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NFT: Hot Water Heaters: Tankless or Tank ?

Ron from Ninerland : 4/7/2021 2:26 pm
The time has come for us to replace our old 30 gallon water tank. I’m tentatively planning on having a gas fired tankless water heater put in, but I’m wondering if thats the way to go. I’ve heard the advantages that it is more energy efficient and that it delivers faster hot water than a tank and that I will never have to worry about a tank rupturing and flooding my house.

Is there a downside other than the installation cost ? Does it really deliver plentiful hot water ? Are they reliable ? Do they last long ?

Has anybody here bought one and regretted it ?
As long as you are on municipal water  
VTChuck : 4/7/2021 2:36 pm : link
with a low mineral content, I've heard good reports.

If you have well water with high mineral content, not so great due to deposits, scaling.
How many people  
pjcas18 : 4/7/2021 2:41 pm : link
in your house? How many bathrooms?

How active is your household?

We had tankless for my wife and I, plus three teenage kids.

dishwasher constantly going, washing machine constantly going, showers, etc. the tankless could not keep up.

I bought a tank to replace the coil and we have had zero issues (and the water heats up just as hot, but obviously not as energy efficient as the tankless coil).

If your house is small and not quite as active, tankless probably fine and the right solution
In Earthquake Country  
Trainmaster : 4/7/2021 2:48 pm : link
(As I am in SoCal), the hot water tank is a good source of emergency water.

Also, our neighbor has a tankless water heater. When the power was out, he had no hot water. I assume there is an "igniter / starter" that uses electricity. Maybe some models have a battery back up.

I'm considering a tankless one too (maybe a smaller, "auxiliary one" for the upstairs bathrooms), so I'm curious to see what other replies you get to this thread.
RE: How many people  
eric2425ny : 4/7/2021 2:48 pm : link
In comment 15212816 pjcas18 said:
Quote:
in your house? How many bathrooms?

How active is your household?

We had tankless for my wife and I, plus three teenage kids.

dishwasher constantly going, washing machine constantly going, showers, etc. the tankless could not keep up.

I bought a tank to replace the coil and we have had zero issues (and the water heats up just as hot, but obviously not as energy efficient as the tankless coil).

If your house is small and not quite as active, tankless probably fine and the right solution


This, it depends on how many people are using the tankless. A quick recovery hot water tank is nice as well but pricier than your standard version and you obviously still have the tank taking up some space.
RE: In Earthquake Country  
eric2425ny : 4/7/2021 2:53 pm : link
In comment 15212823 Trainmaster said:
Quote:
(As I am in SoCal), the hot water tank is a good source of emergency water.

Also, our neighbor has a tankless water heater. When the power was out, he had no hot water. I assume there is an "igniter / starter" that uses electricity. Maybe some models have a battery back up.

I'm considering a tankless one too (maybe a smaller, "auxiliary one" for the upstairs bathrooms), so I'm curious to see what other replies you get to this thread.


Good point on the power being out. We had our furnace replaced a few months ago and the installer had shut off the gas while he did the work which also included shutting off the hot water heater. He forgot to turn the hot water heater back on but we had hot water for two days and didn’t even realize it was turned off. Ours is a 50 gallon, but just an example of how long the tank based version keeps the water hot. And that was in the middle of the winter in Michigan.
RE: In Earthquake Country  
eric2425ny : 4/7/2021 2:53 pm : link
In comment 15212823 Trainmaster said:
Quote:
(As I am in SoCal), the hot water tank is a good source of emergency water.

Also, our neighbor has a tankless water heater. When the power was out, he had no hot water. I assume there is an "igniter / starter" that uses electricity. Maybe some models have a battery back up.

I'm considering a tankless one too (maybe a smaller, "auxiliary one" for the upstairs bathrooms), so I'm curious to see what other replies you get to this thread.


