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Old 08-22-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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Which type of water heater...


I’m in Southern California. I know very little about water heaters. My old 40 gal water heater stopped working and I’m confused how to choose a replacement.

Can someone give me an idea of the pros and cons of the various types of water heaters, I would like to be energy and water conservative.

I know that in addition to the old style tank water heater, there is tankless and recirculating types. Please help.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Which type of water heater...


I can't answer your question but what is the old gas, or electric.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: Which type of water heater...


There is no recirculating type of water heater.

A recirculating hot water system is a pump and a return line. You hit the switch and the cool/cold water in your hot water pipes is circulated back to the water heater, and hot water replaces it. Then when you turn the faucet on, you don’t have the wait for the water to get there and have not needlessly dumped X gallons of cold water down the drain.

There are tankless heaters which are also called on demand heaters or “instant” water heaters.

If your problem is waiting for hot water in a bathroom at the far end of the house, a small tankless there (point of use water heater) would solve that problem.

Replacing your current tank type heater with a tankless does not solve the wait for hot water. While it may be instantly heated at the water heater location, it still would have to push all of the cold water out of the hotwater piping before getting to that remote bathroom.

In older homes, the gas or electric system may not be a sufficient size to take on a whole house tankless system. You can run into significant gas or electric upgrade costs to accommodate that new whole house tankless water heater.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:38 PM   #4
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Re: Which type of water heater...


In Europe, where energy is significantly more expensive, tankless are more common because they are more efficient. On the other hand, they are also significantly more complex --- more things to go wrong. First time you need to call a serviceman will blow all the energy savings you had in five years.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Options are propane, natural gas (if available), electric, tankless, or heat pump (which is also electric but more efficient). Once you post what you currently have we can narrow it down.

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Old 08-23-2019, 12:35 AM   #6
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Re: Which type of water heater...


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In Europe, where energy is significantly more expensive, tankless are more common because they are more efficient. On the other hand, they are also significantly more complex --- more things to go wrong. First time you need to call a serviceman will blow all the energy savings you had in five years.
And there was just a week ago a thread on this from some homeowner who was trying to clean out his tankless system himself which he apparently has to do twice a year?!?!?

But of course if you asked him he would claim tankless are better since they save so much money. <eyeroll> I'm sure that 99.9% of the people who buy the tankless ones in his area are paying plumber rates every 6 months to get theirs cleaned out.... <double eyeroll>

Europe uses tankless because Europe specializes in stuffing people into housing that is any of us saw it we would say "Nice closet now where is the rest of the house..." They don't have the space for a real heater.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:44 AM   #7
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Waiting for the op to return so we can find out what options she has. I'm not fond of tankless either, high install costs and maintenance issues and the only savings are standby heat loss which has been fairly well addressed with new insulation requirements. Checking the energy use labels says standby is almost a non issue today.

Only high tech option I might consider would be a heat pump given her climate, especially if the cooling from the water heater can be utilized.

I'll wait
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:43 AM   #8
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
And there was just a week ago a thread on this from some homeowner who was trying to clean out his tankless system himself which he apparently has to do twice a year?!?!?
I had a tankless put into my mother's place. Only manufacturer's cleaning instructions are to clean the combustion air intake screen once per year. DIY. I been bad -- have not cleaned it in half a decade.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
And there was just a week ago a thread on this from some homeowner who was trying to clean out his tankless system himself which he apparently has to do twice a year?!?!?

But of course if you asked him he would claim tankless are better since they save so much money. <eyeroll> I'm sure that 99.9% of the people who buy the tankless ones in his area are paying plumber rates every 6 months to get theirs cleaned out.... <double eyeroll>

Europe uses tankless because Europe specializes in stuffing people into housing that is any of us saw it we would say "Nice closet now where is the rest of the house..." They don't have the space for a real heater.

Don't forget that traditional hot water heaters need cleaning as well. They need to be flushed at least once a year to remove all the scale that builds up from all the hard water that flows through it. Just like a tankless.

How often you clean out your tankless depends on how hard your water is. If you have a water softener, you may not have to clean it for a long time.

I haven't cleaned my tankless in the 3 years I have lived here and I sincerely doubt it was cleaned it was in the several years it was a rental before we bought it.

Cleaning it is easy as long as it was installed with bypass valves. There are several articles out there detailing how to clean it. You just need a 5 gallon bucket, some hoses, a pump, and a strong acetic acid. And about an hour.

@Oso954
Some of the newer tankless units do come with a recirculation pump built-in that you can use, along with a bypass valve or dedicated return line to get the hot water to the longer runs at preset times. Also, some units have a small storage tank to act as a buffer

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Old 08-23-2019, 03:51 PM   #10
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Re: Which type of water heater...


