Skip to comments.Does anyone have/use a tankless water heater?
Posted on 12/11/2013 6:43:34 AM PST by knarf
I'm electric tank now and am considering electric trankless, but gas is a possibility
I know my way around tools, plumbing and basic house wiring/panel boxes.
I read one NJ review that said the water took a couple of minutes to get to the kitchen sink and when the bathroom tub/shower was used, it took a minute or so for the hot water to come in and the kitchen lost ITS hot water
In the end ... are they worth it ?
Thinking about it myself. No point in heating water I’m not using.
You’ll likely need to upgrade your electrical panel. They take a whopping big feed.
DO NOT GET AN ELECTRIC TANKLESS!!!! If you want tankless, you have to go gas. The electric one’s take too long to get the water hot and sometimes cannot keep up with demand.
Three of my many disciplines are electrical engineer, electrical contractor, general contractor.
I looked at them, but I’m on a well that’s about 300’, and the temperature of the water going in was too low to get a good hot output.
Do the gas ones work? What kind of flow do they give?
Price this vs a tankless:
2 55 gal gas water heaters,
2 water heater blankets.
You’ll never run out, the efficiency is good, and the price is much lower (I’m assuming).
Also, depends on whether you have utility natgas available or not.
I have one and it does take some getting used to, but I also have 5 boys and my wife’s step-daughter and 2 year old baby living in the house. We would blow through the conventional water heater in no time. So it works for us. It does take about a minute for the hot water to reach the furthest shower, but then it keeps going. Also, on very cold nights, i need to keep the kitchen line cracked a little so the water lines aren’t frozen in the morning. Happens once or twice a wither.
Oh, and mine’s gas...
I had a 7500 watt tankless. It burned out and I went back to a conventional.
To me, it aint worth it. Just go out and watch the meter spin while it is being used. Dont know about the gas ones.
Also, you have to use a certain amount of water (flow) for it to kick in, or it will not function.
No. We replaced our regular water heater with one and ended up having to take it out. There was not enough water pressure to keep it turned on. It was especially troublesome when trying to draw a bath or take a shower and it went off in the middle leaving only cold water. Not to mention that if your tub or shower is several rooms over from the w/h, there will be cold water in the line until the hot water reaches it. It was a huge expense to install and even more expensive to take out and replace with a standard water heater. Not to mention extremely frustrating!
Get a trial subscription to "Fine Homebuilding" magazine. They ran an excellent article a while back on tankless water heaters with economics.
The "Green Building Advisor" website also has good information.
Either "This Old House" or "Ask This Old House" recently aired a show that featured a hybrid instant water heater. It combines a small tank with a large heat exchanger and a large burner. It's called the "Eternal Condensing Hybrid" water heater. Check them out at http://www.eternalwaterheater.com/.
Must have been a whole-house tankless system. You will still have these sorts of issues when you have one source feeding the whole house.
A whole-house system has to be large enough to heat enough for everything that might be going on at the same time (shower, washing machine, diswasher, sinks).
Make sure you don't get too small.
Where they're worth it is as secondary units for a single source.
Say a shower is on the oppostite side of the house from the water heater - hot water takes a long time to get there and you waste a lot running water while waiting.
A smaller tankless system plumbed just for the bathroom will get hot faster, use less water.
A too-small tankless system will barely heat a high-flow item like a shower or tub - the water is going through too few coils too fast. Sizing for the task is important.
If you have gas available, and the house is compact, that will be your best option. Whole-house tankless has its place, but isn't right for every situation or every house.
See my post below. We had a gas tankless and it would shut itself off when the water pressure got too low. Gas is not the answer, either.
I forget the name brand. It is French. It had a ceramic liner.
I have an electric tankless, and a 600+ foot well. Been in use since 2007, and I can’t complain at all. It takes 30 seconds or less to get to the faucets and keeps coming as long as you need it. I’m satisfied.
You did not indicate why you were considering tankless but if it is to have hot water quicker, I would suggest adding a pump to your existing system.
