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Tankless Water Heaters

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by timb99, Jun 23, 2011.

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  1. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    My maintenance guy tells me the water heater in my house back in the USA (Kansas) is leaking and needs to be replaced. I'm not surprised, as it was there when we bought the house in 1996 and has lasted the 15 years we've been there, so its probably due.

    Now, decision making time.

    Just replace it with a conventional natural gas tank-type heater just like what was already there, or go tankless?!?!?!

    If tankless, then here's what I see as the decisions I need to make:

    1. Whole house tankless - natural gas?<br>
    2. Whole house tankless - electric?<br>
    3. Multiple point-of-use tankless - electric?<br>

    I have only 4 places I see that would need point-of-use. I have a bathroom with a shower/tub, a half bath with just a sink, the kitchen (sink and dishwasher), and the washing machine room (sink and washer.)

    I'm renting the house out while I'm over here in South Africa working. The plan is to move back into the house when we get back, currently scheduled for late 2012, but I suppose that is subject to change (both when we get back, and whether we'll actually move back to that house.)

    I like the tankless option, but it appears to be quite a bit more expensive than the conventional water heater. Tankless appears to save on energy usage. Of course, with the house being rented out right now, that doesn't do me any good. But it will if and when we move back. But even then, I wonder what the payback period would be?

    Thoughts, suggestions, opinions?
     
  2. tulsey

    tulsey Member

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    I have installed two gas tankless heaters in two rent houses. There have been no complaints from the tenants. These are small older two bedroom houses and we thought having more room in the bathroom of one and a closet in the other would be attractive. You just have to get use to running a little water before you get hot water.
    While tankless is more expensive, I like the idea. We put both of the ones we bought outside in a special outdoor enclosure. The enclosure adds a little, but easily off sets the cost of the vent piping. The vent pipe is what can get expensive quick on a tankless. Thke two we have use electric ignition so if you have a power failure they will not work. Some models use a pilot light or a flow type ignition so they can work even if you have a power failure.

    The only problem either of ours has had was when it was new we had to replace the GFI the heater plugged into. Just a bad GFI and nother wrong with the heater, On the gas models, you have to have a big enough gas line which often means 3/4 instead of the usual 1/2 inch. The electric whole house models I looked at require something like four dedicated 220 circuits and might require you upgrade your whole service.

    The next time I need a new waterheater in my house I plan on buying a tankless. If you have someone put in a new tank type, you will be surprised at how much they have gone up and what a plumber would have to do to meet the ever changing codes.
     
  3. dss8110

    dss8110 Member

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    If you do the math on cost of tank vs tankless it takes 20 years to pay back,if the tankless breaks you are really in the hole.Plus the tankless need to be descaled every 18 month to 24 months to keep it working correct.I see alot of them at 3 to 5 years that don't work correct because of this.
     
  4. Rick in Ohio

    Rick in Ohio Member

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    Not to say anything bad about a tankless heater but I had one in my home and we loved it but after 3 years it just stop working, and what I pain in the ass it was finding parts for it let along finding someone to work on it. We ended up going back to a tank hot water heater.

    The bad thing is about a tankless if it stop working the cost to repair it ends up being just about as much as a new tankless heater, then not everyone stock them, then you have to wait up to 7 days to get a new one in, and now for the really bad news the longer that you have to wait for a new one to show up the madder the wife gets for not having hot water.......... and you don't want to go there believe me you don't.
     
  5. need to shoot more

    need to shoot more Active Member

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    My thouhghts are as follows...
    If presently a tank (40,50,80) gal. HWH is on site and operating correctly and the hot water demands over tax the tank and it can not keep up a tankless may make sense? If there is a hot water heating system on sight and it is energy efficient think about a indirect HWH. Tankless HWH have way to much electronics for me when I just need hot water, but they do fit the bill.Before tankless was around (15)years ago I would put two hot water heaters together for the volume of hot water needed.In closing simpler is SOMETIMES better across the board weighing all the factors.
    Jim
     
  6. mmonique

    mmonique TS Member

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    I just had a crown megastor indirect water heater installed. The thing is awesome. Wish I had done it 10 years ago.
     
  7. trim tab

    trim tab Active Member

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    I like tankless, but with the uncertainty of moving back, when, maybe living in the house I would put in a tank type.
     
  8. DTrykow

    DTrykow Active Member

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    I have whole house tankless Propane and am very happy with it. 2 years old no problems. Plenty of hot water. I didn't know about the de-scaling which makes sense and I do have hard water. Dave T.
     
  9. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Can't do the indirect. Don't have a boiler.

    Leaning towards conventional tank heater, kind of for the reasons trim tab mentioned.
     
