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Question DetailsAsked on 6/6/2011

Should I buy a tankless Water Heater?

...just wondering if anyone has one of these types of water heating systems and would like to know your experience with it.

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35 Answers

0
Votes

If you're talking about on-demand water heaters, they have been used for many decades in Europe. The standard water heater has to keep water at a certain temperature 24/7, which is a waste of fuel. The on-demand water heaters can be installed near the point of use and can make more sense energy-wise. I say "can" make more sense, because they are most useful as auxiliary water heaters for a bath that is far away from the main plumbing in a house. An on-demand water heater doesn't make a lot of sense for a kitchen sink, for example, because it would be so much in use.


Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

I was looking at a system that can sit outside the house (could sit inside the house somewhere too). When hot water is "demanded", it runs through the unit to be heated and it flows to the area of demand...shower, washer, dishwasher, etc. It does not store water, but it doesn't really sit near the point of demand.

Answered 3 years ago by TommyBoy

0
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Yes, Rinnai seem to be the best to use, and gas is the best way to go.

Answered 3 years ago by nvamom

0
Votes

Something like that might be a good idea if you don't have the space to install a regular water heater. Some of the newer hot water heaters are very efficient compared to the old ones (remember when we had to put blankets around them?). I'm amazed that the unit you're talking about (do you have more info on it for us?) could go on the outside of a building. Surely you are in a frost-free zone, in that case. One thing is for sure, though - you are not going to be able to get a huge amount of very hot water at any one time from such a unit. That might or might not matter to you.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
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If you do purchase a unit (which I like myself) make sure that the installation is completed by a licenses professional and keep all records of installation and manuals for any future real estate sale. One of the problems you may run into the future is the lack of knowledge by real estate professionals on this type of water heater. We all know that most individuals in general (with no knowledge) will have a negative reaction to the ability of the unit, because it’s easier to say something negative about the unknown and then have actual knowledge and conviction of the ability of the unit.

Have the manuals and installation documents available in the home with the open house flyers. This willl get the information to the potential buyers and an “informed buyer” is the” best buyers”.

Answered 3 years ago by JSlimak

0
Votes

That is something I haven't considered...so thanks. I expect to be in my house a long time, but one never knows. It is good advice even if I don't move. You are saying you have one and like it? If so, Im not clear when the mfr. states that water isn't heated at a low flow rate of 0.5 gal / per minute. I have a hard time gauging what that is when I'm standing in front of the sink with the water on. I'm guessing .5 gpm is pretty slow though.

Answered 3 years ago by TommyBoy

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Do you own one or know someone who does?

Answered 3 years ago by TommyBoy

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I would like to free up the space where my current water heater sits...in my hall closet. Yes I am in Texas...frost free 95% of the time though it happens. If you want more info, this is the website: http://www.foreverhotwater.com/index.php Click on Learn Tankless, then How Your Water System Works. Once in there, you can see both options...existing tank vs tankless...it is an easy diagram to get the idea of it. It is optional to be installed inside or outside. In the cold of Central Ohio, they have a kit for the cold...which is extra...I think.

Answered 3 years ago by TommyBoy

0
Votes

Yes, those look like the standard on-demand water heaters I saw so often in England. Not sure about this, but I'd check the flow rate against standard household water pressure. Might not be acceptable for showers, etc. I see you've already noted that the flow rate might not be optimal. Another consideration would be that if you are interested in this type of hot water heater, there are other manufacturers out there and it might be a good idea to get some comparisons.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

Howdy, fellow Texan. I too am looking to upgrade to tankless. I lived in Germany for much of my life, and find the water-heaters here terrifying. Just moved out of a house that had ghastly mold problems and don't even want to get started here -- the mere thought of having a tank with 30 or more gallons of not-so-freshwater sitting and percolating INSIDE my house, where it could leak at any moment, just makes my skin crawl! On-demand makes perfect sense -- it saves energy, prevents the risk of tank mishaps, etc. I never ran out of hot water in Germany and I take LONG hot baths, so you just need to get the right unit. They do seem terribly expensive here, tho! My plumber came up with some quotes around $2200 for this small, 1245 sq ft house, I think mainly because he doesn't want to do the install (and obviously won't be hired to do it). So few plumbers are familiar with the units that you may have to look around to find one who's comfortable installing one.

