Hot water in the barn? Yes! It has made a hugely increased our efficiency and productivity when we work at our barn chores.
We work full-time jobs and cultivate vegetables and herbs for our own use. We love to grow our favorite vegetables, can and freeze them for the winter, and hunt game to fill our freezer. We going to add laying hens to the mix this spring. There is nothing better than knowing that we are self-sufficient, at least to some extent! And we love to share extras with our neighbors, friends, or people in our community who are in need.
Also, our barn doubles as my husband’s workshop. He woodworks for a hobby. He loves to build birdhouses and gives them as gifts. He also sells them as a little side income and his work is top-notch.
In addition, we both spend countless hours in the barn working on an endless honey-do list as we remodel our mid-century home. We salvage as much of the original material as possible to maintain the country charm. We refinish antique furniture pieces from the attic. Sometimes we keep it, sometimes we sell it for a profit.
We initially ran cold water out to the barn. This was a convenience for me. As I potted plants I could water them out of the hot North Carolina sun. Also, I didn’t need to lug five-gallon buckets of water through the yard to my potting bench so the convenience saved my back.
My husband also liked that he could clean off tools or rinse paint brushes after he used him. However, he noticed that the cold water didn’t quite cut the mess.
We started discussing how we could get hot water to the barn. The distance from our hot water tank, inside the house, to the barn was so great that the water would have been lukewarm at best.
A chat with a local farmer gave us the best answer…a tankless water heater!
The tankless water heater doesn’t need to keep water hot at all times…it only heats when we need it! So when we turn on the hot water at the tap, the water flows quickly when we need it! This saves money on the energy bill while we receive the benefit of hot water in the barn.
Dirty jobs make dirty hands. When I have dug in the compost and have dirt under my nails and on my fingers, I can clean them up before I go back into the house so that I don’t leave smudges all over the place. The same goes for when we paint or refinish furniture. Clean hands leave the mess in the barn, where it belongs!
Also, when my husband hunts, he field dresses the deer. This means blood-borne pathogens are on his hands. He can give his hands a good, thorough washing with anti-bacterial soap before he comes into the house so he doesn’t cross-contaminate anything.
Finally, after we need to do the doo-doo clean up of our yard after our dog (and the neighbor’s dog but that’s another story) we can prevent the spread of germs by having hot water in the barn.
Obviously, sanitation is key when you are producing your own foods!
We live in the Carolinas. The winters here aren’t brutal, but they get cold, and we frequently have nighttime temperatures that are below freezing. The tankless water heater means that we are well-prepared to keep the chickens and goats we intend to add to the property.
Our farmer friend says that in the cold temperatures, he fills the livestock troughs with hot water instead of cold. This extends the amount of time that the animals will have access to water before it freezes by almost double. This also means fewer trips out to the barn in the cold weather to ensure that the livestock has adequate water.
After using tools, you can remove grease, grime, paints, or solvents by soaking them in hot water. Just don’t let grease down the drain. Check with your local authorities for proper disposal!
Also, my husband enjoys Hydrographics as a hobby. This is the process of dipping items in a tank filled with hot water, a chemical agent, and plastic film. It makes durable, decorative coatings on all different non-porous items. For example, he dips the handles of his tools so that if he lends them to someone, he knows which one is his.
Before the tankless water heater, he had to boil water on the stove, carry it out to the barn quickly and dip immediately. Now he can dip tools in hydrographic materials and enjoy his hobby, instead of feeling rushed and frustrated by needing to work so quickly.
In conclusion, consider adding a tankless water heater if you have a barn, workshop, or hobby building. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you start using it and the ways it frees you up to work more productively.
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