Tankless info from consumer reports, Tankless...Bahhhhh

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

  1. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Excellent post.
  2. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    And the last president was "elected" by folks like yourself, partially because he was a businessman. Never mind that he had driven various enterprises into bankruptcy. "Arbusto" was the name of one...how appropriate. The one that was successful he was just a figurehead for.

    He continued along a "business friendly" course driving our whole nation toward bankruptcy through conservative supply siding principles.

    That's not an historical aberration. The previous time this happened conservative businessman Hoover was in charge of the show. In his defense he inherited much of the mess from other conservative presidents. Unfortunately for the country Hoover had 3 years in which not to address the problem "conservative" policies had created. Fortunately Dubya only had 1. The 2 year difference is that between the Great Depression and the Great Recession.

    But your silly political blatherings have nothing to do with the economics of such projects.
  3. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Uh, dude, "NEW" ???

    That hit-job on tankless heaters is over a year old now!

    And it's barely worth the toilet-paper it's smeared on, IMHO. Because...

    A: They don't state the financial assumptions about fuel pricing or the cost of money- no hint at all about how (or if) they calculated a net-present-value on the cost delta.

    B: They overstate hot water usage (which improves the picture for tanks, but is fairly neutral for tankless) at ~20% above the national average for a family of 4 (on which the DOE's EF test was designed)

    C: They doped the water to exaggerate liming/scaling effects on a tankless HX. (Hard-water areas really DO need to be mindful, but mine went 15+ years without even a hint of scale issues or any other maintenance on city water in New England, retiring it fully-working when I installed a new heating system that included a buffer tank with an internal HX for the DHW.) It's a useful warning, but irrelevant for the majority of users.

    D: They don't address the REAL reasons most peops opt for 'em: Filling huge spas &/or very high volume HW use and space-savings.

    E: They don't name the "outside lab", nor do they give any of the raw data and only the vaguest sketchiest description of test methodology, never mentioning size of individual draws (which can degrade the efficiency of a tankless dramatically at the low end) or any other factors other than daily volumes (volumes that are ~20% over the national average for a family of 4., as previously noted.)

    This is a hit-job, not a well reasoned analysis. It's designed to overstate the real-world efficiency of a tank, and exaggerate the maintenance issues of a tankless.

    Take the efficiency information from people who actually measure stuff without an agenda, and under varying circumstances to determine true average efficiencies for different patterns of use:

    http://www.aceee.org/conf/08whforum/presentations/1a_davis.pdf

    (Note the above isn't a "rah-rah tankless" piece by any means- a 92% steady-state thermal efficiency condensing tankless only hits ~75% average efficiency in one of the use profiles. Read & ponder. There's a heluva lot more real comparative info there than the CU piece.)

    The financials you'll have to do on your own- fuel prices vary by as much as 600% BTU-for-BTU between low-price natural gas markets vs. high price propane markets, and it makes a HUGE difference on if & where the net-present-value boundaries go positive. The one-size-fits-all financial analysis conclusions of the CU piece is utter CRAP!

    Will the "average" family even make it back on fuel savings? Depends a lot on the the price of NG over the next decade, (and I'm guessin' not), but fuel savings is about the 4th or 5th reason on the prioritized list of why most people who go tankless make their decisions, behind arbitrarily high draw volume (not to be confused with high flow) & space savings (the two most cited, in my limited experience), and appliance longevity (a distant 3rd.)

    They also don't compare some of the better low-end cheap to install versions that are ~80% efficient (eg: Bosch 1600H), which still beat tanks soundly on average efficiency, but are nowhere near as complex or expensive to install as Noritiz & Takagis. (Atmospheric draft therefore B-venting OK, ignition powered by water flow so it needs no electricity, etc.) NPV on those looks pretty good for most propane users, if you can tolerate the 30-117KBTU modulation range. It's good enough for a single-shower even in cold-water country, maybe two in FL or SoCal but it's HX is fairly high-head, not designed for super high flow on the water side. It's about right for weekend cabins & condos, etc.- VERY low maintenance.)

