Propane Refrigerators/ Tankless Water Heaters

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tango, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    I've been shopping online for gas appliances and am stumped by the small refrigerators and high costs. Does anyone here use propane refirgerators? What are you using and how satisifed are you with the cost and efficiency? I've considered getting a refrigerator and a separate freezer but don't know how gas-wise that would be. I have to get a btu estimate for my gas line. Also who is using a tankless water heater. Do they require electric as well as gas? I'll have a modest solar set up and don't want to pull my watts if I can get by with the old style tank gas heaters but these tankless systems are on everyone's lips right now. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    15,288
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Hey Tango, we live on solar power and have both a propane fridge and a tankless water heater. The fridge is a Danby (the largest one they make or did make 4 years ago, I think) and it works fine. They are expensive but really cost very little to run because they are so super insulated and efficient. Ours has worked just fine, but I have to say I really do dislike it. It could be because my prior fridge was a subzero and propane fridges are so dang small, and they need to be defrosted regularly. Also, the crisper drawer is incredibly cheaply built (thin plastic) and cracked within the first month of use. Now that our solar system is large enough to handle it, I'm hoping for a super efficient electric. We do have a separate chest freezer that runs on propane.
    Our water heater is a Bosch and it is terrific. Its hard to imagine how it could heat water so quickly, but it does and you never run out. I love it.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks Lisa. I've found all the gas fridges I've seen so far to be very small and rather "ugly." The Dnby or Crystal Clear is the largest model I've seen at a whopping 15 cf. It is nice to know they are very efficient though and I'll be an empty nester soon. If you don't mind me picking your brain a minute; how big was your solar system before you upgraded? My new house will be quite small around 1000 sf and I'm thinking about all gas appliances and gas heating so my energy needs will be slight. I'm thinking of starting with a 3600 watt system. Do you think that might be sufficient for some floruescent lights, a couple of ceiling fans occasionally, coffee maker, a well pump, and my computer?
     
  4. akmyilee

    akmyilee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    What are the costs on this stuff?
     
  5. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    15,288
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Marcia, my husband is the solar person here. He's an electrical engineer and thinks this stuff is FUN?! He asks if you are talking about 3600 watts in panels ore battery storage?
     
  6. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Might be storage (I'm not an electrical engineer, LOL, this stuff is hard for me :bash: :) ) The system contains 8 Kyocera 120 panels and 8 trojan deep cycle batteries. It is here Sierra Solar
     
  7. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    tankless water heaters that use propane need either a pilot light or an electric sparker to light the gas flame. the pilot light uses a trickle of propane year round, but requires no electricity at all. The electric starter ones use zero energy while not on except for a spark of electricity every time the hot water is turned on. Your choice.
    if you ever plan to have solar pre-heated water (it's worth your time and energy and money to build a batch heater), get a tankless heater that senses the temp of the incoming water. That way it doesn't turn on when preheated water is flowing through it. I have a Bosch Aquastar Model 125-LP-S (LP is for liquid propane and S is for solar)
    ray
     
  8. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks Ray. That's about he same as with the gas stoves. I'd rather have electronic ignition than pilot lights. Ooh I like those Bosch models much more affrodable than the ones the gas company was trying to sell me.
     
  9. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    tn
    I use a propane fridge -- small, but cheep to run and I like it, but it is small - 8 cu ft, but I got mine used so the cheep price makes up for the size.
     
  10. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,526
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    Something to watch out for is a stove with hot surface electronic ignition versus one with spark ignition. The spark ignition ones use very little power, but the ones with a hot surface ignitor for the oven use approx 400-500 watts, and some models leave the ignitor on the entire time the oven is running.
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Nice system,but for that kind of money,a DR inverter is out.Its modified sine wave,NOT pure sinewave which is infinitely better.I would get a smaller sine wave before I would pay what they want for the DR series.You want an SW series,or an outback or a prosine pure sine wave model.

    Mod sines wont run electronic clocks or any appliance that has one in it.

    Get a friend to help you buy the parts seperately from the dealers stock,or go to the dealer with a list of what you want and put together a system custom to you.

    960 watts of panels is a fine start,very easy to upgrade.