If you want to save the most money(energy), get a hy-brid water heater with a heat-pump mounted on top. They cost about the same as a tankless gas water heater. There is also a conversion kit one company makes(Airgenerate) that allows you to mount their heat pump on your existing water heater, gas or electric. What ever you do, stay as far away from the tankless electric water heaters as you can.
Yes, but I live in so cal. Of course it take a few seconds to get to the faucet. Your tank wh does to! I have 2. Both Nat Gas. 1 is about 10 years old (Takagi) and never had an issue. I just remodeled another part of my house and put in a Noritz. I think they work great. You just don’t have the extra water if the SHTF scenario!lol But then again, I have a 35,000 gallon pool.
My gas bill is about that... with about twice that in “fees and taxes”.
Makes me ill.
We considered it but the plumber told us they require maintenance twice a year that can only be performed by a plumber and requires expensive chemicals.
So my advice is talk to a plumber first.
I have one in a rental house I own. It is very effective.
The time issue you describe should not be particular to the type of water heater used. Nor should one area lose hot water when another is turned on. Pressure perhaps, but not loss.
I do know that ground water temperature is a major issue with these, so don’t try to skimp by if you have cold ground water, you WIL require the higher BTU unit.
I have been happy enough that I’m going with one in my new renovation plans at my home.
If you live up north, I would question how in the inflow line is kept from freezing, as the unit obviously must be on an outside wall.
It seems to me that I did the numbers on this once and determined that electric for a tankless was impractical.
Raising the water temperature from cold to hot as it runs through the unit takes something like 120,000 BTU’s per hour. Even if it could be designed, it would draw 100 amps.
The gas models typically need a larger than normal gas line. Most of them are ~199,000 btu’s. They also have hybrid models now that have a small tank so you don’t have to wait so much for hot water. They require more maintenance to keep the heat exchanger from getting gunked up.
If you have electric now, consider getting a heat pump water heater. Expensive, but you should get a tax credit for installing one.
On the advice of a friend who had one, I had a gas tankless heater installed and it is very economical. I live in SC so it does not get all that cold. I also cook with gas and the gas part of my bill runs about $15.
We are appraisers and have looked at what builders and remodelers do. Whenever possible, the GAS tankless units are installed. The heat exchanger is much more efficient than the electric exchanger, and that’s where the heating takes place.
If you can’t get gas or propane to the unit, stick with the current high-efficiency upper end electric tank-style units. You will be much happier.
You’ll have no hot water in reserve when the power goes out.
You’ll have to put in new circuits and run a dedicated line to each unit you install if you do multiple electric units.
These work better if located very near the point of use.
You may need a permit/inspection in your location or with your insurance company before you can install.
Any savings depends on how much water you use.
Have you been using a timer on your tank heater? You can cut your heating timme from 24 to 2 hours a day and save a lot of money.
Not if its a gas unit. Those take just a few amps to run the thermostat.
Iooked into it. I decided that the more efficiently insulated traditional would provide increased benefits and is supposed to last 15 years. The tankless cost was as hard to justify as a Prius. I’ve been very pleased with the new water heater. They’ve come a long way. Not sure I’ll be in this home more than 15 years...
We installed a tankless (propane) about a year ago. It’s really nice - although it takes a couple of extra minutes for the water to get hot. No worries about running our of hot water, either. We have been able to run two showers at once - so we apparently have a big enough system for our household.
They are a bit more expensive, but they don’t have the issues of rusting out as fast as the tank heaters do. And no anode to keep replacing.
Make sure you get a recommended size for your application.
I would not recommend an electric, though - simply the physics of electric heating elements mean a lot of wasted heat. Gas of some sort is much more responsive, IMO.
Just reread and saw you were considering electric heater. I’d suggest going gas. Much better.
The ones I’ve seen for cruising sailboats work pretty well.
My sister has one, it’s gas, but when the electricity goes off there is no hot water because you need to have electricity to lite the gas.
I’m sure there is some kind of backup you can get so you can fire it up when the electricity is off.