Post when you make a decision!


Answered 3 years ago by alliedog

0
Votes

I do not have one in my house but have sold a few newer condos that have the system in place. I also spent some time with a vendor at our last "Home Show" in Indy talking about the good the bad and the ugly of the system and I am sold. Once my 2 yr old system dies I am going to make the change.

Answered 3 years ago by JSlimak

0
Votes

" the mere thought of having a tank with 30 or more gallons of not-so-freshwater sitting and percolating INSIDE my house, where it could leak at any moment, just makes my skin crawl! " LOL. Everyone is dfiferent, and it's all about what we're used to, isn't it? The "not-so-freshwater" is actually pretty fresh because it gets used constantly. If you want to talk about creepy, how about the famous European sytems where water is stored in a large tank in the attic and the only water pressure is from gravity? I'd say about 90% of English houses have those, and stories of people finding dead pigeons and mice in them are not uncommon. Talk about EWW.

Anyway, conventional water heaters in this country are designed to not leak. If you investigate their construction you can see how unlikely a leak would be, but they do have a lifespan like anything else. The only times I've had trouble with conventional water heaters is at the very end of that lifespan when the bottom of the tank decides it's tired of living. There's a nasty mess!

Tankless water heaters make perfect sense on many levels, but they are so "new" in America that it's very hard to find someone to put them in, and they are very expensive. We're going to have to wait for the Builder's Learning Curve, which in my experience is about 10 years, before these water heaters are commonplace.


Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

Hi, You can read about it here:

http://www.constructionowl.com/plumbing/water_heating_devices.php

Have a good weekend!


Answered 3 years ago by ConstructionOwl

0
Votes

Too bad no one on the list actually owns one--I'd like to hear some first hand experience. I've been doing some research and here's what I've found. You need to make sure the "gallons per minute" meet your household needs. There are ones on the market now that do about 7 GPM. This is enough (the manufacture says) to simultaneously provide hot water for 2 showers and a sink. HOWEVER, that is based on heating 50 degree water. So if you live in a cold climate as I do, you shouldn't expect that performance in cold winter months. That said, I only have one shower and my dishwasher has a heat booster...so I'm going to have the plumber come out and give me a price for the install. What other people who've researched have told me is the install can be quite expensive (moving pipes, etc.)...so we'll see.


I did also have a long conversation with the guy in plumbing at Home Depot about it. He told me his father in law put one in and has sufficient water and cut his gas bills significantly. HD sells two brands: Bosch and Paloma. He told me Paloma was better (there isn't a price difference, so no reason to doubt)...he said it was better at modulating the water temp if you have a single control on a shower.


Answered 3 years ago by ss46

0
Votes

I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear that I have actually owned and used an on-demand water heater. It was in England, where they are common. The determining factor IS water pressure. I believe it would save you money on your gas bill, since it's electric - but so would a good state-of-the-art standard electric water heater. The technology is far too new in this country for me to trust anyone to give me good advice or install one properly.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

hello, new to board, had to answer... I had Rinnai installed in 1912 Craftsman in 2003. I LOVE IT. I pay approximately $5.00 a month to heat my gas water heater. They mfg. 2 models, one for inside and one for outside. A neighbor put hers on outside (Seattle area) and neither of us has has any problems. The only thing I wish I had done at the time of installation was to put it closer to my shower because it takes about 30 seconds to run the hot water to its pipes. The waste of water is the downside, however, I keep a 5 gallon bucket near and use the water in the garden... thats another story. Anyway, after you've turned the water off, the unit uses a reverse action to cool the water so the pipes cool down. It is fairly quiet, I can hear it click on and click off. It was installed by a professional via Washington Energy Services. It is big enough for 3 showers, a dishwasher and laundry to run all at one time, which hasn't happened here all at one time yet, but I have no worries. I recently had company of 5, and we all took showers back-to-back and never had a problem. So, I hope this helps out anyone out there who is looking into this kind of product.

