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Old 06-23-2014, 09:42 AM   #1
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School me on tankless water heaters!


Hey guys, I'm in the process of buying a house now. This is kind of a plumbing/electrical question, so I hope this is in a good place to get the response I'm looking for.

The hot water heater in the house is original and leaking. It's pretty much the first thing I'm going to replace when I get in there and my father told me to check into the electric whole house tankless units, as they are starting to come down in price, and save quite a bit on the utilities bill.

The house is a 3 bed, 2 bath and it will just be me and my girlfriend, as well as guests from time to time. I'm assuming I'd need a 3-3.5 GPM unit. I'm not positive on what size my breaker box is, I'm pretty sure it's 150amp service, but for conversations sake lets just assume that it is 100amp. My question is do they even make a unit that is affordable that can handle my needs, and also work with a 100amp breaker, and if so what unit is that, and is there anything special about installing it.

Any guidance is appreciated.

-Vinnie
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:05 PM   #2
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You also need to make sure you have the right amount of gas volume. I know in Michigan 75% of the tank less we did the homeowner needed as gas regulator upgrade at about 700 bucks. I am a plumber and would only install if i had no room for a 50 gallon power vent. We had way to many service calls on tank less. I have installed Rannai, Navian and Noritz. They all had some issue. They have to be cleaned once a year or you risk not being covered when something goes wrong. Also for most to work efficiently they need a recirc line.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnieVega View Post
...in the process of buying a house
3 bed, 2 bath and it will just be me and my girlfriend

The hot water heater... is original and leaking.
My question is...
Replace it with the same type and size WH you have now.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:45 PM   #4
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The payoff for the extra expense exceeds the life expectancy of the units.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:22 AM   #5
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A 3 GPM electric tankless with 3 GPM flowing through it would draw 116 amps to provide 105F water with a 40 entering water temp. So a 150 amp panel would not be enough for it and your regular house hold needs.

You would have to drop to a 1GPM unit if you only have a 100 amp panel.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:04 PM   #6
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If you're determined to go tankless, a natural gas (or even propane) heater would be a better choice for you. I put a gas tankless in the log house my wife and I built ourselves. Since we're both in our 60s, the cost difference will never be paid off in our lifetime. But we don't care - having endless hot water is worth it to us.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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62 years old owned dozens of houses, never had more then a 40 gal regular electric hot water heater and never once have ran out of hot water.
Of all the places I've build and they in insisted on an electric tankless there complaining about the power bill and it not being able to keep up.
The gas and electric units there complaining about the plumbers bills to back flush it, high install cost.
I can just not imagine why anyone unless there where young and had a bunch of kids and planed on spending the rest of there life in the house would want one.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:00 PM   #8
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Sometimes its good for those big garden tubs or Jacuzzi tubs. I would still go 50 gallon power vent over tank less. I put a Navien in for my parents(pops insisted). they have had multiple days without it working. The last one was 7 days waiting for warrantied part to come in. Like i said there is very little savings once you consider waiting for it to get hot water to fixture, or a recirc line which means its firing when not in use. In short i hate them
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:32 AM   #9
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Well that settles that. I can swap out the existing unit in 30 minutes, so I'm just gonna do that. Spend the money elsewhere.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:18 PM   #10
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Just an update, Installed a lowboy whirlpool from lowes. 38 Gallon, all the hot water I can use in this house. Used compression fit hoses, whole thing went in like a glove.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:11 PM   #11
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If your water gets cool in the winter an electric tankless is not an option.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:49 AM   #12
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my water in winter goes under 40F!
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ct18 View Post
You also need to make sure you have the right amount of gas volume. I know in Michigan 75% of the tank less we did the homeowner needed as gas regulator upgrade at about 700 bucks. I am a plumber and would only install if i had no room for a 50 gallon power vent. We had way to many service calls on tank less. I have installed Rannai, Navian and Noritz. They all had some issue. They have to be cleaned once a year or you risk not being covered when something goes wrong. Also for most to work efficiently they need a recirc line.
I don't agree with the needing a recirculating line. I have a Noritz since 2011. It works fine!
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:23 PM   #14
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First let me say without offending anyone: I have never seen a "hot" water heater. Understand? IF the OP can change out an existing water heater in 30 minutes then I would like to hire him. I have friends who have opted for the tankless water heaters, both full electric and LP gas units. For some strange reason out local City will not allow tankless units to be hooked up to the City gas system. The installation of just the tankless units here require a permit no matter who installs the unit. Inside the City limits tankless units have to be LP fired, out in the county that is all that would be available. NOT one of my friends who have had tankless units installed would recommend to others to have one installed. There are problems with each type. One problem with the electrical units is that they require a separate circuit breaker and dedicated wiring, this is usually at least a 50 amps circuit. Today's electric water heater units are much more energy efficient than they were even 10 years ago.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
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First let me say without offending anyone: I have never seen a "hot" water heater.

I have one. And most everybody I know has one too.
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