Tankless info from consumer reports, Tankless...Bahhhhh

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by nhmaster, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. CarlH

    CarlH New Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Northern VA
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine

    Oh that's beautifull Carl. Thank you. Though I have a feeling you are preaching to the choir. So about 30 bucks a year savings over a conventional tank heater. Sounds about right to me.
  3. gregsauls

    gregsauls Homeowner

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Texas
    Good press numbers! Some will disagree with install figures. Your price may vary by region and plumber comfort with new technology.
  4. CarlH

    CarlH New Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I've done some reading and my guess is that the installed cost is for new construction. Changing out a tank heater for a tankless can get much more costly for some. I was looking at the Rinnai tankless to see what it needs for an install. The fact that it is a direct vent is problem for me since it cannot use my existing flue and I cannot change out my existing flue since it is used by my furnace. This means that I would have to find a way add a new vent for this heater. This is where it gets ugly and would probably get expensive. The desired location of the heater puts it in a location where there are too many other things in the way to install a vent for the tankless. If I go with a different manufacturer that has a b-vent tankless, I run into a different problem. My current vent is inadequate and probably half the size that is required to run my furnace and a tankless. Then the question is whether or not I have room in the existing cavities for a larger vent. Also, a b-vent tankless is less efficient at a .70 EF.

    I've been keeping my eye on the comments regarding tankless heaters and until now did not look too deep into what it would take for me to convert to a tankless. I now think that a tankless would not be a good fit for me. I should also add that my water is moderately hard at 130ppm and scale build up might be a problem for me that would require more frequent cleaning than once a year.

    I'm all for being green, especially when it helps keep the green in my wallet. Converting to a tankless would not be cost effective for me though.
  5. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Messages:
    221


    You have to install a new vent if you go with what they recommend for a tank type of water heater. Same type of vent problem as the tankless heaters.

    ---------------

    Storage Water Heaters

    These are by far the most common type of water heater in the U.S. today. Ranging in size from 20 to 80 gallons (or larger) and fueled by electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil, storage water heaters transfer heat from a burner or coil to water in an insulated tank. Because heat is lost through the flue (except in electric models) and through the walls of the storage tank, energy is consumed even when no hot water is being used.

    New energy-efficient gas-fired storage water heaters are a good, cost-effective replacement option for your current water heater if you have a gas line in your house. They have higher levels of insulation around the tank and one-way valves where pipes connect to the tank, substantially reducing standby heat loss. Keep an eye out for the price to come down for newer super-efficient "condensing" and "near-condensing" gas water heaters, which save much more energy compared to traditional models but are currently niche products. For safety as well as energy efficiency, fuel-burning water heaters should be installed with sealed combustion ("direct-vented" or "power-vented). Sealed combustion means that outside air is brought in directly to the water heater and exhaust gases are vented directly outside, keeping combustion totally separate from the house air.
  6. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Messages:
    221


    Good all around summary of various water heating methods. Note that they did not consider actual lifespan in their calculations.


    --------------------


    4. Currently, there is too little data to accurately estimate life expectancy for tankless water heaters, but priliminary data shows that tankless water heaters could last up to 20 years. For all water heaters, life expectancy will depend on local variables suck as water chemistry and homeowner maintenance.
  7. CarlH

    CarlH New Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Northern VA
    Correct. No power vent, direct vent, or condensing water heaters for me. I'm looking at a conventional gas storage with a .62 EF. My current water heater rated at .55 EF and has given me nearly 15 years of trouble free service, including extended power outages.

    I think it would be great if a tankless were a more viable option, but it is not an economical option for me. It would have been nice to get a bit more space and lower gas bills.
  8. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I don't see anything in the newer models to suggest that they will last any longer than the Aquastar and Paloma Pak units. Most of them made it around 10 years.
  9. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,840
    Location:
    01609
    And you determined that by...










    ... market survey???

    I know of two E.L.M. Aquastar (pre-Bosch takeover) that are still in service with 15+ years on 'em. Don't know of any that out & out died or needed a heat exchanger swap, but it's a pretty small sample size (and only one can I claim the installation on.) They're somewhat finicky PITA units with mechanical feedback that doesn't really modulate well, with a propensity for overheating then self-extinguishing at low flow, but they just won't die (as much as the current owner of one wishes it would. :) ) I think of them as "reliably finicky". :) Maybe I live/work in an area with fewer water-harness issues or something(?).

    But the newer versions have both much higher efficiency and higher complexity. Their true track record is still being made, but the Rinnais & Takagis I've encounterd over the past 5 years all seem to be in good shape and running without problems. (I understand that some people have run into issues with Takagi flame-detectors, but I've yet to see it in person- perhaps I will some day...) Again- a relatively small sample-size.

    I've yet to encounter anybody who replaced their tankless with a tank (except a few of instances where they were upgrading heating system boilers and went with an indirect-fired tank, which is the best of both worlds IMHO.) Have you?

    I've read of people who had been using them as hydronic boilers trading up for mod-cons though.

