We've had people use it for this exact situation. It works, but there are a few things to be mindful about.
The hottest increase the incoming water is by 30-35C (86-95F) above the incoming water. This is on the highest gas / lowest water flow setting.
Say the water coming in is 10C (50F) from the tap - the HOTTAP will get it to 40-45C (104-113F), but the water will be set to the lowest setting (i.e approx 4LPM (1GPM)). So it might take a while before the bath is fully filled up
Recirculating the Water
Another idea is to circulate the water, but using a pump. Start by filling your bath up with water, then use a pump to recirculate water inside the bath (simply put the suction hose into the bath) and whatever is coming out the Hottap goes back into the bath.
You might find it's quicker to fill up the bath from the tap, then just recirculate water, and over time it'll heat up nicely. Using this method, the longer you keep recirculating water you can heat it up quite hot - as the water inside the bath will slowly get warmer over time.
However using the pump, we only recommend a max cycle time of 20min at a time. We've seen our pumps working for more than 20min at a time without trouble but again something to keep an eye on so the pump doesn't overheat.
Protecting from Wind
Assuming the Hottap will be running for a while, and if it's in an area where it's prone to winds, there is a chance that the flame could blow out. If the flame goes out the Hottap won't automatically shut the water flow, so you'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure you're actually getting warm water coming out.
All gas appliances are adjusted for a gas + oxygen mixture as 'sea' level. As you go up in altitude, there is less air and the combustion is less efficient.
At around 1500m (5000ft) we estimate that the HOTTAP will be around 10% less efficient. The higher up you go, HOTTAP will work but it'll just take longer for your water to heat up, or it won't get as hot. You can mitigate this by just recirculating water in a tub if you need to get it to reach a higher temperature.
Tub Storage Capacity: ~50 Litres / 14 Gallons
|HOTTAP Unit & Accessories|
|Dimensions:||450H x 290W x 170D mm|
|Run Time with 9kg Bottle:||~15hrs|
|Battery:||2 x D-cell (for ignition only)|
|Flow rate:||2.5L - 6L per minute|
|Min. water Pressure:||70kPa|
|Max. water Pressure:||900kPa|
|Gas hose length:||1.2m|
|Shower hose length:||5m|
|Nominal gas consumption:||28MJ/h|
Pumping & 12V Power
|Open flow:||6 LPM|
|Max pressure:||60 PSI|
Of Course! We comply with all compulsory regional standards.
In Australia AS 2658 is the gas standard for portable LP Gas appliances. It's actually illegal to sell portable gas appliances without this approval - and we would never risk that! Just FYI, our approval number is GMK10121.
Joolca is an Australian company. All of our product design & development, as well as the majority of our operations, is based out of our Headquarters right here in Melbourne.
Our products are currently made in Bangladesh (our Tent range) and China for everything else. All of the manufacturing partners we deal with have been hand-selected based on their professionalism and the quality of work they produce. In many cases, we've been working together for over 7 years now and have forged a very close relationship where they produce Joolca products according to our strict guidelines and specifications.
We know that China sometimes gets a bad rap for cheap products at low prices. That is undoubtedly true in some cases, but it's not the rule. Just like anywhere else, you can make products to various price points. Take our main manufacturing partner as an example; they are a company with over a billion US dollars in revenue per year, which comes with massive financial and compliance overheads of their own. They aren't cheap. The benefit that we get from a supplier like this is an incredibly broad in-house production capability (for us this means tighter control over more of our components) as well as access to a supply chain where, within a 50km radius, nearly every sub-component required for the HOTTAP can be found or made.
The reality is that unfortunately, the combination of these benefits would probably be impossible to find in any other country. Having said that, our door is open and we're always looking for awesome manufacturing partners. So if you know of any, please feel free to make an introduction!
The HOTTAP is designed with freshwater use in mind, using saltwater or brackish water can affect the internals and leave them susceptible to rust and corrosion.
It won't cause total damage immediately but saltwater, for example, will certainly reduce the lifetime of the unit. If you need to use salt water we'd recommend rinsing HOTTAP with clean water after use to minimise the risk of long term damage to the internals.