The gas work if get one with enough BTU. keep in mind that if you are already on, natural gas at least, and your current supply line to the fixture is half inch it is to small. A tankless will require at least a 3/4 in. supply, also the instant hot water claim is baloney. yes you will get instant hot water at the unit when it fires but unless you have a circulating pump system which will require a storage tank and circulating pump you still have to push all the cold water in the line out before you receive the hot water at the fixture. Also you must install a premium filter in advance of the heater to protect it from mineral build up. Once the heat exchanger starts to build up with calcium it requires a chemical flush and the exchangers can withstand only so many before the require replacement. Always do the math, what is the liftime savings in energy vs. the cost of the unit, new vent ducting, gas line and installation compared to using a regular water heater? For me it made no sense.
If you happen to live in the northern states where heat pumps don’t work well, a heat pump water heater won’t work well either. They also need to be in an unconditioned space, like a garage.
In Japan, gas fired tankless is about the only thing used.
Cost and space being the driving factors.
I used one for years while living there, never had a problem, never ran out of hot water.
Ours is mounted on an interior wall of the furnace room. The only requirement I am aware of is access to water and fuel - not outside wall placement.
That sounds like my water bill. In the summer when I am watering the yard because of summer droughts we have been having, my water bill will be $500. a month. Lots of fees and extra stuff! (We have a big yard and have lost 2 huge oak trees to drought, so now I water more)
efficient neighbor is 666kwh
I'm 842 kwh
all are 1303 kwh
I called today for clarification and the bottom line is (imo) the letter is sent out to entice people to consider buying "improvements"
I was told that my (approx) 200 kwh diffgerence to 'my efficient neighbor' was the equivolent of a water heater
guy on the phone said his parents had a tankless and he had considered oner, etc ... said the parents were happy and etc.
So I went looking to see what I could see and I found few comments/recommendations.
So I posted to the smartest people on the planet ...
I have all squiggly bulbs, uber low voltage/wattage leds for photo sensative window candle lights (VERY nice night time effect), and the usual, fridge, a small chest freezer, elect. water heater ... and a 200w heat lamp in the chicken coop on 24/7 these days
My bill is about $90 a month which is acceptable.
And when the power goes out, no hot water on an electric tankless.
I like all the Taunton magazines.
We used several Fine Homebuilding ideas when we built new in 2001.
“There was not enough water pressure to keep it turned on. It was especially troublesome when trying to draw a bath or take a shower and it went off in the middle leaving only cold water.”
I have a tank-less hot water heater powered by propane. I will never go back to heating a tank and holding hot water.
The issues with tank-less? You need water pressure, duh.
I had to install a large diameter shower head due to flow requirements. One needs to match flow rate for your plumbing with the proper capacity heater.
Most tank-less models chosen are too large for the application. The unit does not flow enough water to meet the pressure switch range in some applications. Smaller capacity unit required, or put in a booster pump for more pressure.
I have no problem with the large diameter shower head and unlimited hot water.........
I have one and love it.....I had a water heater in the attic and constantly obsessed over it overflowing and ruining my house. I decided to get a new one and relocate it to the garage but the guy from Mobile Gas talked to me about the tankless water heater and I love it!!!! Low water bills and low gas bills. I would highly recommend it; in fact, since I got mine several of my neighbors have also gotten them.
The cost for me was $2200 - that was to reroute the plumbing, the cost of the unit, and the installation. It does take a little longer to get hot water coming out but once you do, you do not run out like with the conventional one (though honestly, since my old one was located in the attic it took a while for hot water to come out of the faucet also). It has a 25-year life span compared to the shorter one of the conventional. The temperature control is located in a closet and you never have to worry about the pilot light. And the big plus? Never having to worry about one over flowing or freezing and destroying your home!
How often do you flush them? Some require service twice a year or they won't last very long.
Absolutely worth it. In my folks place we have an electric one made by BOSCH. Great warranty also. Had to replace the unit twice and no charge. Not even for shipping it FedEx.
Right. We use three double 40amp. breakers in our panel. It also runs on 220.
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