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lynnl
07-08-2014, 11:39 AM
Well, it's been 14 years but now my water heater is leaking. As if that is not enough of a problem, I will (once again) have to pull out the door casing to get the old heater out of its closet. ...when I installed this one I upgraded from 60 to 80 gallon, not realizing until the critical moment that it was a tad too big to go through the doorway.

What I'm considering is installing a tankless heater (electric, no gas here).
Would like to hear from any of you with firsthand experience or technical knowledge of electric tankless heaters.

Oh... one other question: In lieu of tearing out the door casing, I've thought of trying to strip away the outer shell and insulation of the leaking tank, so that it will fit through the door. But I've never torn one apart, so have no idea about potential obstacles. Anyone care to advise or comment about that?

Rustybolt
07-08-2014, 11:51 AM
"I've thought of trying to strip away the outer shell and insulation of the leaking tank, so that it will fit through the door."

It'll work. It's messy though. I cut up my old 50 gallon hot water heater with an angle grinder with cut off wheels. Made it easier to get it up the stairs by myself.

jlevie
07-08-2014, 11:56 AM
Unless you were to get a really powerful tankless, I suspect you'd be disappointed in the performance of an electrical type for whole house use. They typically have half or less max flow as a gas type.

Personally, I'd "bite the bullet" and remove the door casing and put a 60gal back in. Depending on where the water heater is and the length of the runs to heavy usage areas, it might make sense to put a small electric tankless at the point of use. A kitchen is frequently a good candidate.

A.K. Boomer
07-08-2014, 12:02 PM
strip the metal off of the old tank with a pair of tin snips - remove insulation and walla I bet it fits through,,,

electric anything for heat sucks bad,,, very expensive - and the "on demand" high amperage just might cost you way way more as you can be charged for high demand usage and then your entire bill is higher because of it...

Rosco-P
07-08-2014, 12:15 PM
Is bottle gas (Propane) unavailable in your area? Agree to convert your stove and the gas dealer might offer the tank and pipe work for free.

lynnl
07-08-2014, 12:21 PM
Though the differential is not as great as it once was, here in the Tennessee Valley we have relatively reasonable electricity rates. Granted, gas would be cheaper but there is no gas in my immediate area, other than propane in a tank.
Regardless, my on-demand power useage would certainly be less than round-the-clock heating of a full tank.

Talked with my brother last night; he's had a tankless system for about six years, and likes it. But he has natural gas.
He has a recirculating pump at the most distant outlet which, as I understand, serves to sort of prime the line with hot water without wasting water.

Tilaran
07-08-2014, 12:25 PM
You didn't "upgrade" anything. :p Tank heaters are one of the biggest ripoffs ever invented by electric companies...LOL
Get an on demand unit and be done with it.
BTW. Dish washers and carpeting come in a close #2.....distantly followed by box springs and hollow doors :rolleyes:

lynnl
07-08-2014, 12:31 PM
You didn't "upgrade" anything. :p :rolleyes:

No, "upgrade" implies higher quality. But I couldn't think of a better term. ...perhaps "up-volumed," how's that?

Royldean
07-08-2014, 12:41 PM
You didn't "upgrade" anything. :p Tank heaters are one of the biggest ripoffs ever invented by electric companies...LOL
Get an on demand unit and be done with it.
BTW. Dish washers and carpeting come in a close #2.....distantly followed by box springs and hollow doors :rolleyes:

Dishwashers? I don't think so. It may not be as efficient as washing by hand, but I'm never going back to scrubbing dishes by hand. It's a luxury!

A.K. Boomer
07-08-2014, 12:42 PM
Yes does depend on your situation I guess - I have NG hot water tank, NG cook stove, NG cloths dryer, NG central heating,
and yes although my bill goes up in the winter 10 to 20 bucks a month depending on how much I use my wood stove typically my bill in the summer months is between 14 and 18 bucks...

Now that's dirt cheap... esp. considering that the cook stove is running three pilot lights and the hot water tank one...

