May need new water heater

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May need new water heater

Postby dm200 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:43 pm

Our gas water heater is getting old, and it would not surprise me if we need to replace it soon. There are just two of us in the house now, and our needs for hot water are moderate. This is a 40 gallon gas model. Are there "new and improved" features in water heaters to consider or avoid? My wife said something about the newer models have some sort of small "reserve tank" that is supposed to be, somehow, better.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Toons » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:49 pm

Look closely at Tankless and Hybrid Water Heaters in link below :happy

http://www.lowes.com/Heating-Cooling/Wa ... 1z11ong/pl
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby John Z » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:08 pm

I would shop around and replace it now before it fails. My neighbor found 4" of water in her basement when she returned home from work one evening; not a pleasant surprise. I replaced mine after 10 years. You might be able to find out when the tank was mfg by checking the label.
Also, tankless is good in theory, but more expensive and not many people are trained to repair; parts have to be ordered, not usually in stock. With "endless hot water", showers can stretch longer using more hot water. I read these tips/info a few days ago on this forum. Someone provided a link to a site about saving energy and I was amazed at the reasons not to go tankless.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby jsl11 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:29 pm

You may be able to extend the life of the water heater by replacing the anode.

Jeff
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby livesoft » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:33 pm

We have replaced water heaters in the last 5 years. Technology is pretty much the same, so don't let anyone fool you. We have natural gas water heaters, easy to replace about $600 installed from Home Depot. You get charged extra for the number of flights of stairs. Our heaters are in the attic above the 2nd story.

Tankless might be an option, but they were not a good value for us because they cost more initially and cost more to use.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby reggiesimpson » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:18 pm

Unless you are selling the house next month i would look to replace/repair it.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby investomajic » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:35 pm

I just replaced mine. Technology hasn't improved much. Another poster mentioned an install ran them about $600. My tank + install was about $900 with a basic 40 gal. 34,000 BTU tank. My previous tank was 20 years old. Install costs will vary greatly depending on how much work needs to be done to install to current code.

The only thing I have to offer here is if you have any doubt, replace the tank. Old tanks leak and can also tear apart. I didn't think too much about water heaters until a good friend of mine had to replace 1 foot of drywall from the floor around his entire house (plus all new carpet) after his water tank burst open at the seam.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby glock19 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:59 pm

jsl11 wrote:You may be able to extend the life of the water heater by replacing the anode.

Jeff


Periodic replacing a sacrificial annode will definitely increase the lifespan of a water heater, but if the OP has not done it until this point chances are the tank is rusted. Depending on the quality and chemical composition of the water, about 10 years is the average life of a water heater. Only two ways to do it: replace before it starts leaking or wait until after it starts leaking. If it's in a place that leaking will not damage anything might as well get every day out of it you can. Unless you are going to install yourself, you might have to wait a day or two until plumber gets around to it.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby RustyShackleford » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:37 pm

John Z wrote:Also, tankless is good in theory, but more expensive and not many people are trained to repair; parts have to be ordered, not usually in stock. With "endless hot water", showers can stretch longer using more hot water. I read these tips/info a few days ago on this forum. Someone provided a link to a site about saving energy and I was amazed at the reasons not to go tankless.

Yep. One of the bigger "green" scams ever. (I do believe in green energy).

I just installed a 50 gallon Bradford-White conventional electric unit. It cost about $250 and I paid a guy about the same to install it, plus about $100 in random parts (including a subpanel we installed, in case I want to add a second water heater). Caveats are that I helped him and he is not a pro (smarter than most I'm sure, maintains cryogenic systems for labs and such), just likes to make some extra cash.

It has an efficiency factor of 0.95. That's right, the most a tankless could save me is 5%. Meanwhile, the hot water lost in pipes (after you turn the faucet off) is typically (so I read) 15-20%.

I also transitioned away from LP gas. Turns out it's more expensive than electricity here, at the normal rate of about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. But I signed up for a time-of-day plan, and I pay about 5 cents for most of my kwh's (and about 30 cents for 5% of them). It turns out that electric tank-style water heaters are considered pretty green, because en masse they can be a gigantic energy "battery", when folks on peak-rate plans "charge" the thing full of hot-water during non-peak times.