    BTW: Don't confuse me for a huge tankless fan- I fully understand their merits & limitations (I think they make better modulating combi space-heating/DHW boilers than water heaters, even if they're more efficient than tanks.). Still, I've yet to meet anyone who has lived with one for awhile who is dying to go back to a tank. But that consumer-reports piece is a downright LOUSY bit of analysis, and gives the reader no tools or information by which to analyze whether it makes sense for them, and how they use hot water.
  4. zl700

    zl700 DIY Senior Member

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    Texas
    Love the new Avitar!
  5. Thanks......

    It makes my day that you like the new avatar...

    ,
    Tankless Dudes,.......

    and I am sorry that this is not
    "new information" but none of you have ever
    posted it to this site before,
    and for well over a year now its been out.....


    so I suppose its "new" for here.

    I guess if consumer reports does not praise tankless,
    you must discreit the source....


    It seems pretty legit to me
    and you can take it or leave it...

    I am just the messenger, I did not make this stuff
    up just to piss all you tankless dudes off....


    as far as political talk goes, what has
    our currency been driven down to today???.


    does my new avatar make me seem more credible??
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
    Midwest
    That illustrates the problems with conservatives. They sound as if they were born yesterday. :p Our currency went in the dumpster quite some time ago, the run up in gold and oil should have clued you in several years ago. Folks like me saw this coming back in 2000. ;) Now, after a lost decade conservatives still don't get it.

    To get rid of the Bush deficit legacy our currency is going to become a lot less valuable over the coming years. Call it the Dubya Tax...it hits those of us who actually saved, not the dipsticks that overleveraged themselves in a "ownership society" that was really a "debtor society"...now a "receivership society."

    There is only so long the Fed and the rest of the world can hold down our interest rates. The future was mortgaged over the past 8 years...we're just renting until the Chinese foreclose.

    What we need is Volcker calling the shots IF/when we pull out of this recession. He's the one that deserves credit for slaying stagflation back in the 80's. There's a whole lotta elephant manure to clean up.
  7. who said I was a conservative??




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

    Runs...
    who told you I was a conservative??

    Me and Ian are " best buddies liberals"
    go ahead and just ask him some time....

    so are you saying

    If you own a business ,
    and go to work every day on time and sober ,,,
    then you have to be a conservative??.

    .

    if you saw this comming 10 years ago, I assume
    you also invested heavily in gold when it was 375 per ounce??

    right??.
  8. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    I've stayed out of gold and intend to since it is a speculative thing with much less intrinsic worth in today's world. It is flat or down most of the time...waiting for gold to spike is like waiting on someone to die to collect an inheritance: it is both morbid and unhealthy for the soul. Trying to time this sort of run up relies on skills that few mortal men possess, myself included. As the old saw goes, "the market can remain irrational far longer than you can remain solvent."

    However, I have done far better in the Great Recession than all but a few of the best Bear Market funds. I subscribe to the "get rich slowly" approach rather than chasing the fast buck. "Buy and hold" is for suckers with this fraudulently structured market...as I learned the hard way at the first of the decade. That's why I'm still on target for retirement in my mid 50's despite the so called "lost decade."
  9. you are right

  10. ChuckS

    ChuckS New Member

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    He had a payroll during the campaign. No, he didn't have to struggle to make it but he technically had one.
  11. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Mark,

    I don't disagree with you or Consumer reports about some of the negatives of tankless. A true tankless is not an ideal solution. Having some recirc/surge volume is needed to make them fully user friendly...which moves away from the fully tankless. In the end some sort of hybrid mini-tank makes more sense to me. The high burner rate is the key problem/expense I see with regards to venting, primarily when considering an upgrade retrofit. Scaling is a regional matter and important maintenance consideration. (My water's hardness is borderline, probably OK, while where I grew up was incredibly hard...hell on electric water heater elements and I would never even consider tankless with it.) Figuring out how to evaluate the relative maintenance expense is not easy. Some of it depends on how DIY competent the homeowner is.