Willy
07-08-2014, 12:50 PM
Unless you were to get a really powerful tankless, I suspect you'd be disappointed in the performance of an electrical type for whole house use. They typically have half or less max flow as a gas type.

Personally, I'd "bite the bullet" and remove the door casing and put a 60gal back in. Depending on where the water heater is and the length of the runs to heavy usage areas, it might make sense to put a small electric tankless at the point of use. A kitchen is frequently a good candidate.

This is what I've found as well.
Maximum recovery rate for hot water heaters is oil fired followed by gas, with electric a distant third.
In order to have an adequate flow of instant hot water you will definitely have to upgrade your electrical service. It takes a huge amount of heat input to raise the temperature of a gallon of cold water to a useful level "instantly".
Granted you won't be storing 6-8 hundred lbs. of hot water constantly.

A.K. Boomer
07-08-2014, 01:37 PM
Storing the hot water is not a problem anymore with the newer gas units that have a flue shut down - my heater is old tech and I still have gas bills under 15 bucks a month sometimes and that's with all the other gas appliances.

I do hear my water heater kicking on every now and then simply due to the constant draw its under, cold air is constantly getting drawn in and heating up and going out the vent stack, used to be that was the one advantage of owning an electric tank but not anymore, now they have vent shut down types on gas...

my heater is about 25 years old and still hanging tough - but when it goes i'll probably get the vent closing type, and it will be electronic ignition so thinking the gas bill will be about 10 to 12 bucks a month after that...

although just running the electric to light the tank could be a different story,,, I about live in the dark and my electric is about 3 times the price... that's just using it for lights and small motors, nothing heat wise... I cringe at the thought of actually using electricity to heat anything and what it would cost me...

firbikrhd1
07-08-2014, 05:03 PM
I looked at tankless gas water heaters last time mine needed replacement. The return on investment for the tankless was so long and installation costs were so high I passed and went with a high efficiency conventional gas water heater.
I don't know whether you have the room or not but if you choose to go with a conventional water heater again it may pay to go with a bigger door all together. A 3-0 door will allow most any water heater to fit through and reframing to install one isn't that big a deal.

Mike Burch
07-08-2014, 05:56 PM
I had a tankless electric heater just for the upstairs shower in a house in England years ago. It was absolutely hopeless. Tankless heaters need huge energy inputs to raise the water to a useful temperature. And since they raise the water through a temperature range which is governed by the flow rate (not to a pre-set temperature), they are very variable and susceptible to changes caused by other taps being turned on.
My current house has solar heating for the water, with a 315 litre (84 US gallons) tank which has an electric element halfway up it. So the solar generally heats the whole lot, but if we get a run of sunless days the electric element (3Kw) heats only the top half.
We use bottled gas for the hob in the kitchen. A 9Kg bottle lasts us six months.

sasquatch
07-08-2014, 06:02 PM
Electric hot water tanks have gone down in quality badly over the past years. They used to last 20 years or so, now many don't last 10 years.
And,, yes strip the insulation and tin off, it probably will go through the door then.

Weston Bye
07-08-2014, 07:22 PM
I don't know that I would recommend gas in a closet, but I will relate that in my previous house we had propane. That heater could keep up with a whole family of serial showers. (except 1 certain daughter).

Now, in my new house with the same size heater on natural gas, I have to take care to leave some hot water for the wife.

Propane can deliver more energy.

