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Old 03-25-2009, 03:56 PM   #11
CBBaron
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I've got the big natural gas tankless whole house unit. It is rated to run at least 2 showers. It does that even with our winter ground water temps around 50F. I can fill a regular bath tub hot water full on.

I think they are great units. They last much longer than tanks, take up much less space, use less energy and you never run out of hot water.

Just a couple of downsides.
First we have a large whirlpool tub with an extra large tap. Full on exceeds the capacity of the heater and the water coming out is cool. However previously with a tank the tank was empty before the tub was full so that was not a good solution either. Instead we just fill the tub with the valve only partial open.

Second you can't dribble the hot water like you might when washing dishes. The tank shuts off when the volume drops below a certain amount. It basically requires the valve on a sink be half open to operate.

Third if you do a dumb thing like leave the hot water running while you leave the house it will keep the water running hot the entire time, spending much more in gas costs that a regular tank.
The city had shut the water off to the house for some water main repairs one day. When my wife couldn't get hot water for a shower, she left the valve open instead of shutting it off. We left for the day and came back hours later to a hot steamy shower still running.

to Mike Flynn: The unit we have would heat your water up enough for a shower even with 38F input. However you wouldn't be able to run two showers like we can down here in temperate climates.


Craig

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Old 03-25-2009, 05:38 PM   #12
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My parents have one and they have the same problem with trying to trickle hot water. That's what happens in the summer when the ground water is 85F and want to take a shower. The hot water requirement is so low at that point that the burner shuts off. They have to run the sink hot water valve at about 1/4 open while they're taking a shower. So much for saving. They have to waste water and energy in the process.

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Old 03-25-2009, 07:49 PM   #13
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Any unit i get will be electric. Geting enough power to the unit will not be a problem. I'v thought about turning up our heater that we have but we allways have little kids around the house and I would hate fore someones kid to get burn there hands. Even with the temp turned up I dont think it would help with the dishwasher going and washing cloths in hot water. There are some mornings that its not uncomon for there to be 5 or 6 showers taking in a row.(and cant forget about the teenage daughter who camps out in the shower, some times I have to close the hot water valve off just to get here to stop taking a shower.) Is there anyone who has swaped over to a tankless? I was wondering if there elect. bill has gone up or down. at $450 it would be nice to save a little bit.

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:30 PM   #14
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When we bought our house , the first thing to go was the bathroom followed by the 40 gal electric water heater. The SWMBO "Needed" a 60 gallon jacuzzi "bathtub/whirlpool " A Takagi tankless water heater was a necessity at that point, also freed up an entire closet, and when you've got only a 1,000 sq foot house every closet counts. And since we were redoing all the wiring , gas & plumbing anyway it wasn't that big of a deal to install.
Never having to take a cold 2nd shower is priceless. Think about it: 40 gal hot water heater + wife washing & conditioning hair , shaving and all that crap - 30 min MINIMUM and a 1-2 gpm shower head = Cold shower for you
I'd never go back to a tank type heater

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:52 PM   #15
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Anyone know what the amp draw on these units is? I'm kinda wondering what would happen if I were welding while it was running and the well pump kicked on, all at the same time (on a 200 Amp service).

It sounds like they operate pretty well under consistent flow, which would make one perfect for the radiant heating in my garage. I'd love not to have to give up a corner of my basement to another water heater and I'd probably only need a small reservoir instead of 30-40 gallons.

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Old 03-25-2009, 09:09 PM   #16
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I've built homes with both Rinnai and Noritz tankless LP Gas (propane) water heaters. They're both great and worth every penny. My own house has a Rinnai and I love it. I think it takes a few extra seconds to get hot water than a tank, but it's no big deal and is more than made up for in the cost savings, especially if you're on a well and water cost is nominal.

Last I checked (couple years), they don't make an electric tankless water heater that can handle heating water for a whole house (realistically). You'd only have enough energy to heat water enough for one, maybe 1.5, fixture(s) at a time. So, for example, you couldn't take a shower while running the dishwasher or washer machine. The best you could do for electric is have multiple heaters for different parts of the house, which could get sort of ridiculous.

Gas tankless water heaters are the only viable option. One of the somewhat unforseen costs is venting the water heater. If you can mount it near an exterior wall, venting isn't a big deal. The manufacturers will only allow so many feet/elbows of vent pipe and the more the plumber/gas tech. has to run, the more it will cost.

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:22 PM   #17
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Default Tankless is good but

I am in the Plumbing Wholesale business and am asked this question almost every day. Things to consider; gas/electrical requirements, venting, indoor or outdoor. I know many have already responded with good info but I wanted to chime in on something I actually know something about.

You need a minimum 3/4" dedicated gas line. Most require 4" ss vent pipe, although some use a concentric vent pipe which minimizes your clearence from combustables. Stainless is required because of the exhaust heat.

I live in southern california where a 50 gallon heater cost about $500 plus install and a tankless runs a bit shy of $900 plus install. If you can do an exterior heater you will save a lot of money on vent pipe.

I hope this helps.

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:23 PM   #18
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PM me if you'd like

Cheers

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Old 03-26-2009, 12:18 AM   #19
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I think they're great, at least the NG and propane ones. It's worth the extra money to get one where you can set the output temperature. Look for one designed to operate with solar, they can take just about any input temperature and still give you a constant output.

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Old 03-26-2009, 02:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance9768 View Post
Any unit i get will be electric. Geting enough power to the unit will not be a problem. I'v thought about turning up our heater that we have but we allways have little kids around the house and I would hate fore someones kid to get burn there hands. Even with the temp turned up I dont think it would help with the dishwasher going and washing cloths in hot water. There are some mornings that its not uncomon for there to be 5 or 6 showers taking in a row.(and cant forget about the teenage daughter who camps out in the shower, some times I have to close the hot water valve off just to get here to stop taking a shower.) Is there anyone who has swaped over to a tankless? I was wondering if there elect. bill has gone up or down. at $450 it would be nice to save a little bit.
Not really going to work for you. First to get the kind of temperate and volume you need for multiple fixtures you will need multiple units. I havn't seen a single electric unit with enough power. Thats going to cost big bucks in the units and upgraded service. Plus you won't save much money. Electric water heaters with extra insulation are extremely efficient, gas water heaters lose alot of heat through the exhaust pipe. The heating elements are very similar so no real savings. The only advantage in your case is the space savings. Just get a bigger tank and/or replace the shower heads with ultra low flow ones.

Craig
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