    BooBoo
     
  12. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Ugh mightybooboo, how on Earth can I choose my own system if I can't even decipher your post? :( Is it just the inverter that is problematic? Please help :confused:
     
  13. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    I just spoke to the sales rep and he gave me a little briefing. Thanks for th ealert mightybooboo. The tankless water heater won't work with a modified sine wave. I have to have true sine wave. I fell like i've made a lot of progress this morning thanks for all the replies and help :)
     
  14. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    tn
    I use the following modified sine wave inverters at home and in my semi -- coleman, cobra and one other 3000 watt inverter -- runs everything fine -- clocks, tv, stereo, computers(LOTS!) and a lot cheeper than a full sine wave inverter. I am off grid, so no need to tie in so I dont need full sine wave -- while its easier to start some motors with a full wave inverter, a cobra 2500 is about 250 at a truck stop, a coleman 3000 is about 290 on sale to 500 normally, Just saw a 3000 watter at a flying j for 199 half price. If yours wont run a clock, get battery operated clocks and recharge the batteries -- 20 bucks for charger and batteries vs 2000 for a full sine wave inverter! Just make sure you use good heavy duty cables to attach the inverter -- I use 2/O stereo speaker cable for my big 3000 -- expensive at 5 bucks a foot but handle the power easily. Any stereo shop for cars will have it, and the fuses you need -- I run 2 300 amp fuses one per feed line.
    ps runs my spark ignition stove fine too!
     
  15. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    I forgot to mention that when I bought the tankless waterheater about 3 years ago, they did not offer both the solar option and an electric sparker, so i bought one with a pilot light. It later occurred to me that i could have called up Bosch directly and asked if they couldn't make me one. oh well.
     
  16. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Ray that option might be fairly new- the rep I spoke with hadn't heard of it but I saw it on the Bosch dealer website. Excellent prices, I am breathing a little easier about that today. Thanks :) Patarini, I won't be connected to the grid but the true sine wave allows the appliances to run without buzzing and is necessary for the tankless water heater. Do your appliances buzz? I think that would drive me over the edge.
     
  17. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    tn
    No buzz in any appliances here == fridge in truck, convection oven, etc -- it does buzz on AM radio(12 volt in truck) so I put a filter in the power line to the radio -- about 12 if i remember right at radio shack -- my water heater, freezer, lights, tvs etc at home all work fine -- you might want to double check and try a modified -- I was told all types of stuff from salespeople but since I had them anyway I tried them -- 5 years usage in semis and 1 yr in a house running solar so far no problems! Good luck! Now I havent tried fm radio tho, too far from any signals and in a hollow but my satellite radio works fine borh at home and semi!
    I do think the true sine waves are built better, but only had one inverter malfuction in 5 years and I can afford to leave one hanging around for spares to be safe.
     
  18. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks patarini, I wan to copy your system for my travel trailer over the summer. Just posted a new thread for it. My am/fm radio is a hand cranked Coleman outrider so I'm not worried about that. My stove is gas. Only my small fridge is a question mark right now.
     
  19. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    I also have a Freedom 458 mod sine wave inverter.This is a fine quality mod sine wave,awesome battery charger.That said......

    TV is great,sat is great.I can hear a change in how the refer and the freezer runSo there is a strain on them.Micro,not a chance,clock wont work.Stereo,just a loud buzz(sony with electronic tuning)Computer fine but speaker on Samsung LCD buzzes.

    I also have 8 trojan L-16s,fine batteries!Pretty good reserve.This is a home back up system.

    If she has 10 GRAND for a system,better off with sine wave for sure.BIL has SW inverter,just like grid,only it ALWAYS works.

    tango,when you get 10 grand,write the board.Plenty of folks will help you pick the components you need.10 grand should really be a fine start to a very nice system without anything but the best components.Mod sine wave isnt the best,pretty good,but 10 thou,you deserve the best and can have it.
     
  20. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks. It will be when I sell my current house, hope that is this month and as I plan my new house, hope that will be next month. The exasperating thing is, gas company wants to know how many btu's I'll use to give me an estimate on the pipeline to the house (which will be a considerable distance from the tank) and the solar companies want to know how many amps / hours I will be using to give me an estimate on a system. I've NO IDEA! I haven't purchased any appliances yet. That's another question I have; what is most efficient gas-wise and solar-wise. I'm in a vicious cycle of need to know and waiting to find out. :bash: At least I settled on a Bosch Tankless Water Heater today. Small steps :) feels like I actually accomplished something today as the sun goes down and it stops raining in sunny south Florida :)