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Old 07-16-2016, 07:32 PM   #1
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Tankless vs Power Vent


I live in Sacramento, CA and I am in the market to replace my 14 year old gas water heater. It is a 75 gallon direct vent gas water heater that is situated in our garage. Due to the new 2105 energy regulations, we cannot get an exact replacement of our previous water heater. We have had 3 different contractors come out and provide estimates to replace our existing water heaters. They all provided quotes on installing the Rinnai Rui98i, with the lowest coming in at $4,125 to install the new one (requires a new gas line) and remove the old one. They all also quoted us installing a new 75 gallon gas power vent water heater, with the lowest quote at $4,000. I am leaning toward going tankless, but wanted to get people's thoughts on this. Also, the Rui98i is part of Rinnai's Ultra Series and I wanted to know if should stick with that model or if it is ok to go with a cheaper model from the Luxury or Value Series. I really appreciate any feedback you can provide.
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:43 PM   #2
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


Hi ed and welcome to the forum,
I'm not a pro on water heaters, and certainly not up to speed on CA requirements, but those prices sound terrible to this northern old guy. One other unit you might consider would be a heat pump water heater. You didn't mention size or usage but in a warmer climate a hp can easily extract the required energy at a substantial improvement over a straight electric water heater. Still would require the necessary electric feed.

As a side note, what brand is being replaced and why. A gas water heater can often go for 20 to 30 years and who knows what will be available down the road.

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Old 07-17-2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


We have a tankless and love it. The reason we got one is we needed the space the tanked heater took up. It does take a little longer for the heated water to get upstairs but it's not bad.

We also had to get a good water softener to keep it clear. Or water is very hard here and deposits can ruin fixtures.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:30 AM   #4
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


Maybe in CA, but generally speaking, tankless heaters work better on paper than in real life. Does your gas supply meet the needs of the tankless?
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


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Maybe in CA, but generally speaking, tankless heaters work better on paper than in real life. Does your gas supply meet the needs of the tankless?
Do you have one? Or are you just guessing or heard something? I've had both with a three bath house and haven't noticed a bit of difference. Except I'm not having to keep a big metal behemoth of water hot all the time. I was also able to make my laundry room bigger.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:47 PM   #6
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


To some extent, depends on your needs. I was thinking of getting a tankless because I use rather little hot water and it seemed wasteful to constantly keep a tank at temperature. On the other hand, my buddy got a tankless, because he had a very big family and was constantly running out of hot water with a tank type (tankless never runs out of hot water)

Another thing to keep in mind is that a tankless water heater is far more complex than the tank type. The first time you call a serviceman, you will lose all the efficiency-money you saved in 5 years.

I had a tankless put in at my mother's. Does take a bit longer to get hot water.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:45 PM   #7
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


I'm a Licensed GC. I can get anything serviced for a round of golf.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:12 PM   #8
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


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I'm a Licensed GC. I can get anything serviced for a round of golf.
That and a case of cheap wine....
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:24 AM   #9
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


I do not have a tankless, I have a tank unit with a power vent. Too cold up here, the necessary rise is just too much for a tankless. That's why I said maybe in CA, as your incoming water temperature seems like it would be a lot higher than mine.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:57 PM   #10
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


Just as an aside, if you worry about or suffer from power outages, a tank heater will hold residual hot water for several days with judicious use.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:34 PM   #11
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Re: Tankless vs Power Vent


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Just as an aside, if you worry about or suffer from power outages, a tank heater will hold residual hot water for several days with judicious use.
That is a great point. I can't tell you the last time we had a power outage here. That doesn't seem to be be case in other parts of the country.
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