Water Heater Choices

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Jdavis37, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. Jdavis37

    Jdavis37 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread and also for having kept things very helpful and civil. Many forums fail to do either of the latter. I have contacted 3 plumbers and have arranged a visit for one. I have learned a lot via this thread (enough to be dangerous I suppose) and that will help the BS Alarm immensely. Once I discuss things with the plumbers I'll add that information here for anyone in the future with similar questions.

    I was able to get the specs on my current GE/Rheem water heater. It is rated at 83 gallons first hour deliver and a recovery of 40 gallons. That gives me a reference point going forward. We certainly are not getting 83 gallons of hot water unless by hot you mean tepid.

    One option is to do nothing (cheapest option but it will only defer things as this water heater will go out before we sell the home)

    Second option is to install a 50K BTU 50 gallon water heater, use existing venting. I found some with 93 gallon first hour delivery and 61 gallon per hour recovery. Is doubtful this will be a great solution but it would be fairly affordable, no doubt would improve things a little. I would not do a 60K BTU with the existing b vent.

    Third option is to install the 4 inch b vent and then have a choice of most any water heater, ranging from 48 gallon 65K BTU burner heaters to 75+ gallon 76K burners

    Lastly, tankless albeit a slower tub fill in winter, need for new gas line and most likely new meter.

    I have ruled out:

    • Power vent models (not 100% ruled out but close)
    • The Phoenix Light water heater (they never answered and down the road service is enough to say nope.. I did see Home Depot sells these under the Westinghouse brand complete with 1 year warranty)
    • The Vertex series
    • polaris units (too $$$$$)
    I don't know yet which way we will go. But this forum has helped. My gut feel is I will replace the b vent if it can be done timely. after that I might just do a better 50K BTU 50 gallon tank and see how that goes. Tankless just does not sound like a good fit for what we want to do (if we had 2 kids at home and ran multiple showers I would go tankless). Thanks again.. once we have a solution I'll post that and the progress.
     
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    . Yikes......all that discussion and you sound like you are back at base one again....
    the plumber you have come out will probably have some good ideas for you....
    the first thing you ask him is if he is works on comission or not
     
  3. Jdavis37

    Jdavis37 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    Mark,

    It might seem like we are back at square 1 but I actually feel better now than I did when I asked the question. Knowledge is important and I do believe I have gained some of that here. The first plumber I contacted gave a quick hard sell on tankless without first asking about the problem. I do believe tankless has a place and can offer some advantages (along with disadvantages of course). Just not convinced yet tankless is our best solution. thanks in part to the discussions here which in turn gave me reason to read some things.

    One thing from the past I had not thought of until tonight was a guy who had told me that many homes in this area have very rapid fill lines for water heaters and he had suggested installing a device to slow the flow down to avoid rapid cooling of tank contents. I have no idea if this comment were valid or not but the logic does make some sense.

    The 2 plumbers I have made arrangements to meet are both the owners. But I do at least like to see a line item price for the items being purchased as well of course as the turn key price. While I want affordable I prefer honest and for the installation to be done well. I don't mind paying for quality (often higher prices are NOT indicative of higher quality, as one of our local 24 hr HVAC companies does commission based repairs and have done extensive marketing showing what customers in this area will pay.. I'll let you fill in the gaps there!).

    I may be a fool/idiot but I do put some emphasis on the gut instinct I get when I meet a person for such work. Before we re did siding on our home the first guy who came out for a paint estimate had 3 guys with him, and wrote up an estimate quickly and were ready to go. Price was high but within upper end of expectations. Second guy showed up, looked at our house for about 20 minutes and said he would NOT take the job. Said he stood behind his work and his reputation depended upon that. Showed me numerous pieces of siding that needed to be replaced and it seemed like 75% needed to be changed. I admired his integrity. When we did replace the siding and trim, I looked at many of the old pieces and he had been accurate. The first guy was simply going to cover up bad siding with paint and move on.

    Anyhow, after all of this my gut feeling is I should do the right thing, replace the b vent and go with a larger water heater. The 48 gallon Bradford White with 65K BTU would most likely work as well if we think 76K BTU is stretching gas supplies. A 4 inch b vent will lend itself to lots of options for anyone else in the home after we move. Worst case we'll have to shower at a friend's house while the vent is installed.. If things get too pricey or involved putting in a newer 50 gallon 50K BTU tank may well work given the current tank is at least 12 years old and could simply be OLD!
     
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    It makes no sense to me. Water will fill no faster than water exits.
     
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    One thing from the past I had not thought of until tonight was a guy who had told me that many homes in this area have very rapid fill lines for water heaters and he had suggested installing a device to slow the flow down to avoid rapid cooling of tank contents. I have no idea if this comment were valid or not but the logic does make some sense.


    someone is blowing some serious smoke up your ass here with that statement..........
    the only thing I guess they could possibly mean is a pressure reducing valve on the line
    if you have high water pressure.....

    The advice I would give you is to just keep your mouth shut and just let
    the plumbers who show up give you some options and ideas......

    Please dont get into any long winded BS conversations with them or they will realize that they
    have a sucker on the hook...


    I know what you are going through...we just went out to the home show to look at some
    renovations for our home and signed up for a free estimate .. The guy shows up friday night
    and gives my wife the song and dance about his outside doors and eventually comes up
    with a price for 2 new doors at 11k Yes 11,000 and I thought she was gonna crap her pants...


