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Old 10-05-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I seem to get a lot of mixed reviews. Lets hear some opinions.

I was going to go with a high efficiency 40-50 gallon unit to begin with. Space is a big issue. I could make the 50 gallon fit, but if anythign needs to be serviced on that wall or with plumbing, uh oh. There is also a nice tax rebate avail with the tankless unit, and all plumbing needs to be re-done anyway whether its tankless or tank unit. New gas line is also being brought in regardless, so the increased BTU/pipe sizing is not an issue.

Still any reason I should avoid the tankless?

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Old 10-05-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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Your take on tankless water heaters


Quote:
Originally Posted by NowItsShowtime View Post
I seem to get a lot of mixed reviews. Lets hear some opinions.

I was going to go with a high efficiency 40-50 gallon unit to begin with. Space is a big issue. I could make the 50 gallon fit, but if anythign needs to be serviced on that wall or with plumbing, uh oh. There is also a nice tax rebate avail with the tankless unit, and all plumbing needs to be re-done anyway whether its tankless or tank unit. New gas line is also being brought in regardless, so the increased BTU/pipe sizing is not an issue.

Still any reason I should avoid the tankless?

Be weary of the "Cold water sandwich". Other then that, they're great.

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Old 10-05-2009, 12:53 PM   #3
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Your take on tankless water heaters


since you are going with a gas unit I would recommend it. the electric ones depending on the demand can cause the house lights to dim...it can be prevented with additional equipment...but that is just more to go wrong.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #4
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I've heard of hard water scaling build-up issues; would depend on the mineral content of your local water.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:14 PM   #5
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Your take on tankless water heaters


Just make sure you have a tankless unit that is built according to the European standards where they have been using them for many years because of the economy (including the high initial cost) and function. - Cheap knock-offs are becoming too common and some of the good suppliers are not interested in the U.S. market.

Dick
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:52 AM   #6
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Your take on tankless water heaters


Just be sure you get a good install and the right heater for your needs. as far as mineral buildup, Make sure you have the isolation valves installed that let you clean the heater exchanger easily.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:01 PM   #7
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I have Bosch tankless heater now for a few years - my wife and love it. Endless hot water for long showers or to fill the soaking tub. And the space savings in the garage / workshop is a good thing.

The unit does not have a standing pilot light, which I like - rather a pizeo electric gizmo ingites the burner when water flows.

It's just the two of us, so I feel we save a goodly amount of energy and cost by not keeping a big tank of water hot for occational usage.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:28 PM   #8
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I like tanked heaters as if the gas/power goes out (some gas ones still require power) at least I still have hot water for a while.

Ex: you're in the shower, power goes out, at least you will have remaining hot water to finish up.
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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Your take on tankless water heaters


We have had a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater for several years. It works great.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I installed an electric HWOD unit a year ago, have only used it intermittently as it is a "vacation/project" home at this time. Here are my observations:

Pro:

Lots of hot water....in fact, it never ends. As stated by others that is nice.

No cooling off effect as is observed with a tank-type water heater as the hot water at the top is drawn off. The HWOD unit is very temperature stable.

My unit is very "adjustable"....and very accurate. The measured temperature of the water is usually within a degree or two of the setting on the heater.

Con:

You need a certain flow rate to cause the heater to initiate--on mine that means 0.5 gallons per minute. Less than that all the unit does is pass cold water through. This becomes a problem if you want to conserve water (as I do), you can't get just a "trickle" from the faucet.

My unit has a manufacturer designed-in upper limit of 125 degrees. I'd like to get it hotter than that for use in my dishwasher, not sure if that's an issue for you.

The performance of a HWOD unit is very dependent on the temperature of the incoming water as well as the flow rate. That means that in the winter, you'll get less of a temperature gain b/c the temperature of the incoming water will be lower. Add to that the possibility of two zones in the house using the HWOD unit at the same time and you could find that a low powered one won't suffice (in fact, an acquaintance does use a small, 50 amp HWOD unit to provide hot water for his whole house. When someone flushes the toilet he gets scalded and when someone uses hot water at the kitchen or bathroom sinks he gets frozen out. I know he could solve the scalding shower issue with a temperature stable valve, he's just too cheap or stubborn, or both , to do so).

