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Old 07-04-2008, 05:59 AM   #1
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Electricl Installation for Electric Tankless Water Heater


Hi,

I am doing personal research on natural gas vs electrical tankless water heaters.

The cost of a natural gas unit is more than an electrical unit from what I can fine out.

What I am trying to understand, however, is the installation cost. Does anyone have any experience with the electrical side of installing or operating an electrical tankless water heater? If so, I'd appreciate understanding what extra electrical installation tasks / equipment have to be undertaken / used with such an installation. Is there special wiring? Is ther special electrical panel configurations? Is any of this dangerous to the home owner when using an electrical tankless water heater?

I'm concerned about the special venting needed for a natural gas tankless(and the high installation cost and the doubling of natural gas cost in the past year), so much so that 2 quotes I received from separate companies said that a natural gas tankless unit would have to be installed 30 feet away from the current central location of the HTW, hence which I am investigating both types.

Yes, we are writing about our research on our home blog so others can learn what we learn. It's been a good discipline to learn more about both types of products.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.

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Old 07-04-2008, 07:25 AM   #2
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Electricl Installation for Electric Tankless Water Heater


If your thinking about doing your whole house with an electric water heater, forget it... It will never be cheaper to run electric vs anything, the other problems are you usually need an electric service higher than 200amps.

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Old 07-04-2008, 07:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
If your thinking about doing your whole house with an electric water heater, forget it... It will never be cheaper to run electric vs anything, the other problems are you usually need an electric service higher than 200amps.
Hey Chris,
Do you have any on line sources that I could access for this? I like to check what I 'hear' from a posting on an internet chat room to a variety of substantiated sources.

Not that I don't believe you. Please do not mis understand me. It's just that on our own blog we have had folks form more than one 'side of the fence' leave posting trashing a certain product we wrote about, only to find out that they worked for the competition.

Much appreciated,
Dan
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Old 07-04-2008, 07:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Educator View Post
Hey Chris,
Do you have any on line sources that I could access for this? I like to check what I 'hear' from a posting on an internet chat room to a variety of substantiated sources.

Not that I don't believe you. Please do not mis understand me. It's just that on our own blog we have had folks form more than one 'side of the fence' leave posting trashing a certain product we wrote about, only to find out that they worked for the competition.

Much appreciated,
Dan

I understand, I've never used one myself, only going by what I've read myself, I would just try doing a google search on the subject.
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Old 07-04-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
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Electricl Installation for Electric Tankless Water Heater


The whole house tankless electrics require MASSIVE electric service to them. Many require three 40A 240v circuits. This is obviously impossible with a 100A service, and many times even a 200A service is not enough, especially in the average modern home.
There are MANY other ways to save money and energy. IMO a tankless water heater is not one of them. Even to time re-coup the unit and installation cost is questionable.
A well insulated and properly installed boiler and indirect storage tank is a very efficient way to go.

Sorry that I can't help your blog, and NO, I do not have any fact or specs to support my opinions, but if you think gas will EVER be more expensive than electric IMO your grasping at straws.
Gas is a fossil fuel. Electric is made from fossil fuels. Unless you are fed from hydro, nuclear, solar or wind, electric will always be anywhere from slightly more to dramatically more.

If you think the electric companies are going to let everyone else double their prices while they sit with logical and rational annual increases your pretty naive.
Electric has historically been higher. I don't think this trend is going to dramatically change any time soon.

Why is gasoline $4.50/gal?
Why is diesel $5.00/gal??????
Why is home heating oil $3 something/gal??
BECAUSE THEY CAN. That is the ONLY reason.
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:10 AM   #6
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Electric tankless require large circuits.
This A) often requires a service upgrade,
B) will cause your lights to dim when it kicks on. When you add a load that size, it happens.
C) It will often affect your neighbors as well when it kicks on- anyone on the same transformer.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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I agree with everyone here, they are a huge energy draw. I just installed one in our church for a dishwasher and the total demand was 116A. There is smaller ones out there but they still need lots of power.
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:15 PM   #8
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im a bit surprised that others are claiming that a 200 amp service cant handle that load.

In my area the 200 amp service handle 1700sqft houses over here all the time with ELECTRIC water heaters. Alot of these water heaters are only 50 gallons at 4500 watts 240 volts, so it actually only 18.75 amps.

