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Old 02-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #1
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to go tankless or not?


I just bought a house that is about 9 years old and has the original hot water tank still there. The tank is a 50 gal gas unit, which should have been a 75, but in any case it needs to be replaced. If I replace it with a traditional tank type I would go for an A.O. Smith 75gal high recovery. I am thinking about going over to tankless however but I don't think I can get away with one tankless unit. The house is @ 4,000sq ft - I have two bathrooms upstairs - one with a LARGE soaking tub. In addition I have a tenant who also feeds off of the same hot water heater and he has his own dishwasher, washing machine, and jacuzzi tub. The feed to his apartment would take a LOT of breaking around to find so installing a seperate tank or tankless unit would really not be an option. Anyone have a reccomendation for a tankless unit they think could handle this type of load or should i stick with the old 75gal units?

Thank you!

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Old 02-26-2009, 08:07 AM   #2
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to go tankless or not?


Search the forum for 'tankless' there have been many-a-debate on this topic. You can get alot of info pro and con.

My advice: think seriously about how you DO USE water and how YOU WANT to use it. Weigh your choices, make a decision. Easy .

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Old 02-26-2009, 08:46 AM   #3
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Tankless water heaters are a great idea. The fact that you are only heating water when you use it saves on energy cost. not to mention endless supply of hot water. this is only true if sized properly to the amount of fixtures you have in the home. To get a better idea on this you may want to call a good plumber who has installed these before. the tankless water heater is a whole different animal than a regular tank type heater. The tankless has to be installed properly on an outside wall if it is gas and direct vented outside. It will also require a new gas line to it tha is properly sized because the tankless water heaters i install most call for 199,999 BTU. sometimes calling for a meter change outside. A great brand is Norwitz. All the parts in these tankless heaters are made by the same company and easy to order if need be.Also check out there website they have some great features that make there heater alot better than others i.e thicker copper core easy flu connections and the list can go on. Just be sure your installer not only can install but also trouble shoot these thing because if you have never worked on one than chances are you will not be able to figure it out when there is a proble.Most of these tankless water heater have a core than have a life span to them. And fiinaly in my area i flush mine with a solution once a year to clean out the core this helps extend the lifespan of the core. I hope some of this has helped.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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to go tankless or not?


I have gas fired tankless water heaters at my home, my office and at 3 of our rentals. They can work well, but I encountered a number of issues when having them installed, most related to the fact that the plumbing and HVAC contractors were not completely familiar with tankless units.

Iíve put up this page describing some of the installation issues we encountered, and some I've seen at inspections, and how to resolve them:

Tankless Water Heater Installation FAQ - Paragon Real Estate Inspections Evanston / Chicago

--------

Home Inspection: "A business with illogically high liability, slim profit margins and limited economies of scale. An incredibly diverse, multi-disciplined consulting service, delivered under difficult in-field circumstances, before a hostile audience in an impossibly short time frame, requiring the production of an extraordinarily detailed technical report, almost instantly, without benefit of research facilities or resources." - Alan Carson
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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I have installed some that are designed for outside mounting. There you have all the combustion air that you will ever need. the tankless & parts are expensive. Depending on your water quality, Require some maintance. flushing the unit xx times per 6 mo to 1 yr. most are high input 199,900 btu. You need a good gas supply
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:02 PM   #6
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thanks all,

I did some more searching online and came across this Vertex Heater from AO Smith. I am a HUGE AO Smith fan and this heater looks GREAT and seems like it may be the answer for someone like me who needs more demand than a tankless may be able to provide, but doesn't want a low efficiency tank. These Vertex units claim to be up to 96% effecient. I have an email into AO Smith now and I'll follow up to let everyone know what they say. According to what I'm reading this unit can also supply hot water for my heating system, although I think that may be over doing it considering the size of my house - but we'll see what AO Smith has to say. Anyone hear of these units before??

