50 or 75 gallon water heater?

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yolli71
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50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by yolli71 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm

We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.

I was surprised at the price as I didn't expect it to be that high considering I'm not doing a tankless water heater. That being said, I'm thinking about doing a 50 gallon water heater. My concern is...will 50 gallons be enough? Things have been great with our 75 gallon water heater. We have family of 4 and my family takes relatively long showers and we run the clothes washer and dish washer all the time, and we never have an issue with no hot water. I'm afraid this could change if I go to a 50 gallon.

Any thoughts/advice?

flyingcows
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by flyingcows » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 pm

Why not a tankless water heater? We had a Rinnai tankless installed 5 years ago and it's been great, infinite hot water.

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Time2Quit
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Time2Quit » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:56 pm

Take a look at the on-demand water heaters. Never run out of hot water and the space savings is great.
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bighatnohorse
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by bighatnohorse » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:58 pm

My experience is that 50 gallons will deliver four adult showers of moderate duration.
From your description, I would recommend the 75 gallon unit.

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tennisplyr
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by tennisplyr » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:03 pm

flyingcows wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 pm
Why not a tankless water heater? We had a Rinnai tankless installed 5 years ago and it's been great, infinite hot water.
How does the upfront cost of tankless compare?
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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HueyLD
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by HueyLD » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:11 pm

Given your water usage, you should continue to have a 75 gallon tank available.

I have family members who take half an hour shower regularly and when they came visit, my 50 gallon gas powered tank had trouble keeping up sometimes.

life in slices
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by life in slices » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:15 pm

I moved to a tankless about 7 years ago and it has been great with the large family we have

The only drawback is that it has to push all of the cold water out ahead of it, so it takes a bit longer for hot water to hit the shower, etc (read about 'cold water gap')

I think it was in the $2-3K installed total, but would have to go dig out that receipt

Teague
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Teague » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm

It depends very much on the recovery rate of the water heater, arguably much more important than how much water the tank holds.

To illustrate, the "tankless" heaters have a tank volume of close to zero, but a very high recovery rate (essentially instant.) They work fine and the water doesn't ever get cold, no matter how long one runs the hot water. Maintenance may be another issue.

At the other end, with a 75 gallon tank that has a poor recovery rate, (the extreme example would be someone shut it off) the water will start getting colder right away, and get worse from there.

We use a 40 gallon tank with a good recovery rate and have water usage comparable to OP. We always have hot water.
Last edited by Teague on Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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barnaclebob
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm

life in slices wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:15 pm
The only drawback is that it has to push all of the cold water out ahead of it, so it takes a bit longer for hot water to hit the shower, etc (read about 'cold water gap')
Unless you have a hot water recirculation system installed this will be the same with all water heaters.

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yolli71
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by yolli71 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:21 pm

tennisplyr wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:03 pm
flyingcows wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 pm
Why not a tankless water heater? We had a Rinnai tankless installed 5 years ago and it's been great, infinite hot water.
How does the upfront cost of tankless compare?
The estimate we got from the same company for a Navien tankless was $4,200. I haven't really considered the tankless b/c it's expensive; I know that 75 gallon tanks meet our needs; and we don't have any space concerns.

I need to look more into recovery rates. What should I be looking for (what's considered a "good" recovery rate)? Perhaps a 50 gallon with a good recovery rate would do the trick?

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hand
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by hand » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:44 pm

Teague wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm
It depends very much on the recovery rate of the water heater, arguably much more important than how much water the tank holds.

To illustrate, the "tankless" heaters have a tank volume of close to zero, but a very high recovery rate (essentially instant.) They work fine and the water doesn't ever get cold, no matter how long one runs the hot water. Maintenance may be another issue.

At the other end, with a 75 gallon tank that has a poor recovery rate, (the extreme example would be someone shut it off) the water will start getting colder right away, and get worse from there.

