The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Frisky and Tankless

Tarr, since you asked . . .

According to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, frisky is an adjective meaning, “playful and full of energy.”

I know that in common usage frisky usually has a sexual connotation, but I like (mis)using it anyhow. In part, I just like shocking people. And, it is also my shorthand way of saying that I’m feeling pretty good so let’s jump right in and start a potentially disastrous project before I change my mind.

The tankless water heater we have is a Titan. If you’d like more information on them, you can follow this link to their website. We bought ours off of eBay two-some-odd years ago. We bought the 120 volt version (N-120) which is the most powerful one they sell. According to the website, the unit takes 54 Amps of power if you have it on the highest (hottest) settings possible. I can’t remember for sure, but I believe Julian Electric has it hooked to a 60 Amp breaker of its own.

The 120 volt model is supposed to provide enough hot water to supply a kitchen and two 3-fixture bathrooms. The Devil Queen has a sprawling layout and three bathrooms so we have two separate hot water systems. The tankless heater we connected over the weekend supplies hot water to the master bathroom (two sinks, clawfoot tub, and toilet) and the hall bathroom (shower, sink, and toilet). The other system supplies the mudroom/laundry/bath (washer, hot-tub, sink, and toilet) and the kitchen (sink and dishwasher).

Tarr, in regard to your question about the hot tub, I'm not anticipating any problems in having enough hot water to fill it. Moreover, our tub has a heating/recirculating feature, so it should keep the water warm on its own once filled.

So far we’ve been very pleased with the heater’s performance. However, since we’re only running the hot water to the clawfoot tub right now, it’s not like we’ve pushed it to its limit. One thing we’ve noticed is that the water gets hotter the longer you run it unlike a traditional water heater which starts running lukewarm after a while (well, our old one did).

Here is a picture of the heater we turned on this weekend (note the devilish orange glow of the "stand-by" light).

If you're wondering about the exposed framing, we haven't drywalled this wall yet. We want to make sure the shower plumbing (the two pvc pipes behind the heater) works before we close it up.

I should mention that we’ve deviated some from the manufacture’s installation guidelines. It seems to work, but I thought you might want to know if you’re considering installing one. The heaters need no less than 18 inches of hard copper piping run from both the cold water supply side and the hot water out let. The reason for this is that the heater gets too hot for CPVC/PVC piping. I don’t know if the CPVC/PVC would melt, but, at the very least, it would get brittle and break (I think).

While we used copper, we ended up using soft copper instead of hard copper (long story). The copper pipe is connected to the heater with a brass compression fitting. Basically, put the brass “collar” on the copper pipe, insert pipe into brass nipple, slide bolt into place, and tighten. The nut will tighten (compress) the collar around the pipe creating what should be a waterproof seal.

Since the soft copper has more give than the hard, we gave the nut a few more twists than the directions called for. Again, this seems to have worked, but I don’t feel that we’ve fully tested it. Time and continuous use will be the real test. On that note I might mention that I don’t much care for it being in my master bedroom closet, but it is the lesser of many evils.

If anyone has questions regarding the heater, please let me know and I’ll try to answer them for you.


Anonymous tarr said...

Confusion #1: According to the Titan site, your model will raise water temperature 35° at 3 gallons per minute. If your water is 58° coming out of the pipes, that means you are getting 93° water at 3 gallons per minute. This doesn't seem very warm.

Confusion #2: To fill up one of those big 'ol tubs (60-80 gallons) at 3 gallons per minute would take 30 - 40 minutes. This seems like forever.

Tell me where I am wrong, please.

I bought a Steibel-Eltron tankless electric offa ebay because I didn't like the font they used on the Titan. No confusion here. Someday I'll have water. More here:

9:57 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hmmm. All good points. I don't have any numbers, but I'd say that the water was definately over 93 degrees and my wife ran the water for no more than maybe 10 minutes??? I'll have to do an emperical study of it and post what I find. Thanks for the questions, now I'm curious.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'd love to hear more details on the tankless water heater, too. I want one, but there's technically nothing wrong with the gas water heater we have now, and it seems such a splurge. But the more I hear about it, the better it sounds.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous TheGuyFromSiloam said...

John, having witnessed quite a bit of flow in the 1.5 to 4 gpm range, I would clock your tub (from the bucket flush party) at about 2 gpm. That's pretty consistent with the rural water systems & plumbing. That would also give about 101 F output water from your heater. I'm interested in finding out how close I am... Maybe I'll stop by with a flow meter when we're in the area on the fourth of July.

And the wife says the heater thingie is cool!

7:54 PM  
Blogger Lenise said...

I'm interested in those tankless water heaters too, since we might be able to move our laundry appliances to the bath from the kitchen if we don't have a big tank in the BA. Then we could get a dishwasher!! and some counters!!

7:42 AM  
Blogger John said...

For all of you looking for more information on the heater, we'll be conducting some experiements in the near future. Their will be a full post once we know something.

GugfromSiloam, thanks for the info! Stop by sometime around the 4th if you're around. I image you know where we'll be.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Heater Blew up my water lines on the COLD (inlet) side and flooded my house. I installed unit and turned it on and had hot water. I turned faucet off and heater stayed on, boiling water in pipes and turning it into high pressure steam. My pipes were rated at 400 psi burst pressure and they burst. I had to replace my water lines in the wall and down under my house. I called the company and they knew the problem as soon as I told them what happened, so it must be a common problem. They said the flow valve inside the heater stuck. I called the guy on Ebay that I brought the heater from, and he said send it back at my cost and he would refund my money less shipping. He would not pay for damage to my house and plumbing. I went to Lowes and got a Powerstar by Bosch and it works great! Stay away from Titan!

1:16 PM  

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