I considered some of the higher tech units like heat-pump style, but many of the objections to tankless also apply. Meanwhile, one can take the dollars saved by avoiding the multi-thousand dollar "high tech" models and put them towards photovoltaic solar !
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby four7s » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:01 am

Bite the bullet and get an extended warranty. Our WH just went bad and flooded the garage. We called the plumbing company that sold it and they had it replaced in a couple of hours with no charges to us.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby FrugalInvestor » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:18 am

We also recently changed from an LP gas water heater to an electric and the calculated payback period was about 2.5 years. Our electricity is relatively inexpensive.

Using a calculator like this one can help you decide on the most cost effective fuel type as well as the payback period for more energy efficient models.

http://benhollis.net/experiments/water-heaters/
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby lindisfarne » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:26 am

RustyShackleford wrote:
John Z wrote:Also, tankless is good in theory, but more expensive and not many people are trained to repair; parts have to be ordered, not usually in stock. With "endless hot water", showers can stretch longer using more hot water. I read these tips/info a few days ago on this forum. Someone provided a link to a site about saving energy and I was amazed at the reasons not to go tankless.

Yep. One of the bigger "green" scams ever. (I do believe in green energy).



There are different "tankless" options. There are newer ones which are quite good. I saw an episode of TOH where they installed one of the "good" ones & it was much smaller than a conventional hot water heater - you'll have room for something else. I'll be getting one when mine needs replacing, unless something better comes along in the meantime.

First there needs to be a definition of terms. There are heating boilers that have an internal or external heating coil, called a tankless, for making hot water. I am not a very big fan of these systems, which require you to leave your heating boiler up to full temperature for the whole year. A newer tankless water heater is a wall-mounted unit that only comes on to heat the water when a faucet opens looking for hot water. Because you are heating water as you need it, it is "tankless," also called instantaneous. They work beautifully and are made of stainless steel, so they last. The up side is that you could shower for 24 hours straight. The down side is that it makes a limited amount of water per minute, so two major uses of hot water cannot happen at the same time. They are perfect in smaller use applications, such as vacation homes, campers, or boats. They are very popular in Asia and parts of Europe.

The amount of water we can get out of these units depends on temperature rise, or how cold the water coming into the house is versus how hot you want the water to be at your faucet. The greater the temperature rise, the lower the flow rate. Maximum flow rate on most units is 2.5 gallons per minute. That's more than enough in real life, but less than Americans are used to. You can get water hot enough for dishwashers.

They are available in gas or electric, but I would only recommend gas at this point. The electric would need at least 14 to 15 KW (a lot of power), and the electric elements can scale in hard water.

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/asktoh/ ... 64,00.html

See also http://www.tanklesswaters.com/ed_doestudy.asp
http://www.moneypit.com/content/how-cho ... ter-heater

I believe there are still federal credits for solar water heater systems, & your state may have some as well.
Find information on federal and state tax credits and rebates for renewable-energy and energy-efficiency options (http://www.dsireusa.org).
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby LifeIsGood » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:17 am

RustyShackleford wrote:I just installed a 50 gallon Bradford-White conventional electric unit. It cost about $250 and I paid a guy about the same to install it, plus about $100 in random parts (including a subpanel we installed, in case I want to add a second water heater).

Where did you find a 50 gallon Bradford-White for $250? Everywhere I checked, they were in the $500 range.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Keep It Simple » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:26 am

Some of the posts here surprise me. In general, I always have found gas powered tanks to be cheaper in the long run. Obviously certain areas in the U. S. may have lower electric costs over gas, but I don't think that is the norm.

I also think going tankless has many advantages over a 40 or 50 gallon tank that must continually keep the water hot and runs out with moderate usage.

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Re: May need new water heater

Postby livesoft » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:52 am

I think natural gas may be getting cheaper. A look at our gas bills show 30% lower bill in January 2013 as opposed to January 2012. Home is heated by gas, water heaters are gas, and the dryer is gas. For 7 months out of the year, the natural gas bill averages $20 a month. For past 12 months, gas bills totaled $437; electric was $1100 for the 12 months.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby magellan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:57 am

Keep It Simple wrote:Some of the posts here surprise me. In general, I always have found gas powered tanks to be cheaper in the long run. Obviously certain areas in the U. S. may have lower electric costs over gas, but I don't think that is the norm.

