Instant hot or other portable propane hot water heater?

ANyone use one of these? I have cold water at the barn but not hot, and no electric (well, an extension cord…). I’d want something I can hang on the wall, in the wash stall, in a fairly open florida barn, and attach a regular hose to… Suggestions welcome.

I love mine, the barn is wired/plumbed to add a water heater but I decided after the sticker shock of building it that I could go a year with the insta hot. For one person w two riding horses it’s working well enough I’ve never looked back. I will say I have winter to contend with and love not worrying about frozen pipes. This may not factor into your decision in FL.

1 Like

I bought the instant hot propane this past summer but didn’t use it so I’m not a lot of help. I’m not sure about hanging it on the wall, don’t recall it having that option, I did buy the cart and cover for mine, all of it was probably still just under $300. They are fairly inexpensive so worth considering.

I have the generic version of the instant portable propane heater. I almost love it. By that I mean, it sure beats a frigid bath for my horses, which is my primary use. However, the temperature doesn’t stay consistent. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it’s a little annoying during a bath. Overall, worth it for me.

Look at the EcoTemp propane water heater. I have one hanging on the wall under the eave of my barn. It works great for bathing and I haven’t noticed a fluctuation in water temperatures. While cold weather may not be a problem for you in Florida, freezing temps will cause the copper pipes to split if any water is not drained after use. I made this mistake and had to have a radiator shop repair the split pipe. For the price, it is a really handy feature to have at the barn.

We have had our insta-hot for 4 years and it’s perfect for our needs. My show season is from Sept-May so a lot of cold mornings getting show ready.

I haven’t used one - but Big Dee’s has one on sale right now

I have had this for many years;…SABEgKeufD_BwE

I like it a lot, certainly better than no hot water at all, but it requires getting used to.

The portable wheely cart is handy, but also easy to tip if you pull on the hose too strongly.

Though I’m sure its safe, I don’t like having any flames inside my small barn, so I only use it outside. The vents on the side of the unit funnel wind and blow out the flames very easily, so using it on a windy day takes placing it carefully behind a windbreak and keeping an eye on it.

Water pressure is pretty poor, it helps to use the pressure nozzle it comes with, but don’t expect to quickly hose down a soapy/dirty horse.

You also have to play with the flow/heat quite a bit. The lower the water pressure, the more slowly the water flows through the radiant coils, so the hotter the water gets. The higher the pressure, the faster it flows, and the less it heats. In the dead of winter, when the ground temp water is icy cold, I have mine on a near-trickle setting to get steamy hot water (about 80°). In the summer I can use more pressure as ground temp water is much warmer.

The sproingy hose is a pain in the neck more often than not, it winds around things and if you pull it too far the coils unravel and curl back on themselves. In the winter, it gets brittle and shatters. Lord help you if you get a chunk of frozen ice in a coil.

Using a heavier hose with any length tends to make the unit front-heavy and unstable. I wind up using those “seen on tv” expanding hoses for light weight length, but they don’t like hot water very much and don’t last long.

I have to drain mine down during freezing weather, which doesn’t always work out well, the plug is fiddly and the water doesn’t always drain from the radiant coils. Propane doesn’t like to flow in cold weather either. When temps are below 20 I have to put the entire unit, propane and all, in the back of my suv and let the heat run to get it warm enough to use.

Putting the hoses on and off the small spigots is a pain, they’re close together, like to thread on wonky and love to leak. I ended up using teflon tape and putting quick connect hose connections. Helpful, but they can be leaky too. In the summer its not a big deal, but in the winter you get ice formations that are a pain.

As mentioned the temperature can fluctuate quite a lot. When hosing a horse you can get a shot of cold followed by a shot of super hot. Can be quite a surprise for both of you when cleaning a sensitive area.

I used to try to use it to hose down a horse, but found it too much of a hassle for all of the reasons outlined.

What IS handy though is leaving it connected while I’m spending a day at the barn and using it to fill buckets with hot water as needed. I wash my horses from buckets (which I’ve been doing for years so its no bother for me, and it saves a lot of water), and I run a bucket of hot water whenever I need some, like for scrubbing bits or cleaning tack. When washing a horse, I’ll be working out of one bucket, while the unit fills another. I use it for making a hot mash, etc. Vet and dentist appreciate the hot water for washing up.

Its extremely handy to have around and I like it very much - but the advertising photos of gleefully hosing off a sudsy horse wherever you want isn’t realistic in my opinion.

1 Like

thanks buck22 !!

I found the 1.5GPM tanks didn’t warm the water enough for cooler weather, and didn’t have enough pressure. I bought an eccotemp L10 (3GPM) and love it. I use it in an outside wash stall.

1 Like


Which model of the EcoTemp do you have, I found myself on hunt currently.


I have had this one for 4 years, using it as an outdoor shower. It’s the L1O Eccotemp. Dead simple, endless HOT water, a D battery powers the igniter, the heater accepts a water hose screwed onto it. Done

1 Like

Curious as to how you mounted that , I liked the insta-hots cart set up and was needing something along that line if possible. Let me know your thoughts.


It’s hung on a 1x4 in a semi enclosed shower space under our deck. we bring it in over the winter and cover it when not in use.

1 Like

Lash it to any hand truck and weight the base with the propane tank.

1 Like

Gretchen, this is the model I bought. The price was much lower a few years ago. One thing I learned the hard way: be sure to drain the tank if it will freeze. The pipes burst easily. Otherwise, it’s great.