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Topic: Questions about tankless water heaters, I've read the reviews....< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 2:15 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Now, I would like input from anyone who uses one.

We're remodeling our house (a 20's log cabin) and are considering a tankless (probably gas) to replace the conventional one we have.  I know it's more energy efficient and takes up less space, but does it do the job of producing enough hot water for a shower, etc.  I'd like to hear some pros and cons.  Thanks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My Brother in law has had one for about 10 years and loves it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 2:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have had one for 4 years, and I love it, except that it takes about 3 gallons of running water in my kitchen to get the hot water to arrive.  

I can entertain any number of weekend guests, and they can all shower together, or in an endless succession, and I would not run out of hot water.  Once it starts running, it is truly endless.  

So, I waste some water down the drain while waiting for it to get hot, but I do not waste energy by keeping any amount hot while I am not using it.

I have tried to catch the water to use else where, when hot water is not required, but in the end I gave up.  I now just sigh and wish it were better.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, in theory, any type of hot water heating system will have cold water between the heating device and the fixtures.  The trick is to have your hot water heater in a centralized location, and have the correct size supply lines running to your fixtures.

Tankless hot water heaters are great, as long as you can afford the gas prices in your area.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Jan. 08 2013, 11:22 am)
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I can entertain any number of weekend guests, and they can all shower together,   

Just what kind of parties do you throw??

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In all seriousness,though, Zeke, your experience sounds better than what i was let to think reading reviews a few years ago (our water heater is running on borrowed time, possibly decades of it).  I am thinking of making the switch--hot water is our biggest environmental vice, after long road trips.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Only one I know of is in a remote poolhouse and it works great. From what I understand they're often meant for being adjacent to the point of use and not a central service, though I expect that if your gray water is used for a garden or something having to "fill the piping" with hot water wouldn't be all that wasteful from a central point, though the installation would of necessity have to be bigger were it intended to serve more than a single kitchen or bathroom...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As noted, from any water heater you have to wash the cold out of the pipes and bring in hot, so that part doesn't seem any different.  My concern was that they aren't up to producing enough for, say, 4 longish showers end on end.  Zeke's experience seems to be that his is.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 3:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh they'll produce hot water until you run our of heating energy: that's the beauty of them: endless hot water since the heater is intended to heat the water on the fly. The one caveat is the capacity be up to the job: do you need showers and the dishwasher simultaneously, or two showers and a dishwasher..? the volume rate at which they produce hot water varies.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 4:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jan. 08 2013, 12:55 pm)
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Oh they'll produce hot water until you run our of heating energy: that's the beauty of them: endless hot water since the heater is intended to heat the water on the fly. The one caveat is the capacity be up to the job: do you need showers and the dishwasher simultaneously, or two showers and a dishwasher..? the volume rate at which they produce hot water varies.

Good point.  Would be nice to be able to do two showers at once.  With low-flow showerheads that doesn't seem like a very high bar.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 4:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(starwalker @ Jan. 08 2013, 11:15 am)
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Now, I would like input from anyone who uses one.

We're remodeling our house (a 20's log cabin) and are considering a tankless (probably gas) to replace the conventional one we have.  I know it's more energy efficient and takes up less space, but does it do the job of producing enough hot water for a shower, etc.  I'd like to hear some pros and cons.  Thanks.

Grew up with those.  Back then, you had to light the darn thing before using the hot water.  I understand they turn on and shut off automatically nowadays -- as you turn on and shut off your hot water valve(s)?  If so, that's even better.

Tank heaters are definitely inefficient -- wasteful -- and potentially annoying when you've got people visiting...


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 4:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was at one of Florida’s river camps on the Suwannee River in November and they have electric point of use tankless water heaters in their bathrooms.  There was a group of college students paddling the river. All of which were taking showers one right after the other with no complaints on cold water.   I will seriously consider switching to a tankless system when I need a new water heater.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 5:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jan. 08 2013, 3:55 pm)
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Oh they'll produce hot water until you run our of heating energy: that's the beauty of them: endless hot water since the heater is intended to heat the water on the fly.

^This. It will produce hot water until you run out of water or energy to heat it. There is no reserve of hot water you have to worry about drawing down.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 5:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tankless heaters use less energy, but their initial cost is a factor.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 5:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Take this for what it's worth, but a local plumber that I trust advised me their efficiency has to do with the incoming temperature of the water.  

In warmer climates, the slightly warmer temperature of the water (compared to colder climates) apparently allows them to operate very well and they will recoup their initial costs fairly quickly.  In colder climates, they have to work much harder to warm the incoming water to the same temperature and the costs take longer to recoup, as well as the final water temperature may not be as hot as you like.

I was looking for a whole house water heater a few years ago and even the local Home Depot salesman steered me way from a more expensive tankless model, to a regular style water heater.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hoosierdaddy @ Jan. 08 2013, 5:48 pm)
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Take this for what it's worth, but a local plumber that I trust advised me their efficiency has to do with the incoming temperature of the water.  

