Water heaters

I’m doing several rehabs on older, smaller homes in our dense urban park. Most of the homes are 2 bed 1 bath homes and we need to replace several water heaters. I was thinking with only 1 bathroom a tankless water heater might be a viable solution, but after some research it looks a little borderline on whether a $200-$300 small tankless water heater off ebay would be sufficient for a one bath house. Has anyone tried installing tankless water heaters on their small homes to save some money up front and increase the home’s energy efficiency? The homes are in Ohio, so the winter water temperatures start out pretty cold before they reach the water heater.

Also for buying traditional water heaters does anyone have any recommendations on how to save money on that end, or do you just go into home depot and pay retail for it?

I haven’t put one in a rental mobile home, but I have put them in office buildings with 10 to 14 employees in them and never had an issue. The building is in Texas, and thus hot water isn’t always needed a lot, but the buildings do have showers in them. It’s been a great deal so far in my opinion.


Noel what is your intention when rehab is completed. Are you selling or renting them out.

I reno homes in my park and sell them when completed so the only consideration I have is the cost to reno. I could care less what the cost to operate after the fact and from experience have not yet encountered a buyer that balked at conventional hot water tanks.

As far as on demand hot water heaters are concerned they are a PITA if your park is on a well as mine is. The one tenant in my park with one loses his hot water every time there is high demand and the water pressure drops below 30psi. He has also had to replace some parts in his heater and found the cost for parts extremely high. Personally I would stick with basic electric hot water and not venture into experimentation.

We have two dilemmas A and B. Mobile home park is in Iowa, which has lots of cold weather including snowy days. (A) Does anyone have a good idea how to attack all the big and little pot holes in the streets without breaking the bank account? All are asphalt roads except one.

(B) Also, there’s one stretch (200 ft X 40 ft) that had been replaced back in October last year, that cost us $20,000. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sealed. This strip of asphalt road was remove and replace by something else but not concrete nor asphalt, something that looks like rocky stuff. Apparently after the snow plowers came through it wreaked that stretch. Its full of pot holes again, it’s only March!. The guy who did it last year came back after hearing our complaints and pushed the mud and gravel around in March. He said he did it out of the goodness of his heart, no charge. It helped a little but not much. Don’t these companies have warranties for their work? Any ideas, anyone?

You can pour road base into the potholes (aggregate with lime). It won’t look good, but it will keep people from damaging their cars.

There is no recourse on the paver other than suing him. But if you sue him, it better be because he violated a written contract. If you don’t have a written contract – or one that warrants anything – then I don’t think you have a decent enough case too go to court.

Don’t get too worked up about your roads until you are ready to refinance or sell the park. All asphalt roads begin to deteriorate the second you pave them. As long as the customer can get to their house, the road is fine. Just like you only put on a tuxedo to get married, most park owners only get the roads perfect when they go to sell or refinance.

Okay, we have lots of potholes this spring. POTHOLES must be a topic on many owners minds at this time of the year.

Most of our potholes are not as bad as the sink holes of Florida, yet with all of the freeze/thaw cycles of the last few months, our roads are in sad shape. We must do something especially since we have several homes that we will be advertising soon and thus will be having new, prospective residents drive the park in the next couple of weeks.

Questions about “road base” (i.e., lime and aggregate) mix to potholes:

  1. Has anyone else used this lime/aggregate mix that Frank is suggesting?

  2. How well, and how long, does it work?

  3. How do you prep the ground and apply and maintain it?

  4. Can you buy the “road base” from asphalt companies?

  5. Other tips?

Also, anyone else have any other suggestions for low cost, effective way to repair potholes?

we dig out the dirt inside the hole- and then pack some road base in the bottom. Then we use a concrete bag or two, level it off and let it set up. Concrete bags are cheap, and if you prep the hole the patch will work pretty well.

Jim – are you saying that you take an asphalt street with potholes, and clean out the holes and then fill them with concrete after putting road base in the bottom of the hole? If so, that sounds interesting. How clean do you need to get the hole before putting in the road base? And what do you use to pack it down? This seems very doable.

That is what we do. We dig down in a bit, maybe 18 inches down, and pack the fill with a steel ram rod. just like tamping a post hole.

Jim - Do you have problems with the surrounding asphalt decaying leaving a solid, concrete obstacle? What do you do when this happens? Thanks, John

We have been doing this for about 3 years now, and have not had any issues. If we did have a weak spot- we would just pull up the old plug and do it again. To date though, things have held up pretty well.

I have lots of potholes and have been trying different things to repair these holes. A few suggestions…

  1. Prep the hole before patching. Make the dirt vertical in hole and bottom of hole level. ( Prevents a “rocking horse” patch that will rapidly fail).

  2. Concrete is cheap but can sometimes accelerate the decay of the asphalt around hole. I did patch a hole 3 years ago and did the concrete

so it was about 3/4 of an inch below grade. So far no deterioration of asphalt around hole. I had planned to use an expensive epoxy based road patch for that last 3/4 inch but have never got around to it. Some of the concrete patches that are at grade or a hair higher have caused asphalt decay around patch.

  1. This summer I’m going to prep some holes…use hot road tar and hot patch from local paving company. I think a dump truck load is almost 2 grand but if I do the prep work well and apply correctly I’m hoping to get several years from these patches.

  2. Cold patch is a waste of $$.

  3. If you’re going to put gravel in pot hole…put bigger rock ( 1"-3") in bottom and finish off with smaller rock (7/8 minus ?). This will slow down rock “squirting out” of holes when they fill up with water. Good luck.


Thanks for detailed comments. This is a big expense item for most of us so I am always looking for ways to do patching. One thing I prefer is taking the extra time to square off the holes vertically. You can rent a walk behind saw for a day and prep quite a few holes. This avoids the thin edges that you other wise get when you patch the potholes. These edge areas then tend to turn into another hole.

My main issue now at one park is the asphalt is alligatored so bad that it is just crumbling away in many areas. When I marked the areas last year for repair it was hard to decide where to stop because it just kept going. So at what point do you just cave in and repave large sections of the road? It is a major expense.


Jim Johnson Wrote:

That is what we do. We dig down in a bit, maybe 18

inches down, and pack the fill with a steel ram

rod. just like tamping a post hole.

This is exactly what we have done since 1985 with Pot Holes, we were taught this little trick by a very old retired paving contractor. Patching holes is a yearly job but I will take it over punching a time clock any day.

To everyone experienced in Pothole repair: Hi ~ well, the weather looks as though it may actually open up and allow us to start on the dreaded potholes. Am putting together a “road repair team” consisting of two maintenance men who have strong backs. I do not want to pay hourly wages and am planning to offer them a lump sum for fixing a certain number of “standard size” potholes with the “standard” being 3-feet x 1-foot x 8-inches deep. Of course, our potholes vary widely in size with some very small and others very big. The goal will be to have the two-men team complete the repair of the equivalent of ten (10) “standard” potholes in one (1) day.

QUESTION 1: Is the above reasonable? In other words, can 2 men fix 10 of our standard size potholes in one day? To many? To low? I have determined that our park has roughly an equivalent of 75 “standard” potholes.

QUESTION 2: Approximately, how many man hours would it take to prep ten (10) of our standard potholes to be ready to be filled? The plan is to create vertical sides and horizontal bottoms and clean out all debris. The fill material will be road base on bottom, tapped down, and then about 2-inches of asphalt on top.

Once I know the rough labor time that it will take to do the prep, then I will be able to offer the workers a fair lump sum amount. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.