water heater suggestions

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by duajones, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. duajones

    duajones New Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Tank vs Tankless, pros and cons?
  2. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Jan 27, 2005
    Tradesman Plumber
    Vancouver, BC
    my preference? tankless all the way: examine everything that a hot water heater does (and for 24 hrs a day, every day) - there is not one thing that i can find that a storage tank does that a tankless system can't do better. it's smaller, less expensive to operate, more efficient by leaps and bounds, and frees up valuable closet space. gas or electric, i say tankless - but do as much research as possible, and hopefully someone else responds with additional pros and cons for you, i'd be interested in hearing them :)
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Most tankless systems run with a restrictor which can mean it takes forever to fill a tub. They usually don't allow two fixtures to run at the same time. If your supply water gets really cold in the winter, you might not be happy, either. Most systems are spec'ed to raise the incoming water a max of 70 degrees. If your water is "normal" (50 degrees min), that is enough. Mine gets down to near freezing in the winter, and 70 degree rise just doesn't cut it. Note, that raise is typical at the specified flow, increase that, and the max rise decreases, sometimes a lot.

    Any calcium deposits in the heat coil can severely decrease the max temp rise.
  5. jrejre

    jrejre New Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    I recently talked to my friendly local plumber (that I trust) on this same topic. He has tankless in his house and said he would not do it again. His wife wants him to replace it.

    He said that there is much more variablity in the hot water temp. I really don't know why - maybe his input temp varies. He also said that the temp varies depending up how many hot water taps are on (i.e., flow rate changes).

    I don't have one myself, so I can't comment. I do find the design intriguing and it seems much more efficient.
  6. macleod

    macleod New Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    pasadena, ca
    hard water is bad news for tankless heaters

    Here's a report I found on tankless vs. conventional hot water heaters. It's the most thorough and objective writeup I've seen:


    In Pasadena, our water is somewhat hard - so I would not install a tankless water heater. In the report, they don't talk about the value of never running out of hot water - but that would have to be really valuable to you to deal with the extra maintenance issues. Maybe once they figure out the self-cleaning models...

  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    master plumber mark

    Something no one ever mentions about tankless water heaters.....

    once you got one, you are stuck.....you are at the mercy of some questionable service man .

    Their are not a lot of people that SERVICE tankless units...In my honest opinion..

    especially in rural areas ect...

    If your unit goes down, this means cold showers till you find someone who

    IS QUALIFIED to make repairs to it finally shows up to do the repairs.

    If they have the parts great
    , if not they have to fed-ex the parts in....

    This could mean some pretty evil looks from your wife and kids for up to 14 days+ who knows??

    Remember that YOU are the guy that shelled out the BIG MONEY for one of these new fangled tankless hot water heaters, so You get the GLORY or you get the GREIF....

    I know of one situation where the wife threatend to go to a hotel till he got
    the water heater repaired or replaced. (you dont want this kiind of trouble)

    You could also pay dearly to get the reapirs made.....if they can even get the parts.

    I would guess that if you are the only repairman for tankless hot water heaters in town, you can name your price.

    I have taken out about 6 units over the past and re-installed normal water heaters just because of the reasons stated above....

    the repair costs were too high,

    they couldent find anyone to repiar it

    the wife threatend the husband with divorce if it was not fixed TODAY!!


    I install between 5 -20 water heaters per week. A mix of gas and electric

    Rheem and Bradford white mostly..... Some POWER VENTS too.....

    I can repair them all pretty quickly.......literally today..........

    But Honestly , I am not qualified to touch a Tankless unit , and I DO NOT WANT TO LEARN HOW EITHER>

    I will not touch a tankless unit... I dont want the liability.

    I dont need the headaches either......
    Recently we did a new 450k home where the owner insisted on a Tankless unit ..... ok..with me but I BEGGED them NOT TO DO IT!!!

    the unit cost them about $1300, and it took a month to show up.

    We made the customer sign a waiver that we could not guarantee that it would do the job and we were not responsile to baby sit the unit either.

    Basically, if it broke down they were on their own...
    so if it took a month for the actual unit to show up,
    how long are the repair parts going to take>>>???

    what do you see happenning in their future??/

    I see a 75 gallon Rheem power vent gas hot water heater for about $1600

    So if you feel lucky, go ahead and take that leap of faith....

    make my day.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2005
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Consumers Report and a trade magazine testing laboratory both conducted extensive tests on tankless versus tank type and both came to the conclusion that a tankless would only save a maximum of $50.00 a year and that did not include a one hour purging with vinegar to delime it about once a month, if the efficiency was to be maintained.
  9. kavita

    kavita New Member

    Dec 12, 2004
    minority vote

    my experience differs from that of most of the plumbers who've responded to you. i certainly defer to their experience, but i'll share mine anyway.

    i love tankless water heating.

    i live in southern vermont, and it gets quite cold, and i have no problem with the one i chose. plenty of hot water whenever i want it, hot as i want it.

    it's a very expensive unit, to be sure. i will likely not ever recoup the direct costs in purchasing it. that's okay with me. the pros outweigh the cons.

    the small size is fantastic. that was an important aspect for me.

    i like that i'll never walk into a flooded room again due to an overflow in a tank storing hot water. what a drag that has been!

    i like how quiet it is.

    i like that i can adjust the temp so easily.

    i know at least a dozen folks who use tankless in southern/northern vermont. all are pleased with what they're using and glad to have switched from tank models.

    some of these folks have large familiies, hot tub, etc. - lots of water use. mine gets nowhere near that amount of use, so i can't personally comment on maxed-out usage.

    as for service, i'm fortunate to have purchased mine from a dealership with a technician authorized by rinnai continuum to repair their product. this particular model has an excellent track record as a low-maintenance product. i'm familiar with only rinnai continuum tankless water heaters and can't speak to maintenance needs of any other units.

    hope you enjoy wanterever water heater you purchase, tanked or non!

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