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Irishman 08-16-2007 09:17 AM

Tankless Water Heaters
 
I have a tank water heater that is about 18 yrs old. Needless to say it is starting to go (the small puddle that is by the base is proving that point.) Since I have to replace it asap should I get another tank or go tankless.

There are 2 people in the house now but the family will be growing within the next year or so. I have 2 story home with 2 1/2 baths, washer, dishwasher and the current water heater is natural gas.

I'm most worried about is the cost short term vs. long term.

How much are we going to save per year on the gas bill?
Will we save money on water and gas?
What will it cost to install?
What is the best model?

I know that some of these questions cannot be answered with exact amounts but an avg number is what I'm looking for.

Clutchcargo 08-16-2007 10:41 AM

A lot of the price for installing an tankless water heater is bringing gas to it. I assume you have a gas water heater now. What size is the line? Does it need to be bigger? Do you need to increase the size of the meter? Tankless will use 150-199,000 BTUs. A regular water heater 30-40,000 BTUs.
Tankless is also direct vent so you need to vent it out through the side of the house as opposed to directing it up a chimney.
The incremental price I got for installing the small Bosch was $2000 in the Boston area. That pirce includes the water heater. I was also adding a new heating system at the same time so the gas line was part of the whole package.
I really wanted to go tankless but in the end I decided on a regular water heater. The reason I went that route was the return on investment for me was about 7 years. All it would take is one service call in those 7 years to throw those numbers out a few more years. There is a greater potential for electronic failure in these units than a standard water heater.
You would only save water if you can put the unit closer to the point of usage, otherwise you'll still need to wait for hot water to get to you.

bigMikeB 08-16-2007 06:24 PM

The best feature of a tankless isn't the economy of use, it's the fact that you won't run out of water. If you have lots of people in the house, a soaking tub, a jacuzzi, or like long showers tankless is the way to go.

fierysun 08-16-2007 11:19 PM

I replaced my water heater earlier this year, and was looking at the tankless versions. Manufacturers specifications were quoting anywhere between 30-50% better fuel efficiency than normal gas water heaters. They were also saying the life of the unit can last up to 25 years.

With that said I still chose to get a 12 year GE SmartWater unit from the Depot for just under $500. It came down to 2 things. It is just my wife and myself with no plans of children. We don't have any high volume hot water needs. Secondly, the water in Las Vegas is really high in minerals, and I would be frequently cleaning the heat exchanger.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you're like me with a gas heater, I would have to put in a 110v outlet for the igniter.

mikew 09-10-2007 02:46 PM

tankless
 
We converted the 20+ year old 220 electric to a propane tankless. I noticed an immediate 50% reduction in the electric bill, which makes it about a three-year payoff. I don't know about gas to gas, but I would expect you would save some. I know the new high-efficiency tank heaters have come a long way, though. The tankless is nice because you won't run out of hot water, and we have a keypad at the shower to dial in the exact temp you want -- no fiddling and mixing the hot and cold -- just turn on the hot and jump in.

CMPLUMBER 09-11-2007 10:49 PM

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