**************************************************
Overall, I like mine. I can be away from the home for months (usually am), walk in and have a hot shower within a couple of minutes, and no huge utility bill for having had to keep a large tank of water hot for all those months.

Another observation.....I installed one large unit, described as being for a large home or a small lodge. It requires 100 amps to operate. If I had it to do over again (and I may if I have any luck), I would do the house with two zones, each using a 50 amp heater. I believe that would yield two benefits, one being lower overall electrical usage and the second being less "lag time" as the hot water heater would be closer to the areas where it would be used. I would have one at the kitchen to serve the kitchen sink/dishwasher and the laundry area, the other at the bathroom to serve the sink and tub/shower. And, as an added benefit, two smaller units would be very close to the same price that I paid for my single large unit.

Hope this is of some help.

Dugly

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Old 12-21-2009, 09:55 PM   #11
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I don't sell, install or service water heaters, but I inspect them, and have gas fired tankless water heaters at my home, my office and at 3 of our rentals. They can work well, but we encountered a number of issues when installing them, mostly related to installers' limited familiarity with tankless heaters' special requirements. Iíve put up this page describing some of the installation issues we encountered, and how to resolve them:

Tankless Water Heater Installation FAQ - Paragon Home Inspections Evanston / Chicago
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:39 PM   #12
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Your take on tankless water heaters


I just recently replaced my old 40 gal tank with a tankless. My wife is in heaven! Unlimited hot water is the greatest.
We went with a 199k Btu unit for the two of us (I know, kinda big for a single bath house, but plenty of expansion room for when we do our "Scuba Dave" type addition).
The "cold water sandwich" is something to get used to, but once we altered our morning routine a bit, we find it is really not that much of an inconvenience. One thing we do different is brush our teeth first, and run the hot water for that. Once done, the hot water has ramped up, and is perfect for the shower.
The only thing I would change is would have done it sooner!

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Old 12-22-2009, 07:47 PM   #13
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Your take on tankless water heaters


Quote:
Originally Posted by plumber Jim View Post
as far as mineral buildup, Make sure you have the isolation valves installed that let you clean the heater exchanger easily.
Jim, I'm curious, how would you go about doing this? I have a Stiebel-Eltron Tempra 24 (a two heat exchanger model requiring 60 amps of service per exchanger):

http://www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com/tempra.html

I've had to have this one replaced once, never did get the kind of temperature gain from it that it was represented to provide. The second one does function as represented, leading me to believe that the first was defective, but the manufacturer contacted me after they had inspected it and said all they could find was a slight calcium buildup in the heat exchanger tanks.

I do have the unit installed with ball-valve isolation at both ends. The inlet and outlet connectors are both at the bottom of the unit. Should I remove it from its mountings and pour a CLR type product into one connector until it is ready to come out the other? This doesn't seem "easy, it seems like it should be a real PITA, but if it will extend the lifespan of the unit, I'd be willing to do it once a year or so.

My apologies to the original poster for the thread drift, but since this is a topic I expect to generate hits for a lot of searches, I thought that it might be beneficial for this information to be available on this thread. The necessity to clean it out could be a "Con" for many!!

Dugly
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:15 AM   #14
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Your take on tankless water heaters


If you splice in several feet of baseboard heater finned pipe into the cold water line feeding the tankless heater than the incoming water can be preheated and a greater gallons per minute flow at the desired output temperature can be had. Also usable with furnace mounted tanklesses.

The finned pipe is intentionally circuitous and exposed to inside air; none of it is enclosed in the wall.
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:02 AM   #15
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Your take on tankless water heaters


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
If you splice in several feet of baseboard heater finned pipe into the cold water line feeding the tankless heater than the incoming water can be preheated and a greater gallons per minute flow at the desired output temperature can be had. Also usable with furnace mounted tanklesses.

The finned pipe is intentionally circuitous and exposed to inside air; none of it is enclosed in the wall.
I am currently installing a Bosch 800 GWH ES (up to 10.1 GPM). I thought I would circumvent the "cold sandwich" (at least partially) by running the hot water lines close to the in-floor radiant heat lines I am installing beneath the floor joists. Because I have hardwood floors, I have to run the radiant pipe water very hot (140 degrees).
Any thoughts if this is a good idea?

Thanks

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