We use a 40 gallon tank with a good recovery rate and have water usage comparable to OP. We always have hot water.
I'd second the reccomendation to consider high recovery water heaters.
Also consider whether you can install more efficient shower heads which will reduce your hot water usage.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:46 pm

75 gallon . . . or larger :D

Texanbybirth
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:03 pm

If 75 gallons has worked for you and you have no immediate plans for a change in the number people living in your house, why not just stay with the status quo? It's obvious you don't want tankless. I can't imagine you'll regret the $600 as much as you'll regret an inadequate 50 gallon tank.
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MRMN
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by MRMN » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:13 pm

Get a 50 gallon, and never change your washer away from cold water cycles.

mortfree
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by mortfree » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:33 pm

$600 difference?

No brainer to go with the 75 gallon.

If you are thinking tankless, do you have hard water and/or a water softener already?

livesoft
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:40 pm

Why not two 40-gal water heaters? :) Or two 30-gal water heaters? In our area, an installed water heater was about $600 the last 2 times I had ours replaced. I had to pay extra because the installers had to carry them up 2 flights of stairs and bring the old one's down.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DoubleR
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by DoubleR » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:41 pm

We went with a tankless and wish I had earlier. If I remember right mine was $2k installed.
Install isn't hard though it uses a different regulator than other gas appliances so it will need it's own individual line or tie in upstream of the other appliances.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by jumppilot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:53 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:40 pm
Why not two 40-gal water heaters? :) Or two 30-gal water heaters? In our area, an installed water heater was about $600 the last 2 times I had ours replaced. I had to pay extra because the installers had to carry them up 2 flights of stairs and bring the old one's down.
I have two 40 gallons in series. Amazing. I have never run out of hot water in the 7 years I’ve lived here.

malabargold
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by malabargold » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm

Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t

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Watty
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Watty » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm

yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.
What type of water heater is it?

If it is natural gas then $2K for a 50 gallon one sounds like a very high price and so you might want to get another bid.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:25 pm

malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
In parallel is even better. You get to take full advantage of the recovery of both units, and if you ever have a problem with one, it can be completely isolated and repaired or replaced without impacting your water service at all. I had a gas valve fail in one of my water heaters a few months ago, and I just closed the ball valves on the input/output and ran on the other heater until I could replace the part.

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whodidntante
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:39 pm

I recently had a plumber quote $1,200 for a 50-gallon natural gas water heater. I was offended. Is yours fusion powered?

HereToLearn
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:58 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm
yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.
What type of water heater is it?

If it is natural gas then $2K for a 50 gallon one sounds like a very high price and so you might want to get another bid.
I wonder if the price differences we are seeing here are due to labor costs varying by HCOL vs LCOL areas?

I received a quote to replace my 40 gallon stainless steel indirect water heater for $3000 two years ago. (Quote also mentions a new circulator flow check value and aqua-stat, whatever that means.) Water heater is currently its own zone attached to oil burner.

It is now 20 years old and still working fine, but I added a monitored water detection alarm system. I realize the alarm system will be fairly useless if the water heater goes when I am away from the house. Every now and then these threads appear and I worry about it again.

Starfish
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:02 am

The most expensive 50 gallon is 8-900$ or so. Installation is straightforward.
In my case Home Depot quoted 1700 installed plus inspection costs.

For 3 people we have 40 gallons. We never had any problems.

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yolli71
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by yolli71 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:35 am

Watty wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm
yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.
What type of water heater is it?

If it is natural gas then $2K for a 50 gallon one sounds like a very high price and so you might want to get another bid.
Natural gas. Yes, you're probably right. I've only received an estimate from one company so far and they were higher than I expected.

Someone asked why I'm thinking about 50 gallons if 75 already works for me. Aside from the upfront cost, I didn't know if 75 gallons is overkill. Perhaps 50 gallons would also work for my family, but I just don't know how to predict/measure that.

fru-gal
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by fru-gal » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:42 am

Watty wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm
yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.
What type of water heater is it?

If it is natural gas then $2K for a 50 gallon one sounds like a very high price and so you might want to get another bid.
I have a 50 gallon. If I had laid out $2k for it, I would still be in sticker shock. It sounds like the OP only got one estimate?