Answered 3 years ago by numbersevenofnine

0
Votes

Thats REALLY helpful...thanks for sharing the user experience and putting it in perspective for me (i.e. 5 people taking back to back showers)

Answered 3 years ago by TommyBoy

1
Vote

I have a Bosch aquastar 250sx installed in my unfinished out basement, I've had it about 4 yrs. I purchased it on-line for about 600.00 and the plumber charged 300.00 to install it. My gas bill dropped about 30%. I replaced 3 water heaters with it. I live in a 100 yr. old 4800 sq. ft. house and it does a great job. The only draw back is the flow rate, I think you need to start with a rate of .5 gpm but once you have hot water you can cut back to .3 gpm. I have a low flow shower head and in the summer I don't like hot showers so sometimes I don't have the hot water flowing strong enough and the water turns cold. I just purchased a t-stat for the heater so I think I'll be able to turn the temp down so I can get a better mix for a luke warm shower. Otherwise it's been great, I estimate that it will pay for itself sometime next year. Currently only 2 people live in the house and as our family grows, if needed, I'll buy a second one and gang them together. [:D]

Answered 3 years ago by trace

0
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I don't have a on demand water heater now, but I lived six years in Germany and had them the whole time while living there. I think their great. Never ending hot water and they are much cheaper on gas. The setup I usually had was a main Bosch gas unit that heated water for the bath and wash machine, and a smaller electric point of use water heater at the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The fact that they last up to 30 years is another big bonus.

Answered 3 years ago by Alakar

1
Vote

We had a Bosch tankless water heater installed two years ago and recently had it removed due to a couple of issues. The first issue was the amount of time it took to get hot water, which is really a function of how far away the faucet/shower is from the tankless water heater. Since the water is not hot when the faucet/shower is turned on, it takes some time to heat the water and some additional time for the hot water to replace the cold water in the line. The second issue was the large water temperature fluctuation, particularly in the shower, which we found most disturbing. Considering just these two issues, the faucets/shower closest to the tankless heater seemed to provide hot water comparable to a regular water heater, but the large water temperature fluctuations were present regardless of the distance from the tankless heater. Based on our experience, there are several things that a potential buyer needs to consider:

    Cost - the cost of an all-house unit is $900-$1400 and that does not include installation, which runs $1000-$1200 (our cost for the unit and installation was $2140). In addition, there is a yearly inspection that is required by a licensed plumber/installer in order to maintain your warranty (our cost was $75 per inspection). Note that the cost for the water heater that replaced the tankless water heater was $629 installed.Warranty - although a tankless water heater may last for 30 years, we could not find a manufacturer with a warranty of more than 12 years.Payback - it really depends on how much natural gas you use in a year and how much of that natural gas is used to heat water, but it is highly unlikely that you will ever say a payback on a tankless water heater. For our household, our natural gas bill runs about $400 on a yearly basis and I assumed 25% was to heat water (most experts’ say 20%). I further assumed that the tankless water heater will reduce my cost to heat water by 50% (most experts’ say 25%). Taking the difference between cost/installation of two water heaters ($1511) and dividing by the yearly savings to heat water, it would over 30 years to recover the difference,and that doesn't include the $75 annual inspection fee. Environmental - the environmental issue also needs to be considered as well. At one point early in this experience, my wife and I looked at the tankless water heater situation and agreed that it wasn't important if we ever saw a payback, we were doing something positive for the environment. It wasn't until we realized that our water bill had increased by almost 20% did we understand that we were saving natural gas at the cost of using extra water. As a result, my wife began heating water on the stove so that we would not waste water in an attempt to save natural gas. In our area, water is a more precious resource that natural gas, but that may not be the case for everyone.Options - before we gave up on the tankless water heater, we wanted to know what all of our options were, so we brought in a consultant. He informed us that the time to obtain hot water could be solved be adding hot water pump at each location where there was a delay issue. The cost of each hot water pump was $220 plus $50 for installation. We had three faucets that would require these pumps, so that would cost us $810. The large temperature variation could also be solved by installing pressure balance valves in our two showers. Since this would require that the walls be cut open in order to replace the existing valves, the cost would be $600 for each pressure valve system and $4000 for installation/wall repair. That meant an additional $5200 for a grand total $6010 to solve our issues with the tankless water heater. In the end we could not justify spending $8510 in order to save our natural gas consumption by 12.5% ... it just didn't make sense.Benefits - there are some definite benefits in having a tankless water heater. They look very sleek and take up less room that a regular water heater. You will not run out of hot water, unless the electricity fails (you do need electricity for a tankless to work). They are not as prone to damage in the event of an earthquake.