Hottap is activated by water pressure. Before you have water flowing, or if you don't have enough flow (or pressure), nothing will happen. As in, HOTTAP won't make any sounds and the LED won't light up. Note: You can troubleshoot this issue by pressing and holding the 'Joolca' Icon on the LED screen and observing if the water flow error icon illuminates - read more Troubleshooting HOTTAP v2
As the water flows through HOTTAP, a sensor picks up the water flow rate and opens a gas solenoid valve, which allows the gas to flow into the burners and ignite. At this point, you'll hear a loud clunk (solenoid opening) and fast ticking (the ignitor).
This whole ignition system is powered by the two d-cell batteries. They are also what power up the LED screen. Because juice is only drawn when HOTTAP is active (and not much power is taken anyway) they last for quite a while. Normally at least 6 months, but it depends on your usage.
Once the HOTTAP is active, you can look through the slits above the control dials to see the flame. Adjusting the flame toggle will increase or decrease the size of the flame and thus the heat output. Adjusting your water will either reduce or increase the speed at which the water flows through the heat exchanged. Faster flow = less time to absorb heat, therefore less hot water. Slower flow, hotter water.
If you're using our 12V pump, that runs off a separate 12V power supply, namely a cigarette socket or any other 12V supply that you might have. Our pumps have a sensor which can tell when the water flow has been turned on / off.
What this means for you is that you can have your shower or faucet all set up, and by simply flicking the water flow on, the whole system will work automatically to start the water flow and heat the water up. When you're done, that same switch will shut everything off.
- HOTTAP unit
- GasKnect snap-on fitting
- 1.2m Gas hose
- Lightweight feet**
- 4m shower hose
- 1m shower hose
- Shower handle with switch
- Magnetic shower handle holder
- Hose coupling connector
- Three-way hose splitter
*Your kit may contain additional accessories, please consult your quick start guides for more information
** Nomad kit includes a Heavy duty stand in place of Lightweight feet.
Setting up HOTTAP
Before setting up, please note that Hottap requires a water pressure of at least 70kPa to work. This part of the guide assumes that you have access to mains water.
For use with the Off-Grid Plumbing kit, please refer to pages 20-21.
To set up your Hottap for use, please cover the following steps:
Install 2 D-cell batteries observing the labelling on the battery box and the batteries.
Using a spanner, connect the female GasKnect fitting to the gas hose.
Do not use thread tape
Connect the regulator to the gas bottle and the GasKnect to the Hottap unit.
The gas cylinder must be positioned away and to the side of the appliance. It must never be directly beside, below or above the appliance.
When mounting your Hottap, please ensure that there is sufficient clearance from people and combustible materials: at least 1,000mm from the top, 600mm at the rear and at least 500mm from the sides and front of the unit.
Depending on what particular Hottap kit you own, you may mount it in one of three ways:
3.a. Heavy-duty stand Connect all hoses (see point 4.) and place unit into the heavy-duty stand.
3.b. Hang the Hottap on a suitable vertical surface
3.c. Lightweight legs Fasten the lightweight feet with the captive thumb screws.
Attach the red shower hose to the red quick connect fitting.
Connect the blue hose to your water source and to the blue quick-connect fitting on the Hottap.
Attach the GasKnect brass fitting to the gas inlet.
Connect the regulator to the gas cylinder. Open the gas cylinder by twisting the valve knob in an anti-clockwise direction one full turn.
Check the entire gas line for leaks by coating the hose and connection points with soapy water. Do not use a flame. If bubbles are formed or you can hear a leak, turn off the gas at the cylinder. Tighten all connections and test again.
Once you have determined that there are no leaks, the appliance is ready to use.
Turn the gas off.
In the US, the most common style of garden hose comes with 3/4" threaded fittings for the connections. To connect this to the HOTTAP you'll need to purchase an adapter, there are two options and both are widely available at your local hardware store:
The simplest method is remove the blue water inlet quick-connector and attach an adapter to allow for a direct connection with your garden hose.
A suitable adapter is something like this one and the water inlet will now look like this. Note: use thread tape for a secure and watertight fit.
This option is better if you'd like to keep the 'quick connect' features across the whole system.
Using any standard garden hose with typical 3/4" Threaded connections, you can purchase an adapter kit which will convert both ends of your hose to a quick connect, allowing you to connect directly to the HOTTAP water inlet, as well as using to extend the reach of your pump.
Something like this will work well, but any similar brand will also work.
If you'd haven't already done so, we recommend reading the quick 'set up' guide for HOTTAP v2 by clicking here
Ensure that the shower handle switch is in the “off” position.
Turn the gas on by twisting the cylinder valve knob in an anti-clockwise direction one full turn.