People really shouldn't be taking half hour showers though. In many areas there is a water shortage even if it does not get publicity. Wildlife suffers from low streams, etc.

Figaro
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Figaro » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:49 am

I just went from an 80 gallon to a 40 gallon. The water is super hot with my new one compared to the old 30 year old unit that konked out. So we find that we actually had to keep the water heater at the lowest setting to avoid scalding. With that being said, the hotter you run the heater - theoretically you'd need to use more cold water for showers to make it a decent temperature. So I don't think I'll ever run out of water based on how hot this new one gets. I would imagine that newer tech in the last 20 years would have improved the effectiveness of water heating and it did from what I experienced with the old and the new.

We waited till it actually konked out, the inconvience was only for a couple of days no biggie.

Got a nice 12 year one energy star with recovery rate of 85 gallons per hr.

We considered tankless, but the install rate quotes for the tankless were all higher, thus negating the efficiency. So decided on the standard tank.

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hand
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by hand » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:05 am

yolli71 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:35 am

Someone asked why I'm thinking about 50 gallons if 75 already works for me. Aside from the upfront cost, I didn't know if 75 gallons is overkill. Perhaps 50 gallons would also work for my family, but I just don't know how to predict/measure that.
Do the math!

Seems like your worst case is 4 long showers concurrently / in quick sucession plus an appliance.

Time an average / long shower for each of your family members, add those times together - four 15 minute showers = 1 hour of hot water.
Average showerhead is ~2.5 gallons per minute (1992 federally mandated max flow) and shower temp is a bit lower than water heater temp (~105 vs. 120 degrees), so call it 90%.

2.5 gallons per minute * 90% * 60 minutes = ~135 gallons of hot water.
Water heaters have a first hour rating you want something similar to your max usage calculation.

Note that a slight break between showers or use of low flow shower heads will signficantly reduce your hot water needs.

Dishwashers typically don't use much hot water, and even modern washing machines only use a couple of gallons of hot. Unless you use these appliances at the same time your entire family is taking long showers, you can safely disregard.

blackholescion
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by blackholescion » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am

yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:21 pm
tennisplyr wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:03 pm
flyingcows wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 pm
Why not a tankless water heater? We had a Rinnai tankless installed 5 years ago and it's been great, infinite hot water.
How does the upfront cost of tankless compare?
The estimate we got from the same company for a Navien tankless was $4,200. I haven't really considered the tankless b/c it's expensive; I know that 75 gallon tanks meet our needs; and we don't have any space concerns.

I need to look more into recovery rates. What should I be looking for (what's considered a "good" recovery rate)? Perhaps a 50 gallon with a good recovery rate would do the trick?
That is a ridiculous quote for a tankless water heater. A high end tankless water heater is $1300 at home depot. They are wanting to charge you 3k for labor? It doesn't take anywhere close to 30 hours to install one @ $100 an hour. Find a good independent plumber and I bet they will have it installed for $2500 all in. A tankless water heater is only 3-600 more expensive than a tank. The only maintenance is a once a year flush with some vinegar that takes maybe 10 minutes if you buy a tool or borrow one from your neighbor :D.

28fe6
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by 28fe6 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:21 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm
life in slices wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:15 pm
The only drawback is that it has to push all of the cold water out ahead of it, so it takes a bit longer for hot water to hit the shower, etc (read about 'cold water gap')
Unless you have a hot water recirculation system installed this will be the same with all water heaters.
No, it is often worse with tankless heaters. With tank heaters hot water is delivered to the system full-temperature immediately as soon as you turn on the hot water tap. It takes a certain amount of time to get to the fixture, but a tankless has that same amount of time, plus a delay. And even the pipes around a tank heater are often already warm. With tankless heaters, they don't start heating until they detect water flow. Then, they have to turn on the burner and let it stabilize. Then, they have to warm up the pipes from room temperature or even lower if it's installed in a garage/attic/outside.