    They may not be for everyone, may not be cost-effective in low-cost fuel markets, but people don't seem to trade 'em in, and live with 'em despite their quirks. Hard-core greenies seem enamored of the operational efficiency, but that wouldn't describe the average tankless owner in my neck of the woods.
  10. Ladiesman271

    Ladiesman271 Homeowner

    Messages:
    221

    Market survey? He don't need to do no stinkin market survey.

    I have the second build of the ELM Aquastar 125 VP. The mechanical feedback modulates well if you calibrate it properly and set the water temperature to about 125 degrees. You have to make sure that low BTU is indeed low. My unit was calibrated a bit on the high side.

    All the important parts are still available on line for repair purposes, so who knows how long it will last. Then again, I am not sure if a plumber can handle a simple repair job without a song and a dance about something!
  11. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    I guess I base it on the pile of dead ones that I keep upstairs in the shop so we can rob parts off them for the few that did make it past 10 years. I spose I could take a walk up there and count but I know it's better than 25 and if I add in Paloma Paks its probably in the 35 to 40 range.

    Do you think we just make this stuff up for the fun of it.? we are in business to SELL products and make money. If a product is viable and we can make money on it then we gladly sell it.
  12. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    In the good ol' UPC
    Lmao,

    Anything that has more than a 3-5 year payback on a house is not worth it! Going green may be a good idea but until it becomes affordable, it doesn't make sense. Thanks for proving what I've been trying to tell people all this time!
  13. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    It's not "new" though...it's over a year old.
  14. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    I would love to hear where you are putting your money then, if you scoff at anything making less than 20-33% per year. :p While I'm not a fan of tankless I would set the minimum return a lot lower than that.
  15. put your money in insualtion

    I just stumbled onto this info tonight, sorry that
    it is about a year old....


    no one really beleives any of this "non-green horseshit" from
    consumer reports



    like I have stated on my web site...

    take the money and pack the home with insulation...
    install better windows...... THAT is where you gain
    a great payback...


    INSULATION......this is not very sexy, not very complicated and extremely boring after it is installed...

    and its not brain surgery ....

    any dumbass can install it. and get a 30% payback forever..
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    The article is not a bad one, it is one of those I looked at when first evaluating whether or not tankless made financial sense for me. If you want fast payback, use a 1.5-1.6 gpm showerhead instead. Cost is around $30-$50 depending on what you choose. Rate of return is about 100% annually.

    However, good luck "packing a home with insulation" and getting a 30% annual return unless it has very little insulation to begin with. While I've done a number of insulation projects, the areas that need it the most often can't be fixed...or if they can, not so easily. Good luck adding insulation thickness cheaply in a cathedral ceiling or uninsulated basement space. And from my own projects insulation is just a minor part of the cost where energy savings are highest. By the time you remove the drywall, insulate, put up new drywall and paint the cost can be quite high and the time investment considerable. The areas that are easiest to add insulation to are open attics...which already tend to have passably high R values to begin with.

    It's too bad that the average builder does such a poor job of insulating a home, because it is a lot more expensive to retrofit in places they missed (or skipped and concealed.) Ditto for leaky, uninsulated HVAC duct work.

    Windows? Now there is a poor return on investment...unless they have to be replaced anyway. It is really expensive compared to selecting a higher efficiency water heater or higher efficiency furnace. Heck, the payout on a new fridge is probably quicker...and that is really slow. But when replacing anyway, higher efficiency windows make sense.

    Besides showerheads, the really easy money is in things like CFL's.
  17. zl700

    zl700 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Texas
    Consumer reports, same mag that has been accused of supporting advertisers, sued and lost on false reports and admitted to incomplete evaluations.
    Regarding some posters here, who could trust or respect a person that uses a avitar of a hick or a pic of plumber that's dirty from doing numerous drain cleanings when discussing high-tech on-demand heaters. Installs of advanced Tankless technology is best left to technicians with proper tools, meters and combustion equipment.
  18. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    It's been a long time since I subscribed to Consumer Reports, but I recall them having a strict policy against advertising. They wouldn't even allow folks to distribute reprints of their ratings on showroom floors which had various salesman complaining when I was shopping for stuff. We couldn't even get permission to use one of their articles as part of a "how to" for a non-profit new homebuyer information seminar.

    Not that I think their testing is perfect. They often target different factors than what I find important. They really seem to have dropped the ball on toilets, and consistently so. I've never considered CR to be the be-all, end-all authority. They do however provide an independent evaluation, sometimes right, sometimes wrong.
  19. Dude, you really hurt me deeply.....

    :D
    dude, I am sorry that my avatar is not sexy enough for you...

    if that is all it takes to earn your trust,
    maybe I will change mine,,,....

    as far as being a dirty hick business man,
    I have had to make payroll for my employees
    for well over 30 years now .....every week.


    Our great president Obama never has had to ever run a business
    or make a payroll, and I would wager that you voted for him..:D.....


    Also, I can dress up fine when I need to impress
    petty little souls like you


    Now does this avatar give you warm fuzzies???

    .
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
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