate the need to have them on board and to look at alternatives. As happened with the propane project.

bill said...

Mike:

I use the camping propane bottles too. I don't remember if you mentioned how you store them. I've got mine in 4" open bottom PVC drain tubes cut to the height of my stanchions and outside the hull off my stern pulpit. Each holds 3 tanks.

How do you keep yours?

Capt. Mike said...

Bill:
I keep them in the on board propane locker which is already setup for two propane tanks and is vented overboard.

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