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Originally Posted by ktownskier View Post

Don't forget that traditional hot water heaters need cleaning as well. They need to be flushed at least once a year to remove all the scale that builds up from all the hard water that flows through it. Just like a tankless.

How often you clean out your tankless depends on how hard your water is. If you have a water softener, you may not have to clean it for a long time.

Yeah that was what I suggested - buy a water softener - as you can guess that went over like a lead balloon. I beat a hasty retreat. I guess "real men" with hard water are supposed to suck it up every 6 months... <eyeroll>

We have soft water here - just replaced a 23 year old water heater -never- been flushed, ever - and when I drained it to haul it out of there, and scoped the inside - no scale, just rust...
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:37 PM   #11
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
And there was just a week ago a thread on this from some homeowner who was trying to clean out his tankless system himself which he apparently has to do twice a year?!?!?

But of course if you asked him he would claim tankless are better since they save so much money. <eyeroll> I'm sure that 99.9% of the people who buy the tankless ones in his area are paying plumber rates every 6 months to get theirs cleaned out.... <double eyeroll>

Europe uses tankless because Europe specializes in stuffing people into housing that is any of us saw it we would say "Nice closet now where is the rest of the house..." They don't have the space for a real heater.
i installed my own tankless (replaced a 40 gal) - and i flush it out once a year myself. no plumbers sales calls needed. Actually quite easy!
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:36 PM   #12
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Re: Which type of water heater...


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Originally Posted by KPDMinc View Post
i installed my own tankless (replaced a 40 gal) - and i flush it out once a year myself. no plumbers sales calls needed. Actually quite easy!
What do you flush it with? Vinegar or something stronger?

Did you buy a kit or make your own?

Just curious.

Since I have two, one for radiant heat and one for DHW, I should probably know how to do it.

Which type did you go with? Condensing or non-condensing? Brand?

I have to replace the heat source for my radiant heat and I am trying to decide if I should go with condensing or not or something else. I am not sure that I want to go with a combined unit for both DHW and Radiant but I know they make them.
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:06 PM   #13
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Re: Which type of water heater...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ktownskier View Post
What do you flush it with? Vinegar or something stronger?

Did you buy a kit or make your own?

Just curious.

Since I have two, one for radiant heat and one for DHW, I should probably know how to do it.

Which type did you go with? Condensing or non-condensing? Brand?

I have to replace the heat source for my radiant heat and I am trying to decide if I should go with condensing or not or something else. I am not sure that I want to go with a combined unit for both DHW and Radiant but I know they make them.
I got the Noritz EZ40 - comes with (basically) everything you need, including the vent pipe. I made my own flush kit by purchasing a submersible pump, red / blue hoses and a bucket. I use a vinegar mixture, hook up the hoses to the self contained integral connections, turn off the main water supply and run it through the bucket for an hour - then everything stores in the same bucket... easy
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:21 PM   #14
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Re: Which type of water heater...


I am just going to jump in here, and include a quick post to a previous thread of mine:

https://www.diychatroom.com/f7/reque...heater-647931/

Long-story short: I really wanted to go tankless because my house is quite small and the tankless model really freed up garage space. I also realize that -- if I ever do have to work on it -- the tankless (in my case) was installed outside along the side of the house....this is really nice for repairs and maintenance in terms of access and water diversion.


So......I installed the Noritz tankless water heater myself. I erred by not giving it the proper maintenance. It still worked great for around 9.5 years. When it failed, the Nortiz company honored their 10-year warranty on the heat-exchanger by sending me a whole bunch of new internal parts. Somehow, I managed to get everything put back together right, and this unit has been working great since the parts replacement.


There are pros and cons associated with tank-style and tankless water heaters. I am happy with my decision to go tankless. I have rarely been as impressed with any manufacturer's warranty as I have been with Noritz.


If/when this unit ever requires replacement, I will personally choose Noritz over any other brand based on this experience. That's my 2 cents.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:30 PM   #15
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Re: Which type of water heater...


If it is electric then buy another electric one of the same capacity. If natural gas is used then as you live in Los Angeles the choices are one of the newer high efficiency ones.

The high efficiency ones are not reliable and often will have the electronics that controls the damper fail and this is an expensive part to replace (parts and labor).This is one case where I would buy the extended warranty and go with a local plumber and not Home Depot or other chain store. Read the review on Home Depot website and you will soon appreciate the problem.

Even if the failed hot water heater is covered under warranty you may still find yourself with no hot water for days. This is why if you do not live in an area with dirty air you can opt for one of the less efficient hot water heaters that lack the electronics that so often fail. The only place I could find one for sale was at Sears and that is what I had my neighbor buy and have delivered to her house.
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