In warmer climates, the slightly warmer temperature of the water (compared to colder climates) apparently allows them to operate very well and they will recoup their initial costs fairly quickly.  In colder climates, they have to work much harder to warm the incoming water to the same temperature and the costs take longer to recoup, as well as the final water temperature may not be as hot as you like.

I was looking for a whole house water heater a few years ago and even the local Home Depot salesman steered me way from a more expensive tankless model, to a regular style water heater.

^^ This. A good summary of the potential drawbacks. Depends on what your alternatives are, though. My hot water used to come off the coal boiler, which to be honest was super cheap but a real pain in the summer. I could switch it to the oil backup but that was expensive. We were infrequent hot water users already, so we went with tankless.

NO complaints about the quantity or temp of the hot water. We haven't run out yet. But...another caveat, and it's a big one. If you're thinking about whole house, you need to check with your electric company about their rules and about your electric service. We have a whole house tankless and have noticed a voltage drop when the water heater runs - we have 200A service, but the pole transformer is 5kVa. (Yeah - it's an old line. We're out in the sticks.) This can be a big issue if the power company decides to squabble about who needs to pay for service upgrade - especially if you have neighbors who're getting a drop as well. Our company was great about it, but some of the smaller power companies - rural coops in particular - are not fans of tankless.
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(hoosierdaddy @ Jan. 08 2013, 2:48 pm)
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Take this for what it's worth, but a local plumber that I trust advised me their efficiency has to do with the incoming temperature of the water.  

In warmer climates, the slightly warmer temperature of the water (compared to colder climates) apparently allows them to operate very well and they will recoup their initial costs fairly quickly.  In colder climates, they have to work much harder to warm the incoming water to the same temperature and the costs take longer to recoup, as well as the final water temperature may not be as hot as you like.

I was looking for a whole house water heater a few years ago and even the local Home Depot salesman steered me way from a more expensive tankless model, to a regular style water heater.

That's a good point--in support of one for us.  Out incoming water is never very cold.  We have above-ground storage, but temps here stick pretty much between 50 and 65, with some nights down into the low 40s.  Most of the time I find our tap water barely cold enough for a good drink.

So we might get a quicker return on investment than Consumer Reports suggested when they last reviewed them.  

Plus:no tank to fail (burst) and flood the shop.


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We've had them in a few of our firehouses and we've had problems due to our hard water, (so we're told anyway).  The deposits from the hard water build up in the heating coils and restricts the flow over time.  We have had to replace them much sooner than forecasted.  

Not an issue if you don't have hard water I suppose.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 8:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another issue that isn't a problem for us.  I don't know how it's looking for the OP, but you guys have about convinced me!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 8:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know you said "probably gas", but if you do go with one make sure that it's definately gas.  With the electric ones you have to pull so many amps to heat the water quickly that its not as efficient as you'd think.  Tankless is the best way to go if you can afford the upfront cost, since they are significantly higher than a tank.  Also, check the flow rate requirements you'll need for your house. If you have 4 or 5 people in your house, you'll need two units; if it's you and only one more then one unit will be sufficient. Of course, it'll take a few seconds to get hot, but that's true of any type of unit because the water in the pipes will cool off.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 08 2013, 9:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I bought mine when we moved into this house.  I had it professionally installed, and in the only location they found adequate: Exhaust options, incoming water, etc...  It is a gas model and needs an exhaust.  It also needed a dedicated electrical outlet, but I did that myself.

As for my parties, I had many folks stay here during the wedding weekend, and no one had to wait for the hot water to build back up, even when we were running the washer or dishwasher at the same time.  I have not tried to run 3 things at the same time. (2 showers and a clothes washer or 1 shower, the dishes, and the clothes).  

RebeccaD-- In a few years, you may have an empty nest and then you too will be able to have parties that makes others wonder.  :)


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(hbfa @ Jan. 08 2013, 7:53 pm)
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We've had them in a few of our firehouses and we've had problems due to our hard water, (so we're told anyway).  The deposits from the hard water build up in the heating coils and restricts the flow over time.  We have had to replace them much sooner than forecasted.  

That happened to my cousin, who was an early adopter.  He went through his first couple units pretty fast.  Besides that, his was electric, so he had to bring an extra 100A to the house.  I don't know if he stuck with it, but it was nice when it worked.
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We have one here in Florida. Our gas company installed it for us and we only paid $300 for the install and a 2 foot extension of the gas line. The gas company is charging us $50 a month extra for 5 years to pay for the heater. No interest.

We love it!! It does take a bit to get the water to the back of the house, but in the kitchen it is fast (the tank is right outside the kitchen window).

The best part about having it is we have an adjustable temperature setting inside the house. I set it to 104 for the kiddo's tub. I shower at 110. Hubby showers at 115. We do dishes and whites in the laundry at 120. Simple to change and the best feature EVER!


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(VAN @ Jan. 09 2013, 7:25 am)
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We have one here in Florida. Our gas company installed it for us and we only paid $300 for the install and a 2 foot extension of the gas line. The gas company is charging us $50 a month extra for 5 years to pay for the heater. No interest.

!

$3000?  I can see why they charged you no interest, they doubled the retail price of the unit.