Open the valve at your water source. Please note that, since the shower handle switch is in the “off” position, water should not be flowing through the showerhead
You can now control the entire system at the shower handle switch. Flick it on: the water starts to flow and the Hottap burner automatically ignites. Flick it off: the water flow stops and the Hottap burner automatically extinguishes.
Bearing in mind that the water might be very hot, stand clear of the shower when turning it on.
Step 5) Setting your temperature
Adjust the red flame lever and the blue water flow dial to find your desired temperature and flow rate.
For higher temperatures, turn the flame up and the water flow down.
For lower temperatures, turn the flame down and the water flow up.
- Mounting HOTTAP V2 using the Joolca Quick Release Mounting Bracket
- Mounting HOTTAP V1 using the Joolca Quick Release Mounting Bracket
- Inspiration on other ways to mount your HOTTAP (V1 & V2)
Does it handle rough roads and corrugations?
The HOTTAP is built to be robust and handles off-road conditions and corrugated roads with no trouble. At this stage, there are many HOTTAP units sitting on camper trailer drawbars and toolboxes travelling all over.
Are there any safety concerns?
The most important thing to remember is that the HOTTAP is not able to be permanently connected to a reticulated gas supply. What this means essentially is that it's OK for your HOTTAP to be fixed or mounted to your vehicle, but the gas connection should be made each time you set up and it must be disconnected before travelling again.
It's also important to comply with the clearance instructions listed at the back of the unit while in use.
Other ways to mount your HOTTAP
Using a TV mount allows you to conveniently store or swivel out to use when needed.
Compartmentalize your HOTTAP by bolting it to drawer slides.
Trailer door and van door mount
HOTTAP v2 stand and feet
Hanging your HOTTAP
All HOTTAPs come with a handle to conveniently hang your unit.
When it comes to pumping water there is a vast amount of options available to choose from however you need to be certain of the requirements in your system otherwise you are likely to find that the particular pump you have is not fit for purpose.
The Joolca branded pump is specifically designed to be used with the HOTTAP, however if you have your own pump or have a use case with the Joolca pump won't suit, that is perfectly fine.
General Specifications Required:
When it comes to the HOTTAP Hot water system the ideal specifications for the pump are that it flows at least 6 litres per minute and no more than 12. You are also looking for a pressure level around 60 PSI. Meeting these operating ranges will ensure optimal operation from the HOTTAP system.
Main types of pumps you may come across are:
Centrifugal water pumps:
These style of pumps generally consist of one or more impellers typically driven electrically. You will find Bilge pumps fall under this category. These style of pumps are not suitable for the HOTTAP due to their nature of providing high water flow rates but low water pressure. We have found from past experience that generally these will not have the required water pressure to activate the pressure switch in the HOTTAP.
Positive displacement pumps (AKA Pressure Pumps):
PD pumps do not have impellers, instead, they consist of either rotating or reciprocating parts and generate high pressure to push the water along the system. These style of pumps will generally provide lower flow rates than centrifugal style pumps however provide much higher water pressure. These style of pumps are ideal for the HOTTAP system and as long as the specifications are within 6-12 litres per minute and around 60 PSI it will be perfect for the HOTTAP system.
I have a camper trailer with a water tank. Do I need a pump to get water from the tank to the HOTTAP?
If you have a camper trailer with an onboard water tank, you may already have a pressure pump onboard. If you do have a pump, make sure it can provide anywhere from 6-12 LPM (litres per minute) and you'll be fine.
Then it's a matter of connecting your existing pump to the HOTTAP and you're good to go!
If you don't have a pump however, then you're best bet is to get the HOTTAP OUTING, which includes a 12V pump kit to be able to take water from the tank and push it through the HOTTAP.
You won't be able to just connect the HOTTAP to the water tank, as gravity won't provide enough pressure to get water flowing properly through the HOTTAP - that's why you always need pressurised water - either water from a garden tap at home, or a 12V pump if you're free camping.
The HOTTAP requires a minimum of 10PSI and 6LPM to operate across the full flow range.
You’ll find that a lot of pressure pumps will have a pressure setting of at least 40PSI. So, the important thing to focus on is the flow rate.
If you use a lower flow pump (e.g. 4.3LPM) you will be able to use the HOTTAP on the minimum flow setting, but, the unit will cut out as you increase the water dial toward maximum. This is due to the unit requiring more water than what is being supplied.