Good point on the power being out. We had our furnace replaced a few months ago and the installer had shut off the gas while he did the work which also included shutting off the hot water heater. He forgot to turn the hot water heater back on but we had hot water for two days and didn’t even realize it was turned off. Ours is a 50 gallon, but just an example of how long the tank based version keeps the water hot. And that was in the middle of the winter in Michigan.
Sorry about the double post  
eric2425ny : 4/7/2021 2:55 pm : link
Origin error message
..  
Named Later : 4/7/2021 2:55 pm : link
I just looked into this. Everyone I've talked to swears by their tankless. The brand names Rinnai and Navien came up often in discussions. The cost of a good tankless is a little less than the big tanks, and there are some energy savings too. Look for a Rebate from your Energy company.

The installation cost quotes were all over the place. I have a very simple install. The gas line is already there, and the exhaust vent to the outside is in place too. It's a 2-step process....remove the old tank, hook up the new tankless. We received estimates as high as $4 THOUSAND DOLLARS. Shop your installation around.

One thing to consider -- how far away from the water heater is your kitchen and your main bathroom ?? You may lose some of the hot water benefits, if you can't insulate the whole run.
I was also interested in Tankless, but a GC friend set me straight...  
Pete in CO : 4/7/2021 2:55 pm : link
...look at pjcas18's response. this is exactly what I was told. Better off increasing your tank capacity and improving efficiency.
Not a big deal but with Tankless there  
rasbutant : 4/7/2021 3:08 pm : link
is a delay until the hot water arrives to the faucet. The further away the faucet is from the heater the longer the delay. You can have a recirculation pump added to eliminate this. But I didn't have one installed at my last house and it would drive my wife crazy. She loves hot water, and she washes her hands non stop throughout the day but only for a few seconds at at time. Often it wasn't long enough for hot water to arrive, so even though she was turning on the hot water, she was washing her hands with cold water all the time. The upstairs master bath seemed to take forever and seemed like a real waste of water waiting for hot water to arrive. But again a recirc pump fixes this issue.

The other thing I remember from the install was that we had to upgrade our electrical to 200 amp service. Don't see that in many pro/con list.

We have a tank now and I'm happy with it. It works as expected, we don't have a high demand (yet, daughters are 6 and 8), and haven't run out of hot water. We have a 40 Gal with a mixing value which allows you to up the temp on the water heater and basically get the performance of a large water heater. I have no way of measuring the actually cost, just believe what it says on the tag on the unit which doesn't seem like a lot. Simply DIY replacement.
Oh and i bought a heat pump water heater which saves energy.

But there are lots of benefits to tankless as you'll surely see with any google search of pros and cons...like this one...
Link - ( New Window )
RE: ..  
Ron from Ninerland : 4/7/2021 3:09 pm : link
In comment 15212839 Named Later said:
Quote:
I just looked into this. Everyone I've talked to swears by their tankless. The brand names Rinnai and Navien came up often in discussions. The cost of a good tankless is a little less than the big tanks, and there are some energy savings too. Look for a Rebate from your Energy company.

The installation cost quotes were all over the place. I have a very simple install. The gas line is already there, and the exhaust vent to the outside is in place too. It's a 2-step process....remove the old tank, hook up the new tankless. We received estimates as high as $4 THOUSAND DOLLARS. Shop your installation around.

