Waterheaters - tankless or not

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Sam
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Waterheaters - tankless or not

Post by Sam »

Thinking my heater is shot, it is about 13 years old, maybe older. The decision is now whether to replace it with a tankless on demand model or go back with the gas 40 or 50 gallon. I am told that the gas heaters are more efficient, better insulated and have a quicker recovery time. Daughter is out of the house, but even in highschool, we had few problems with hot water and doing laundry and taking a jaccuzi at night. Since then, we have a front loading HE washer for the laundry and a Bosch energy efficient dishwasher. I am told that the gas heater, 50 gallon model, may run $1350 to install and about $1200 more for a tankless.

I dont know how long we plan to stay in this house, so that is not of a concern as much as saving on utilities and a more comfortable bath. I am thinking that unless we save $150 a year in utilities, or unless the tankless lasts twice as long, it may be best to just go with the gas heater.

Thought I would get feedback. Any?
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Post by desertbadger »

I have two friends that have the tankless and they love it! Expensive yes, but it will also help the re-sale value of the house. When my tank needs replacement, that's what I'm getting.

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David
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Post by jww »

We have tankless -- moved to it about 3 years ago. Ours was at no-cost as we have always rented our water heaters. It's been great, but I do need to mention, that the further away you are from the unit, the longer it takes to get the hot water through. Once it comes in though, it's fabulous.

I always wondered why we didn't have these before -- hot water heaters take up so much room, and are fairly inefficient when compared to tankless. Get a reputable name, and have it installed by a reputable company.
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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad »

We went to a Rinnai tankless a few years back. Before that we had an electric. Compared to electric we're saving bigtime and we only heated one tank of water per day with the electric. We love our tankless.

If you do the Rinnai, definitely get the wireless remote control. Life is different with tankless. You make the temperature of the water you want, just turn on the hot tap and don't touch the cold tap. We keep the basic programming at 104*F for most uses, but the remote is in the kitchen and we dial in the temperature we want for kitchen uses.

I don't quite understand the reference to recovery time since there is no recovery time with tankless. It just takes time for it to recognize that the water is moving and for it to come through the lines. It makes as much as is required until the water or gas stops flowing.

Our place is small, but no matter who's drawing what for water, we never run out. IMO, it's the way to go. Before the tankless we had to adjust the hot and cold taps and if the water flow changed in the place the person showering had to scramble to adjust the temperature. That's completely done with.

I still need to run another control into the bathroom, but if it was actually required I'd have done it by now.

BTW, when we had ours installed I wanted another brand and no one locally would install it 'cause they wouldn't be responsible for it. One outfit knew of the brand and their service man definitely told me I'd be on my own. Universally everyone said they would install Rinnai. The installer told me he never had a problem with Rinnai, ever.

Did you shop around for prices? I would. We got our Rinnai for cost and the plumber made his money on the installation at standard rates.
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Post by druphus »

jww wrote:We have tankless -- moved to it about 3 years ago. Ours was at no-cost as we have always rented our water heaters. It's been great, but I do need to mention, that the further away you are from the unit, the longer it takes to get the hot water through. Once it comes in though, it's fabulous.

I always wondered why we didn't have these before -- hot water heaters take up so much room, and are fairly inefficient when compared to tankless. Get a reputable name, and have it installed by a reputable company.
Do you know the brand and model Wendell? Is this "water heater rental" a Canadian thing?
Regards,
Andy
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Sam
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Post by Sam »

First quote is 1549 for gas tank and 5099 for rinnai 9.4
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Post by druphus »

Sam wrote:First quote is 1549 for gas tank and 5099 for rinnai 9.4
Must be a tough install, the thankless unit itself is under $1,300.00.
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Andy
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Post by Sam »

Yeah. I am thinking that $3500 is too much to run a gas line and even increase the size of what I have up there now. Gonna get another quote, was told over the phone a high of $3000 for a tankless (dont know if it is Rinnai) and a low of $1200 or so for a 50 gallon gas
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Post by jww »

druphus wrote:Do you know the brand and model Wendell? Is this "water heater rental" a Canadian thing?
We own a Navien - and all I can say about renting, is that our gas board which as one time was not initially privatized, but went private a number of years ago has always done the rental thing. I much prefer it -- especially if something goes wrong -- they just swap in a new one.
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Post by mikey »

I'm guessing it is somewhat like renting phones from Ma Bell back in the day.