You can definitely use a gravity system at home to run the HOTTAP however please be mindful that you will require a specific set of conditions in order to meet adequate operation of the system.
You'll need 10PSI minimum to open up the pressure switch on the inside of the unit and you'll need 6LPM flow rate as well.
Usually we find that with gravity systems (this is assuming a tank 10-15m above the shower on the side of a hill) has enough pressure to fire up the HOTTAP on the lowest flow setting, but then once you try to adjust the dial to anything more than 1/4 water flow, the unit will cut out.
This is because there isn't enough water flow and pressure to keep that pressure switch inside the unit opened up, so it closes up and the system shuts down.
If the tank you're talking about is anything less than 10m above the shower, then you'll run into issues. If you're not running through the HOTTAP than gravity fed shower is OK, it's just when you want to connect to the HOTTAP you'll need to make sure you have enough pressure/water flow.
Reason for that is the size of the burners are designed for a certain water flow/pressure. If the water flow comes in at a much lower flow rate, then the water will heat up very very quickly way beyond the safety cut-off of 50C (basically it'll be useless as you can't have a shower).
From past experiences we have found in many cases it is easier to obtain a pump to enjoy the system to its full potential.
HOTTAP uses two 'D-Cell' batteries, these power the unit itself as well as the LED screen and generally last for 3-6 months, depending on use.
The pump connects to a 12V supply (we give you a 5m cigarette socket cable) and draws approximately 3-4 amps depending on your settings.
A 9kg gas bottle can get up to 15 hours of use and a 4kg up to 7 hours, this is on the gas being set to the highest settings. In summer or warmer climates, you probably won't have the gas set this high. Needless to say, it's a pretty long time!
For the Americans, a 20 lbs Tank will yield around 12 hours. It's a little less than the longevity of the Australian Spec unit and that's because we're allowed to have a higher gas flow setting for you. This is a good thing because it means you can get heat more water which comes in handy in cold conditions. Again, this is on the 'high' setting.
The easiest way to explain it is that the HOTTAP runs on the same gas that your home BBQ does.
In Australia, we use (most commonly) 9kg LPG cylinders. In NZ the cylinders used are nearly identical but they're labelled as 'UPLG' instead. The 'U' stands for 'Universal and it's because in New Zealand (and many other countries) the mix proportions of Butane and Propane in the cylinder can vary quite a lot, whereas in Australia it's fairly consistent. It's not a concern and HOTTAP has been tested and approved with a much wider range of propane-butane mixes than would be found.
In the United States you guys call them a Propane Tank and the standard size is 20lbs but they can also come smaller.
For information about the different size bottles, check out this article
The HOTTAP can be connected to a bayonet fitting, however, the only hosing we offer with the HOTTAP is a 1.2m Gas Hose and Regulator (as standard). Any other fittings that maybe required to fit onto a bayonet can be sourced from a hardware or plumbing store.
All HOTTAPs include our gas quick disconnect adapter, to allow your to connect your gas to HOTTAP (and other appliances) without the need to tighten the fittings with a spanner and check for leaks at each use.
The Gas hose we supply is a standard BBQ style LPG / Propane hose. This varies from region to region, rest assured that the hose you'll get will be the right one for your country.
If you'd like to know more about what 'type' of gas you need, read this article
In Australia and NZ:
The standard and most common size is a 9kg LPG cylinder, but LPG cylinders are quite common in other sizes right down to around 4kg. Just make sure that the cylinder has a POL connection to attach to the gas hose which is supplied.
Smaller bottles down to around 2kg have also been known to work well but will require adapters to connect to the gas hose we supply.
A common 2kg cylinder will have a 3/8" Threaded outlet, for these you can purchase an adapter like the one in the picture below which will connect to your standard BBQ gas hose.
The left side thread is 3/8" LH (Left Hand) BSP and the right side is a standard POL Connector (to your gas hose).
20 lb Tank
In the United States, you can use a propane tank size right down to around 4.5 lb, the main thing is to make sure it's compatible with the supplied gas hose (it's called a QCC 1 Connection on the bottle side).
1 lb Cylinders:
The HOTTAP has a max temperature output of 50 degrees Celsius (122F). The temperature rise is dependent on the settings you have the HOTTAP on.
Low water & high gas = 35C increase (95F)
High water & high gas = 20C increase (68F)
For example, if you had the HOTTAP set at Low water and high gas and you were drawing water from a lake that was 10C (50F), the output would be 45C (113F).