Electric Tankless Water Heaters

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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 8:07 am

Currently I have an electric 50 gallon water heater, I am considering switching over to an electric tankless water heaters. Has anyone done any research on them, are they really that more efficient and I could really care less about saving room, although my wife would fill up the extra space quickly.

I was considering a gas unit, but where I have the water heater now is right in the center of my basement and I have no idea of how I would run the gas line and more importantly the exhaust line. Plus living in the sticks where I have my own well and sand mound, I do not have city gas, I would have to get 100 pound tanks.

Thanks any information would be helpful.


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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 8:14 am

I have & Consumer Reports recommends against them as much more expensive than you are likely to recoup in energy savings & other reasons:

Water runs hot and cold
Manufacturers of tankless water heaters are fond of touting their products' ability to provide an endless amount of hot water. But inconsistent water temperatures were a common complaint among our poll respondents. When you turn on the faucet, tankless models feed in some cold water to gauge how big a temperature rise is needed. If there's cool water lingering in your pipes, you'll receive a momentary "cold-water sandwich" between the old and new hot water. And a tankless water heater's burner might not ignite when you try to get just a trickle of hot water for, say, shaving.

Nor do tankless water heaters deliver hot water instantaneously. It takes time to heat the water to the target temperature, and just like storage water heaters, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out. And tankless models' electric controls mean you'll also lose hot water during a power outage.

Up-front costs are high
The tankless water heaters we tested cost $800 to $1,150, compared with $300 to $480 for the regular storage-tank types. Tankless models need electrical outlets for their fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new ventilation system. That can bring average installation costs to $1,200, compared with $300 for storage-tank models.

Tankless units might need more care
During our long-term testing, an indicator on the tankless model warned of scale buildup. We paid $334 for special valves and a plumber to flush out the water heater with vinegar. Many industry pros recommend that tankless models be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless models. Experts suggest installing a water softener if your water hardness is above 11 grains per gallon. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty.

Efficient storage models are pricey
We also tested the $1,400 Vertex, a high-efficiency storage water heater by A.O. Smith. The manufacturer claims its installation costs are similar to a regular storage model. But its high cost offsets much of the roughly $70 per year the Vertex will save you. Instead, we recommend buying a conventional storage water heater with a 9- or 12-year warranty. In previous tests, we found that those models generally had thicker insulation, bigger burners or larger heating elements, and better corrosion-fighting metal rods called anodes.

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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 10:59 am

The only real savings that I can see is if you don`t have much demand for hot water. Prehaps live alone or for some reason are able to usually shower elsewhere. The savings come with not keeping 40 gal. or so of water at a temp. thats useable, if your tank is in a cool area an insulation blanket will help alot along with pipe wrap.

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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 12:24 pm

I thought they'd save a bunch, but now I'm reading that they're not all that great. I think you'd be better off to add a layer of insulation to the tank you have. If you want to save money, look into a gas fired one. Generally they are a bit cheaper to run than electric.

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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 1:40 pm

Three or four years ago, I had the exact same questions. I excluded the "HOT WATER ON DEMAND" units, for the reasons listed in this thread. What I did was install a Reem Marathon MR105245 electric HWH. It is garanteed for Life! Heres the link....**Broken Link(s) Removed**

We paid about $600 for it. It is a Special-Order item, right from Home Depot!

105 Gallons of hot water. NICE! I think theres 4 inches of molded insulation to make sure it remains hot. Its on a timer, so this allows us to not heat water during PEAK hours, the hotwater only gets heated at night during OFF-PEAK hours, cuz our electric Comp charges different rates. We love it! Savings was about $20 a month over our previous generic 50 gal electric HWH.

Edit: This HWH must be popular.... the price has DOUBLED since we bought it :mad2:

Edit: Heres some pics....
Last edited by 009to090 on Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Fri. Mar. 13, 2009 1:53 pm

I considered getting one a couple years ago and was strongly cautioned against it by the plumber who would have installed it. I think it was the water didn't get real hot and they didn't work great for high demand times.

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Post Sat. Mar. 14, 2009 10:40 am

I put this Paloma in and have no big problems with it. I can kick the temp up at will, lately 112 is good for a shower. I can kick it up to 120 or 140 if needed.
One drawback is there has to be a certain flow flow rate or it won't kick on. I wanted to use a 1.5 gpm shower head but it wouldn't come on with it. I had to put in a modest 2.5gpm shower head.
It's a small model and fine for me, and saved a lot of space. The stainless steel 3" exhaust pipe is also absurdly expensive.
I know I'm not using any natural gas when it's off so that's a plus.
I don't mix any cold water with the hot at 112f, it's good for doing the dishes or washing coal dust off my hands!
Picture 027.jpg

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