I think people are talking about swapping out tanks fueled with propane, not natural gas. Propane is much more expensive than natural gas.

Also, as you pointed out, folks should be aware that electricity prices are wildly variable in the US. In some regions, each additional kWh of electricity may cost under 10 cents, while in others it might cost over 20 cents. There are places where people could pay over 40 cents per marginal kWh consumed, under heavily tiered pricing schemes.

As others have pointed out, time-of-use metering and special water heater meters can help with this, but for many, electricity is the costliest way to heat water.

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Re: May need new water heater

Postby rocket » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:50 am

The professional plumbing stores sell water heaters that have features added the extend the life of a water heater. I recall they cost slightly more but it is money very well spend. Lowes & Home Depot tend to sell the lower quality water heaters.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby FrugalInvestor » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:05 pm

magellan wrote:
Also, as you pointed out, folks should be aware that electricity prices are wildly variable in the US. In some regions, each additional kWh of electricity may cost under 10 cents, while in others it might cost over 20 cents. There are places where people could pay over 40 cents per marginal kWh consumed, under heavily tiered pricing schemes.




Our electricity is about 7 cents/kwh inclusive of all taxes and no tiered pricing. The lesson here should be not to assume that one fuel is more cost effective until you've done your homework.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby ThatGuy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:32 pm

RustyShackleford wrote:Yep. One of the bigger "green" scams ever. (I do believe in green energy).

...

It has an efficiency factor of 0.95. That's right, the most a tankless could save me is 5%. Meanwhile, the hot water lost in pipes (after you turn the faucet off) is typically (so I read) 15-20%.


A tankless heater generally is of the instantaneous variety, as explained above. The energy savings is not in the water in the pipes, but because you're not heating up 40+ gallons of water 24/7 when you only need it for a few minutes a day for showers and possibly cooking. Combine this with a passive solar water heating solution, and it's about the best bang for your buck you can get in residential green energy. The effects are more pronounced if you have a small family, versus many kids + parents all taking showers in the morning.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby RustyShackleford » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:15 pm

If your water heater is in the crawlspace, the issue of "having room for something else" is moot; if your water heater has gotta be in the living space, then the compact size of a tankless is a plus.

Where did you find a 50 gallon Bradford-White for $250? Everywhere I checked, they were in the $500 range.

This was a local plumbing supply place, that only sells to contractors; my guy has a "relationship" with them. It's conceivable they mis-priced it, because $500 is also what I was seeing, including online. Or maybe that's the price they sell it to real contractors for, who then mark it up to $500 for the customer, and even the online prices aren't backing that out for you. I dunno.

Yes, propane is WAY more expensive that natural gas, and the recent boom in domestic NG production probably helps. I did get a major break in propane price by doing some thing where they group an entire neighborhood and offer a contract price for a year; still, the electric was cheaper.

A tankless heater generally is of the instantaneous variety, as explained above. The energy savings is not in the water in the pipes, but because you're not heating up 40+ gallons of water 24/7 when you only need it for a few minutes a day ...


I wasn't clear; the 0.95 energy factor of the best ERWH (electric-resistance water heater) is taking into account that loss, that tankless avoids, through the walls of the large tank of water that is kept perpetually hot. The modern ones are very well insulated - mine has 2" of dense foam, R16 I believe. My point is that regardless of how you heat the water, when you turn the faucet off the pipes are going to be full of hot water, the energy of which is then wasted as the pipes cool before you use the faucet again. Tankless does not make that loss go away. The only solution is lessening the piping distance between water heater(s) and the faucets.

Combine this with a passive solar water heating solution ...

A lot of green-energy folks believe that solar hot water doesn't make any sense any more, as photo-voltaic becomes cheaper. Just put in photo-voltaic and use the electricity for whatever kind of water heater. PV is much simpler and more hassle-free (no liquids, no freezing hazard) and the electricity can be used all over the house. You can still use a more efficient water heater if you like; I briefly considered a heat-pump style one, but the issue of noise stopped me, and I figured the money could be better spent on PV solar.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby ThatGuy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:42 pm

Ah, you're talking about the Energy Factor, not an efficiency factor. Big difference, although not the wrong way to look at things. With regard to solar heating, any watt you don't have to use is a watt that doesn't have to be generated. At the minimal cost for a passive system payback is ridiculously quick as long as you're not in Alaska.