Jon Heron
07-08-2014, 08:30 PM
I switched from a propane 40 gallon water heater to a top of the line bosch tankless, I HATE the thing!
I recommend staying away from the tankless. You will save nothing, in the end you will have wasted more water that anything.
Many say oh well it must be your plumbings not right, gas line not right bla bla bla, its all BS lol The thing just sucks.
I posted all of my complaints in detail here a couple months back in a similar thread you could search out if your interested.
Cheers,
Jon

A.K. Boomer
07-08-2014, 09:05 PM
And,, yes strip the insulation and tin off, it probably will go through the door then.

you know he's going to have to take it all off anyways when he goes to build his BBQ grill right? ...

topct
07-08-2014, 09:40 PM
I switched from a propane 40 gallon water heater to a top of the line bosch tankless, I HATE the thing!
I recommend staying away from the tankless. You will save nothing, in the end you will have wasted more water that anything.
Many say oh well it must be your plumbings not right, gas line not right bla bla bla, its all BS lol The thing just sucks.
I posted all of my complaints in detail here a couple months back in a similar thread you could search out if your interested.
Cheers,
Jon

I have been trying to sell one on CL for the last couple of months. Unit was installed for only two weeks so it's like new. But the market place is saying what you are saying.

justanengineer
07-08-2014, 10:56 PM
Not that it helps the OP, but I'll never buy another house without gas. The heat, hot water, dryer, and stove are all gas and between 30+ minute high pressure showers, 72F+ house temps throughout winter (why turn it down?), and SWMBO's frequent cooking and daily running of the dryer our bill MIGHT get up to $120/month. In the summer its usually <$20. I replaced the gas water heater two years ago and with a IIRC 10-year warranty the 80 gallon Whirlpool wont owe me anything for the ~$140 (again IIRC) it was on clearance for.

Personally I'd suggest doing the math of electric vs propane.

RoyClemens
07-09-2014, 12:40 AM
Based on my limited experience, I'm in the stay away from the tankless camp. We put one in an old out building that serves as a deer camp/ summer kitchen/ butch shop/ place that the men are allowed to cook place. Though "boy will this be great" and it is, so long as you don't need any more hot water that what it takes to wash your hands. Plumbing is not too fancy, but that crazy little thing had so much pressure drop that all kinds of funny things start to happen. Bought another one at the same time with the idea that we would put it in the shop, "just to wash our hands" We latter calculated how many dollars worth of wire it was going to take to hook it up. We still wash with cold water in the shop and if there is any thing serious happening in the out building a tank type unit gets turned on.

My 2 cents

Roy

sch
07-09-2014, 12:53 AM
Unmentioned so far is the strong suggestion that tankless be rinsed out roughly annually with deliming solution, as the tubing is relatively small in diameter and hot, so encrustations
interfere with its function more rapidly. This requires plumbing arrangements to be built in for this at install. There are youtube videos illustrating the process. Considering they cost
2-3x as much as tanked heaters, this seems a prudent precaution for longevity reasons. Presumably you will already have a 50amp 220v circuit at the heater site.

darryl
07-09-2014, 01:01 AM
Here's another 2 cents worth- at work we have a little electric water heater right under the sink. Looks to be about the size of a 20 lb propane tank. It takes all of 2 seconds to have hot water come out the tap. Lots less water down the drain waiting for hot water to make it from a distance. You might plumb that in series after the main hot water tank. You would then keep the main tank at a lower temperature.

Lee in Texas
07-09-2014, 02:09 AM
I can not imagine taking apart an 80 gallon water heater in a closet. That is a huge beast, and space/access is obviously limited, since it won't fit through the door. The outer jacket and the insulation will be a huge mess. Just take off the door frame.

Tankless water heaters can work fine, but they need to be installed properly and maintained properly. In Austin, you can just take it for granted that a tankless will not pass inspection unless it has a new, larger gas line. A 40 gallon water heater will have a burner of 38-50,000 BTUs. Tankless will have a 199,000 BTU burner. It needs more gas when it's on, period. No two ways about it.

I'm a licensed plumber. I see botched installations of all kinds of plumbing fixtures all the time (not just tankless water heaters). I've seen water heater installations that were so screwed up, correcting it would cost more than replacing it. There is nothing wrong with tankless water heaters (gas, anyway. Electric are not efficient enough...yet). Having said that, it's up to you if spending 2-4 times the cost of a tank-type heater is worth it. No one does it to save money on their gas bill. It's either to fill up that big garden tub or to supply a family with endless hot water.

lynnl
07-09-2014, 09:52 AM
I've completely ruled out the tankless option. I'll stick with the same electric technology I now have. However, at Lowes yesterday I noticed that GE is now making what they call an Electric Hybrid, which uses the heat pump principle to provide some of the heating energy. I couldn't determine if that installation required some plumbing to the outside environment, or not.