I replaced a tank with a Rinnai and the time for hot water in the winter went from 5-10 seconds to more like 20-30 it was actually really annoying. Of course, the hot water never stopped once it started, but it was annoying when you just want to wash your hands or something. But I really think the terms "instant water heater" is just about opposite of reality. In reality tank-type heaters are instant. Tankless heaters should be called "infinite" or something.

ncbill
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by ncbill » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:40 am

Mom had her plumber gang together two low-profile 40 gallon natural gas-fired water heaters (located in the crawl space) at her last house.

Skip tankless...much more expensive to install (2-3x) & requires more maintenance.

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dm200
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by dm200 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:51 am

yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.
I was surprised at the price as I didn't expect it to be that high considering I'm not doing a tankless water heater. That being said, I'm thinking about doing a 50 gallon water heater. My concern is...will 50 gallons be enough? Things have been great with our 75 gallon water heater. We have family of 4 and my family takes relatively long showers and we run the clothes washer and dish washer all the time, and we never have an issue with no hot water. I'm afraid this could change if I go to a 50 gallon.
Any thoughts/advice?
My understanding and experience is that Gas water heaters recover more quickly than electric, therefore in most situations you do not need as large a gas water heater. Hard to say/predict for you, but we did fine with a 30 gallon gas one - but smaller family. To some degree, you will also save some on gas with the 50 vs 75. If you go to 50, I suspect you will either do just fine or have a small problem (say if clothes washer and showers happen at the same time). Could you (or would you) make some small changes if needed with a 50 gal?

Since you still are using the 75 gallon one, I wonder if there might be some way to simulate a 50 gallon one? Maybe (don't know?) turn down the temperature on it. Unless it affected me, personally, when I took a shower ( :twisted: ) - I would lean towards saving the $600 and go with the 50 gallon one. Maybe you would need to keep the 50 at a higher temperature.

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dm200
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by dm200 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am

malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
Seems like real "overkill" to me.

canderson
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by canderson » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:16 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:39 pm
I recently had a plumber quote $1,200 for a 50-gallon natural gas water heater. I was offended. Is yours fusion powered?
I just had three quotes.

- $1,360
- $1,780
- $2,050

All 50 gallon natural gas.

moneybeard
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by moneybeard » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:27 pm

I moved out of a house with a 75 gallon, into a house with a 50 gallon. I thought it was going to be a big problem as we would occasionally run the 75 gallon out if my kids both took baths and my wife and I both needed showers the same evening.

Surprisingly, we've never ran the 50 gallon out. My theory is that it regenerates much faster between showers due to the smaller tank, so the person getting in the "cold" shower notices much less.

If we were buying now I would look at the infinite / tankless heaters. A good friend has a small one in his RV, and he swears by it.

Starfish
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:35 pm

blackholescion wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am
yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:21 pm
tennisplyr wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:03 pm
flyingcows wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:55 pm
Why not a tankless water heater? We had a Rinnai tankless installed 5 years ago and it's been great, infinite hot water.
How does the upfront cost of tankless compare?
The estimate we got from the same company for a Navien tankless was $4,200. I haven't really considered the tankless b/c it's expensive; I know that 75 gallon tanks meet our needs; and we don't have any space concerns.

I need to look more into recovery rates. What should I be looking for (what's considered a "good" recovery rate)? Perhaps a 50 gallon with a good recovery rate would do the trick?
That is a ridiculous quote for a tankless water heater. A high end tankless water heater is $1300 at home depot. They are wanting to charge you 3k for labor? It doesn't take anywhere close to 30 hours to install one @ $100 an hour. Find a good independent plumber and I bet they will have it installed for $2500 all in. A tankless water heater is only 3-600 more expensive than a tank. The only maintenance is a once a year flush with some vinegar that takes maybe 10 minutes if you buy a tool or borrow one from your neighbor :D.
Sometimes an upgraded gas connection is needed.