Particularly since you have to take into account the generation efficiency of that electricity at the plant, as well as transmission losses to your house. Consumer cost plays a big role, but it's not the entire picture as far as green energy goes.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby tyrion » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:58 pm

Another data point:

Our water heater failed a few months ago, after serving faithfully for 23 years. It's in the garage, so when it started leaking it didn't do any damage. If yours is in a location where a leak is going to get drywall wet, I think it's probably worth replacing sooner rather than later.

I talked to a good friend of a good friend who is a plumber. His take:
It's not a hard replacement job if you're reasonably handy. (Took me about an hour). He said he could do it if I got stuck, but didn't think I would need help. Lowes quoted me around $500.
Tank water heaters are just fine, and probably a better choice if you have consistent hot water needs. Tankless might be better for infrequent (vacation house).
New technology is limited, but one that self stirs might be worth it.
Water heaters are basically the same, but you pay more for a longer warranty.

I bought a replacement 40 gallon unit with size (diameter) as my main criteria. $400 or so. 6 year warranty, and I declined the extended warranty, although it was reasonably priced ($59 for 6 more years, I think).

I looked an Energy Star, but they were about double the price and the fit (diameter) was a bit off. We're in a mild climate and the heater is indoors, so I'm not too concerned about maximizing insulation.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Keep It Simple » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:06 pm

tyrion wrote:Tank water heaters are just fine, and probably a better choice if you have consistent hot water needs. Tankless might be better for infrequent (vacation house).
tyrion wrote:Another data point:


I think you meant to say that tankless would be best in both the above situations....yes? If you have consistent hot water needs, a tank heater will run out of hot water pretty fast. This is one of the major advantages to tankless.

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Re: May need new water heater

Postby livesoft » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:19 pm

tyrion wrote: If yours is in a location where a leak is going to get drywall wet, I think it's probably worth replacing sooner rather than later.

Our heaters are in installed into drain pans with the drain going outside. Not enough for catastrophic failure, but plenty for slow to moderate leak. I think such measures may be the building code standard nowadays.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby tyrion » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:19 pm

Keep It Simple wrote:
tyrion wrote:Tank water heaters are just fine, and probably a better choice if you have consistent hot water needs. Tankless might be better for infrequent (vacation house).
tyrion wrote:Another data point:


I think you meant to say that tankless would be best in both the above situations....yes? If you have consistent hot water needs, a tank heater will run out of hot water pretty fast. This is one of the major advantages to tankless.

K.I.S.


I'm sure I could have said it better...

Tank heaters are good when you have a regular, consistent need for hot water. Because it's cheaper if you regularly need hot water. But no peaks or huge short term demands. So you have a family of four who shower daily but not for super long times, tanked is great. Our 40 gallon servers our family of 4 (2 small kids) just fine, including frequent dishwasher and laundry use. Throw in a large jacuzzi tub, guest suite, and teenagers and you might have a different story.

We have a (shared) vacation house in the mountains. That would be a perfect location for a tankless heater. No reason to keep the water hot all the time, as nobody is there to use it. But on weekends you might have 8-12 people there all wanting to shower. As it is we turn the water heater all the way down when we leave and turn it up to very hot when we arrive.

The tanked water heaters have a measure of how long it takes to heat. I think it was about an hour to heat 40 gallons to medium hot.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby runner9 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:33 pm

We looked at tankless last year and thought about changing. Most quotes installed were around $2200-2500 hundred. Since our gas bill for water tank and dryer is about $23 in the summer and most of that is fixed cost regardless of use the payback would be quite a while.

Knock on wood, 22 years with the current tank style...
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby lindisfarne » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:11 am

Keep It Simple wrote:Some of the posts here surprise me. In general, I always have found gas powered tanks to be cheaper in the long run. Obviously certain areas in the U. S. may have lower electric costs over gas, but I don't think that is the norm.

I also think going tankless has many advantages over a 40 or 50 gallon tank that must continually keep the water hot and runs out with moderate usage.
K.I.S.


In addition to what others have said, it may depend on whether you feel comfortable installing an electric but not gas hot water heater (and also, whether or not you have a gas line where the water heater goes). The money you save by installing it yourself is considerable!
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Frugal Al » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:40 am

tyrion wrote:Water heaters are basically the same, but you pay more for a longer warranty.