At this point my decisions are: (1) whether to pull the door frame or strip the old heater. This "closet" is underneath the stairs and, while a bit smallish, is certainly big enough for me to stand in there whacking away at that tank shell. The cutout openings for the two heating elements are right in front. They will both reduce the cutting required AND give me starting points for snipping. I'm not sure about the top and bottom; they might prove troublesome, but I could probably beat/deform them enough to clear the doorway. I only need to gain one inch.

(2) The doorway- if I remove it, do I re-frame it wider. I don't think I can go to 30", 26" would be ideal. Don't know if that's a standard size.

ironmonger
07-09-2014, 09:54 AM
I can not imagine taking apart an 80 gallon water heater in a closet. That is a huge beast, and space/access is obviously limited, since it won't fit through the door. The outer jacket and the insulation will be a huge mess. Just take off the door frame.

Neither can I. You might consider two 40 or 50 gallon electrics in series if you have the room.


Tankless water heaters can work fine, but they need to be installed properly and maintained properly. In Austin, you can just take it for granted that a tankless will not pass inspection unless it has a new, larger gas line. A 40 gallon water heater will have a burner of 38-50,000 BTUs. Tankless will have a 199,000 BTU burner. It needs more gas when it's on, period. No two ways about it.

While the amount of energy required to heat water is similar for storage tanks and instantaneous heaters is similar, tanked units lose heat though radiation and tank-less require a lot of KW if you need large GPM's. There aint no free lunch... BTU's is BTU's. If your electric rates are low enough it may not be cost effective to convert to gas. Converting to gas would also require flue pipping, another added expense. Adding a second heater will require another run to the panel for a new 220v supply though. To reduce a tank units' heat loss additional insulation can be added outside the tank jacket.


I'm a licensed plumber. I see botched installations of all kinds of plumbing fixtures all the time (not just tankless water heaters). I've seen water heater installations that were so screwed up, correcting it would cost more than replacing it. There is nothing wrong with tankless water heaters (gas, anyway. Electric are not efficient enough...yet). Having said that, it's up to you if spending 2-4 times the cost of a tank-type heater is worth it. No one does it to save money on their gas bill. It's either to fill up that big garden tub or to supply a family with endless hot water.

There is a difference between efficiency and cost effectiveness. The most efficient thing you can do with electricity is convert it to heat... It's just not cheap to operate... which has nothing to do with overall conversion costs.

As far as installations are concerned, either unit befits form a regular flushing to remove sediment. Some of the tankless manufactures claim that their design removes deposits without intervention... maybe so. Tank type units require purging the sediment out manually. You may need to supply additional piping and valving to accomplish this. If you have softened water or naturally soft water flushing is not required as frequently.

I think the heat pump technology operated as a stand alone unit would be a poor second to straight electric all costs considered. As a heat reclaim on your central AC it would make sense. Not much of that done here up nort' ... check with some local AC/plumbing contractors. Again efficiency and cost effectiveness are not mutually inclusive.

paul
retired and glad of it master plumber

RichR
07-09-2014, 10:21 AM
However, at Lowes yesterday I noticed that GE is now making what they call an Electric Hybrid, which uses the heat pump principle to provide some of the heating energy. I couldn't determine if that installation required some plumbing to the outside environment, or not.
If it's the one listed in a previous thread on hot water tanks, it scavenges heat from the air around it. GE uses that "FREE HEAT" to boost its efficiency claims.
You however have to supply that "FREE HEAT" in the winter with your heating system which also results in a double conversion of energy.