    The moral of the story is..
    if you look like a sucker, or talk out your ass about something
    that you really dont know shit about...
    they are gonna give you the "home show discount price"
     
  6. Jdavis37

    Jdavis37 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    Yes to pressure reducing.... tiz it. Was a long while back and I fear aging is not always kind to memory.

    I do hope at least one of the 2 who shows up is knowledgeable and has good ideas. I know more than 50% of who showed up for our HVAC work were simply BAD. But I have seen that with every thing we have gotten into. Some come out and are very honest, knowledgeable and want to do things correctly while many want shortcuts, etc.

    My intent is to let them point out what they will, offer suggestions and get a feel for who they are. This one is not rocket science but that said when a person immediately says I need this or that and they have not even asked what it is I actually have, they lose me. I also prefer to discuss options before pricing... I am not wealthy but I want to know what should be done before I try to mix in prices. And they may quickly come up with a solution that is good and reasonably affordable!
     
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    UNLESS you are taking an hour to fill the tub, the only thing about the "first hour delivery" is the capacity of the tank plus the recovery while you are filling the tub.
     
  8. Jdavis37

    Jdavis37 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    Understand. Was looking at that as a reference point to what we currently have as well as having the ability to not wait as long between a bath and shower. Once we run out of hot water now it is well north of an hour before we have nicely hot water again. Can be frustrating when tub is filled and water temp is tepid, knowing the wait will be in excess of an hour before I can fill again.

    It may well be that our current water heater has filled with sediment, etc. etc. and is simply at or near end of life. I did not have the current tub when this water heater was installed, so no reference point to past performance. If the water heater were not completely depleting down to cold water it would help, but it has seemingly zero recovery along the way.

    But I would be foolish to replace it with something no better. I should have my first set of options and prices Friday morning and can go from there. Will be interesting.
     
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    The first hour rating is more relevant when say using a shower verses a tub fill since that will mean your tank will have longer for the burner to run. When filling a tub, the burner or heating elements have very little time to do their thing. 83g is slightly over 1.25gpm...way below what you're using to fill a tub - closer to the hot content (in the summer!) for a shower.
     
  10. Jdavis37

    Jdavis37 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    I wanted to post a follow up with first thanking everybody who posted here. It was helpful.

    We had 3 solid quotes from plumbers I felt were more than competent. The prices were also fairly consistent between them (I don't shop for lowest price but do like to see some consistency).

    The cheapest option was replace our 50 gallon and worn out HD Rheem water heater with a 55 gallon Rheem that had slightly better 1st hour and recovery figures but not drastically better. That would allow us to use the 3 inch b vent already in place.

    The next option was to go to a 75 gallon tank and replace the 3 inch b vent with 4 inch.

    The last option was going tankless. each plumber quoted different models (1 quoted 2 models) which were:

    • Navien 240 (quoted by 2 different plumbers)
    • Rinnai RU98
    • RUR98
    None of the prices were inexpensive and I was sorely tempted to buy a HD Rheem 55 gallon tank and do the work myself along with a work friend. That option would have been fairly inexpensive until my wife said NO.

    In the end we went with the tankless option, choosing the plumber who had quoted the RUR98 heater. His quote overall struck me as very well laid out, completely turn key (adding new electrical outlet in garage), etc. We realize tankless has a long term maintenance aspect that tank heaters do not. The recirc setup really does get hot water to the faucets faster and minimizes the cold sandish aspect. Time will tell if we made the right decision.

    Early on though my wife is ecstatic and she was totally I don't care the entire time I worked on this. She can run dishwasher and laundry at same time without worrying about impacting a shower or bath. Our master bath fills a little slower than before but not substantially, and not having to manage the water temperature is great. Early on we are both very happy. Had the tank choices been more affordable I probably would have stayed with a tank. As it stands though we are very pleased and do not miss the old issues at all.

    On side note the GE (made by rheem) water heater we had before truly did have the worst drain I have ever seen. All plastic, the threads would not hold and the drain rate was slower than molasses.
     
  11. JRC3

    JRC3 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Location:
    S.W. Ohio
    What temp do you have the heater set? Mine cranks out way more bathing water set at 140 rather than 120. That way you have more hot water to mix with the more abundant cold water coming from the other side of the valve. And you should have hotter water to add to a cooling tub as you are resting in it. What I'm getting at is when you need to add hot water to warm things up a bit, hotter water will mean it will warm quicker and you'll spend less time monitoring the water level and such.

    Do you have it set at like 105-110? Does/could that cause potential for bad things to grow in the hot water system?
     
  12. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    A tankless water heater isn't going to kill incoming legionella unless it can run at 180F or higher in any case. Even 160F water takes hours to kill established colonies. There is no health advantage to running it hotter than the water temperatures you need.

    Without a recirculation system the tankless would cool to lower than legionella-growth temperatures between draws most of the time, and since 100% of the water inside the tankless is purged with every hot water draw, there really isn't any stagnation to speak of. With a recirculation system running 24/7 it's a different story- both the supply lines and return lines on the recirculation loop will spend 100% of the time in a high legionella growth temperature range, and the tankless never really cools off. If a recirculation scheme is being used, from a legionella risk point of view it's far preferable to use a recirculation system that only runs the pump when flow is detected, or when called by a push button, etc.
     
  13. JRC3

    JRC3 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Location:
    S.W. Ohio
    Not to get too off topic, but at one point I had considered a basic motion switch in the bathrooms or near the kitchen sink.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    An occupancy/vacancy switch on the bathroom lights was my solution to the teenaged "endless shower" problem, and is one possible solution for a recirculation enable.
     
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