True (we're talking about conventional tank WH), but units with a longer manufacturer's warranty often include two sacrificial anodes. Most tanks can have a second anode installed at little expense.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby RustyShackleford » Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:18 pm

ThatGuy wrote:With regard to solar heating, any watt you don't have to use is a watt that doesn't have to be generated.

Yes, but I'm saying it makes more sense to just generate that watt if you can do so with a simpler and more versatile technology: PV solar versus solar hot water. PV is simpler because there's no moving fluids, and more versatile because the electricity can power things other than your hot-water heater.

Particularly since you have to take into account the generation efficiency of that electricity at the plant, as well as transmission losses to your house. Consumer cost plays a big role, but it's not the entire picture as far as green energy goes.

Very good point; the generation efficiency tends to be very high I think, because of the economies of scale and the huge financial incentive, but the transmission losses tend to average 50% I believe.

OTOH, there is a way towards eliminating that inefficiency altogether - PV solar ! I don't see a solar propane generator on the horizon anytime soon :-)
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby MnD » Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:38 pm

Unlike tankless or other high tech gas or electric water heaters, conventional gas hot water heaters work just fine without electricity.
Our neighborhood is full of 60 year old trees and can experience major summer storms and blizzards.
In 20 years we've had the power out for several days on a few occasions and having a gas stove top to cook on, a wood stove to heat with and hot water for showers makes a huge difference.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby ThatGuy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:01 pm

RustyShackleford wrote:Yes, but I'm saying it makes more sense to just generate that watt if you can do so with a simpler and more versatile technology: PV solar versus solar hot water. PV is simpler because there's no moving fluids, and more versatile because the electricity can power things other than your hot-water heater.


Eh? How is wiring electricity to the roof and installing either batteries or an inverter simpler than a solar water heater? Not only that, PV is not as efficient as direct heating. Fluids? You don't need refrigerants, take a look at this.

I just don't get this insistence that by adding more stuff in between, it's more efficient.

RustyShackleford wrote:Very good point; the generation efficiency tends to be very high I think, because of the economies of scale and the huge financial incentive, but the transmission losses tend to average 50% I believe.


No, large scale generation from conventional fuels is not particularly efficient. Much more so than on small systems, but still not particularly efficient. It obviously depends on a lot of variables, but it's not uncommon to see efficiency in the 30's.

NY Times wrote:With greater efficiency, a power plant burns less coal and emits less carbon dioxide for each unit of electricity it generates. Experts say the least efficient plants in China today convert 27 to 36 percent of the energy in coal into electricity. The most efficient plants achieve an efficiency as high as 44 percent, meaning they can cut global warming emissions by more than a third compared with the weakest plants.

In the United States, the most efficient plants achieve around 40 percent efficiency, because they do not use the highest steam temperatures being adopted in China. The average efficiency of American coal-fired plants is still higher than the average efficiency of Chinese power plants, because China built so many inefficient plants over the past decade. But China is rapidly closing the gap by using some of the world’s most advanced designs.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby 2retire » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:05 pm

A word of caution about tankless systems. We recently had one installed.

Tankless systems need a higher gas pressure than tank systems, so the install costs will be higher. They have to run new lines or make changes to your existing lines. In our case, we chose to make changes to our existing lines. The first thing they do is pressurize the lines to twice the maximum code limits for residential gas lines. If there are any leaks, they must be repaired before the install can continue. In our case (12 year old house), there were three leaks and it took them over three hours to track them all down. They eventually had to run a new main line as we had a leak in ours. This added another $1,000 to our bill.

You need to perform yearly (or less) maintenance on tankless systems. Because the heating coils and boiling chamber are so compact, you need to descale the unit so that the performance doesn't degrade. The process involves running and acidic solution through the unit. It involves a series of multiple steps (ours is 13) where you have to open and close various values and purge the system properly. The people that installed ours charge $175 to do this. You can do it on your own, the instructions are in the manual. Oh, you also need to purchase a circulating pump and 5 gallon bucket for this procedure. They told me I could get them at Home Depot or Lowes.

It seems to me that I have to run the water longer to get hot water with the system. I believe this has to do with the fact that the first water that runs through it isn't hot. It think it takes a while for the gas to heat the coils hot enough to make the water warm. Of course, I can never ru out of hot water anymore, but that was never a problem for us with our tank system.

