Chugging Along…

Macy M20 comments6216 views

Well, I caught up on a few things tonight, I have officially crested $10,000 spent.  You can view more specifics about my budget HERE, I expect to actually spend at least a grand more, I still need to purchase my washer/dryer as well as my water heater.  I feel like I am still inside of my budget, I didn’t initially intend on including my appliances and whatnot but it is all in there!  This brings me to my next idea.  I am doing lots of looking around and comparing, I would love it if there was a place that I could read reviews on various products put out by other tiny house folks.  There is no shortage of reviews but when I am reading reviews for water heaters for example, the people who are writing them are obviously not tiny house people and therefore use the product differently, perhaps they expect too much or whatever reason but I am finding that a good portion of the reviews are not applicable for my case.  A while back I had the idea to start something like that and then popped up and I was stoked that someone was already on that.  I love tiny house gear but I am not finding it to be what I am looking for, does anyone else have that problem?  If I was to start something like that up would there be people willing to review whatever various products they have experience with or just offer insight to why they may have or may not have selected a product?  I like to perpetuate helpful things but I only really want to spend the time there if it is something that would get used and commented on for the good of the whole community?  Let me know your thoughts.

So, since I am looking at water heaters I will post my thoughts here, THIS is the particular unit I am looking at purchasing.  After a lot of research here are the reasons I have landed on this one:

  • I want decent flow, I like abusive showers.  My dad (a very good plumber) had said early on that I would probably ideally want 3-5 GPM flow from whatever heater I got.  This one is 3.4 GPM, on the lower end of that but I have noticed a lot of other tiny house folks get the L10 model from this company that has almost a gallon less per minute flow and they claim to be really happy with it.  I don’t think I am too much different than most.
  • I want a unit that can be installed indoors.  Should there be any reason to make any adjustments I  don’t see the most opportune time being when I am getting out of or into the shower.
  • I want a propane powered unit so that when this goes off grid it is a bit easier to handle.
  • I would prefer a ventless unit but I just don’t think I’ll be able to find that… this one comes with all the venting materials (no extra costs like most others) and I think i can be tricky enough to hid this behind the rain-screen wall…
  • Lastly, I am installing this under my kitchen sink so I have a fairly limited space to deal with, this is a pretty compact unit by comparison, it seems like I can work it!

Does anyone have any insights to this unit or others that may work just as well or better?  My dad is going to call some of his suppliers in the morning and see if they have something similar that maybe we can get a deal on.  I’ll be crossing my fingers for that!  Also, I totally know that I missed the boat on the 25% discount that Eccotemp was running for tiny house folks, sorry Andrew, I tried to squeeze in there, I was just too swamped :).  You’re a rock star for piloting that deal!

Ok, onto the real update.  I don’t have a ton of pictures, I spent my evening painting the cabinets before tiling, I figured it would be a lot easier because I wouldn’t have to tape anything off.  It worked!  I did however mess with the tiles and start thinking about how I’m going to be laying them out… Here are a couple images:



  1. While the smart thermostats on lifehacker are certainly cooler, especially the nest… None of them would work well in your application. They are all low voltage (12v) systems designed to work with whole home systems that use zone control hardware. Your thermostat is designed to directly control the high voltage (120-240VAC). They could work but you would have to add other electronics in on top of the already expensive smart thermostat. The nest runs about $250, and relays etc. needed to control the element voltages would add quite a bit more to the cost. On another note though, if you go off grid with your tiny house how do you plan on heating as electric is not cheap to generate the current you would need for your in floor heat.

    1. This is why I love posting this stuff, great feedback! I didn’t know some of that, I haven’t really looked into them much honestly. Now I feel like I don’t really need to though, other than for pure curiosity!
      As far as off-gridding, I have always planned to just disconnect the heat wire when that happens, it is on a completely separate breaker and even in a separate box (that wasn’t necessary, but it happened 🙂 ) I wanted to be able to plug it in completely separate so in summer I won’t have anything running through it. I figured that when it is off grid I will take one of the corners in the living area, probably near the kitchen and put in a small wood stove. I will cross that bridge when I get there but you are absolutely correct, it won’t be functional when it is not grid-tied. 🙂

  2. Like the tile, perhaps a basket weave or a herringbone pattern, just a thought. Your thermostat should be in the open so it gets an accurate reading of the occupied space not stagnant air flow in a cabinet.

