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#334985 - 01/19/11 05:50 PM Tankless water heater?
cb919 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 1041
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Guys, Adrian's furnace thread just reminded me there's a whole panel of people right here willing to share their knowledge on all sorts of topics, so here goes:

My water heater is getting old and my local service dude mentioned the tankless idea as an eventual replacement. I have absolutely zero experience with the tankless heaters. I get them in concept but I don't know where to start to figure out if it would be worth the switch for my family of 5. I am on natural gas as my fuel source. Thoughts? Things to consider?

Thanks!
_________________________
Dan
In/On Wall 500 w M2 Center Channel

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#334986 - 01/19/11 05:57 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: cb919]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6604
Loc: It's all about the location.
Shawn, where are you?
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#334992 - 01/19/11 07:18 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: Adrian]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10848
Loc: Central NH
Dan, I don't know much, but share a somewhat recent experience.

We had our water heater replaced by a plumber that we trust, and I thought it would be a good idea to go tankless. He doesn't like tankless here in NH, because the incoming cold water temps are so cold that the units don't hit anywhere near the efficiency that they do in warmer climates.

If there is some truth to that, Ottawa's climate should prove more a factor than NH's.


Edited by MarkSJohnson (01/19/11 07:19 PM)
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#334996 - 01/19/11 07:38 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: cb919]
Da_Gimp_Pimp Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 4013
Loc: Sitting down somewhere
Originally Posted By: cb919
Guys, Adrian's furnace thread just reminded me there's a whole panel of people right here willing to share their knowledge on all sorts of topics, so here goes:

My water heater is getting old and my local service dude mentioned the tankless idea as an eventual replacement. I have absolutely zero experience with the tankless heaters. I get them in concept but I don't know where to start to figure out if it would be worth the switch for my family of 5. I am on natural gas as my fuel source. Thoughts? Things to consider?

Thanks!


Dan, i have had a Bradford White tankless water heater for a couple years now and have no regrets whatsoever. However, I'm a single homeowner and don't use much water.

Some things to consider are the size of your house, having a family of five, and water consumption. Because instantaneous water heaters only function when there is a call for water (specifically hot water), they have a limit on the amount of hot water they can supply at one time. For example-if someone is having a hot shower, and you are doing a load of laundry with hot water, you may not get any hot water if someone wanted to do the dishes at the same time. I haven't done any research in a long time, but I'm pretty sure the water heaters are rated on the projected demand per household, and the size of the house.

Something else to consider is that they are extremely efficient in the sense that they don't rely on a constant energy source to keep them running, like a contemporary water heater, but, they are extremely inefficient to run, and that's where questions arise i.e. if there's a large family that will rely on a lot of hot water, they technically might not be that efficient. My water heater puts out more BTU's than my furnace.

Another thing is when you turn on the hot water tap, you won't get hot water right away, and you may have to wait up to 30 seconds or possibly even more if it's a large house.

As Adrian said, Shawn is the expert, as it's his field of work, but hopefully I have provided you with some information that you previously didn't know.

If you have any other questions, ask away, and I'll help as best I can.

Cheers.
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#334997 - 01/19/11 07:45 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: Da_Gimp_Pimp]
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
I vaguely remember my boss saying something about his tankless water heater not providing enough hot water on the spot for he and his family of four.

That's all I know.
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Our Room

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#335002 - 01/19/11 08:22 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: RickF]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8271
Loc: Tacoma
I can't disagree with any of the above.

A friend built a new ~2,400 SF house a few years ago. They needed TWO tankless water heaters and she's still not "happy". Technology may have improved since then.
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#335016 - 01/20/11 12:21 AM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: tomtuttle]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5330
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
IIRC tankless water heaters seem to be most successful when used in specific locations of the house in conjunction with a "big white tank" heater for everything else.

A fancy shower or soaking tub might get its own tankless heater, or "the bathroom at the far end of the house" where it might otherwise take 5 minutes for the hot water to work its way along the pipe and out the low flow faucet.

For a family of 5 with natural gas I would go with a conventional water heater.

Disclaimer - I learned everything I know about tankless water heaters off the internet wink


Edited by bridgman (01/20/11 12:21 AM)

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#335019 - 01/20/11 05:19 AM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: bridgman]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
My new house is 2600 sqft, 2 story and we have a hybrid system. The Rinnai tankless feeds into a 40 gallon tank which has a temp sensor on it and a pump that circulates the water through the Rinnai when the temp in the tank drops to low. We also have a circulation pump just for the water lines in the house to cut down on how long it takes to get hot water at any of the taps. This system works very well for us; after a few months of figuring out how to get the settings just right. The line between the tank and the heater has a filter in it, the purpose of it is to prevent the heat exchanger on the tankless side from clogging up.
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#335024 - 01/20/11 09:33 AM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: jakewash]
cb919 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 1041
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Thanks for all the input guys, that really helps. My main 2 reasons for thinking about this was for the efficiency and the space savings in furnace room (I have a fairly small house).

Cam - with a family of 5 and regular baths/showers for the kids I think I may hit those inefficiencies with it running fairly often.

Jason - the hybrid system sounds like a great idea (never heard of that concept before) but there goes my space savings if I need a secondary tank anyway. And having 2 tankless systems just doesn't make sense cost wise for me.

Mark - good point on the temp of the incoming cold water, mine in Ottawa is quite cold, even in the summer if you let it run long enough.

So so far based on what I'm learning I am leaning away from the idea, but have not ruled it out yet.

I wonder if there's any calculators out there that let you figure out what the best option is for you?
_________________________
Dan
In/On Wall 500 w M2 Center Channel

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#335033 - 01/20/11 12:35 PM Re: Tankless water heater? [Re: cb919]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8271
Loc: Tacoma
Well, and how long will it take to recoup the increased initial capital investment?
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