I don't see much change in my gas bill with the tankless, of course, gas is really cheap right now.

Personally, if I had to do it again I would get a tank system.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby wageoghe » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:42 pm

I've only seen one reference to hybrid water heaters (in Toons answer - the first answer in the thread). From a lot of reviews I have read, people seem to like them. For those that don't know, a hybrid water heater uses heat pump technology to heat the water.

Here is a link to GE's GeoSpring water heater:

http://www.geappliances.com/heat-pump-hot-water-heater/

A couple of notes:
- The "heat pump" extracts heat from the air and uses that to heat the water. There are two side effects: exhaust is dry cool air and water is generated (just like with an air conditioner).
- Due to the nature of the heat pump technology, is possible that having one of these in a conditioned space could "steal" some of your heat during the heating season. OTOH, if you have this in the garage, the garage could be slightly cooler and dryer (I don't know if it would truly be enough to notice).
- Because of the condensate, you must have a place for it to drain (floor drain, condensate pump, etc). If you have an AC air handler, washer, or HE furnace in the vicinity of your water heater, then you probably already have a mechanism in place for handling the condensate that is generated by the WH, since each of those appliances generates condensate.
- Because the heat pump extracts heat from the air, if your water heater is in a garage, the WH will be more efficient in a warm climate. If the WH is in an unconditioned basement, it could make the basement a little cooler (stealing what heat there is and trading it for cool exhaust).

It is possible to run in any of several modes from heat pump only to heating element only (and some combinations in between).

I am actually considering getting one of these the next time we need a water heater.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby BrandonBogle » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:54 pm

wageoghe wrote:I've only seen one reference to hybrid water heaters (in Toons answer - the first answer in the thread). From a lot of reviews I have read, people seem to like them. For those that don't know, a hybrid water heater uses heat pump technology to heat the water.

Here is a link to GE's GeoSpring water heater:

http://www.geappliances.com/heat-pump-hot-water-heater/

A couple of notes:
- The "heat pump" extracts heat from the air and uses that to heat the water. There are two side effects: exhaust is dry cool air and water is generated (just like with an air conditioner).
- Due to the nature of the heat pump technology, is possible that having one of these in a conditioned space could "steal" some of your heat during the heating season. OTOH, if you have this in the garage, the garage could be slightly cooler and dryer (I don't know if it would truly be enough to notice).
- Because of the condensate, you must have a place for it to drain (floor drain, condensate pump, etc). If you have an AC air handler, washer, or HE furnace in the vicinity of your water heater, then you probably already have a mechanism in place for handling the condensate that is generated by the WH, since each of those appliances generates condensate.
- Because the heat pump extracts heat from the air, if your water heater is in a garage, the WH will be more efficient in a warm climate. If the WH is in an unconditioned basement, it could make the basement a little cooler (stealing what heat there is and trading it for cool exhaust).

It is possible to run in any of several modes from heat pump only to heating element only (and some combinations in between).

I am actually considering getting one of these the next time we need a water heater.


The previous owners of my house went with a hybrid system. My basement is nice and dry at all times, removing all my moisture concerns. In addition, in the winter it's easy enough to put some space heaters there for parties, but in the summer it's a great party area. 1000 sq ft of cool empty space to gather to. Easy to get to thankfully since it's a walk-out basement.

If I had to eventually replace the water heater, I would definitely be looking into another hybrid unit!
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby RustyShackleford » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:43 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
RustyShackleford wrote:Yes, but I'm saying it makes more sense to just generate that watt if you can do so with a simpler and more versatile technology: PV solar versus solar hot water. PV is simpler because there's no moving fluids, and more versatile because the electricity can power things other than your hot-water heater.


Eh? How is wiring electricity to the roof and installing either batteries or an inverter simpler than a solar water heater? Not only that, PV is not as efficient as direct heating. Fluids? You don't need refrigerants, take a look at this.

I just don't get this insistence that by adding more stuff in between, it's more efficient.