BTW, Rinnai is good advice.

Thanks,
Mike
druphus wrote:
jww wrote:...Is this "water heater rental" a Canadian thing?
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Post by GA Russell »

I had the pleasure of spending a month with a family with a tankless in 1996, and I've wanted one ever since.
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Post by brothers »

Sam, I take it your tankless would be an electric unit from your remarks that the gas means the storage tank heater. Anyway, I've known at least two families with gas tankless water heaters and they've been completely satisfied with them. When I get the opportunity to replace my tank again in a few years, I'll probably go with a gas tankless.
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Post by Sam »

No I have gas now. But I was told it would have to be repiped because I would go from 60k btus to 180k. I thin the 5000 figure is too hifh but at 2500 I would do it.
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Post by ShadowsDad »

Ours is a R75LS, yes it's a lot of BTUs. I think our R75 is something like 175k btus.

The line coming into ours is about 3/4" and is a plastic coated flex Stainless Steel for LP. I think (I'm no expert) that natural gas may be higher pressure and could use a smaller diameter line, but that would depend on distance also. Are your installers running something similar or is it threaded steel? That would be a bigger more costly job. Since the lines are probably different sizes (check that in case they didn't), yes, it's possible that the expense is justified. That doesn't mean that the project is justified though.

I don't believe we paid more than $1500 for the installation and the unit combined. Maybe 4 years ago? I don't believe you'd ever get your money back on the increased cost over the tank model at the prices you quote, so don't do it for the efficiency alone. There are other benefits though. But in the end both units just make hot water.

Question about the tank model... What's the life of it? If it's stone lined I think that's a 30 year tank? I don't know that our Rinnai has a projected lifespan, but minerals would definitely shorten it by plugging the heater coil. If you have very hard water I wouldn't go tankless. That was absolutely no concern for us since our water has virtually no calcium. You could probably run acid through the tankless heater coil, but that's added maintenance and expense. Again, that's only if you have hard water.
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Post by brothers »

Brian, our area has hard water, and I'm going to take that into consideration, thanks to your remarks, when the time comes. We've had pretty good luck with our tanks, we're 5 years into tank #3 in a 24 year old house.
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Post by AACJ »

You (your gas plumber) may be able to recofigure your low pressure gas system to a high pressure system by: 1) replacing the meter with a high pressure meter, then 2) on each gas appliance, install a regulator which lowers the pressure to the required pressure. This is done in a LOT of instances were you would otherwise have to repipe due to BTU load being too great for the current piping. Your plumber should know how to do this, if not, contact another plumber or ask your local gas company who they know of that CAN do it.

Also, you might want to look at both the Federal and State Govt for rebates or tax credits to help offset the instantaneous water heater cost. Even check with your local utilities, both electric or gas.
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Post by Quarterstick »

I have heard that the electric tankless have issues and the long-term savings is not there to offset the initial cost. The gas ones are supposed to work very well and last longer than the standard gas tank. This info is second hand so certainly do some research if you are considering an electric tankless.
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Post by malocchio »

I recently had my 12 year old 30 gallon gas heated tank die. 3 estimates 2900-3200 !!! keep in mind,in nevada I could buy a standard 30 gal. tank for $225,home depot...in calif. I am forced to buy a more "green" unit that is bigger ,but only holds 28 gallons,and costs $425....let's say $150 for new connections and a calif. mandated dual earthquake belt....these guys take a max of 2 hours (that's what it took myself and a friend)....so,mathematically speaking , the hourly labor rate is about $1300 per hour ....think of all the people,especially seniors,who have no other choice...what a rip off...
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Post by MaxP »

$1,350 to $2,500! Wow!

I replaced my 40 gallon gas water heater three years ago for $450.
There's no way the efficiencies would ever recover that much cost difference.

It's just me and the wifemate, an ordinary dishwasher and wash machine. No jacuzzi. But we don't ever run out of hot water.

For us, a tankless wouldn't have made economic sense.
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MaxP

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Post by jww »

If you go tankless, you need to be sure you get a unit rated high enough so that you can run multiple hot water outlets at the same time -- especially if you have multiple people in your house -- we only have 3 at home including my wife and I so we didn't need a high-output unit to handle the shower, dishwasher and front-loading clothes washer at the same time.
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