All I want is some more hot water....

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by jeffw_00, May 21, 2008.

  1. jeffw_00

    jeffw_00 New Member

    Medium-size house in New England, 2.5 bath, 4 people. Forced-hot-air heat, 40g gas hot water heater with chimney vent. The original 30gal water heater lasted from when we moved in until 1992, 2nd 40g WH died 2 years ago, replaced with 40g Bradford-white.

    We never ran out of hot water until we got the latest WH. However, we always turned the stat all the way up on the WH to extend the hot water. With current tanks apparently you can't turn the stat up that far so we run out of hot water. What to do?

    1) looked at tankless – perhaps not ready for prime time. One plumber boasted that "only" 3% of his installs had problems. Also, we have hard town-well water which implies intermittent cleaning. Also, when its 0F out, tankless reduces its flow due to high temp rise required.

    2) Looked at "hi-btu" tanks (essentially do what I used to be doing, except the mix-down is at the tank rather than at the faucet) – rare and expensive, which is a shame (also, plumbers said mixdown valve can clog).

    3) looked at high-recovery tanks. – they don't help. My problem is running out after 2 or 3 consecutive baths (we have an airjet tub), or 3-4 showers. If it comes back in 30min rather than 60, it doesn't help.

    4) looked at std. 75-80gal tanks. Also expensive, and I have a height issue specific to my layout, might have to convert to power-vent (which is pricier and less reliable).

    5) looked at adding a 2nd tank in parallel – problem with dissimilar tanks is that one will flow faster than the other (even identical ones get dissimilar with time due to corrosion)

    6) looked at adding 2nd tank in series. And…. Can't find any problems! Price is reasonable. First tank will take all the sediment and do most of the heating so 2nd tank should last forever. (so it should be almost as efficient as one tank) I can chimney-vent both (have to replace my 3" sleeve with a 4"). And if one dies I can isolate it and replace at my leisure.

    Went through a couple of plumbers before I got to #6 though (Sigh). Any feedback would be welcome, I –think- I'm doing the right thing now…

  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    Here are my not-so-unbiased-opinions. If you are concerned about getting plenty of hot water at a reasonable price, don't walk away from tankless...RUN! Most likely you do not have a gas supply sufficient to operate it, so big $$$ to take care of that problem. In those cold New England winter months, you will not have hot water, only warm. Whoever told you power vents were unreliable needs a power vent inserted. They are more costly, but in my experience, they are quite reliable. I would suggest that you need a large tank. A 40 gallon tank is fine for a small family, but you are using a considerable amount. Of course an 80 gallon tank will cost more than a 40 gallon, but way less than a tankless. Turning the thermostat up does not provide more water in the tank, it just makes what you have hotter so when it is diluted with cold water you will realize a bit more very warm water, but that's not a good solution to you problem. You need more capacity. Others might be able to give you better advise about connecting another 40 gallon tank to the one you have, and that might be a better solution. I'm not really well enough informed about that to offer a strong opinion. It would give you more capacity, but beyond than I can't say.
  3. T_Hartigan

    T_Hartigan New Member

    I installed an 80 gallon tank and never looked back. Cost somewhat more but plenty of hot water.

  4. put in another 40

    do #6 that is the best option

    all you have to do is install two bypasses
    to be able to isolate either water heater.

    you are totally overtaxing the 40 you presently have....

    all you have to do is put in another 40 of any brand
    that you choose and install it in series with the presnet 40

    SERIES, NOT Parallell is best...

    then if you so desire turn them both up on med to high and I guarantee that you will not run out.
    Last edited: May 21, 2008
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Same answer in this forum Jeff!
    You've got the facts its Nike Time... Just Do It!
  6. jeffw_00

    jeffw_00 New Member

    I AM doing it Redwood - just seeing if there's anything I missed...
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    You research has brought you to two of the best plumbing forums on the web...
    You did good!
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If you are concerned about isolating the heaters when one fails a few of three way valves will do it.
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