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Chauffe Eau


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Originally posted under `Working with Wood' - mistake!


We bought a holiday cottage in Brittany 18 years ago, complete with elm leblanc gas water heater.  Fantastic system -  turn on the mains water and the bottled gas, light the pilot light and away you go – instant, constant hot water to the kitchen sink and handbasin and shower in the shower room (on the other side of the kitchen wall).  The gas bottle lasts approx 21 days and we have to take it up the road to LeClerc’s for a replacement (the only tiny inconvenience).  Also, just as a precaution we turn the gas off every night as we are aware of the dangers of gas.  BUT, our heater is now illegal and cannot be serviced so really is in need of replacement.  We have received a Devi from a local contractor to supply and fit a gas water heater 2,650  but it will need holes knocked in a 2ft thick granite wall for exhaustion & ventilation and 2 gas bottles will need to be placed outside for which some sort of housing will need to be built – all very complicated.  They have also quoted 1,750  to fit an electrical version that will need a home for a 100 litre (minimum) water tank, that will need draining down before winter sets in etc etc., and we have no idea of the cost of the electricity for this system.  It’s only a very little cottage and just a new version of our present water heater would be ideal mais c’ est pas possible.  Is there really nothing else as simple as our elm leblanc water heater? 


Any comments/advice on water heating systems and the costs quoted above would be greatly appreciated.

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Given the ever-increasimg price of gas (currently about 9€/week for you but going up), I'd go for the 100L chauffe-eau option - more than enough for your needs. Can't comment on the price you have been quoted  without looking at the job.

Element is likely to be 1500-1800 watts and will take about 5Hrs to heat from cold (cost between 45 & 100c, depending on which tariff you have). Weekly running costs are going to be in the region of 3-5€.


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I have to admit.....that being an old gas fitter (me not the gas) that this goes against the grain somewhat, but you will be better off with the electric.

As to it needing draining down........Did you ever drain down your gas heater ?

Probably not, so it's quite probable your electric chauffe eau will be fine left to it's own devices overwinter.

In almost twenty years in the Charente I can only recollect one winter where we had freezing conditions likely to freeze pipes and cylinders.


(I will no doubt now be castigated for these remarks by the various doom merchants who inhabit this site)


JD, Old gas fitter en retrait

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