Tankless Water Heaters

Hi all:

I am building a house in Bonao and strongly looking at putting in a whole house propane gas hot water heater.  My problem is I don't know  if there are any dealers or installers in the country.  Can any one help?

I don't think propane is a very viable solution for this country.  You might look into a solar hot water heater which I use in my house as a whole house heater.  Positioned correctly it provides ample hot water for a reasonable investment.  My unit is about 8-9 years old and is till functioning well.  It is the glass tube type.  Having said that, you might consider a complete solar system for your electricity and then most likely you could use  an electric hot water heater at a much lower cost.


I have used gas fired hot water in various locations here.  The key for them is water pressure. You will need pressure to push the water thru the heater for it to work!

Other than that it rocks. On demand, economical compared to electric.  I cannot comment on solar,  i  have no experience.

They are pretty simple to install in actuality.  You should have no issue finding someone to install it.

I stayed for two months in a rental stand-alone house, outside of Luperon.  The house had solar.  The owner had 8 large batteries.  The house had fans which kept it reasonably comfortable, albeit warm.  However, when I went to bed at night, the one bedroom had an air conditioner and I would turn it on around 10 when I went to sleep.  The bedroom was very hot and the fan did not keep it comfortable to sleep.

Almost every morning between 3 and 4 a.m., the electricity would go off.  I never used the air conditioner during the day as it was in the bedroom.  So solar, can be a problem from my experience.  I don't know how it works, and maybe if the owner had more batteries it would not have had the problem.  Just saying.

Solar water heating has to be the cheap solution for DR.

"has to be"  famous last words.... hahahahahahah

I will have solar on the house just to defray some of the electric cost but not really worried about cost of electricity (I budgeted 5,000 pesos per month for electricty just in case ... I want a pool).  I will also have a gas powered (LP) whole house generator to use when the electricity goes. The tankless water heater is also gas powered.  I can buy the unit and ship it to the DR,  in a suitcase if need be, because it is only 55lbs.   My main concern is installation because I don't want some shade tree mechanic or plumber to mess it up.  Alll the suggestions are great but I really have  heart set on this type of water heater.  I have had one in my home here in Boston, MA  for 5 years and other than descaling there is no maintenance or other problems.  The unit's shelflife is about 15 years.  What I'm really needing is someone that knows about these units and knows how to install them.

When the time is closer we can find you a qualified person.  Gas fired hot water is not new here so many know how to install honey!  I have not seen one that big. Not sure you need one that big, the newer ones are fairly small.   IF you send me specs I can see what is available here!  now you have me curious. 

FYI I am in process of finding a better quality one for the apartment I am in.  When they built they bought a bunch of units -  well they are not very good!  2 years later most of them are failing. So I am researching units here for this size of apartment!  Wont be a stretch for me to ask questions for you too.

Shade tree mechanic.  Great term.

Referring to my problem with the solar in my rental, the owner sent someone to fix the problem.  I waited from 10 a.m. when he was scheduled to appear, until 4.15 when he arrived.

No, he did not have a truck or car.  No, he did not have a horse, donkey or mule.  Yep, he was walking.  With a small pouch.  He couldn't have been over 24 or 25.  Supposedly, the company the owner called was in Santiago. 

He worked on it for about 2.5 hours.  I had to tell him how I turned the electricity back on after power failures.  He told me it was fixed, and he finally left and the last I saw him, was walking down a dirt road about 1/2 mile from the rental that was about 2 miles from Luperon.

Note.  I don't know if he walked to the house from Santiago.  I never had the heart to ask.

That night, power went off at 3.30 the next morning.

Welcome to "services a la the Dominican Republic".

Bonao is not he back end of beyond either. There are some pretty decent properties in the area and in the hills nearby too.

It was my backyard when I was living in the campo near Piedra Blanca and we did use the services of a tradesmen recommended by a small builders merchant in Bonao on Quisqueya if I recall.

Not only that, with Falconbridge there and Barrick Pueblo Viejo and the Mina Cerro closeby, you will surely have some good tradesmen around who do industrial fitters work. There must be a Canadian from that company lurking somewhere in this forum?

