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Old 01-15-2012, 07:34 AM   #1
boardrider247 OP
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Location: Forest Lake, mn
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Water heaters? Tankless or Tank?

Woke up this morning to hot water dumping on the floor and going down the floor drain.
I currently have a large 60? gallon or maybe bigger electric water heater.
In the short term I'm going to see if this unit can be repaired.

But ultimately I think it's time for a new water heater. Im currently on a off peak use program through our electric co-op. I am stuck with electric. I believe I have 50 amps 220v dedicated to the water heater at the moment.

So do I buy another huge tank water heater? Or go a tankless route? 2000ish sq ft home only 2 of us living here. But it is a 4 bedroom 2 bath home.

Sorry if this is a little rambling. I'm kinda running around trying to get things sorted this morning.

Thanks for the help
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:44 AM   #2
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Unless the water is leaking from a valve, dont waste your time trying to repair a tank. It's probably rusted and coming from one pinhole. Many more are waiting to start leaking, especially if the tank is 8 years or older. Will be a total pain to get to the steel from behind all the insulation

Look into the other costs when swapping to a tankless system. Extra wiring, circuits etc. Sometimes the energy savings, (if any, tanks are pretty well insulated) will take many years when the extras are included. How close are the two baths and kitchen, laundry room? Tankless are typically happy very close to point of use.

Disclaimer......I work at a water heater plant!

KeithinSC screwed with this post 01-15-2012 at 07:46 AM Reason: more comments added
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
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Tankless - hands down. Best upgrade I made to my house, same size as yours. I went with a Rannai Propane unit and I absolutely love it.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:53 AM   #4
boardrider247 OP
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If I had gas into the house I would go tankless for sure. However being stuck with electric I may not have enough room in my panel to make one fit. I need to dig into that a bit more.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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Install 2 smaller water heaters (30 or 40 gallon) in series.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:54 AM   #6
Joined: May 2009
Location: Ottawa, Canada
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50Gal power vent gas heater was $900 as opposed to $3500 for a tankless, (Nat Gas). Installation done by me so not a factor. The tankless are supposed to be great for instant hot water, continous supply and low energy consumption but the cost just didn't work over a 15 yr life span.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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If you don't use a ton of water (i.e. deplete the 60 gal tank in one shower), I'd just stick with a nice 9 or 12 year tanked unit.

This is coming from someone who went from a house with a 60 gal tanked WH to a new house with the largest Noritz on demand WH they make.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:20 AM   #8
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I just did mine...

I had this same thing happen to me. Impossible to find the leak to weld/solder/braze/epoxy/bubblegum.

Under $300 for a replacement electric at the local larger hardware store (oddly, cheaper than Home Creapo and Lowes).

It's a VERY quick install if you have tools. I NASCAR'd mine in under 20 mins, wired, and ready to heat (let it fill COMPLETELY before tripping the breaker, this means waiting 30-60 mins for that suckah to be topped off), then and ONLY then do you pop the power to ON.

The holster and scout rifle doood....
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:21 AM   #9
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Yea, tankless ain't all it's cracked up to be. I have 2 tankless, one in my own house and I'm ready to dump it, although one of the problems I ran into was low gas pressure, so you won't have that. You will also avoid stainless vents.
Another problem is they won't fire unless you run so much water flow. I have found that this is more than I need with my showerhead and unless I turn up the water pressure, it cycles on/off. This will have you cursing as you dodge the scalding hot/ice cold water. So not only am I using more gas to heat, but I'm using more water than I need and water is more expensive than gas here.
Since it never runs out, there is a tendency to take longer showers. I have a friend who rents rooms and he saw higher costs after. They liked their long showers. Add in the stainless vent lines ($hundreds$), additional cost of the unit and need for adequate water flow and payback is highly unlikely in my case. There are other ways to save money, the first being conservation. For electric, a timer and good heater insulation, it doesn't heat as much as people think when not in use and they all take the same amount of BTU's to heat the same amount of water.

There are 2-3 other threads on this if you search jomamma and shiny things.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #10
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Had a lot of tankless heaters in plant applications where we used lots of water and the all became a royal PITA with blockages, etc. They sound good on paper but I won't ever buy one for my home. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:36 PM   #11
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I run a Bosch 125 tankless in my home for summer use -- my hot water comes off the coal furnace in the winter. I like it. As I paid about $350.00 for the Bosch and I can get four years out of a pig of propane (which also feeds a gas range and stove), I think they are good value. One year I had to run it year-round, and it kept freezing up on me. Mine's natural (not direct) vent, and it would downdraft and crack expensive parts when temps dropped below zero. It's a fairly primitive system.

I've never had a problem with blockage, but I have good water.

Tankless heaters that won't freeze are much more costly. I'd say over the long term, they will likely pay for themselves, but it's not a black-and-white decision. If I were building new, I'd go for a tankless and design the house for it. Right now, your best option is probably to go to Lowes and get a replacement tank heater. Plumbing in a tankless one isn't cheap, and you'll end up with nearly the cost of the unit in time and fittings.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:42 PM   #12
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I am completely satisfied with my Rennai propane tankless unit. It has been economical to run and I am a fan of recreational showers that can now go on as long as I can stand it. I kept the electric tank heater inline as a backup in case I ran out of propane or it broke. Neither has happened in two years. I got a tax credit for it because of its thermal efficiency and some lame government giveaway program.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:27 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, the time to pick your next water heater always seems to be when your floor is wet.

A friend of mine has the Bosch electric tankless, and they require multiple 240v 40-50A circuits. He had problems with the control boards and his well providing enough flow keep it from cycling on and off like Tweaker said.

I like the sound of the Marathon tank type heaters.
They have a plastic tank so they can't rot, and thick foam insulation. I couldn't find any dealers for them around here when I had a wet floor.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:14 PM   #14
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We have a tankless in our home, it's Bosch 250. Though I'm not sorry about getting it, they are expensive to retrofit into a house.
Tankless heaters have a huge heating capacity, we had to get new gas plumbing all the way to the propane tank regulator, and a new regulator to boot to handle the heater's fuel requirements. So, the installation was more than the cost of the unit. If you don't already have gas or propane you may find those costs make it prohibitive. I'm not sure there are any electric tankless units that can service a whole house.

As noted, if you have a low-flow shower head it may not draw enough water to activate the unit.

Also, when you're using water intermittently, since it shuts off each time you turn the water off, consequently you get a slug of cold water each time.

Compared to tank water heaters they are much more complicated, and scaling can be a problem, as noted. We've resolved that by adding an anti-scale cartridge in the water line going to the heater.

Fine Homebuilding magazine has a good article they published about two years back on tankless heaters and some recommendations for avoiding some of their shortcomings (such as adding a small tank type heater after the tankless to take care of the low flow and intermittant flow issues). It's available on their website, I'd recommend reading it before you pull the trigger.

I'm a satisfied tankless user, for various reasons, but if I were replacing an electric, I'd be looking at the new heat-pump high efficiency units instead of a tankless.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:18 PM   #15
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