It is not my intent to dissuade anyone from purchasing a tankless water heater, but rather to provide some insight into issues that one might want to consider before making a purchase. Had these issues been presented to me prior to my purchase, I might have been able to make a more informed decision, but in all honesty I would have probably purchased the tankless water heater anyway, just because it was the "in" thing to do.

Answered 3 years ago by GMac

0
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That is basically contrary to everything that I have ever heard about these units. It is good to see some different information out there about these things and is cause for more research prior to purchase. Thanks for the heads up.

Answered 3 years ago by Windows on Washington

1
Vote

Tankless water heaters are a really neat idea, but I have yet to meet a customer who is completely happy with theirs after a year or so. Tankless heaters are high-maintenance and have a lot of disadvantages and quirks that you won't find in a standard water heater. If you aren't relatively handy with plumbing, you shouldn't even consider purchasing one because the maintenance required is fairly technical and can be dangerous if you are not very careful.

If you are considering one, also consider installing a quality water conditioning system to treat the water entering the heater. This will substantially reduce the maintenance required and increase the useful life of the heater.

Answered 3 years ago by VA Plumber

0
Votes

[quote user="VA Plumber"]

Tankless water heaters are a really neat idea, but I have yet to meet a customer who is completely happy with theirs after a year or so. Tankless heaters are high-maintenance and have a lot of disadvantages and quirks that you won't find in a standard water heater. If you aren't relatively handy with plumbing, you shouldn't even consider purchasing one because the maintenance required is fairly technical and can be dangerous if you are not very careful.

If you are considering one, also consider installing a quality water conditioning system to treat the water entering the heater. This will substantially reduce the maintenance required and increase the useful life of the heater.

[/quote]

I consider myself pretty handy with plumbing but I think I will opt not to given the recent developments and the fact that the current unit is working well right now.

Answered 3 years ago by Windows on Washington

0
Votes

Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful assessment of tankless water heaters. We just bought a house and our plumber offered us an excellent deal on a Noritz tankless water heater. Since we needed the closet space and since the old water heater was on the 2nd floor and presented a possible earthquake hazard, we decided to go with the tankless (it does look awfully sleek, attached to the side of the house). We will be moving in on November 1st, and I'm already anticipating a bruising water bill. Had I read this thread earlier we might have taken a more critical approach to the decision.

Answered 3 years ago by palanquin

0
Votes

Just a follow up to my post about tankless water heaters. There are pros and cons, but on balance, I feel it was a good decision. On the positive side, we have limitless hot water, more interior closet space and the elimination of an inside water disaster. Also, if you have a water heater on the outside of the house, the profile of the unit is quite small.

The negatives: in our upstairs bathroom it takes about 45 seconds for the water to reach maximum temperature. I measured this in winter, when the pipes are coldest. It may be shorter in summer. I would say that if you don't mind washing your hands with cold water, and if you don't wait for the water to get hot before soaping up dishes (we don't have a dishwasher), then you haven't been too wasteful. We haven't noticed a major change in our water bill, but then our bill is rather high because we have a large lawn. We don't have kids, we don't do massive amounts of laundry or take 20 minute showers, so indeed the greatest water footprint is due to the yard (and I'm working on changing that). My feeling is that for smaller structures with fewer occupants, the tankless is a good idea.

I haven't had any problems with the unit. I've cleaned the filter, which was easy to do.