The stories we can tell about Dominican work!  We can write several books.

Things to remember:

They will tell you whatever they think you want to hear.
They actually believe they can do just about anything.

IF they have a screwdriver they are a mechanic.

IF they have a wrench they are a plumber.

IF they a saw they are a carpenter.

AND if it is not done right it will never be their fault.

Had a guy in my apartment yesterday to adjust the gas splitter behind my stove - it also feeds back to my hot water heater.

Well darn if there was a piece that was the wrong size. So he tells me its not his fault but we need to replace it.  Well darn if I don't remember that HE INSTALLED it the first time..... :dumbom:   So he bought a new piece and installed it. I paid for the other work but not for that.   Hell no.

Planner you and the rest of this group is a god send and I'm thankful I found you all.  My house (the structure itself is finished and now comes the hard part of getting the systems in, the floors and cabinets and so forth.  I think maybe in two or three months I will be able to move in (hating the prospect of packing and unpacking).  These are two links to see the products.


http://www.takagi.com/products/tankless … /t-k4-os-n

I tried to send the pictures of the units but cdidn't know how

wishinguwell, I had the same system you are referring to when I lived in Canada.  Between the cost of the system and the cost of fuel I didn't find much savings.  Also it requires some maintenance to keep it running well.  Expensive equipment with the water and conditions here, I still don't recommend it.  Not to mention your fuel supply as there are few places here where fuel is available at your door.  Most likely it will be propane and you will need to keep your tank(s) maintained and full.

Look into the solar systems.  They are stand alone units and despite the word solar, actually have nothing to do with electricity.  There is no maintenance and usually come with 10 year warranties.  All you need is a place to put it and running water.

Yes this is natural gas not LPG or propane. Here we use propane on these.

ONce again I am one lucky dude!. Have a 1 bedroom spacious apt. have a large tenaco( water tank) on my roof. Except for a couple of winter months, the water temp is adquate for showers, dish washing etc.  For the times of too cold water, I use a $20 instant hot water heater on my shower. It replaces the shower head & works.  Pro: cheap, easy to install, works every time.  Cons: it is either on HOT, off or still pretty hot. No mixing valve.  For me it solves the problem.  You can buy more expensive ones with a feature or two more.  No gas, no complicated installation, & only a few bucks to solve a cold water shower or bath.  I do believe in solar & the like, just don't need it for my life style, Lots-o-fun.

Wishinguwell: We have seen quite a few tankless propane water heaters at the ferreteria americana in Santo Domingo.

We have a tankless propane water heater (US $335..then shipped it with cps...but, yes you could take it well-packed in a checked bag). It is on-demand hot water...but, sometimes it's too hot! Planner is not joking that a pressurized system is key for this to work flawlessly and that often entails a pump. Our neighbors installed a very pricey solar hot water system...but, they are now looking to get a tankless installed, because during times when there is less sunlight they found the water was barely warm.  I've heard quite a few expats talk about having both, but I think we are staying with just the tankless. PM us if you need more specific answers! Good luck with your build! So exciting!

Oh...and we had to stuff a giant duffle bag with all the venting pipes (furnace quality...had to create a small chimney to vent the heater) from the US because we couldn't find anything anywhere...hahaha...The looks we got explaining in over-simplified Spanish what we needed were priceless.

[at] Brodie  "The looks we got explaining in over-simplified Spanish what we needed were priceless."  Hahahahahaha ... I can imagine.  I know the feeling ... when you walk in the store and ask for something and they just look at you.  Heck the only one that understands my spanish is my dog and really he just wags his tail then rolls over so I can rub his belly.  Oh by the way everyone my friends call me Wnston!

I have an electrical engineer who if needed can help you with your install.  He does a lot of these here in the capital!  Just let me know.

