Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

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Chickenbone
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby Chickenbone » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:14 pm

I guess I could google it, but for the sake of conversation, what is a "Califont". I'm guessing some sort of heater? Propane?

CB...

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Laura55llc
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby Laura55llc » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:46 pm

Chickenbone wrote:I guess I could google it, but for the sake of conversation, what is a "Califont". I'm guessing some sort of heater? Propane?

CB...



You will more easily find it under "tankless hot water heater".

http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/y ... opic=12820

The calefon really threw me at first here. Limitless hot water but the hot water depends on the flow(the water must stay running). There are some new construction regulations(in at least some places) that require the calefon be outside(for new construction) and some come with an automatic pilot light now. We just turn ours off when not in use for longer periods of time. In the states, they sell more of them these days)you can find them at home shows) because they are touted for energy efficiency. And they hang on the wall, don't take much space.

http://images.google.com/images?q=calef ... a=N&tab=wi
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MikieO
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby MikieO » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:16 pm

Laura makes a good point, constant flow is key to good functioning. I noted also that the pilot flame was very vigorous in the last few I looked at (Mademsa brand) leading me to believe that 30% of the tank is used by the pilot! I've got a brand new battery lit propane "cabin" califont in my shop that I would love to take down and use on my project but wonder what customs would make of that! :shock:
“Now, a lifetime of experience has left me bitter and cynical.” ~ Calvin & Hobbes

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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby admin » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:50 am

It is illegal to put them inside a house or apartment in Chile, yet idiot installers and home owners do it all the time. If you go to rent a place, and see one inside the building where there is no ventilation you can demand the land lord move it or look for another place. You can always rent the place, move it outside, and take it out of the land lord's rent. If they complain, threaten to turn them in. Have a real installer come do it, and NOT the guy that cuts your grass or paints your house or other "maestro". The gas installers will come with things like co2 and gas tester.

We had one in the kitchen of our old place, and for the most part it was fairly well ventilated space. One day however we had just the right combination of windows open, vent for the stove going, and doors closed so that the gas was not being pulled out of the house. My wife started getting light headed. While I was trying to figure out what was wrong with her, my house keeper that was still in the kitchen passed out.

Apart from stupid installations, the new ones work really well and save a lot of energy. We could likely cut down to about 1/2 half the energy consumption of the U.S. by eliminating those thousands of water tanks sitting idol but maintaining hot water 24/7.
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Chickenbone
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby Chickenbone » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:35 pm

Ah, that's what they are. I live on a sailboat and a buddy of mine that also lives on his boat has something very similar. Propane heated "instant" hotwater.

Thanks for answering.

CB...

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MikieO
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Re: Califont fix for gringos building housing in Chile

Postby MikieO » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:03 am

I've been meaning to post this for a while now but haven't been able to source the components in Chile
(at least I can't do it on line with my lousy Spanish :D )
I think I can speak for most people in that we would like to be "greener" and more energy efficient. Problem is, that usually involves giving up something.
Here in the US, I've come to really like the immediate and reliable hot water available from our "storage tank" style h/w heaters. Problem is, they suck energy while not in use, by keeping 30-80 gals hot for no reason. We're starting to get on board here in Ca with instant "flash h/w heaters" but as a custom builder I've had several complaints over the past few years in this regard.
These complaints revolve around the "slug" of cold water that gets sent down the pipes to the shower head when the h/w heater cycles on/off during periods of low flow. I think we've all been in the shower and had this experience in Chile!
The "fix" I'm suggesting for those who are in the process of building or remodeling their homes is to install a small "Termo eléctrico" (electric h/w heater) in the outlet line of the hot water heater. What this does is to "thin" the slug of cold water coming down the pipe so that any discomfort felt is minimal. There's an added benefit in that there's "instant" hot water available if you want to let it run 24/7. I plan to put mine under the house with a timer on it so that I'm only heating this small amount of water for an hour prior to the morning's shower or before bedtime etc (YMMV). In the event I run out of gas, I can take a verry short shower too. :mrgreen: The units are typically well insulated so that even when the heater is off, there will still be warm water immediately available.
I've found big electric h/w heaters (30 litre) online at Sodimac but what I'm looking for is the small, office kitchen type ones we use here in the US, maybe a 5 gallon one? I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to find one when I get to the plumbing segment of this project but, being a builder I tend to plan ahead.
I thought this might help with the dreaded "out of gas" events too.
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pohler
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby pohler » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:33 pm

A good article on what MikieO was explaining can be viewed here:

http://www.chandlerdesignbuild.com/file ... cJan08.pdf

It's a great combination of both technologies.
-Clint

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MikieO
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby MikieO » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:52 pm

Thankee! :mrgreen:
Good, graphic description. The pump add on was a bit of micro engineering but overall that's the concept. The filter is a good idea though, as these h/w heaters are very susceptible to clogging by particulates.
“Now, a lifetime of experience has left me bitter and cynical.” ~ Calvin & Hobbes

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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby admin » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:25 pm

You know with the newer / better ones I have not noticed that much of difference in time from on to hot water. The old ones, you have to play with the water pressure by turning the faucet to get them to trip, but not the new ones.

What I have noticed that seems to make a difference is if the pipes are insulated, and distance from the heater. It is like the water gets heated, then it takes a while for the pipes to get warmed up. For example, the upstairs bathroom in our house takes a long time for the hot water to reach it. Downstairs, just a meter or two from the heater, it is fairly instant. Once the pipes are warmed up, the hot water is almost instant on however in the bathrooms.

I also would put at least two on a house of any size. I would also separate things like the washing machines or perhaps kitchen, from bathrooms. Electric ignition all the way. Those pilot lights, can eat up like 10,000 peso a month in gas just doing nothing. You can definitely pay for the upgrade (I believe most new ones are already) to an electric ignition heater for what you save.
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From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.

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zer0nz
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby zer0nz » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:44 pm

i remember someone looking for co2 alarms awhile back, i cant find the original post but i came across this site while looking for humidifiers.. there are co2 alarms...

http://www.airevital.cl/Productos.html

GJJIM
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby GJJIM » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:36 am

zer0nz wrote:i remember someone looking for co2 alarms awhile back, i cant find the original post but i came across this site while looking for humidifiers.. there are co2 alarms...


The alarm you want is a CO (carbon monoxide) alarm. Sometimes these are combined with a smoke detector to provide two alarms in one unit.

If the heater is fired by gas, it is also a good idea to have a flammable vapor alarm as well in case there is a gas leak. There was a terrible accident at a mountain lodge a few years ago when a small propane gas leak in the basement went undetected until one day the fumes exploded. It killed several people and completely destroying the building. A $50 alarm could have prevented the accident.

horselover1830
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Re: Califont warning for gringos moving into housing in Chile

Postby horselover1830 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:52 am

I almost blew myself up when living in Spain lighting my califont. Here in Chile at the moment we have a funky califont that burns or runs cold. Both lack(ed) electric starters.
- use matches
It is high on my list of things to ärreglar" when we have our own place. BE CAREFULL!
Lana


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