Tankless Hot Water Heaters

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Charlie Page
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Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Postby Charlie Page » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:01 am

Does anyone have experience with tankless hot water heaters?

I’m interested in any first hand experience with performance of various models, contractors, what you would have done differently if you would have known ______, having one bigger unit vs two smaller units closer to the point of use, unbiased reviews, etc.

Thanks!


I was going to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character – Charles Barkley
Lynn Farris
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Postby Lynn Farris » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:21 pm

Charlie,

We have used the Rinnai tankless hot water heater. It was truly amazing. We had 2, but we had a shower with 7 heads. We never ran out of hot water, even if we were washing clothes, doing dishes, and 3 people were bathing. I think in general you could get by with one easily.

We had the best plumber. Chet Pogonowski he is creative, easy to work with and priced fairly. I really couldn't recommend him highly enough. He can help you size what you need. His phone numbers are 440-724-1288 cell and 440-845-1617 office. Tell him I referred you.

In our off shore vacation home we have a tankless water heater as well. It is electric instead of gas. It is a Westomatic. It has less controls and doesn't really get more than warm.

Both save you money in the long run and are much better for the enviroment. Good luck. Let us know how it works.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." ~ George Carlin
Will Brown
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Postby Will Brown » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:47 pm

We stayed in a boat that had one. The pilot went out if it was very windy, but that was because the vent was very short. It was easy to restart; it would have been easier if the instructions had been in English. This boat had the kitchen and bath were separated by a wall, and the laundry facilities were in the bath. The heater provided plenty of hot water for all uses, and we never had to delay bathing while doing the dishes or laundry.

I thought of getting one (or more) when ours at home dies, but our laundry, baths, and kitchen are too separated, and I don't have room in our small baths and kitchen for the end-of-line units. Part of my thinking was that I use gas rather than electricity, but I think the days of gas being more economical are ending.


Lynn Farris
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Postby Lynn Farris » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:04 pm

In both of our situations the tankless water heaters were in a central location, exactly where you would put your hot water tank. There are the kind that just go under your sink, I have no experience with those.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." ~ George Carlin
c. dawson
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Postby c. dawson » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:27 am

using the tankless hot water heater, do you really see a difference in your gas bill? All the research I look at shows that the gas bills are only slightly lower ... but then the cost of the tankless water heater is so much greater than the standard tank heater, I wonder if it's really worth it. I keep considering one, but then I'm just not sure I'd be saving money, except over the very long run (and how long do the tankless units last?).


Jim DeVito
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Postby Jim DeVito » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:05 am

Most of the number i've seen (and i have not spent a very long time looking into this. ) assumes a family of about 3. I think the savings would be better if A.) you water heater is on the way out and you need to replace it anyway
B.) you were a family of 5 ;-)


Lynn Farris
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Postby Lynn Farris » Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:46 pm

I checked with my husband and both of us seem to think that we saved a fair amount. We had what I think they called a circulating pump. You could set it for instant hot or for a time. We set ours to 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. That meant if we used hot water at another time, we had to wait a few seconds for the water to get hot. So that may have saved too.

There is a tax deduction which helps ofset to some degree the cost. I don't know if that is still available.

We didn't do it for the savings but because of the shower wtih 7 heads it was the only way to get more than a few minute shower as the hot water tank couldn't handle it.

In our vacation home in Costa Rica, they don't have natural gas, just electric and this is the only way they do hot water is tankless.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." ~ George Carlin
Charlie Page
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Postby Charlie Page » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:40 pm

I appreciate everyone’s input on this subject.

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to do this job myself (I’m a big DIY’er). It’s not official yet, but I’m leaning towards the Bosch GWH C 800 ES natural gas model. I’ve considered electric units but have found spotty reviews for them. The efficiency rating is 92% on the 800 ES. Other units I’ve researched have about 80-82% efficiency. There are still others in the 70% range. The warranty is 15 years which is 3 years longer than most others. The 800 ES does require an electrical out close to the unit for the electronic ignition. This isn’t a big deal for me as I can tap into the existing furnace circuit close by. There are some models that have a hydro-electric ignition where the water passing through generates the electricity for ignition.

