Could Use Some Tankless Suggestions Please

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by Christian231, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Christian231

    Christian231 New Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    First off, hello. My name is Christian and I'm new here, obviously. I have been browsing all of the threads on tankless heaters and I'm even more confused than I was before.

    Our old AO Smith 50gal just took a dump today and we've really been wanting to go tankless, but I have no idea what I need. Here's my info and I'm hoping some of you experts can guide me in the right direction.

    I live in California, so cold isn't much of an issue.
    Current gas heater is in the garage. I have a 1" gas line already plumbed to the location where the tankless would go, which is on the wall just above where the existing heater is located.
    Water, venting etc. is all right in the same location.
    Our house is long, about 80ft from end to end, single story.
    We might be running a washing machine and dishwasher/shower simultaneously, but rarely more than 2 sources which are drawing hot at the same time. The major appliances are all located within 30 feet of where the tankless would be installed.

    I've heard several people recommend the Navien brand, but I have no idea which brand the pro's would go with. Any tips, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you need more info, please ask and I'll do my best to help you help me.

  2. jjsask

    jjsask New Member

    Jan 31, 2014
    I'm interested to see what others have to say here as well. Your situation is very similar to mine except I am in a very cold area so I need to mount a tankless inside and it needs to be oversized due to cold water temperatures.

    I have narrowed it down to Navien NPE-240A or Rinnai RU98i. All signs point to the rinnai being the more reliable brand but the concentric venting is a pain. I'm kind of leaning towards the Navien as it comes with a built in circulator pump and buffer tank which I think may work better with my LG front load washer that draws small shots of water in intervals. It looks like Navien may have had reliability issues in the past but their designs have apparently improved.

    Interested to see what the pros have to say.


    Navien NR-240A
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2014
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  4. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    With only a 1" gas line it matters how far it is from the gas-meter/regulator to the tankless, including the "equivalent feet" every ell & tee along the path. (For 1" iron pipe, add 1.6' for every 90 degree turn along the path.)


    So with 1" gas lines a 180,000BTU/hr tankless is limited to 50 equivalent feet and a 199K unit would be limited to within 40 equivalent feet, but a 150K unit could still be good to go at 60 equivalant feet.

    If you have another significant gas appliance teed off from the run there can also be some interactions and you'd have to be even MORE conservative on the run length. It's better to have the gas line serve ONLY the tankless, connected as close as possible to the regulator.

    Navien has some good products at attractive prices, but a fairly checkered pattern of installed reliability. Most of that is due to inadequate installer training & support or sheer installer incompetence, but not entirely. Be sure to vet the installer carefully- it's not an idiot-proof install. There are many many Naviens out there working flawlessly with years of service behind them, but be prepared to do some de-bugging and diagnostics if you're one of the unlucky ones that has problems on day-1. A competent installer would know right away if there's an issue, and won't be creating issues on his own.

    Probably the top three vendors serving CA would be (in no particular order) would be:

    Rinnai is the world's largest manufacturer of gas burning appliances for the home, but an incompetent installer can screw those up too. They have good distributor support in most (but not all) regions in N. America, including installer training.

    Noritz has a nicely engineered product line, and the best temperature control at low-fire of any.

    Takagi has reasonable products at a good value, as well as a good reliability history, but distributor support can be spotty. To their credit their help line bends over backward to help homeowners diagnose any problems over the phone, but if you're not the DIY type be sure there are multiple competent installers in your neighborhood to handle any issues that might arise.

    If your house is heated with a hydronic boiler (pumped hot water) you'd probably get better hot water performance and fewer quirks/issues by adding an indirect-fired tank operated as a zone off the boiler.

    If you're in the central valley or some other warmer part of CA you might get comparable or better operating costs out of a heat pump hot water heater, that will beat it's EF test numbers if installed in a usually hot or warm garage or shed. (Depends on your location, and your local gas & electricity rates.)
  5. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    I have been very impressed with the Noritz NRC1111. Check the specifications, particularly pressure drop vs flow rate. Also, it has a heavier gauge copper heat exchanger.
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