Gas Water Heater

A few Sundays ago I finally got around of installing a gas water heater (califont). Now I can have hot showers whenever I want to. So far I was relying on some odd 50 meters of hose filled with water that I lay into the sun light. It worked fine, the water got warm quickly. However, the number of cold showers I had to take kept increasing. On overcast days or when getting home late from work there were only two options. Either have a cold shower or none at all. That’s history now, I’m not only having warm showers these days, I’m having hot ones… hehe

The califont cost 250NZD, the water inlet comes straight from the creek no pump required. Installation was very straight forward and I decided to get something temporary going until I get my head around where and how I should set up my shower. The manual was of course unreadable, broken English, nonsensical sentences and so on. So I just threw it away and used common sense. There is a water inlet, an outlet, and inlet for LPG gas and a drain valve. The water inlet fitting wasn’t provided and I was lucky to find something suitable on site.

This is my setup.

47 degrees Celsius.
Built a nice cover for it too.

Although the califont runs in even strong winds, the wind is still a hassle. My plan is to go into the bush, cut the top of 4-6 trees, use the trunks as poles and put walls with plywood around them. This should keep the wind away and allows a bit of privacy, too. So yeah, another important project kind of accomplished…

8 thoughts on “Gas Water Heater”

  1. I can assure anyone reading this that is without question the most rustic hot shower arrangement I have encountered so far. Very welcome to have a hot shower in all that lovely fresh air and with stunning views of the hills. Good work! Paul xxxxx

    1. The other day it ceased working, turned out to be the regulator for the gas. I’m already thinking of building an enclosure for it… hehe

    1. Hey Ras, I purchased my califont from Burnscoes for 249 NZD. It doesn’t really have a brand, but it is still working fine. The water intake is in my case
      gravity fed from a creek and the pressure is good, but you can always hook up a marine 12 v pump. They are easy to install, more or less fully automatic and
      an easy way to enjoy a hot shower whenever you want. cheers, Ben

  2. Thanks Ben – sounds as if it might work for us. Our water intake is also from stream up the hill with gravity feed to the bach so water pressure is probably about the same. Will check out Burnscos next time I am in town and pick up some longrun iron for the surround.
    Cheers Ras

  3. Hi Ben, I have just set one of these up the same way as yours but it will not ignite, water flow is good ,batteries ok, gas bottle is ok all new fittings, not clicking when hot tap is turned on do you have any options thanks…….

    1. Hi Harry, hmmm, the only thing I can think of is the water temp. regulator. Turn on water (flow), gas and flick the switch (make sure you inserted the batteries correctly!), then wind the water temp. dial slowly clockwise. You’ll notice that the water pressure will decrease significantly. Mine will not spark (click) and thus heat water unless this dial is turned almost until the end (toward High). I won’t recommend it, but I took the unit apart once and jimmied the aforementioned dial in such a way that it turns even further clockwise.

      I’ve seen quite a few of these units on the island, so believe that they are of good quality. So yeah, hope this will resolve the problem. If that doesn’t do the trick, then seriously have a look if the batteries are inserted correctly, then check the gas flow. Often old regulators actually don’t work, so it might be worth taking the gas hose off and checking whether there is enough flow.

      I had that problem once, it stopped clicking and I opened the regulator and noticed that it was all rusted up. Found another regulator in the land fill and the unit worked again.

      Cheers, Ben

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