Answered 3 years ago by palanquin

1
Vote

I stopped offering the ability to install tankless units thanks to Angie's List members wasting my time over the phone trying to hustle me down on "best price" to install them, along with wanting a "free estimate" to see what it would take to install one. Realistically speaking the majority don't go with installing one because they don't agree with the front end costs. Then, when I explain that there's required annual maintenance to keep the compartment delimed/descaled....they freak out that now they have to babysit their plumbing. That's per mfg's specs to keep that unit clean or you lose all efficiency that's touted at the sales pitch to get you to buy.

When these units break, you're ability to regain an operable unit takes days, not hours. Why? Because you can't find these parts for these units at your hardware store, your big box store, even your local plumbing supply house. They'll have complete units but they won't stock repair parts like flow switches or the expensive control panel. They got you once, right at the beginning, now it's the mouse and cheese equation to find those parts in a timely manner, then find someone willing to even work on one.

The one fellow that decided to take his out, he didn't even get the born luxury of when these units malfunction. Of course you'll hear from the lone voice, "Yeah I've had mine for 12 years with no problems whatsoever, just a ignitor or clogged flow switch, they're grrrrrrrreaaaat!" just like Tony the Tiger always said. That's not the reality people. If you are in a warm climate region, they work. They work because they don't have to overcome that huge temperature rise from incoming cold to ready to use hot. In Phoenix you could sell these units like hotcakes; incoming cold is already warm, less than a 25 degree rise the unit has to overcome.

Those who preach the gospel on the efficiency on these units goes right down the drain; they are the same people that keep stating for the record that they take endless showers, put up back to back showers and exclaim proudness that it never ends. All in that equation is a considerable larger use of water than before. The days of private water systems when you turned off the water to suds up, then turn the water on to wash off are long gone....turn on your rain shower heads and 5 jetters to dump 10-15 gallons per minute because you can.

But in the end, I stopped the curious shopper by indicating on my details as a service provider on Angie's List that I will not do tankless heaters. Price shop/information gather on someone elses time because I've stopped the constant draw of wasteful time that will not be afforded to those who keep this fanatical idea going that you'll whittle the price of labor down, not the cost of the materials.

To those who have good luck with their tankless units; make sure you post when your unit breaks down, how long it takes to get hot water back and for the record, let us know how much mechanical intellect you posess; the majority don't know if they have a electric or gas water heater in their basement and the mouthpieces of tankless are usually the ones that attempt to fix/repair their own. Always remember that husbands literally screw the family by inconvenience with their spectacular ideas of efficiency and new ideas because when they aren't there to fix it, that leaves the wife and kids at the mercy to call 1-800 numbers and every plumber in the book till somebody offers a glimmer of hope, to which that might be a starving plumber that'll keep replacing parts till it runs right.

All the tankless calls I've received on a repair aspect? They've kept going down a huge list trying to find someone that can work on their $899 hang on the wall, wow is that 3' square of real estate in my closet that important? kinda attitude. It's a joke.

Answered 3 years ago by RK44

0
Votes

We bought a Bosch tankless about two years ago at Lowes. The technology isn't new to Europe, but is new to the US. We are quite pleased with our unit. The only problems we encountered is that the water coming in from the street is sometimes a bit too warm and cuts down on the efficiency of the unit. It's not a unit problem rather a water supply temperature problem. Would I by a tankless again. YOU BET.


Wildwilly

Answered 3 years ago by wildwilly

0
Votes

Thanks for the website, I have been considering a tankless water heater--however when I asked about them at home depot, I was told they wouldn't supply me with enough water. The home depot employee said you can't wash clothes, use the diswasher and shower at the same time. (I'm really not sure that would be a problem for me) but the website you listed was very helpful. thanks.

Answered 3 years ago by bren

0
Votes

We purchased a Takagi TK-2 tankless unit about 8 years ago to replace a conventional water heater that was blocking the location for a new doorway from our kitchen to the back yard. The initial motivation was purely space planning. We did not have another place to put a tank heater and the Takagi fits on the outside wall (we built a small vented cabinet for it, with a sloped roof, it looks nice)

We are in Los Angeles, a warm weather area, which makes a difference. We set the water temp the unit is producing at 117 which is comfortable but just a little hot for hand washing, on hot only. For showers we typically need just a little cold to get a nice hot shower.