  10. letts

    letts TS Member

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    I have a builder friend who has been installing tank-less in new home for a few years, He says its the way to go, has had no major problems with them and the home owners are happy with the gas bill. I do not know what brand or any thing like that. All are nat. gas

    Letts
     
  11. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    My son bought an older home and remodeled it. He installed a tankless electrical system which required a additional power panel with four 220 breakers. I believe the unit he installed cost $1600.00 plus the panel. I can get a 40 or 50 gallon elect water heater for less than $300.00 and I can install it myself. It's a no brainer for me to stay with the regular water heater. Oh, and it has quit several times already and has been in service about 3 years. And yes, his wife was very upset waiting for parts. Jackie B.
     
  12. twcpdc

    twcpdc Member

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    I live in Norther Ky I was looking in to this. I was told that because the water is so cold here in the winter it would take two in line to raise the water temp. to the level needed. The tankless have a spec on them to the temp rise that the will provide most are around 50 degrees the best I remember. Do some home work in you local area so you will know what to expect. Tom
     
  13. slickhead

    slickhead Active Member

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    Save your money and a whole lot of expense. Just replace it with a tank type you can,t go wrong. Tankless give more problems and not worth what you pay for them and sooner or later you will have headaches. Plumber for 44 years! NUF SAID!
     
  14. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    X2 Slickhead

    Tankless units have been out there forever, actually some of the first water heaters were tankless, but unless you have fantastic water a tankless will fill up with scale

    Anytime you have over a ten degree temp rise across a heat exchanger there will be mineral precipitation and it will eventually make the unit cost much more to operate
     
  15. Gunn

    Gunn TS Member

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    I live in Oregon, it gets cold here and it snows. I am not mechanically inclined. I bought and installed my own Titan tankless electric hot water tank. I paid $500.00 on sale on the internet. My electric bill was cut in half. It paid for itself in 3 months. With the tax incentive and the electricity savings it was a no-brainer. Tim
     
  16. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    I may be wrong on this one, but I think tankless is all over the world. At least everywhere I've been to, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai just to name a few, all i saw were tankless. Some of these places are very cold in the winter.

    The neatest one I saw was a small 8x6x4" box right on the bath room wall, run on 220v, quiet and efficient, instant non-stop hot water.
     
  17. WYBOO WOOD

    WYBOO WOOD Member

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    Couldn't agree more with Slickhead. Serviced both tankless and tank type over 36 years with large gas co. Tankless are expensive to purchase and install and to maintain. Parts are not available everywhere. Tank types are everywhere and are very simmple to install and maintain. The only maintenance they need is to drain the tank (a few gallons) to remove the sediment that accumulates in the botton. This is true with either gas or electric tank types. (Replace the plastic drain valve with a ball valve and short nipple before the tank is filled. The plastic drain valves are prone to drip after closing.) Tank type all the way. Dave
     
  18. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    The reason tankless water heaters are in use in Europe is that they don't take up any space like a tank water heater does. Those people live in tiny places and need to save all the space they can. Tankless waters heaters aren't any more efficient than tank ones except that they don't keep water hot all the time. That's a negligible savings compared to a well insulated tank water heater. Heating water with electricity is expensive no matter what type of water heater it is.
     
  19. brucestorey

    brucestorey Member

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    Stay away. Stay far, far away from tankless if you have room for a tank.

    Tankless seem great for the first few months, but you will begin to notice less and less available hot water flow due to scale/lime buildup. Sure, you can flush the unit using a clean trash can, a couple gallons of (expensive) UN-Lime, a pump and a couple of hoses if you have some do-it-yourself knowledge and a couple of hours to spare. Or you could hire a plumber to do it for you for a few hundred dollars. But, do you really want to do this a couple times a year, like you will need to?

    Tankless water heaters are all hyped-up about the good aspects, but you rarely hear or read anything about the expensive routine maintenance required and the fairly regular electronics problems they have.

    When you do have a problem with your tankless, don't bother calling a plumber. First call the manufacturer so they can help you troubleshoot and then, when that doesn't help, they will recommend a service provider in your area who specializes in their brand (no plumber can fix them all). The repair, most likely, won't happen the same day, so get the big pots out and start boiling water on the stove.

    Stick with a tank that can (usually) give you reliable service for decades -- and don't buy a cheap one from Lowe's or Home Depot -- go to a plumbing supply house and buy a State, A.O. Smith, Rheem, RUUD, Bradford White or Apollo. Stay away from General Electric, Whirlpool, Maytag and Kenmore.

    Of course, this is just my opinion based on thirty years of experience, so take it or leave it -- it was free.

    Bruce
     
  20. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    Bruce, your advice was definitely worth far more than you charged for it- thanks. Thanks also to Dave and slickhead for their experienced based advice.

    I once considered replacing a tank with a tankless and got similar advice from my plumber. In addition to other problems, code required the whole house tankless to be mounted outside, wich would have required rerouting gas lines, plumbing, etc.
     
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