    But where I come down on this, insulation, windows, water heater jackets, passive solar waterheat, etc. is the need to do a reasonable, objective, economic evaluation of the cost vs. the benefits. This and performance aspects have moved me away from tankless. I'm already at usage levels that are on par with tankless, so the benefits of conversion for me are far less than average.

    Al Gore doesn't figure into it. I'm looking for a full economic justification.
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Gold hit $1160.00 today up from $750 a year ago...not a bad increase for an investor...
  13. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

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    This entire thread is proof positive that going green and politics are intimately entwined with each other.

    Mark, I wonder how many folks realize that that RUUD tank in your avatar was possibly the first tankless water heater eer marketed and that it is close to a hundred year old technology. ?

    The great tankless debate rages on but I have noted that in the past year, sales have dropped for all models. Either because of the lagging economy or consumer awareness.
  14. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Ohio
    While gold to a degree is good for trading...in an emergency situation you can't eat it, burn it, defend your self with it, or do any thing with it but trade...and then only to someone who wants it...in my way of thinking water, food, fule, clothing, shelter, guns, ammo, and things like that are more valuable than gold in an emergency...if we were still on the gold standard then I would have a little different view...
  15. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Who said tankless is about going green?

    Near as I can tell tankless sales in the US are mostly about the UNDULGENT SPLENDOR of endless showers & 150 gallon spas, not 82% vs. 58% efficiency.

    If it happens to be somewhat more efficient in lower volume use as well, so what? People who buy a tankless on some green-factor theory (I've yet to actually meet one of those) would have to be people who can't/don't do math. For the money there are usually other places where homeowners can get better return on carbon emission reductions etc per buck.
  16. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    I thought it was Vaillant, not Ruud that came up the the controlled temp tankless. They've been at it since inventing the first temperature controlled closed-systems (separating flue gases from the water) in the mid-1890s, and are pretty much credited with the wall-hung copper-tube-boiler flavored versions (1905?) that are direct technical ancestors of what we see today.

    Copper tube boilers & water heaters are still Vaillant's main biz. Never seen 'em in the US, but they're major players in Germany & the Netherlands, with a good market share in the UK as well.

    Ruud is credited with the invention of automatic/thermostatically controlled storage tank HW heaters, somewhere around 1890. I'm not sure when they got into the tankless biz, but since Vaillant held the early patents, I suspect it was after 1910.
  17. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

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    Well,
    There ya go! It all depends on what you want I guess. Endless hot water or going green? The idea of efficiency is not clear to the average homeowner. Some will believe that if they install a $3000.00 tankless water heater that they're going to save so much a month on their energy bill. Does the benefit outweigh the cost? How long will it take me to recoup the $3000.00? How long am I planning on staying in this house. If you're looking for cost savings then no, it wouldn't make sense unless you plan on living in your house for long, long time. Energy savings is more than just a tankless water heater, it has to be a complete package for it to work in the black. Insulation is probably the easiest, cheapest most effective way to save money on your energy bill. That's were I'd put my money first. Turning down the thermostat is another. Unplugging battery chargers, etc. Shower heads are already low flow, been that way for years. But who has the money to do the whole envelope? Commercial properties make their decisions the same way, what is the payback? 5 years, 10, 20? No business would ever give a p.o. for equipment with a 20 year payback. 5-7 is the standard range which makes financial sense. Homeowners would be 3-5 which again, makes financial sense. Only when technology and products become more affordable for homeowners and developers will we start to see some amazing changes for the better. I look forward to it.
  18. D'Brie

    D'Brie Apprentice Plumber

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    44
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    Up-front costs are high
    The tankless water heaters we tested cost $800 to $1,150, compared with $300 to $480 for the regular storage-tank types. Tankless models need electrical outlets for their fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new ventilation system. That can bring average installation costs to $1,200, compared with $300 for storage-tank models.

    Wow, we'll normally charge 2-3 times these stated costs. I wonder where CR gets their install cost information?
  19. true , very true


    in our town the tanklessare being installed for somewhere between 2900 and 4900

    normal tank heaters around 800...

    I think that they use the bare min numbers...
    I dont know why....
  20. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Are you doing open heart surgery while you are there? A 2-3x factor is ridiculous.
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