Matt
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Old 02-26-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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What's the btu of the tank mod ?? 75,000 btu ?? A tankless should provide you with more hot water than the tank with 75,000 btu
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Old 02-26-2009, 04:41 PM   #8
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That is a new water heater from them . It is a power vent water heater and has a pvc flu to the outside. it has that coil system on it that really looks good. Some people at the local supply house like these better than the tankless and some even say they are more efficient. One good thing to look for if you go with a tank style heater is the first and second hour recovery of hot water. good luck with your search for a solution.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Anyone hear of these units before??

I recorded an episode of 'Deconstruction' on the DIY channel about plumbing products. One of the segments was filmed in the AO Smith factory. They showed how they are made and why they are so efficient. One part of the segment compared a regular water heater next to an AO Smith. Where the exhaust exits the top of the tank, they placed a small 'frying pan' above each of the tanks where the vent would normally start. The exhaust leaving the normal tank fried the egg quickly because it exits the tank at 554 degrees F. The AO Smith heater didn't fry it because the exhaust was 110F. They said the A.O. Smith Vertex is over 90% efficient and can save 30% on your gas bill each month.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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If you are considering a natural gas tankless water heater, the new federal tax credits can provide you up to 30% of the cost, including installation, up to $1500. You have 2009 - 2010 to do this, so there is time to really consider your options. The good news is that with a highly efficient product, the cost is probably going to be high enough to meet the 30% ceiling so you should be able to get a tax credit close to $1500. If you don't reach the max, you can "bank" the tax credit until you do other improvements. And if you don't owe on your taxes, you'll get a refund check for $1500 back from the fed. The energy factor needs to be greater than 0.80. Rinnai and Navien both offer some great products. I ageee that you should definitely talk with a plumber or HVAC contractor that has done many of these installations. Get references too and check on them to make sure your guy knows what he's doing. Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:40 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of the replies. I am really excited about the Vertex from AO Smith. I've been emailing AO smith back and forth and they are helping me spec out what I would need. My major problem is that I have one tub in the master bath that is HUGE. It has @ 85 gallon capacity with one of the faucets that fills at some crazy rate - I can't find the exact specs on it but I've seen some similar models which claim to fill at like 17 gpm. Of course with a couple of kids who gets to take baths that often but I just want to make sure the heater can handle it. I'll post the response from AO Smith here when I get it. In my business I deal with a few major plumbing supply houses and one of them actually stocks this unit but they aren't that familiar with it yet - that's why I went the route of contacting AO Smith directly.

To be continued...

Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:34 PM   #12
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Just to follow up in case anyone is interested...

I did get to trade some emails with AO Smith..I really didn't get a good commitment about what heater they would reccommend. I spoke to a few plumbers and supply houses that I am friendly with and they all felt that there is no way I could get by with one tankless unit - I would need at least two. In addition, since my current HWH is running off of a 1/2" gas line and the meter is diagonally across the house, it would be a major job to switch to tankless. That leaves me back to my previous post questioning the Vertex. I'm still not convinced that the Vertex will provide enought hot water. They make a 100,000 BTU unit that is about 96% efficient but I wish it had a slightly bigger tank - AO Smith wouldn't commit to it having enough hot water to supply my 7' tub that is using the "tub filler" faucet. I haven't been able to find a plumber, manuf., or supply house that can agree on what I should use. I really wanted to avoid the "old fashioned" monster hot water heaters but it looks like that is where I'm heading.

thanks all
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:11 PM   #13
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to go tankless or not?


On that episode of Deconstruction I was telling you about, they did a comparison of a regular HWH and an AO Smith with a shower head hooked up to both of them. They both started out with the same temp of water and after the regular HWH started sending out cold water, the AO Smith went 50% longer. The tanks were identical sizes.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:56 AM   #14
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to go tankless or not?


Thanks GMA,

I'll try to find that episode online. I spoke to someone that has the 76,000 btu vertex and that barely makes it for his 75gal tub. My tub would take @ 75g as well, plus I have another jacuzzi tub that holds about 40-50 gallons, another full bath that my two kids use - will be using when they are old enough... two dishwashers, two washing machines...lol I can see greenpeace picketing my house now



My plumber is starting to lean towards a commercial unit - boy the days of just swapping out an old tank for a new one were so easy!!

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