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 Water Heater for Food Truck?

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Noodles on the Loose

  • Total Posts: 57
  • Joined: 5/13/2011
  • Location: Wasilla, AK
Water Heater for Food Truck? Sat, 02/16/13 5:00 PM (permalink)
Hello.  I'm just about finished with the build out on my truck, but haven't found an ideal solution for the water heater.  I purchased one months ago thinking it was perfect, only to find out that the type of air intake and venting (atmospheric) wouldn't work for this application.  My sinks are relatively small, so based on health dept code I should be fine with 2.5 to 3 gpm tankless or 15-20 gallon tank.
 
So, what type/brand/size of water heater are you using?
 
Thanks, Angela
 
 
 
#1
    a.mckenna

    • Total Posts: 53
    • Joined: 2/13/2013
    • Location: Seattle, WA
    Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sat, 02/16/13 8:42 PM (permalink)
    Home Depot sells the Bosch Ariston 4 gallon model, works awesome for folks with small sinks. Installed at least 14 of them in the last year.
     
    Or if you are in a low power situation, go with a RV propane gas version. Easy to install and they heat up wicked fast.
     
    Or some more if you like being supper efficient go with a tankless unit. The Eccotemp L10 model is cheap and works great. Operates at around 2.7 GPM, usually about the same as most water pumps used in food carts/trucks. I have been installing Shurflo Park Model 120V pumps for the past two years, they run around 2.9 GPM so they are pretty in sync with the Eccotemp tankless unit. If you go with a tankless, make sure you have a pump that can run at the same pressure, otherwise the tankless heater will go stupid on you.
     
    #2
      daddywoofdawg

      • Total Posts: 299
      • Joined: 2/23/2011
      • Location: Starkweather, ND
      Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/17/13 12:24 AM (permalink)
      +1
       
      #3
        edwmax

        • Total Posts: 2016
        • Joined: 1/1/2007
        • Location: Cairo, GA
        Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/17/13 4:30 PM (permalink)
        Noodles on the Loose


        Hello.  I'm just about finished with the build out on my truck, but haven't found an ideal solution for the water heater.  I purchased one months ago thinking it was perfect, only to find out that the type of air intake and venting (atmospheric) wouldn't work for this application.  My sinks are relatively small, so based on health dept code I should be fine with 2.5 to 3 gpm tankless or 15-20 gallon tank.

        So, what type/brand/size of water heater are you using?

        Thanks, Angela



         
        What model WH did you purchase?    And, where do you need to install it within the truck?
         
        #4
          Noodles on the Loose

          • Total Posts: 57
          • Joined: 5/13/2011
          • Location: Wasilla, AK
          Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/17/13 6:08 PM (permalink)
          Thanks for the suggestions; I'll take a look at those.  I am limited on power, but don't think I want to go with a standard RV water heater.  Priced them locally and even the 6 gallon ones are over $500 here and the 12 gallon was closer to $700.  Which just seems crazy to me when a standard 40 gallon household water heater is only $400.
           
          The water heater that I have is a Marey 16L.  It's a nice little unit and was inexpensive, but the burn chamber is not sealed and the exhaust is just a vent out, non-powered.  My truck is fairly small with the box only being about 6' x 10' and I don't have room to isolate the water heater from the kitchen exhaust hood.  My understanding from the Inspector is it's the combination that creates the problem because when the exhaust hood is on it could create negative air flow in the water heater exhaust and pull carbon monoxide into the truck rather than venting out. 
           
          #5
            a.mckenna

            • Total Posts: 53
            • Joined: 2/13/2013
            • Location: Seattle, WA
            Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/17/13 9:03 PM (permalink)
            Check out the Eccotemp L10, the propane version is designed to be exterior mounted, thus eliminating the exhaust problem. They are around 300 dollars online.
             
            #6
              edwmax

              • Total Posts: 2016
              • Joined: 1/1/2007
              • Location: Cairo, GA
              Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Mon, 02/18/13 1:03 PM (permalink)
              Noodles on the Loose


              .... My understanding from the Inspector is it's the combination that creates the problem because when the exhaust hood is on it could create negative air flow in the water heater exhaust and pull carbon monoxide into the truck rather than venting out. 

               
              My first thought is the Insp. is a bit of an oxy-moron here.    See the same can be said of poor placement of the Hood exhaust or the fresh air intake into the truck. So the hood is recirculating the 'hood exhaust' through truck.   ... But what I think the Insp. is implying is that air flow for the hood exhaust might draw fresh air 'backwards' though the WH exhaust into the truck. 
               
              First, this would be a problem of any gas fired appliance if the fresh air intake for the hood exhaust is not sufficient. So another gas fired and independently vented WH will not solve his concerns.
               
              Second, I don't think the WH will work if this happens. Check with the manufacture about safety features to prevent this.
               
              One of the manufacture's diagrams seems to show an installation where the exhaust is room vented and a near by wall exhaust fan.   So an option might be to wall mount the WH to the end of the kitchen hood and pipe the exhaust under the hood or though the end of the hood into the exhaust chamber.  Then the exhaust will be thought the hood exhaust.
               
              Most exhaust hoods in these application (truck/trailer concessions) are over powered.   You only want enough air flow so that if you hold a tissue just above the front edge of the range/grill you can see it slightly move towards the hood exhaust.   If you can feel the air moving in the truck, it is too much.    ... But, some owners like this high air flow during the hot weather months to cool the work area.   This is up to you.
               