I didn't say it's more efficient; I said it's simpler and more versatile. Water is a fluid - a fluid that regularly freezes in most North American climates. That ProgressivTube looks pretty cool - but do they address the freezing issue ?
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby NateW » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:14 am

How handy are you? It's actually not that hard to replace the water heater yourself. I replaced the gas hot water heater in my home and the replacement was a GE (yes, they make a natural gas-fueled water heater) from Home Depot for $450 with a 9 year warranty. Truck rental was $20 to get the heater home. You'll probably have to sweat solder the pipes and may have to adjust the gas line and vent pipe, if the dimensions of the new heater is different (mine was), but it's pretty straight forward.

I have read in some states (Texas being one) that by law only a licensed plumber can replace a hot water heater. It's odd, but the same state will let a car owner replace their own brakes.

--Nate
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby dm200 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:53 pm

NateW wrote:How handy are you? It's actually not that hard to replace the water heater yourself. I replaced the gas hot water heater in my home and the replacement was a GE (yes, they make a natural gas-fueled water heater) from Home Depot for $450 with a 9 year warranty. Truck rental was $20 to get the heater home. You'll probably have to sweat solder the pipes and may have to adjust the gas line and vent pipe, if the dimensions of the new heater is different (mine was), but it's pretty straight forward.

I have read in some states (Texas being one) that by law only a licensed plumber can replace a hot water heater. It's odd, but the same state will let a car owner replace their own brakes.

--Nate


NOT handy at all! I leave water and gas lines to (I hope) competent) plumbers!
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby jtundra » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:18 pm

Our water heater broke last Friday. A little before midnight, I found out there was no hot water coming out. I went down the basement to check. Our utility room was flooded. The room is unfinished, but 6 feet away, our main basement area is finished. So anyway we had it replaced this Monday for $299 labor and a new A.O.Smith ProMax 40 gallon gas for free since the old one was only 5 year old. Our plummer said our water heater would have costed $940, if it wasn't under warranty. The ProMax was from a plummer supply comany and was supposed to be the Cadilac of water heaters. $299 labor includes $100 for the weekend call and 4 hour labor on Monday.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby chrisjul » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:40 pm

I bought a hybrid and have been very happy with it. WIll pay for itself in appx 5 yrs ...also got a tax credit last yr.

One caveat....if you live in a cold climate...not recommended.

GL
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby jayars35 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:09 pm

An easy way to save on the operation of an electric water heater is put a timer on it. I installed one for a friend a few months ago. It was a simple wiring job and took less than an hour. We set it so his shuts off from 11pm to 5am.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Jack » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:40 pm

jayars35 wrote:An easy way to save on the operation of an electric water heater is put a timer on it. I installed one for a friend a few months ago. It was a simple wiring job and took less than an hour. We set it so his shuts off from 11pm to 5am.

Keep in mind that there is a slight risk of legionnaires disease from allowing your water heater temperature to go too low. Probably better to insulate your tank so that it doesn't lose heat so fast. This is particularly effective for electric heaters since you can literally cover the entire tank. It costs only about 25 bucks, probably less than a timer.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby SurfCityBill » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:23 am

runner9 wrote:We looked at tankless last year and thought about changing. Most quotes installed were around $2200-2500 hundred. Since our gas bill for water tank and dryer is about $23 in the summer and most of that is fixed cost regardless of use the payback would be quite a while.

Knock on wood, 22 years with the current tank style...


My 50 gal gas water heater is date coded 1986. Sounds like popcorn cooking when it's heating up but who cares. Installed in the garage. Any blowout and my car tires get washed.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby DonM17 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:23 am

Agree with the comment re allowing the temperature in the tank to be set too low.

We had a new natural gas water heater installed 2 weeks ago and it has an on/off switch so while it was being installed, I remarked to the plumber that the on/off switch was handy because I would be able turn it off when we went away for an extended period (like next month when we are gone for 6 weeks) and he suggested that it would not be a good idea because bacteria would be allowed to build up in the tank....he advised to turn the thermostat down a little but not to shut it off.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby soaring » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:49 am

jayars35 wrote:An easy way to save on the operation of an electric water heater is put a timer on it. I installed one for a friend a few months ago. It was a simple wiring job and took less than an hour. We set it so his shuts off from 11pm to 5am.


My last place I did the same. But since moving and now preparing to install a new water heater I read, if correct, that the Rheem / Marathon has a heat loss of only 5% over 24 hrs. If that is correct I'm not sure of the value in an on/off switch for 5-6 hrs but am curious about other comments in this regard since I'm still in the planning stages.