It really depends on how big you want a water heater? and getting a 200 amp service is probably the best thing to do any ways if you dont have one. In fact in my area if your place is 500sqt or more then the contractors are REQUIRED to have a minimum 200 amp service installed for new construction here.
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brother View Post
im a bit surprised that others are claiming that a 200 amp service cant handle that load.

In my area the 200 amp service handle 1700sqft houses over here all the time with ELECTRIC water heaters. Alot of these water heaters are only 50 gallons at 4500 watts 240 volts, so it actually only 18.75 amps.

It really depends on how big you want a water heater? and getting a 200 amp service is probably the best thing to do any ways if you dont have one. In fact in my area if your place is 500sqt or more then the contractors are REQUIRED to have a minimum 200 amp service installed for new construction here.

We are not talking about a 4500 watt water heater...

Were talking about a 24kw and up tankless electric water heater.


Last edited by chris75; 07-05-2008 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:23 PM   #10
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Lets not forget, the government is getting close to a cap and trade or a carbon tax on coal fired generating plants. The USA may see a doubling of our electric bills.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:32 AM   #11
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I Allready installed few tankless for resdentail useage and majorty of the time useally have to upgrade the service entrance system up to class 320 or larger [ useally twin 200 amp boxes or more with 400 amp or more service ] and the cost of upgrading to 320 or larger can get out of hand pretty fast and the customer was not too thrilled with the cost upgrading the electric service.

The other thing is the POCO they are starting getting pretty strict with tankless heater due they have allready experanced transfomer burnout from overloading.

Yes the lights will flicker due the heating element{s} will cycle on/off depending on water flowage

Do they work good ? so,so ,.. some do work very good and some not worth a crap.

If you use the gas fired tankless heater you will may run into the same issue with what electric tankless allready went thru

With gas units you may end up upsizing the gas meter and the pipes in the building if the exsting pipes are too small the gas tankless heater can crank much as 150,000 BTU or more now if you have the house furance running pretty good speed [ 120,000 btu for med large house in very cold area ] and the tankless kick on you can send the gas meter in overdrive and the sametime the gas pressure can be pretty low it can cause other issue.

Merci,Marc
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:18 AM   #12
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I am not an electrician but I do have ele tank less heaters in my home.I also have 200amp service.I checked on a whole house system and determined it would be to much draw on the system and cost to much to upgrade.I put smaller Titan units in.I had 4 installed one for each bath and one for the kitchen.They work great as far as hot water goes and it was not much of an increase on my ele bill especially compared to my gas bill.The biggest problem was the cord that come on then is only about 3ft long so you either rewire it which voids the warranty or like my electrician did put a junction box( I think thats what the term is) to wire it up.Then it was no more then adding an electric stove as he said.Every now and then my lights do flicker but only when three or more are on at the same time.The numbers may not add up to some on here and thats ok with me I think they a great.The best advice I could give as a HO with them is get all your specs and get with your electrician to see what you are looking at for installation and if your system can handle it.The difference in cost for getting hot water several times a day compared to constantly heating a tank of water even when your not home might be enough to justify the cost of installation.You may have to go with smaller individual units as I did to keep from having such a big draw on you system each time someone turns it on but that all deepens on how you go and what service you have.Again just my opinion as a HO with them in my house
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:33 AM   #13
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Hey Speedy, "naive"??? no, you need to live in Québec, our KWh is still 6 cents and will be for a long time to come...Hydro-Québec is owned by the government :-))))).

That said, all the talk so-far about tankless is true.

There's a few companies out there working on instantaneous microwave heaters that will dramatically reduce the load. Sounds like a pretty cool idea to me.

The world needs a few more Thomas Edison types!!!!!

_pete
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:27 AM   #14
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Pete,

A) I apologize. I did not notice the OP was in Canada. I am in the US. BIG difference in this respect I know.

B) Read my whole post.
Actually, read the quoted section below, especially the Red part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Sorry that I can't help your blog, and NO, I do not have any fact or specs to support my opinions, but if you think gas will EVER be more expensive than electric IMO your grasping at straws.
Gas is a fossil fuel. Electric is made from fossil fuels. Unless you are fed from hydro, nuclear, solar or wind, electric will always be anywhere from slightly more to dramatically more.

If you think the electric companies are going to let everyone else double their prices while they sit with logical and rational annual increases your pretty naive.
Electric has historically been higher. I don't think this trend is going to dramatically change any time soon.

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