Spring is for sprucing up

José walks atop glass. The dark area is covered with shade cloth.

I wait till April and May each year to do repairs. It’s the height of the dry season, and outside renovations don’t run the risk of getting soaked. Quite a few have been done already, mostly at the Downtown Casita where painting, plumbing and electrical occurred.

Yesterday, one of my guys, José, did some minor exterior painting here at the Hacienda, and then he climbed atop the roof of the upstairs terraza with a pressure washer to remove a year’s accumulation of gunk. The interesting aspect is that the roof is glass. He treads lightly and tries to stay atop the steel beams.

Old faithful.

My focus now turns to the water heater, which is about 16 years old. We started out with an identical heater 18 years ago, but it failed after two years and was replaced for free because it was still under warranty. It’s a big sucker, and has always worked great.

It has a nonstop pilot light, however, and it sits quite near the propane tank, which concerns me a bit. Plus, I would like to spend less on gas. I tried to reduce gas costs years ago by installing first one solar water heater, then another. Neither were worth warm spit, so I’m turning to another solution, one of those on-demand heaters.

But I’ve had bad luck with those too. We installed one in the Mexico City condo, and it’s been quite temperamental. We installed another in the Downtown Casita some years back because the little cheap traditional heater the home came with worked poorly. The new on-demand heater was no better, so I installed a large, traditional heater, which works great.

Avera.

We also have an on-demand heater in my child bride’s pastry kitchen. It’s never failed us in seven years.

I’m going to buy an Avera instantaneous heater, probably the model that costs 3,199 pesos. It has great reviews on the Avera website, and I’ll also keep the old heater online. I can switch from one to the other. Another option is a modulating model. Anyone have experience with those?

Homeownership, never an idle moment.

14 thoughts on “Spring is for sprucing up

  1. Let me know how you like the Avera. We are in the process of furnishing our place now and have not yet gotten the hot water heater. I am debating what type and how big to buy.

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    1. Mike: Since it will be some weeks before the new one is installed, you may have to remind me. Don’t forget. As for the size, the bigger the better, in my opinion. Now get on down here. Mexico is weary of waiting for you.

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  2. Honestly, your most economical option is probably a traditional tank heater. Though the pilot light theoretically wastes gas, the heat it creates is going right back into your water unlike what might be happening with a pilot light in a stove. Just make sure it’s well-insulated, and maybe give it an additional layer of insulation yourself.

    Cheers,

    Kim G
    SLP, SLP
    Where hot water is the hotel’s problem.

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    1. Kim: You are likely correct, but one of the reasons I am doing this is to avoid having a pilot light lit all the time just a couple of feet fom my propane tank, which concerns me a bit.

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      1. Even if your propane tank is leaking (unlikely) it’s not likely to concentrate enough gas to cause any problem. If you suspect the tank is leaking, you should wet it down with water mixed with a high concentration of dishwashing detergent and look for bubbles. Having an on-demand heater kick on will ignite any gas as surely as a pilot light in any case.

        Cheers

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        1. Kim: True, but the on-demand heater does not have an eternal flame. But it’s not just that issue. The other heater is old, and I don’t want to get caught with my pants down, especially in winter.

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          1. Felipe: Ya know, showers are expressly designed to be used with your pants entirely off. That said, I frankly don’t understand what your answer has to do with my reply. Presumably it’s even easier to buy an old fashioned “eternal flame” water heater than it is to buy a fancy, on-demand tankless model. By the way, the tankless types will take a spell to get the water to the full, operating temperature which might require some extended time in the shower fiddling with valves. And your pants down the whole while, of course.

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            1. Kim: You shower your way, and I’ll shower my way. As for the fancy tank, as I mentioned elsewhere, I’ve had mixed results with the things. It arrived yesterday. I ordered it directly from the manufacturer. I’ll get it installed and see how it works. Due to the rather long distance from where it will be installed to the downstairs bathroom, I imagine an additional pump will be needed. No big deal either. We’ll see, we’ll see. If I’m not happy, I’ll go another route. Life is an adventure, eh?

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    1. Ricardo: Summer is far better. Compared to Houston or New Orleans, all year here is vastly superior. But of the seasons here, spring is the worst. Summer is nice though perpetually wet. November is the best month.

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  3. Hola, don Felipe. It has been some time since I have visited your site. I am back in Morelia, enjoying retirement now! On the water heater, have you thought about a solar heater? I installed one about eight years ago, and it works fine for us. Oversize it, and keep the gas one as a backup. Just a thought, amigo.

    Hope you and your lovely wife are well. Nos vemos, Ray

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    1. Ray: Hi, and welcome back. You were in the U.S., right?

      As for the solar heater, I currently have one sitting on the roof. It’s the second we’ve owned, and neither has worked worth warm spit, so I’m not a fan. I hear it works for other people, just not us. Dunno why. Nos vemos indeed, señor.

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