I plan to ensure, and you might consider reading about, elements are Titanium or Incoloy material and other than a Marathon having a Magnesium anode. Also that the upper element is best if it is a fused element to help protect against dry fire.

And I am upgrading to a full port ball drain value will ensure build up sediment gets out of the system better when flushing out a gallon periodically. Many new heaters have a method of swishing the water helping to reduce sediment build up.

I expect my new water heater, at least I hope, to last longer AND be more efficient with these upgrades and my minor attention to flushing it periodically.

How efficient water heaters operate over the yrs will be increased, IMO, with these features. Why did older water heaters last longer...they were made to last but still were not efficient as the yrs progressed. My inefficient water heater from my original home that was built in the late 50's still had the original water heater when we sold in 2003. I hate to think how inefficient it was being 50+ yrs old...But at the time I never thought about water heaters at all...they just worked.

Here are two links with loads of info.
http://www.home-water-heater.com/index.html
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/ ... eater.html
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby magellan » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:16 am

DonM17 wrote:he suggested that it would not be a good idea because bacteria would be allowed to build up in the tank....he advised to turn the thermostat down a little but not to shut it off.

This can be tricky. Generally, if the temp is below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, Legionella bacteria can grow. But tank temps aren't consistent and leaving the tank unused for 6 weeks at a temp that's even close to 120 seems risky. Apparently, electric heaters are more susceptible to Legionella bacteria growth than fossil fuel based systems (not sure why).

My approach is to turn the heater off while we're away. When we get back, I set the temp up to over 145 degrees to disinfect the tank. I keep the temp up high overnight the first night, then drop it down to 125 or so, which is what we normally keep it at.

I warn my wife about the higher than normal temp, but in a household with small children or infirm, my approach would probably be too dangerous because of the risk of scalding.

Jim

Some links about water heaters and Legionella bacteria:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094925/
http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/is ... ature.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionellosis

Temperature affects the survival of Legionella as follows:
70 to 80 °C (158 to 176 °F): Disinfection range
At 66 °C (151 °F): Legionellae die within 2 minutes
At 60 °C (140 °F): They die within 32 minutes
At 55 °C (131 °F): They die within 5 to 6 hours
Above 50 °C (122 °F): They can survive but do not multiply
35 to 46 °C (95 to 115 °F): Ideal growth range
20 to 50 °C (68 to 122 °F): Growth range
Below 20 °C (68 °F): They can survive but are dormant

The optimal temperature for Legionella proliferation in water varies between 32°C and 35°C, but it can easily proliferate at temperatures of up to 45°C. Usually, there is no growth above 55°C, and a temperature of over 60°C has a bactericidal effect. Thus, the WHO recommends that water be heated and stored at 60°C (3). However, studies in Quebec have shown, even when the thermostat is set at 60°C, a high percentage (approximately 40%) of electric water heaters remain contaminated because of the lower temperature, about 30°C to 40°C at the bottom of the tank. The probability of contamination will increase considerably if the temperature setting is lowered to 49°C. The risk of contamination is much lower for water heaters operating with fossil fuels, and is practically nonexistent for these heaters set at 60°C.
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby Carlton » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:25 pm

The tank-less "instant" hot water heaters will never recover their 2.5x higher installation/maintenance costs with fuel savings. Much more complex, and have difficulty with low flow draws. I bought a "12 year" GE (Rheem) tank-type gas heater which are much better made and insulated than the 6 or 9 year heaters.

Now that my heater is over 15 years old, I installed a "Flood Guard" sensor system that will shut off the water if any leaks are detected. With the mild city water we have on Long Island and the orthophospate corrosion inhibitors added at the well pumping stations, I expect 25+ year life on my heater.

http://www.floodmaster.com/products/water-heater-leak-alarm-shutoff.php
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Re: May need new water heater

Postby wageoghe » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:47 pm

For magellan...

You might consider adding a mixing or tempering valve to your WH. It takes the output of the WH and "tempers" it by mixing in cold water to achieve the desired temp. A common usage is to run the tank hotter than is "safe" (ie > 120). The tempering valve protects downstream users from scalding. By running the tank hotter, you can effectively increase the volume of hit water that you have available.

In your use case, you can increase your safety margin during the "disinfection" phase where you are running your WH at 145.
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