One thing to consider -- how far away from the water heater is your kitchen and your main bathroom ?? You may lose some of the hot water benefits, if you can't insulate the whole run.
We're looking at a Rinnai. The plumber we're probably going with is quoting us 4.2 K which really doesn't seem that high. The other estimates were 3.9K, 5K and 7K. Of course this is California. In our case they have to replace a galvanized steel exhaust with PVC.
I just went through this a few months ago  
Fat Wally : 4/7/2021 3:14 pm : link
I was really leaning towards a tankless. We just had part of our basement finished off and I was concerned about having a tank rupture and destroying all of the new construction.
One thing that ended being the deciding factor was the exhaust vent. I didn't have a good place to put the vent, and that determined the location of where I could put the damn thing. Which meant that I had to run a new gas line from the main.
After further discussions with my plumber I decided to just go with another normal tank and install drip pan under it. I'm also adding water leak sensors.
I think some people have mentioned that you can get hot water  
Giantsfan79 : 4/7/2021 3:39 pm : link
boosts put in beyond the heating unit in the basement if you go tankless. Get a boost for the water feeding into your dishwasher and laundry and potentially even your showers. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to heat the water up and if not wasting water is your preference the boosts are a must.
i've had both an i'd vote tankless  
UConn4523 : 4/7/2021 3:58 pm : link
peace of mind with not having to deal with a flood was my initial reasoning for it, as well as taking up way less space in my basement. I can't remember the size of the unit but its fairly large and handles 2 showers + dishwasher well. Beyond that I haven't tested.
Tank all the way  
jimmypage : 4/7/2021 5:25 pm : link
I did all the calcs and cost, pros/cons and it wasn't close. This included me doing the install. The biggest misconception is that the tanks aren't efficient.
Tankless all the way  
GruningsOnTheHill : 4/7/2021 5:38 pm : link
We have never run out of hot water in the 9 years since we built the house. Gas heated, so power outages do not affect it.

(For full disclosure, I do live on an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida, where outside temps never fall below 50° on even the coldest night in January.)
RE: Get a boost for the water feeding ...  
Trainmaster : 4/7/2021 6:17 pm : link
I've been curious about a "boost" etc.

I'm in a house with two upstairs bathrooms that are quite a distance from the current tank hot water heater in garage (SoCal house; no basement). The water has to run quite a long time before there is hot water in the sink or shower upstairs. I would think this would be the case regardless of whether I had a tank or tankless in the garage.

I was considering some kind of "mini-tankless" located right in the upstairs bathroom (electric?) that could heat up the cool water in the hot water line until the hot water from the tank arrived.

I've also heard about the recirculation systems. I had assumed these were to save water, not to supply hot water sooner.

Any info on the above appreciated.

I have a Navien tankless  
Jay on the Island : 4/7/2021 7:32 pm : link
It’s great just make sure you keep up with the yearly maintenance. All you need to do is have a plumber come once a year to flush out the system and you’re all good. Just make sure you hire a plumber who is very familiar with Navien. My contractors plumber installed mine wrong and I had to hire another plumber a year later to fix the errors.
I have a Navian tankless and do  
rnargi : 4/7/2021 8:53 pm : link
All Maintenance myself. It's easy, and free. Had to buy a pump, that's it. I love the tankless
Thanks for the suggestions.  
Ron from Ninerland : 4/7/2021 9:52 pm : link
We have one and half baths and its just my wife and I. Also we're in a single level with no basement. The tank is in a closet in the laundry room, so a rupture would be a disaster.

It looks like its tankless for us.
Not weighing in either way  
gmangill : 4/8/2021 6:49 am : link
But i have family of 4 (2 daughters) and never run out with my 50 gallon tank...

I understand the concern about floods... I have a finished basement where the tank is.. However, the standard warranty for a tank is 10yr... so, every 10 years i just replace.. its not crazy expensive and i get the latest energy efficiency and peace of mind...
RE: I have a Navian tankless and do  
santacruzom : 4/8/2021 12:38 pm : link
In comment 15213222 rnargi said:
Quote:
All Maintenance myself. It's easy, and free. Had to buy a pump, that's it. I love the tankless


We had a Navian as well in our old house. We only had it for about two months prior to selling the house, but I loved it. Ours had the auto circulation feature that I highly recommend -- every tap in the house would have hot water within 5-10 seconds.
Tank  
oghwga : 4/8/2021 4:48 pm : link
The payoff on a tankless is like 10-15 years if you go by the energy savings.

If you're worried about a leak from a tank you can add in a leak detector that shuts off water supply when a leak us detected for less than $100.

If you have a standard outlet you can put in a recirc pump under any sink. It senses the temp in the hot water line and pumps water back into the cold water line to keep hot water always at the tap.
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