When the rise is not too large ("rise" meaning the difference you're asking the hot water heater to increase the supply water temp versus the exit water temp) this unit can generate 5.9 gallons per minute. It cost about $1,000 not including installation. Installation was part of a whole kitchen, major remodel, it was not trivial (running a 3/4 gas line, plus cold water supply, hot water exit, an electrical circuit, a pressure valve) but no part of the install requires genius or skills other than the generic (can you cut copper and black pipe to length; can you sweat copper and make water tight connections; can you make gas-tight connection with black pipe; can you wire a simple 20A outlet; etc. etc. etc.)

Our house is small (1200 sf) and pipe runs are short but there's still a delay from turning on hot water tap to getting hot water at a faucet or shower. It's not annoyingly long. For larger houses with longer pipe runs, maybe it's a bigger issue. For us, it's not.

We can do two showers at once, or a shower and the dishwasher, or washing machine, without a problem. The person in the shower will notice a change in temp and water pressure if/when another faucet it turned on (either hot, or cold) or off elsewhere in the house. We have low flow shower heads. It's a very modest annoyance at worst and more than fully compensated for by the certainty you will never run out of hot water. The temp does not surge to scalding hot or bitter cold it just rises or falls 5 or 10 degrees. If the change is occurring because someone else is taking a shower, you turn the cold water down to restore the shower temp you like, but with lower pressure. It's a fair trade.

We now have two small children and it has been a continuing comfort knowing there is no way either one was ever at risk of getting scalded from turning on hot water tap all the way and climbing into a bath or shower filling up with 130 - 140 degree water. Although not part of our original purchase decision, this was and is a very big deal for households with young kids or others (seniors, developmentally disabled) who might make a dangerous mistake with hot water.

We have had no problems whatsoever with our Takagi. We had not done any maintenance on the unit and don't recall any obligation, to maintain the warranty, for doing annual maintenance. For the past 8 years, as we went from two, to three, to family of four, it just runs. Our only regret is having bought before newer units came out with a water flow igniter that does not require electrical power to fire the burners. Ours needs electricty to work so if the power's out, we have no hot water.

It has been nothing short of brilliant, for us. I don't think the rationale for going tankless is supported by cost savings. It's a size / safety / unlimited supply thing, at least in my opinion.

Caveats: Takagi TK-2 was one of the more expensive units out there when we bought it; also we are in a warm weather area and have a small house with very short, direct runs for plumbing. I don't have a sense of how much our gas bill declined or water went up. I concur, newer tank heaters are much more efficient that their predecessors and tankless heaters like ours have delay from turning on the hot water to getting hot water at faucet or shower. I should have a bucket in the shower to catch cold water and save it, like one of the other responders described.

YMMV but again, tankless, for me, FABULOUS.


Answered 3 years ago by msanjola

0
Votes

Yipes! I've read this whole thread and see nothing about total electric. What is the cost of the tankless water heater when used in a total electric home? Actual experience preferred to conjecture. I can read all the literature online or such, but to hear from someone who actually uses them is vastly superior. And is it worth it? How long a period for payback? You spend $2,000 versus let's say $500 (for tank). And with annual maintenance, etc. Sounds like it will take forever to break even.

Answered 3 years ago by PennsyNut

0
Votes

TommyBoy - my brother-in-law just installed one of these units and so far he is happy with the performance. I know there is a lot of information on this thread but one thing I haven't seen that you may need to consider is your gas supply. My BIL needed to have a new gas meter put in and also ran larger black pipe to accomodate the longer run. The unit you are considering should tell you how to figure out the overall gas supply needed and the switch out was relatively easy (simple call to the local utility).

Good luck!

Answered 3 years ago by mjc1234

0
Votes

Hi Everyone,

I Sale Tankless Water Heaters. With that said let me say, I'm not here to sale anyone anyone on Tankless. I'm here to gain feedback of problems people face so I can better train my team on how to sale them. As you may have already read. A Tankless isn't for everyone. I'm going to answer some of the common questions people tend to ask and and address a few peoples feed back about the units... If you have questions don't hesitate to ask! I'm not a technician. I was trained on the units and can get most questions answered.

