Friday, August 18, 2017

Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower


  1. R. Fairbanks says:
    248 of 257 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    An Off-Grid Review: Installation, Operation, Praise, Concerns, November 25, 2008
    R. Fairbanks

    2010.12.2 Update:

    I have now used the L5 daily for over two years (sometimes up to three times per day). Everything I posted below is accurate and the L5 has never failed me. Running it at midnight, in the middle of winter, in well-below-zero weather, with high winds rocking the trailer, high on an exposed ridge at 7,500 feet, I have never had to turn the L5’s propane regulator control (i.e. temperature control) above 50% as doing so would raise blisters . . . and I like a shower so hot that I have to keep moving.

    This is an incredible shower.

    —- Posted 2008.11.25 —-


    I have a lot to say about the L5 as I am pushing the limits of its functionality; I have been using it daily for the past six weeks, completely off-grid, and am thrilled to have it! To distill the following details into a few words:

    Pros: A Godsend for someone completely off-grid, living under extreme conditions! There is nothing else available like it (that I could find).
    Cons: It is designed to minimize any risks, no matter how used–thus limiting its versatility and, possibly, its long-term reliability, though it has functioned perfectly for the past six weeks.

    The following notes are in four parts:

    - Installation (where I have it installed)
    - Operation (how it must be set up under such conditions)
    - Praise
    - Concerns


    I am using the L5 completely off-grid. It is inside a custom-built, remote-camping, clear polycarbonate trailer that was built to test the infrastructure of the Lotus Dome ( LotusDome dot com ). The trailer is currently at an elevation of 7,500 feet in the mountains of Utah. The temperature range here can get above 100 degreesF during the summer and can get down to well below zero during the winter. Great conditions for testing purposes!

    The roof of the trailer holds a custom, 218-gallon, aluminum water tank (it needs to be on the roof to keep ice from clogging the drain). The drain feeds down to the L5 which is suspended about six inches beneath the tank. A 12VDC SHURflo Nautilus pump is mounted directly beneath the L5 pumping water up into the l5’s water intake fitting.


    To get this pump to work under these conditions requires very strict installation and operation, as the Nautilus pump is rated at 1GPM, 10 PSI, max.:

    - The pump must be installed directly under the L5’s water intake fitting.
    - The set screw for adjusting the pressure needed to open the L5 diaphragm (located under the right side of the water regulator, pointing straight down), which controls whether the L5 will ignite or not, needs to be unscrewed (i.e. “backed out”) until water starts to drip out around the screw. The screw is then re-tightened about one-half turn.
    - The L5 water regulator (the dial on the right side of the front panel of the L5) needs to be turned fully clockwise–to the “MIN” setting

    In setting up the L5, I have discovered–through repeated trial and error–that the L5 WILL NOT IGNITE if these conditions are not met. To reiterate: if the pump is not _immediately_ below the L5, pumping up into it; if the set screw is not backed out to minimize the required water pressure; and if the Water Regulator dial is not set all the way clockwise to the “MIN” setting, the L5 will NOT ignite. This is my experience, “your mileage may vary.” (It may be possible to remove the spring that controls the diaphragm, but I have not tried to do so.)


    The L5, when functioning as intended, is a spectacular unit; there is no other water heater that can generate 37.5K BTUs worth of hot water in such a compact, portable unit. It has no competition; it is a Godsend for me. The L5 with a 12VDC Nautilus pump is perfect for my showering needs, pumping a minimum amount of water through the L5 and out through a Zodi shower head–at one-half gallon per minute!–provides a wonderful amount of water, at a very comfortable pressure and temperature. It even has a drain for use in sub-freezing temperatures!

    Pumping much less water through the L5 than it is designed to handle, results in water that is _much_ hotter than when using the included shower head. This is a great help when the water is at or below 32 degreesF (and, yes, this is possible if the water is flowing) and, of course, it then also uses much less water and much less propane!

    It has also been noted (and often not favorably) that the control unit will shut the burners off after seventeen minutes. I, too, was very concerned about this. However, after talking to John at GES, he confirmed what is stated in the user’s manual: “[the timer] is reset each time operation stops or the shower head is turned off and back on.” What this means is that if, during your shower, the burners are suddenly turned off by the timer, you need only turn the…

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  2. 94 of 102 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Better than a cold shower, May 27, 2008
    Grumble (W. New mexico) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    I received my tankless water heater this morning. It was well-packed and the instructions are pretty good. I appreciated the “extras” that are usually “optional at additional cost,” like the shower head, mounting hardware, and propane tank hookup.

    But (there’s always a “but!”), unless you have plumbing fittings handy, plan on a trip to the hardware store. The threads you must connect to are rough and not cut especially well, something that seems common on items from China, so you definitely need to have teflon tape or plumber’s putty handy. On my unit, the hose connections to the shower head leak badly at both ends. Not that big a deal since it’s intended as a shower, just an annoyance. And, the shower head male threads are a bit short, so one end of the hose would screw on far enough to not leak too badly, but the other end would spray water all over the place until I reversed the hose. Then it just leaked at the water output of the heater. The hose connection (another nice included item) didn’t have a rubber gasket.

    As far as heating water, it works pretty well. My input water is at about 50 degrees, and with the water flow turned all the way down and the gas flow all the way up, it got hot enough to be uncomfortable.

    Until a slight wind blew out the flame. Be sure to plan to use this unit someplace very well protected from the wind. Even a slight breeze, about 10 MPH (guesstimate), will blow out the flame, give you a slug of cold water, and require you to turn the switch off and back on to relight the flame.

    I haven’t played with it enough to be sure, but my impression is that the unit won’t hold a constant temperature of water output. I mention this because it may require you to use the unit in a place where you can actually reach the controls during use to adjust the temperature of your shower.

    Even with the shortcomings, I recommend the unit as a camping or backup water heater. For the price, you can’t go too far wrong. Just keep it within reach and out of the wind.


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  3. javajunki says:
    51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Emergency Back-Up – Gets Hot FAST!, September 5, 2008
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    Living in an area prone to the occassional bad weather/loss of electricity prompted me to look into a reliable hot water alternative. Sometimes its the little things that matter – like the ability to take a hot shower after days of no hot water due to a hurricane. It makes a bad day little more bearable. Wasn’t sure what to expect from this little unit but after nearly a 2 wk wait, opened the box, set it up in just minutes and instant hot water!

    Connected a routine garden hose and water was instantly hot – the ability to set the temperature is conveniently located in the front and set on high it was uncomfortably hot so should do decently if your water source is colder than average. For relatively warm areas where the water remains a more or less temperate, this easily brings it to a temperature as hot as you would like…plus a little.

    Very easy to set-up/take down. Unit is fairly heavy so will need solid support but overall, impressed by operation. Shower head is decent and output flow more than adequate. It won’t take the place of your normal shower head but you won’t feel like it takes forever to get wet either.

    Unit specifies you will need teflon tape for securing seals so keep some handy. We used to begin with and unit operated perfectly – no leaks. Turns off immediately when water is shut down and turns on again quickly. Impressive little unit and exceptionally glad to have purchased. In fact, like it so much may permanently install one outside for dog washing and other quick clean-up. Waiting to see how this one endures over time…still too new to tell. Well worth the $.


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