    1. woah woah woah! That sounds hard, I am a novice here! 😉 I like those ideas, I’m not feeling it for this house, I like clean straight lines, I would love to see someone do a basket weave pattern though, I think that would look awesome and I don’t think it would be too mind breaking 🙂
      As for the thermostat the sensor for it is installed in the tile with the heat tape so it should be ok in the cabinet, or so I read…

  3. We have that exact thermostat in our bathroom! We’re quite happy with it. If you do the tile going lengthwise, it makes your home look longer/skinnier. Since your home is already long/skinny, you could lay the tile going sideways to widen the look of the interior. But I’m sure either way will look awesome!

    1. Happy to hear! I have pretty much always planned on doing my tile the long way to accentuate the length but I will take a look at it running the short way, I am not sure, once the furniture is in, that you will be able to get a sense of the tile in the end so I wanted to go the long way, you make a very good point about it giving a wider appearance. Thank you so much for your comments! 🙂

  4. Hi Macy, great post. I, too, am struggling with choosing house elements and trying to ferret out what others have chosen and why. As I make selections (and you are further down the road than I am) I am blogging about my choices and decisions, and reasoning, in hopes of helping others. Also, like you, I am getting some occasional great feedback as a result of my posts. So that’s really helpful.

    My trailer is being fabricated, and I should be able to take delivery next week! My house will get framed in and roofed the week of June 24th, if everything goes as planned.

    Last week (and still on-going ) I’ve been knee deep in choosing window types and layout, and my front door. It’s fun, but I am so glad I am not building a traditional sized home – all the decisions would drive me mad!

    Thanks for writing –

        1. B.A., for whatever it’s worth: Chrome just gave me a malware warning when I went to access your website…something about links you have on it from

          1. Uh-oh… I’ll check that out. They are on my blog roll – I will delete – that is the only reference to them. Thsnk you for letting me know!

    1. And also, I totally hear you on the house size thing, sometimes I wish I just built mine 6-8 feet shorter, I keep saying that I would be done by now!

  5. We bought an Eccotemp L10 for our tiny house. I plan on reviewing our appliances on our site once we get everything up and running. Some other tiny house people with blogs- and as you know there are a lot of them! – have done the same already. I’d check there. We found out about Eccotemp after seeing one in a Dan Louche house online.

    Before we bought the Eccotemp, we were initially planning on installing our water heater under the sink like you. This would have been nice, since all the plumbing would be in the internal wall, and the tanks, pump, heater, kitchen sink, and shower would all be within a couple feet of each other. But the venting issue screwed us in the end. And the clearances– even fairly compact appliances require clearances that make them hard to install under a kitchen counter. In the end, we just didn’t have space to put in a vent.

    We installed the “outdoor” water heater in a shed on the outside. We put tons of vents in the floor and sides of the shed (I asked Dan Louche about his, and he said he didn’t put a floor in his shed for this reason). We contacted the manufacturer about venting directly from unit, but they said we couldn’t do that (can’t remember why now). Instead we just put a vent in the ceiling of our shed. Used lots of hardibacker for a heat shield. You can see pictures of how we installed it here

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback, extremely helpful! I did end up going with an Eccotemp unit but the FVI-12, it is ok to be installed indoors, it seems to take up slightly less room surprisingly, it does need vented but I think I have come up with a way that I can do that… I guess we will see, otherwise I have to get real creative! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts, MUCH appreciated!

  6. hi Macy! love the tile, that’s going to look awesome!

    our water heater works great and is a Rheem “tankless mid-efficiency 64 outdoor” gas/propane model with freeze protection (it has an electrical element that kicks on if the temp drops below freezing – important…) It does 5.6 – 6.4 gpm.
    they also make indoor models in this same size, direct vent.

    Rheem is a good brand and can heat water without the high pressures required by a lot of on-demand water heaters. i.e. turning the faucet on full blast to activate the heater.

    1. I know it’s totally a personal question but how much did your rheem unit run? I was looking at them but they are hard to track down as far as pricing in concerned…

      1. I think it was in the $600-$700 range… we had purchased it with something else and my records don’t split it out. but around $600 I believe. we saw a lot of different prices on them too, oddly.
        hope that helps!

    1. Thanks Mike-
      This is actually the one I was referring to up above.
      I have actually read some pretty spotty reviews about dealing with the manufacturer on these regarding customer service so I have opted to buy through Amazon so that if something should happen where I do need customer service and the company won’t offer the support I could at least get a refund through Amazon. Just a tip I picked up in the process :). Thanks for your comment!

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