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Old 02-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #1
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Best Water Heater?


I'm going to be in the market for a new water heater. I live alone so I don't use much hot water. Right now I have gas BUT I am willing to switch if it will help me in any way. I was also considering a tankless, but last year I read a lot of bad reviews on them. Now I've read some that weren't so bad, so if tankless is now a viable option then I would gladly consider getting one. I want to do my homework now so that I get the best one. I don't know a lot about these things so please ask any questions that you want. I basically need everyones opinion on the pros and cons of gas VS. electric, and tanked VS. tankless. My main concern right now is operating cost. Thanks.

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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Best Water Heater?


Stay with gas if you want the lower operating costs, tank or tankless.

Gas recovers faster than an electric. You can sometimes get away with a 40 gallon gas in place of a 50 gallon electric.

For you, I'd go with the tankless if your gas service supports it. They demand more gas to heat the water quickly (more BTU's) but use less overall by not keeping the tank hot.

You can have unlimited hot water. They do require maintenance though, not that a tank type doesn't. You need to clean the heat exchanger occasionally. They can also take some getting used to. The flow switch, that turns on the burner, requires a certain volume of water. If you try to mix hot/cold, you may just end up with cold water. Some come with controls so you can change the temp as your demands require.

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Old 02-24-2013, 01:07 PM   #3
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A 40 gal gas would most likely be the most economical.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AandPDan View Post
You can have unlimited hot water. They do require maintenance though, not that a tank type doesn't. You need to clean the heat exchanger occasionally.
I'm very good around the house. Do all of my own electric, plumbing, etc. What is involved with this maintenance, and would I be able to do it myself?

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They can also take some getting used to. The flow switch, that turns on the burner, requires a certain volume of water. If you try to mix hot/cold, you may just end up with cold water. Some come with controls so you can change the temp as your demands require.
I am also playing with the idea of adding a small tankless under the bathroom sink to take some of the demand off of the main water heater. Would that help?
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:40 PM   #5
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You have to flush out the heat exchanger, to get rid of the buildup on it.

It varies upon model as to how you do this. Check the instructions when you're choosing.

What are your current issues with hot water? Cost wise, the tank type is going to be the cheapest. Installation on a tankless will very likely require a change in gas pipe sizing - read expensive. It won't be an instant payback.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AandPDan View Post
What are your current issues with hot water?
Not sure what you mean by 'issues' but if you're asking why am I going to be replacing my water heater, then the one I have now is old. Probably over 20 years old, and it is starting to visibly rust. I would like to replace it before it floods the basement. Other than that it works fine.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:57 PM   #7
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Best Water Heater?


You had asked about a tankless under the bathroom sink. I was wondering why.

If it's for instant hot water there are recirc pumps that can do the job. In some cases, you don't even need a pump.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:35 PM   #8
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Best Water Heater?


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Originally Posted by AandPDan View Post
You had asked about a tankless under the bathroom sink. I was wondering why.
The bathroom is far away from where the water heater is locater. When you turn on the water in the bathroom it takes several minutes before it starts to heat up. I thought that using a small tankless under the bathroom sink would pick up the slack.

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If it's for instant hot water there are recirc pumps that can do the job. In some cases, you don't even need a pump.
I have never heard of these. Do you have a link or any other information on them? Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:15 PM   #9
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Here's one such system:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Watts-Hot...3#.USp0t-dWJNE
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:33 PM   #10
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Here's one such system:
Thanks! If the cost to run it isn't that great, then that looks like a much better option than the under cabinet tankless system.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:17 PM   #11
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I think there is a little more to it but this is just my opinion. First you need to look at where you live. If your in the northeastern part of the US, sometimes a tankless is not the best option. You need to figure out what temperature you prefer to have your hot water set at. Then you should see how cold your ground water is when coming into your house. This is extremely important because the rated GPM of the tankless is going to fluctuate based off this. My groundwater comes in below 55F. Because of this I would need an almost 7.0GPM rated unit with a higher BTU rating in order to really get that of a unit of 3.5-5.0GPM that someone in the Western part of the US would get. The temperature rise that is required of a tankless unit will severely make or break a units efficiency rating. There are also other options based off your current type of heating system. If you use hydronic baseboard, a boiler mate is a viable option. This may cost more upfront but in my case will benefit me more in the long run. If you had hydronic baseboard and it is oil I personally believe this to be the best option as oil has the fastest recovery rating. But since you stated your using gas, like me, it may still be a good choice. My personal system has a 60 gallon tank which is set at 140F. My boiler will only fire up 1 time per day to reheat my domestic water if no water is being used. My tank rating says it will hold its water for up to 2 days which i have confirmed as it is programmed to reheat only if the internal temp drops 10 degrees or more. These systems can also often times give you far more hot water per hour then you would ever need. I think my system is rated at 240GPH for the first hour then 160GPH there after. If your using a forced air system then this obviously would not work for you.

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