Having 92% efficiency means it can be vented using PVC which costs considerably less than stainless steel venting. Also with PVC costing less, the unit can be put in the middle of all points of use without regard to length of venting. Comparable length of SS venting would cost a small fortune.

The cost of the 800 ES is about $1,680 (shocker to me too :shock: ). The 80% efficiency models cost around $1,050, difference of around $630. I estimate the SS venting (if I put the unit in the middle of usage points) would be over $400. PVC at around $30, if that, and a much simpler install. Also, the existing hot water tank is already in the middle points of use, so there will not be much copper or gas pipe re-work. If I put the unit on an outside wall, it would take considerably longer for hot water to reach our second floor bath (wasting hot water and water in general).

Figuring in all the above, the 800 ES, installed by me, would initially cost around $200 more than the lesser efficiency models. However, this cost can be made up over time with the increased efficiency, less water wasted and less hot water wasted (hot water that won’t sit in the pipe over a longer length of pipe).

When the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (a.k.a. the bailout) was passed, it reinstated a tax credit for the purchase of high efficiency hot water heaters. I believe the credit is for $300. However, it applies to purchases made after January 1, 2009. Unfortunately for me, I can’t wait until January as we are having our chimney removed in the next month (opening up the area between our kitchen and dining room). I’m not about to hold that up for $300!

Still have to run the numbers by the Page Family CFO :wink:

I’ll let you know how the install goes (yes, I'm getting a permit!)


I was going to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character – Charles Barkley
Stan Austin
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Postby Stan Austin » Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:42 pm

Charlie---- It doesn't sound as if you've done enough math on this :?

Stan


Bryan Schwegler
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Postby Bryan Schwegler » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:16 pm

I've been tempted to look at tankless water heaters in the next year or so since I'll need to replace my regular tank heater.

My only concern is the need for a giant vent outside, I just don't want another hole in my house lol.

Can they use the existing vent out the chimney that the current water heater uses?


Stan Austin
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Postby Stan Austin » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:39 pm

Bryan--- the venting of gas fired appliances is very important. Manufacturers instructions have to be followed. Generally, the longer the vent, the less efficient. That's why newer appliances with shorter runs, and less expensive materials as Charlie's research has shown are better. Even punching another hole in the wall is better given all the other factors.
Stan


Charlie Page
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Postby Charlie Page » Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:38 pm

The install on our new tankless water heater went fairly smoothly. I went strictly by the manufacturers directions. The venting options were either horizontal or vertical twin pipe or concentric vent. I cut a 4.5 inch hole in the side of the house for the horizontal concentric vent system (Bryan - there was no option for venting to an existing chimney). In cold weather areas, the manufacturer recommends getting the combustion air from the outside so as not to create a negative air flow which could potentially freeze water in the heat exchanger causing it to burst (not covered under warranty). The manufacturer also recommends de-scaling of the heat exchanger once a year by running a white-vinegar or similar solution through the unit. Those of you with existing tankless water heaters probably need to do this once a year as well.

I had it inspected by the City yesterday and have one item to correct. I had hooked up the pressure relief valve directly to the AC/humidifier drain on our furnace, which is not recommended. It should be terminated within six inches of the floor. So if your basement is finished (or half finished like ours), keep an eye out for any leakage from the pressure relief valve!


I was going to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character – Charles Barkley
Jim DeVito
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Postby Jim DeVito » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:05 pm

Charlie, Good to hear. Congrats.

Do you mind keeping us updated with energy savings you notice?


Charlie Page
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Postby Charlie Page » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:33 pm

Jim DeVito wrote:Charlie, Good to hear. Congrats.

Do you mind keeping us updated with energy savings you notice?


We are also having a new high efficiency furnace installed next month (I'm leaving this to the pro's). It's going to be difficult to figure out what the savings really is until the summer months when we don't run the furnace. Then we'll be able to compare apples to apples.


I was going to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character – Charles Barkley
Charlie Page
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Postby Charlie Page » Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:43 pm

Well, we’ve been using the new tankless water heater for close to a month now. No equipment problems to report, everything is working great. However, we have noticed that we use more water as the unit takes a bit of time before the water gets heated. We also noticed a slight decrease in temperature when there is demand for hot water from somewhere else. It lasts only a couple seconds but you definitely know its there when taking a shower.


I was going to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character – Charles Barkley

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