Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to having a small off-grid home like the SeaPod. We want to minimize every bit of energy that we use so that we can keep things cheaper and less wasteful which will lead to the home being more eco-friendly.
Having on-demand hot water is a luxury that some people from developed countries forget about. While it is a luxury, it is also a comfort that we want to have on the Pods so that you don’t have to make your life less comfortable or convenient by living on a Pod.
The problem with hot water is that it takes energy to heat it so we need to find a way to do that efficiently. The two main options are in-line water heaters which are tankless and a more traditional water heater which utilizes a tank to hold the water and maintain the temperature until you are ready to use it.
Tankless options heat the water as it moves through the pipes which is convenient but uses a ton of energy and requires a bit more maintenance. A tank system is more energy efficient and is generally more simple and cheaper to implement. As with nearly every part of these homes, we had to build our own to meet the specifications that we need.
Having the tank is great, but if it isn’t insulated properly then the water won’t stay hot and the home will use more energy to constantly reheat that water. We set out to build a tank that had sufficient insulation to maintain the heat and reduce energy use, and we did it!
Our stainless steel tank has the insulation needed to keep things hot and is also safe to hold drinking water since it doesn’t leach chemicals into the water like plastic or other metals would. We tested this tank over a 24-hour period to see how well it would insulate the water. We started with water that was 40º Celcius(104º F) and constantly measured the temperature for 24 hours. The next morning, we had only lost about 4º Celsius(7º F) and this is well within the threshold that we want to be within.
This means that when we heat the water, it will stay hot until you are ready to use it and we won’t be wasting energy reheating water that cooled off too much. In the name of efficiency, we designed the heat exchanger from our incinerator toilet to provide hot water as well. Since we are burning the propane already, we wanted to utilize the heat instead of just letting it go to waste. This will supplement the water heater within the tank and will provide plenty of hot water for you to enjoy in our Pods!