              So for the Insp, I still think he is an oxy-morron.   ... if the hood exhaust is pulling the CO (WH's) back into the truck, it is also exhausted along with the fresh air drawn in from the windows & doors.  So the CO can not build up, but the WH will not work correctly.  ... You need to plan for fresh air intake to match the exhaust of the hood. Generally, the open counter window will be sufficient.  But, if you plan on keeping the window & door closed, then another wall intake vent is required.
               
              Only other option ... is electric WH or exterior mounted gas wh.
              <message edited by edwmax on Mon, 02/18/13 1:17 PM>
               
              #7
                edwmax

                • Total Posts: 2016
                • Joined: 1/1/2007
                • Location: Cairo, GA
                Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Mon, 02/18/13 1:27 PM (permalink)
                OH  ...
                 
                Another way to solve this problem with your existing WH.     Wall mount it. then enclose it with a metal cabinet (with a service door inside) and cut exterior wall vents above and below the WH. This will isolate air intake and exhaust from the inside of the truck.
                 
                #8
                  RodBangkok

                  • Total Posts: 385
                  • Joined: 10/12/2008
                  • Location: Bangkok Thailand, XX
                  Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Mon, 02/18/13 2:27 PM (permalink)
                  Edwmax is on track here, here's a video about this that explains it a lot better than I could.  The first few minutes talks about sources of air for a water heater. 
                  I'd use something like the vid shows or insure both intake and exhaust are isolated from the room air.
                   
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wocXkUVcrdo
                   
                  #9
                    a.mckenna

                    • Total Posts: 53
                    • Joined: 2/13/2013
                    • Location: Seattle, WA
                    Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Tue, 02/19/13 12:19 AM (permalink)
                    I take something back to, just noticed where you live.
                     
                    Exterior mounted water heaters might not be the best option for obvious reasons in a cold weather climate.
                     
                    So, back to a small electric unit being the super easy option. Bosch Ariston 4 gallon model is cheap and efficient but if your inspector is being that annoying and you have large sinks you might want to up that to the 6 gallon model sold only on Home Depot's web page.
                     
                    Second option, a RV unit as they are better designed for cold weather environments, and all the pipes would be inside the truck and easy to insulate.
                     
                    Or you get all complicated and work on venting the water heater you have properly.
                     
                    #10
                      Noodles on the Loose

                      • Total Posts: 57
                      • Joined: 5/13/2011
                      • Location: Wasilla, AK
                      Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Tue, 02/19/13 12:06 PM (permalink)
                      Thank you so much.  Edwmax, I agree that it's a bit of an oxymoron.  At first I was very concerned about the CO being in the truck, but it doesn't make much sense the more I think about it.  While not huge openings, I have two serving windows plus if air intake is really an issue there is also the window on the opposite side for cross ventilation and one next to the driver seat. 
                      I'm beginning to think the Inspector and my installer were looking at this as if everything would be closed up like a building and not taking into consideration that the windows would be open whenever it's in operation.  Not completely surprising though since it's in the single digits here right now, LOL.  Think I'll have another conversation with them before I buy something different.
                       
                       
                       
                      #11
                        Noodles on the Loose

                        • Total Posts: 57
                        • Joined: 5/13/2011
                        • Location: Wasilla, AK
                        Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Tue, 02/19/13 1:42 PM (permalink)
                        Was going to add a picture, but forgot about the minimum posts requirement.  Will try again later.



                        <message edited by Noodles on the Loose on Tue, 02/19/13 1:44 PM>
                         
                        #12
                          daddywoofdawg

                          • Total Posts: 299
                          • Joined: 2/23/2011
                          • Location: Starkweather, ND
                          Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Tue, 02/19/13 2:11 PM (permalink)
                          Can't you just put in a vent for the fresh air.I have two in my trailer,and right now it's -12F and two feet of snow and it doesn't get a lot colder than not having it.
                           
                          #13
                            TamaleTrolley

                            • Total Posts: 33
                            • Joined: 7/19/2012
                            • Location: Memphis, TN
                            Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/24/13 2:12 AM (permalink)
                            We have the Ecotemp mounted on the inside, it comes with lots of lovely chrome venting pipe. You cut a 2.5" (I think) hole in the side of the truck and run the vent out, big deal. It makes lots of extremely hot water and does it fast. Your water pump does need to be up to the job, low water pressure makes the Ecotemp confused or inoperable. But dang you could cook lobsters with that thing.
                             
                            #14
                              Dr of BBQ

                              • Total Posts: 3716
                              • Joined: 10/11/2004
                              • Location: Springfield, IL
                              • Roadfood Insider
                              Re:Water Heater for Food Truck? Sun, 02/24/13 9:36 AM (permalink)
                              If anyone is planing on an installation where the exhaust gases for your instant hot water heater are vented by your truck exhaust fan, you may want to rethink it, or just plan ahead.
                               
                              If you have a really good (strong) exhaust system (non variable) it may well suck the flame out of your instant hot water heater.
                               
                              If I don't have windows open (raining) my exhaust fan will not produce hot water. The exhaust fan sucks so much air thru the WH exhaust that the air coming into the burn area blows out the flame.
                               
                              But that said it's not the end of the world if you just shut down the exhaust fan for a few minutes until you've run enough hot water then turn your truck exhaust back on.   
                              <message edited by Dr of BBQ on Sun, 02/24/13 9:38 AM>
                               
                              #15
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