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(starwalker @ Jan. 08 2013, 11:15 am)
QUOTE
Now, I would like input from anyone who uses one.

We're remodeling our house (a 20's log cabin) and are considering a tankless (probably gas) to replace the conventional one we have.  I know it's more energy efficient and takes up less space, but does it do the job of producing enough hot water for a shower, etc.  I'd like to hear some pros and cons.  Thanks.

Tankless water heaters NEVER run out of hot water. That's the  real big advantage of having one. Yes, I own one, had it for years and very happy with it. I could have the army take a shower one after the other and it won't run out of hot water. Not possible, when working normally.

Mine is a Takgi TK2.    It's a great unit.

Here is the manual for it.

But on the negative side, there is MUCH to consider:

Do not buy for use in area where it will often be below 32F. The water it holds can turn to ice. That's the big disadvantage of these. It can ruin the unit permanently. A few degrees below freezing once in a while probably won't hurt it, however, because an electric heater will come on when it gets too cold. But that's only good for a few degrees below freezing. The manual says down to 5 degrees F will be okay, as long as you don't lose A/C. If there's a power outage at the same time, you could have a problem if it goes below 32F there during that time which could  permanently damage the tankless water heater. unit.

That is why my SSF, CA home has a tankless water heater and my Reno home does not. In fact, in Reno, they don't even sell the things. If possible, I would have a tankless there too.

In Reno, I have a 40 gallon tanked  that is never turned off.

It can get below Zero F in the garage where the water heater is located.

In the San Francisco area, that is not a problem.

Tankless water heaters need a 3/4" gas line and the exhaust  Vent is larger too. Have a professional install it! It  will cost some bucks to install. More than the unit costs for sure. But that will vary depending how much work will be involved.

It cost me around $2,000.00 to have my $800.00 tankless water heater installed. Almost three thousand bucks when all was done and mine was a rather simple install compared to many others.

After the first tankless  is installed, if you ever need a new one, it won't be all that expensive to replace. The first one is a different story, because everything has to be changed out from what you had with a tanked.

Let somebody give you an estimate first, because it is NEVER a simple swapout to go from a tanked to a tankless because none of your old stuff can be used. And also, you need a 120 VAC outlet for a tankless. They MUST have electricity and gas BOTH unlike a tank.

In some houses, it will take more than a day to change from a tanked to a tankless, with several people working on it.

Mine was simple, took about 8 hours for two people to get the job done. But mine is in a shack, where it was easy to install larger vents and such. I already had electricity (120 VAC)  in there too.

Good luck!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 09 2013, 8:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here in Montana I've looked at them for the last few houses I've built... still going with a tank. As was pointed out, efficiency in a colder climate is suspect. I put my money in combined  hotwater radiant and baseboard heat via a high efficiency Lochinvar boiler and a combination of urethane foam and cellulose insulation.

In warmer climates they certainly seem to make $ sense.


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(hbfa @ Jan. 08 2013, 4:53 pm)
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We've had them in a few of our firehouses and we've had problems due to our hard water, (so we're told anyway).  The deposits from the hard water build up in the heating coils and restricts the flow over time.  We have had to replace them much sooner than forecasted.  

Not an issue if you don't have hard water I suppose.

What make were those tankless heaters that failed?  

They are NOT all the same but  the newer ones are usually  MUCH better than any of the older tankless heaters.

For one example, they now have internal computers to help keep the water heat constant as there is more and less demand for hot water as other hot water is used around the house.

My house has very hard water and I have had my tankless for around 8 years without a single problem.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 09 2013, 2:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You have to take lots of things into consideration - temperature of incoming water, location of the device and the effect that has on the time to get hot water (which can be solved by installing a pump with an occupancy sensor), and how many plumbing fixtures you want to be able to run hot water at the same time.

We put one into my mother in law's place in northern CA about 3 years ago, and it has been great. It runs off the propane tank, so if there is a power outage she still has hot water, which is nice. That's the same reason I have a gas water heater.

If there is a disaster you don't have that 50 gallons of water laying around, but if you keep water put up then that's fine.

We'll definitely be putting them both in our detached garage bathroom and the main house. We're considering a "pre-heating" passive / solar "warming" tank on the roof to make it even more efficient, and to provide some extra water storage. We'll see what the cost on that is but that can be a solution in colder climates or where you just want to maximize your energy efficiency.


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...there's just something about him.

Something around the eyes...I don't know...reminds me of...me. No. I'm sure of it, I hate him.
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starwalker Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 09 2013, 4:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

More helpful information here than Consumer's Reports.  I'm planning on installing the tank on an inside wall, with propane.  I'll have to ask my gas company about installation.  I do have cold spring water, so that might be an issue.

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"Straight paths made by man
Are unnatural and full of curses
But a trail is a song."

Louis Oliver (Creek Indian poet)
"Songs on Winding Trails"
in Chasers of the Sun
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 09 2013, 4:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(starwalker @ Jan. 09 2013, 1:11 pm)
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More helpful information here than Consumer's Reports.  

That's what I was thinking!

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Writerly thoughts, book reviews, and random short fiction found at
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