London
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by London » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am
malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
Seems like real "overkill" to me.
I have two 75 gallon tanks. Overkill maybe, but the other benefit is that you will never be without hot water if one tank fails as they are daisy-chained together.

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hand
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by hand » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:59 pm

London wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 pm

I have two 75 gallon tanks. Overkill maybe, but the other benefit is that you will never be without hot water if one tank fails as they are daisy-chained together.
Don't you have to turn off the water if either one of the tanks starts leaking? I'd think that configuration would be twice as likely to fail...

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:00 pm

yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home.

I'm thinking about doing a 50 gallon water heater. My concern is...will 50 gallons be enough?
I live in a household of five and I am the only male. We've had a 50 gallon tank forever and I can only think of maybe a handful of times we have run out of hot water and that was when we were all five taking back to back showers. But under normal use with showers scattered out between mornings and evenings, we have plenty of hot water.

I wonder what the associated energy/lost opportunity costs is to maintain an extra 25 gallons or more, at shower ready temperatures over the life of the heater.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:22 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:00 pm
yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home.

I'm thinking about doing a 50 gallon water heater. My concern is...will 50 gallons be enough?
I live in a household of five and I am the only male. We've had a 50 gallon tank forever and I can only think of maybe a handful of times we have run out of hot water and that was when we were all five taking back to back showers. But under normal use with showers scattered out between mornings and evenings, we have plenty of hot water.

I wonder what the associated energy/lost opportunity costs is to maintain an extra 25 gallons or more, at shower ready temperatures over the life of the heater.
While other factors come into play, there's a variable called the "uniform energy factor". UEF is the efficiency of the tank when run under standardized conditions for a 24-hour period. The UEF allows you to compare the relative energy loss of different volume water tanks that have the same design (insulation, cylinder dimension ratios, etc).

For the type of Bradford White gas heater that I considered the UEF for the 55 gal tank is 0.61, and the 75 gal tank of the same design is 0.59. So, if you over simplify the answer to your question, the extra 20 gal capacity in my example results in 3%-4% loss of energy efficiency. Not exactly a game changer. Of course that assumes the family will use more hot water if they have a larger tank that they know will not result in a cold shower.
Last edited by neilpilot on Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lthenderson
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:23 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:22 pm
For the type of Bradford White gas heater that I considered the UEF for the 55 gal tank is 0.61, and the 75 gal tank of the same design is 0.59. So, if you over simplify the answer to your question, the extra 20 gal capacity in my example results in 3%-4% loss of energy efficiency. Not exactly a game changer.
That's a lot less than I would have guessed. Thanks for answering that.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by -ryan- » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:00 pm

We recently switched from a 40 gallon natural gas to a 50 gallon electric (we had an old transite flue pipe past its service life and no easy way to abate and replace it vent through a wall, so electric was a no brained).

Since I already had much of what I need to wire the electrical and installed the unit with the help of a family member, I believe it cost a total of around $430 for a good rheem unit.

Silent operation, utility bills went down very slightly since the old unit was inefficient, and no worries about venting or make up air. Plus, it is easy to replace heating elements if ever necessary, and when it reaches the end of its service life it is so much easier to swap out ourselves than gas.

That said, if you have adequate infrastructure for a modern gas unit, that makes the most sense.

Starfish
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:24 pm

London wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 pm
dm200 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am
malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
Seems like real "overkill" to me.
I have two 75 gallon tanks. Overkill maybe, but the other benefit is that you will never be without hot water if one tank fails as they are daisy-chained together.
Why is this a consideration?
When I replaced my water heater we had no hot water for a little more than a week. Maybe 10 days. It was in November. I could have done it faster - or pay a plumber - if it was an emergency or major inconvenience but it wasn't.

There are some things in the house which would a lot more inconvenient to quit functioning for a week and I wouldn't even consider the hassle of having redundant systems for those.

michaeljc70
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:30 pm

I would stick with 75 gallon for 4 people taking long showers. Add in if you do laundry, wash dishes or run the dishwasher and I wouldn't cut it close.