Yes, the solar system is definitely an issue as I originally posted, positioned correctly.  I have mine mounted on my garage roof now and it (like any good solar system) is positioned to expose it to sunlight.  Temperature is not the issue.  If you have a series of cloudy days you may not have very hot water.  This happened to us for a total of 5 days over the past year and a half.  Really terrible in a Caribbean climate (sarcasm intended).  I am not sure what you call costly, but these systems can be purchased in the 60-70,000 peso range.  That breaks down to 6 or 7,000 pesos in it's 10 year warranty period.  Having worked in this country with both tankless and tank type electric hot water heaters, solar is by far my choice but again not everyone has the place to put it or the capital to invest.  As an electrical engineer, I am quite happy with the return.

DrCanadaMike:   I think you live where there is mostly sun.  Bonao is situated in the center of the country and sits in a bowl  of small mountains (really big hills).  This year in the month of January through the middle of February, I think I had about 5 day of completely clear skies and the average sunlight is about 7 hours per day.  I hate taking cold or even tepid showers that's why I opted for a tankless, gas powered heater.  Also, the tankless water system I'm looking at is only $770 dollars so it's cheaper.  Thanks for the suggestions and information.  I really do appreciate all the help that people have offered.

Having lived close to Bonao, it is true there are plenty of afternoon rain days. But I still think enough for warm showers throughout the year. But if you like it hot go the propane route.

As for full solar, with the likely charge you get for part time supply, I doubt the payback is sufficiently quick compated with having a private provider. I bet your Ede charge is low!

Solar for pool operation and even heating for the winter months is worth considering.

Campo is far removed from East Coast and even North Coast reality.

Enjoy rio country wuw! But you will loathe the river type town flooding in heavy rain and maybe those damn motos.

wishinguwell, completely understand your situation and solar probably is not for you as it is dependent on sunshine.  I only hope that your fuel supply is readily available and not too costly as this is the main point from a cost perspective.

lennoxnev.  I have both a solar hot water heater and an independant solar system (on grid) for the rest of my large home.  Our local provider is a private company so electricity from them is very expensive (13.98 per kwh).  I pay my electrical company 211 pesos per month for the service and my system provides more electricity than I consume so every year I get a credit from CEPM that more than compensates the 211 peso service charge.  In my experience and having more than 1 property and managing many others, solar is the way to go for my area (Punta Cana).  I expect full payback in about 4 years.  It would be considerably less if I was eligible for the government rebate.

I think it is the way to go in most of this country!

Solar is getting more and more cost efficient with competition in the market. I have a new client importing solar systems.  Our first shipment arrives in January!  I will keep you all posted.

planner :

I have used gas fired hot water in various locations here.  The key for them is water pressure. You will need pressure to push the water thru the heater for it to work!

Other than that it rocks. On demand, economical compared to electric.  I cannot comment on solar,  i  have no experience.

This is correct when dealing with tankless water heaters...
they need pressure to trigger the ignition

If it's a tank type.... no such requirement

Tankless come in a variety of flows....

I use them...
One for the master bedroom
one for the kitchen
one for a two bedroom / 2 bath unit

Altho I import many, many things.... the tankless I buy here
One just gave out after 10 yrs....the main one - Master Bdroom, daily use

They aren't spendy....less than 10,000 each (10K = $275CAD)
hardly worth the hassle of hauling

Stoves, fridges, BBQs... I ship in... and lawn mowers
waaaay cheaper and better quality + selection

Any advise on shipping container companies from Canadian east coast to DR?

Your best bet is to start a new topic instead.of commenting on this one. You will get a better response.

We brought ours down in luggage and installed ourselves......most of our friends and neighbors who originally went solar, ended up having electric assist units installed afterwards...they envy our propane tankless hot water heater...

RE: Cdn Shipments

Peralta Brothers in Toronto services Montreal too
they only ship in the summer months as far as I know

Look them up  - always heard good things about their service
but never have used them

Thanks Willie, appreciate the info

For clarification, our tankless water heater runs on propane and seems to be very efficient...finally refilled the tank this past January after three years of use. It replaced an electric hog of a heater...but because of propane we needed to make a chimney...even in summer, mama needs a hot shower... :D

I agree. I don't care how hot it is outside,.I want a hot shower!

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