Apartment... Does it Make Sense

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Apt Denizen

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I'm remodeling a 4th floor apartment. I would like to attach a water heater for the excusive use of the unit, so as a landlord, I dont have to pay for the hot water in the unit any longer. It is a relatively small unit as it is, so am reluctant to take up any more space to install a tank water heater. There will be a shower/ tub combo and possibly a dishwasher. So the first question is does it make sense? I already intend to run a larger gas line to accommodate a gas heater in the 20,000 btu range and a larger range anyways. If it does make sense, any suggestions for a properly sized reliable unit?

I already intend to run a larger gas line to accommodate a gas heater in the 20,000 btu range and a larger range anyways, so if capacity needs to be increased and if the gas line can be "T"d off a trunk it will only be a small increase in that part of the expense.

Thoughts?
BTW, great site, lots of good reading here. Thanks.
 

JRC3

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20k seems small, but I'm not from Cali. More important, how will you vent it?
 

Apt Denizen

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Small apartment, barely over 500sf. It's actually a small fireplace insert, and there is also an electric heater in the unit. Weather in San Francisco rarely dips below 45F. Venting should not be an issue since I intend to install water heater inside apartment. It's a top floor unit and my intended mounting location is immediately adjacent to ouside wall. I think exhausting to side wall may be my best option.
 

Dana

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Most tankless installations require a dedicated home-run of 1-1/4" gas line back to the regulator/meter, with no tees off to other appliances. Even a smaller tankless from most decent vendors has a 140,000 BTU/hr or bigger burner. The lengths here include "equivalent length" adders of every tee & ell along the path:

natural%20gas%20pipe%20chart.jpg


Even a tank type HW heater will usually have a burner in the 35,000- 50,000 BTU/hr range.

A 20,000 BTU/hr space heater is overkill for 500' apartment in the Bay Area. The true heat load is likely to be less than 5000 BTU/hr @ 35F (cooler than the 99% outside design temperatures of most locations in that region.) It's probably easier & cheaper to install a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton point terminal heat pump, which will operate at pretty reasonable efficiency in that climate, providing both heating & cooling. The 3/4 ton LG096HD3B and Amana DigiSmart PTH093G35xxx both run about $800 at internet pricing, the half ton Amana PTH073G35AXXX runs in the low $700s if you shop around. Add another $75-100 for the wall-mounting sleeve.

Any 3/4 ton mini-split heat pump would cover the loads too. They'll be more expensive up front, but won't require framing a hole in the wall the way an PTHP would. Pretty-good (but not their top of the line) name brand units like the Fujitsu 9RKFW1 or Mitsubishi MZ-GL09NA runs about $1300 for just the hardware, maybe ~$2.5K give or take fully installed by a pro. Their efficiency and comfort will be higher than a PTHP, but not enough to matter much. You may be able to get efficiency rebate incentives from the state or utility above some minimum efficiency. (Varies a lot by location.)

That won't fix your hot water heating problem, but it's more appropriately sized for the heating loads than a 20KBTU/hr fossil burner, and won't require the expense of upgrading the gas plumbing.
 
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