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Temporary hot water for shower?

dhw_probs Member Posts: 26
I'm looking at an extended outage while I (probably) get a new hear/DHW unit. I've seen things like under-the-sink hot water heaters etc. Is there anything I might easily find, user-installable, that would let me do something like this for a shower? I've seen propan-driven portable showers like this for camping... seems like bad idea for in-doors, so not that. Does anything like that exist?

I'm trying to avoid paying $1000+ for a repair that will be temporary as I replace a unit that is constantly breaking down.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,618
    That depends a lot on your showering habits. If you or whoever uses the shower can limit yourself to only a few minutes -- two or three -- there are some very nice small, 120 volt powered, under counter units in the 7 gallon or so size which can do very nicely and, assuming you can get at the pipes (with some ingenuity you can even figure out how to hook them up using just the feeds to the wash stand...), are very simple to install. Home Depot or Lowes have them.

    On the other hand, if you enjoy luxurious 15 minute soaks...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 743
    A long dark hose on a sunny day works quite well. However, it can be a scald hazard, so you'll need a mixer before the shower.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,247
    Hi, I think, like @Jamie Hall says, I'd look for a "point of use" water heater. It will be set up to use 120 volts and can be had up to 30 gallons, though if you use a low flow, (like 1.5 gpm) showerhead, you probably wouldn't need anything bigger than ten gallons. Maybe you can add solar preheat, like @The Steam Whisperer suggests. B)

    Yours, Larry
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,727
    Just buy a 30 gallon electric tank water heater and hook it up.
  • dhw_probs
    dhw_probs Member Posts: 26
    edited September 18

    Since I can't do the electrical or plumbing hookups for that myself, that would put the unit+installation costs at the same or more than repairing the current system. I'm hoping to avoid that level of cost and put that money towards a new system instead. Someone mentioned point-of-use systems, which look to be within my level of capability on this, so I'm checking them out at the moment.

    Though yes-- if it was Spring time & not about to get cold and I just needed to buy myself a few months, a run down to the local big-box home improvement store for a 30-gallon heater would probably work out well, buy me more time to save up & not have to eat into my emergency reserve funds as much... luckily I'm fortunate enough to have the resources to build up a fund like that, so a new unit + installation costs is going to hurt but it won't break me.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,849
    Back when I converted from oil to NG I bought a 20 gallon 120V electric heater and wired it in temporarily. It only sat a few feet from the panel box and it was small enough I could move it alone. The small heaters are expensive compared to the big ones, but I needed something I could manage down the stairs etc without much trouble.

    It worked "good enough" for a family of 3 for several months.
    No, you're not going to take long showers, or multiple showers in a row. But you can get by.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 130
    Amazon has electric shower head heaters. Cheap.
  • dhw_probs
    dhw_probs Member Posts: 26
    @ChrisJ my capabilities don't run to plumbing and this sort of electric. I can swap out a light fixture for a new one, but splice off a new line to run it to the electric heater or do the plumbing. Someone mentioned point-of-use setups though, and I may have found something that will work for me: Warm & low-pressure showers, but usable. It's basically a faucet with built-in heating coil & a diverter to a shower head. I'll find out tomorrow when it arrives from Amazon if it works at all, and if it does I'll just need to run down to Home Depot for an extension on the flexible hose for the shower head. It will be low pressure & probably just a little better than lukewarm, but it would get us through 1-3 weeks if it works. If not, I may be looking at a 4-6 gallon point-of-use setup. More complicated & expensive though.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,220
    tempory electric heater until repaired then Donate to a charity and take the write off 
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,787
    One trick I have used it to use the washer hook ups. Get a smaller 240V 30/ 40 gallon water heater. Wire up a dryer pigtail to the water heater.
    Then use washer hoses to hook into the hot and cold on the water heater.
    This is a temporary fix only...