How many bathrooms do you have? That is generally how they size them as they go with the house and not the family. I had a 75 gallon at my last place (3.5 baths) and 50 gallon at my current place (2.5 baths).

My father helped me install a 50 gallon a few months ago. It was around $600 for the heater.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by London » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:47 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:24 pm
London wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 pm
dm200 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am
malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
Seems like real "overkill" to me.
I have two 75 gallon tanks. Overkill maybe, but the other benefit is that you will never be without hot water if one tank fails as they are daisy-chained together.
Why is this a consideration?
When I replaced my water heater we had no hot water for a little more than a week. Maybe 10 days. It was in November. I could have done it faster - or pay a plumber - if it was an emergency or major inconvenience but it wasn't.

There are some things in the house which would a lot more inconvenient to quit functioning for a week and I wouldn't even consider the hassle of having redundant systems for those.
I didn’t buy two for the redundancy. I bought two because I have 8 bathrooms and I needed the capacity. The backup is nice as I wouldn’t want to go a week without. But it’s a cost and space issue first.

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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:21 pm

yolli71 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:53 pm
We currently have a 21 year old, 75 gallon gas water heater located in the basement of our home. Being that it's 21 years old, I'm considering having it replaced. When I got on estimate to have it replaced with another 75 gallon heater (State Water Heater model SGS675XRRS), the total estimate was $2,600. The 50 gallon version of the same water heater was 2k.

I was surprised at the price as I didn't expect it to be that high considering I'm not doing a tankless water heater. That being said, I'm thinking about doing a 50 gallon water heater. My concern is...will 50 gallons be enough? Things have been great with our 75 gallon water heater. We have family of 4 and my family takes relatively long showers and we run the clothes washer and dish washer all the time, and we never have an issue with no hot water. I'm afraid this could change if I go to a 50 gallon.

Any thoughts/advice?
I would consider the 75 gallon. I have talked with some folks who installed the tankless water heaters and love them. Is that a lower cost option?
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keaton
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by keaton » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:45 pm

you can get more out of your hot water tank by installing a mixing valve and raising the temperature. As for tankless, you can get electric tankless, which helps not having the added complexity of NG or LP.

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fortfun
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by fortfun » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:07 pm

We have 2, 40 gallon tanks. The set up works very well. 40 gallon tanks are much less expensive than 50 and 75 gallon tanks. For an extra $100 you could add all the additional plumbing necessary (if you are handy). It would take up a bit more space though. Despite the popularity of tank-less heaters, I'd never do it because the cost exceeds my budget.

I can pick up 40 gallon heaters at home depot for under $500.
Last edited by fortfun on Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fortfun
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by fortfun » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:09 pm

London wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 pm
dm200 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am
malabargold wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:57 pm
Twin 50 gal in series is the answer
Unlimited hot when you want it
Throttle back to one on when you don’t
Seems like real "overkill" to me.
I have two 75 gallon tanks. Overkill maybe, but the other benefit is that you will never be without hot water if one tank fails as they are daisy-chained together.
I have 2, 40 gallons in this configuration. I added shut off valves to each so that if one fails, I'll have hot water until I replace the broken one.

mancich
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Re: 50 or 75 gallon water heater?

Post by mancich » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:48 am

Teague wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm
It depends very much on the recovery rate of the water heater, arguably much more important than how much water the tank holds.

To illustrate, the "tankless" heaters have a tank volume of close to zero, but a very high recovery rate (essentially instant.) They work fine and the water doesn't ever get cold, no matter how long one runs the hot water. Maintenance may be another issue.

At the other end, with a 75 gallon tank that has a poor recovery rate, (the extreme example would be someone shut it off) the water will start getting colder right away, and get worse from there.

We use a 40 gallon tank with a good recovery rate and have water usage comparable to OP. We always have hot water.
+1. Recovery rate is more important. We have 2 adults and 3 daughters and our 40 gallon tank keeps up. But we don't allow the daughters to take 30 minute showers either (not that they don't try :happy )

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