Question #1
How Much Money Will I Save? This is VERY VERY hard to answer. A few things come into play.

    How much does gas or power cost?Where do you live (hot climate or cold)?How big is your house?Do you take long showers?Do you wait for the water to run out before getting out of the shower?How far the distance between water heater and fixture that will use the water heater.A few others I can't think of at this time.

The US Average is about 15-30% in savings. This is strongly based upon you keeping your normal water usage habbits.
Example: A person brought the unit from us and called upset that their water bill went up. After trouble shooting with tech. Come to find out they were taking longer showers. They had been taking a shower until the tank ran out of hot water.

Question #2
Which unit is right for me?
This question is very easy to answer yet a few people get it wrong. The unit works by heating water as it passes though the unit. If your water is cold, it shows the water down in order to heat it to the temperature you have set. A lot of people try to insure they can run All water fixtures at the same time. The truth is we don't. Most people run shower (or two) or dishwasher (also check to see if the dishwasher heats its own water!) or washing machine. It's not often you will take a shower(s) and do a load of laundry while doing the dishing.

Example: (Real Experience) A lady was sold (*sigh*) a Electric water heater. The units out put max is about 2.6 Gallons per minute. She brought it in June. Loved it! Even sent us a email about how much she liked it.... However... November came... She can't take a hot bath. Reasons:
Her in-ground water temp went from 60*F to 40*F. Because the unit needed to slow the water down.. It was giving her about 1gpm...

When you are picking a unit out. You should mostly consider the things that are major to you. Most people only worry about a shower. Lets face it, if it takes 10 or 30 minutes to do a wash you don't really care, when you do care, most likely you've forgot to wash something. Remember if your going to add on to the house or sale the house, it might be wise to upgrade to the next size water heater.

Question #3 (no one ever ask... but should)
Is a Tankless right for me?
I have yet to have anyone ask me this question. Yet it is a question to be answered. This isn't the perfect answer but can give you a general idea of what to think about or who could install a unit. Many of the units are in Europe and work really really well. The reason being they don't have long distance to go for water and they have a water heater everywhere water is used. (so I'm told/read).

Yes: Building a new home, a Tankless can work well for you. You are able to lay out the the plumbing plans somewhat so you have the best travel of water. Also you are able to get the size pipe (Gas/Water) wanted by the water heater manufacturer. I bold the gas because it Is a MAJOR factor for the water heater.

Maybe: Home that has shower(s) far from Tanless unit. The reason for a maybe is because you will have a long wait time dependent upon where the water heater is. If you have the water heater in the garage and your bedroom shower is on the side of the house. This is still a problem with a Tank Type water heater. It could be cheaper to put in two tankless water heaters than to put in two tankless.

Maybe: Teenagers... They tend to take longer showers. If you have a Tankless unit.... It won't run out of hot water. Which means.. They don't have to get out of the shower; running up your water bill.

Yes: People who travel. Pretty easy.. your not home for 3 months... It's not working for 3 months...

NO/but...: People who use baseboard heating &/or have a re-circling system. This is a trick question. Most companies will tell you no. This is right yet.. you can do a trick to get it to work. The water heater itself can not have preheated water go though it. Most of the units will simply not turn on.

Maybe: Outdoor This is really really dependent upon the Where you live. A lot of the units Claim to work well in cold climates. Which is right. They do work. However like most things cold air, rain, and everything else outside can cause the unit to break down. We haven't had any bad experiences. I don't expect us to have any. The real question is, how long will the unit last.

I can't think of anything else at the moment. If you have any others post away!

Answers to some of the questions or comments i've seen...

