Best options for electric tankless unit

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by kitchenguy, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. kitchenguy

    kitchenguy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    ny
    Greetings all,
    Have a old Crane oil fired furnace with a coil for hot water. Needless to say the amount of hot water and its cost are both unsatisfactory. Looking for some first hand recommendations for a reasonably priced ($250-$400) electric tank less hot water heater. I also have the option of propane, though a friend has a Nortiz propane model, which he is happy with, but given the cost of electricity vs. other fuels in our area, would next time go electric. Been looking at some Marley units like their eco180 220V, but have been reading some mixed reviews about the company. Tank less technology has been around for quite some time in Europe and just thinking their manufactures may have a edge on ours? Shut the furnace down about 60 days ago and taking Nordic showers since, need to get this right before my spring water gets even colder!!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,995
    Location:
    New England
    Electric tankless systems that can provide whole house WH replacement are major electrical demand items since all of the hot water is literally made on demand. Think about your springtime cold incoming water and trying to heat it up enough for a comfortable shower or the dishwasher, etc. as it quickly flows past the heating elements...they need to be VERY substantial to work. A decent sized gas tankless is often in the 200,000BTU range, which is equivalent to over 58KWhrs of energy. THen, while a gas burner reaches operating temp very quickly, the electrical one needs a few more seconds. You may not have a big enough electrical supply, and would have to have your feed and panel upgraded. Then, the major load when the thing turns on/off may make your lights flicker and other things. IF you decide on a tankless system, propane is likely your better choice. Or, you could get a heat pump electrical unit, which, depending on where it is, would help with the summertime heat load in the building, as it basically cools the area by pushing that heat into the water tank. (Conversely), it will cool the area in the winter when you're trying to heat it up, too.)
  3. kitchenguy

    kitchenguy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    ny
    Thanks for your response,
    I here what your saying. There is 220V 100 amp. service, though a panel sub-box would need to be added to the fuse panel. I reside alone, the house is 1825 sq. ft., one bath directly above where the unit would be installed, one kitchen no dishwasher and a clothes washer all being with in 15-20 linear feet of the proposed unit. Which propane unit to handle this job would you or anyone else highly recommend?
    thank you again
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,995
    Location:
    New England
    Don't even think about an electrical tankless system with only a 100A service...you'd need most all of that for the tankless unit, and if anything else was on, you'd pop your main breaker!

    Since I'm not a big proponent of tankless systems, I have not kept up on which ones are more reliable. Should you get one, if it isn't standard, make sure that the thing is prepped with flush valves and shutoffs so it can be delimed. THen, plan to have that done once a year (or buy the stuff you'd need, and do it yourself). Do not forget this task, as the thing will lose performance as it builds up mineral deposits. While a tank WH will get mineral deposits over time, it will tend to continue to work - it may take longer to reheat the water, but you may not notice. On a tankless, those mineral deposits act like insulators, and you need all of the heat transfer you can get! Depending on the one you get, it may require SS exhaust (which can be expensive, especially if it needs to be long).
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,121
    Location:
    Houston, TX


    I agree.

    I do not know anyone that has a tankless and is happy with it. They seem to require repair often. The savings is not worth the headache.

    Buy one with a good warranty, because you will need it.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  6. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,837
    Location:
    01609
    In a NY location the incoming water temps are too low to manage with an electric tankless, unless it was only for summertime use, and even then you'll be popping breakers. A better solution would be a heat pump water heater in the basement, which would dehumidify the basement during the summer hours keeping the mold down, and better utilize the standby-loss heat off the old boiler during the winter.

    If the boiler room is the warmest spot in the house during the winter, it might not be after you install the heat pump water heater, and lowering the basement temp 5F on average will lower the net heat loss out of the house- putting that heat into the water heater tank instead of the great outdoors.

    The GE Geospring are the low end of the price range, available at box stores. Early negative reviews highlight production problems they were having before moving it to Kentucky a few years back- they've gotten better since.
  7. MikeQ

    MikeQ New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Washington
    Really, you should get out more often.

    Most of the civilized world primarily uses tankless residential water heaters. It's proven technology.

    I've been 100% happy with my Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus since I installed it 2 years ago: http://www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com/tempra.html I have 200 amp service and very cold incoming water (41 degrees middle of winter, 43 degrees middle of summer). The two bath house is all electric and I've never popped a breaker even with all baseboard heaters cranked, oven baking, all lights on and two showers running simultaneously. I've tested it by turning on everything I could find and cranking the hot water taps open. There is a barely perceptible dimming of the lights when the unit kicks on but you would have to be extremely observant to even notice it. Not even close to being an issue.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,121
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    It may work fine, while it is working.

    Check back in a few years with a updated report.


    Have Fun.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,995
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, after having lived in various countries around the world, their expectations on available hot water are different than ours here, so satisfaction in one place is not necessarily going to equate when the tech is used here. Can they work, certainly. Are they always implemented properly, absolutely not. Are they a good choice everywhere? That's based on your expectations...living where I do when the incoming cold water supply approaches freezing would mean having to install a super sized tankless, or using multiple units, which is just plain not economical for me, either in the equipment purchase, the infrastructure (bigger gas lines, or huge electric service), or the maintenance required to maintain them in peak operating capacity.

    As long as you go into installation with some background understanding of them, their limitations, and ultimate costs, you may be very satisfied. A lot of that depends on where you live, as someone in Montana verses someone in SoCal will have very different results unless they understand the system's limitations and accept that.
  10. MikeQ

    MikeQ New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Washington
    I can't say I've had satisfactory reliability and performance from typical tank style heaters (electric or gas). Tanks rusting out and causing massive water damage from flooding, sediment clogs, elements burned out. Most of this is not easy to fix on a tank style heater. Especially wrestling the old heater out of it's often less than convenient location, putting it in a truck to haul it to the nearest solid waste center, etc. A tankless can just be put in the trash or recycling bin, a new one ordered through your favorite parcel delivery. Postage is minimal. Mine came in a box smaller than my last laptop computer. But with a well engineered unit (tank or tankless) one can expect a long and economical service life from either style heater. But they all eventually fail and I know which style is easier to replace (I've replaced many). The Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus line is well engineered and well built with 100% copper heating units and plumbing. I would avoid the Bosch tankless units unless they have improved the design/construction in the last three years. I found one at the local solid waste facility, took it home to dissect it and the build quality was not even close to the Stiebel Eltron Tempra. I also like the modular design of the Tempra and the way that all Tempra models, from the smallest to the largest, use interchangable parts, very easy to replace a part should it fail.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,121
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    If all of this is true, then you have not lived long enough, or live in a different world.

    Your experience may very.
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