[quote user="GMac"]

    Cost - the cost of an all-house unit is $900-$1400 and that does not include installation, which runs $1000-$1200 (our cost for the unit and installation was $2140). In addition, there is a yearly inspection that is required by a licensed plumber/installer in order to maintain your warranty (our cost was $75 per inspection). Note that the cost for the water heater that replaced the tankless water heater was $629 installed.Warranty - although a tankless water heater may last for 30 years, we could not find a manufacturer with a warranty of more than 12 years.Payback - it really depends on how much natural gas you use in a year and how much of that natural gas is used to heat water, but it is highly unlikely that you will ever say a payback on a tankless water heater. For our household, our natural gas bill runs about $400 on a yearly basis and I assumed 25% was to heat water (most experts’ say 20%). I further assumed that the tankless water heater will reduce my cost to heat water by 50% (most experts’ say 25%). Taking the difference between cost/installation of two water heaters ($1511) and dividing by the yearly savings to heat water, it would over 30 years to recover the difference,and that doesn't include the $75 annual inspection fee. [/quote]

The Cost of these units range. I've seen $350.00 to $1,100. (this is for the brands we sale however). Installation is tricky. I've seen as low as $150 bucks.. And as GMac said... upward $1000. It various on a few things.

    What city you live in?
      Are you in New York, New York?
      Mt. Vernon IL?
    How many changes do you need to make to install the unit?
      Do you already have the right gas line size?
      Do you need a lot of vent pipe?
    Who are you seeking to install the unit?
      From selling these units.. I've seen the companies that are "Trained Installers" (trained by the manufacture) tend to charge more. While the plumber down the street charges less.
        If you do hire the guy down the street. Download & Print the manual! Have him read it insure he/she is clear on how to install the unit.

Warranty - Yes, they are rated to last 12+ years, however, how many other items do you own that will last much longer than the warranty is for? Your Car being a really big one, TVs.

Payback - This is very very dependent upon your house situation. I believe answered this one up above. However I haven't heard of the requirement to have someone look at the unit to keep the warranty. I'm looking into this with the two brands we sell.

[quote user="RK44"] When these units break, you're ability to regain an operable unit takes days, not hours. Why? Because you can't find these parts for these units at your hardware store, your big box store, even your local plumbing supply house. They'll have complete units but they won't stock repair parts like flow switches or the expensive control panel. They got you once, right at the beginning, now it's the mouse and cheese equation to find those parts in a timely manner, then find someone willing to even work on one. [/quote]

Great points made. However.. out of the year that we have been selling units. I've only seen one instance were we couldn't get a part. I do want to add in we aren't tech. It maybe that no one has called us about parts being on back order. We do not however get a lot of people calling us looking for parts. Believe me, I do hear about the units if something is wrong. We have found that a lot of plumbers aren't installing them correctly. It is a Tankless Unit NOT a Tank unit. The tricks used on tanks don't work... Such as Turning up the heat on the tank, so when you take a shower you mix more cold to even it out. This would allow your tank to last longer. We receive get Lots of calls with people saying I take showers at 130*F.... We can only reply with.. that will burn you really really bad.. I can't stress it enough do your homework. Insure the installer reads and understands how to install the unit.

I'm not going to say a Tankless unit is for everyone. But don't count it out...
If you have any questions ask away!

Answered 3 years ago by BrianW

0
Votes

Hi Palanquin,

I live in the SF Valley also, and you are the first person I've found who has a tankless water heater. Now that you've had it for a while, may I ask what you think of it? I keep reading reviews from people who have them in their finished basements and such and we just don't live that way in LA. Can you tell me, do you have enough hot water? Does it take a long time for hot water to get to the other end of your house? Does the water get hot enough and is it easy to adjust the temperature?

Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!


Answered 3 years ago by Mrs Peel

0
Votes

SIGH! Once again I"m responding to a non A-L members questioin [:@][8-|]

Prior to Katrina devistation, I worked for a gooberment emergency mitigation response agency. When we were reloated to a "trailer", our work space had no hot water source & OSHA regulations mandated the restroom provide hot water... a small "bposter"unit was installed. above the wash basin.

WHen my "kids" purchased mulitlevel homes in northren latitudes (one a new expensive upscale home & the other a 70s fixer on acreage) - neither added a hot water booster. Occasionaly I duck when the shower spray is cooler than I'd like [:P], but before having a "booster" installed, I'd do a lot of independent research * analyze cost effectiveness claims specific to my life and accommodate my guests.... who wouldn't?

Answered 3 years ago by tessa89




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