Rosco-P
07-09-2014, 10:22 AM
Considering they cost
2-3x as much as tanked heaters, this seems a prudent precaution for longevity reasons. Presumably you will already have a 50amp 220v circuit at the heater site.

Compare apples to apples. A 12 year 50 or 60 gallon conventional water heater against a gas tankless and you'll see the cost difference is about 1.5 times as much or less when you consider energy rebates.

A.K. Boomer
07-09-2014, 10:38 AM
There aint no free lunch... BTU's is BTU's. If your electric rates are low enough it may not be cost effective to convert to gas.

Sure - as long as your also figuring the variable BTU rating of electricity --- then a BTU is not a BTU - as you get penalized for using too many BTU's all at once and it will make your entire BTU rating go up for even the minor loads,

not so with gas, maybe commercial huge amounts but not for residential...

NG is way way cheaper to heat with to begin with - and the price is the price, not some variable that goes off the charts even more with high intermittent demand...

In some cases - use copious amounts of electricity for just one minute out of one month and your entire bill can change drastically...

firbikrhd1
07-09-2014, 10:54 AM
I've completely ruled out the tankless option. I'll stick with the same electric technology I now have. However, at Lowes yesterday I noticed that GE is now making what they call an Electric Hybrid, which uses the heat pump principle to provide some of the heating energy. I couldn't determine if that installation required some plumbing to the outside environment, or not.

At this point my decisions are: (1) whether to pull the door frame or strip the old heater. This "closet" is underneath the stairs and, while a bit smallish, is certainly big enough for me to stand in there whacking away at that tank shell. The cutout openings for the two heating elements are right in front. They will both reduce the cutting required AND give me starting points for snipping. I'm not sure about the top and bottom; they might prove troublesome, but I could probably beat/deform them enough to clear the doorway. I only need to gain one inch.

(2) The doorway- if I remove it, do I re-frame it wider. I don't think I can go to 30", 26" would be ideal. Don't know if that's a standard size.

2/4, 2/6 and 3/0 doors are standard sizes, expressed in feet and inches. Rough openings are generally 2" wider. You can have doors and frames made to custom sizes and depending upon who does the work prices aren't always ridiculous.

bruto
07-09-2014, 03:00 PM
I won't recommend anything on the new heater, but as for the old one, I strongly recommend that you cut it apart if you can, because if it has leaked, the insulation will be saturated and it will weigh a ton.

jdunmyer
07-09-2014, 03:38 PM
Says A.K. Boomer:



In some cases - use copious amounts of electricity for just one minute out of one month and your entire bill can change drastically...


Where do you live that you have a demand meter on your house? Not saying it isn't done, but I've never personally see one.

Of course, the new Smart Meters will probably lead to demand charges on top of TOD pricing.

Someone mentioned an oil-fired water heater; a couple of friends had those things and *do they heat water!*. There was literally no running out of hot water. However, they were a bit more maintenance than gas or electric heaters.

One more point: the O.P. may not have the option of using a gas water heater, even using propane, if he can't get a vent to the outside. He says it's in a closet under the stairs...

lakeside53
07-09-2014, 03:42 PM
My meters have been "smart" for 7 years or so, but there is no peak demand based pricing here for residential.

A.K. Boomer
07-09-2014, 10:48 PM
I will check with my brother - he's an electrician and I thought he said certain residential that's set up for high amperage draw you can get penalized,


Im not sure what those tankless pull for amps but I would think if cold water is going in and hot water instantly comes out it has to be huge amps...

but I may have not heard him correctly and may be wrong on this, I'll ask him what's what at least for my state...

lakeside53
07-09-2014, 11:03 PM
The commercial units I spec'ed for bathrooms were 80amps at 208v. And we still had to add small heater tanks for the hand sinks 'cos the minimum flow rate for heat was too low - fine for showers but we got complaints that you had to turn up the sink taps high before you got hot water.

Carm
07-10-2014, 03:08 PM
Hey lynnl

Guess you're done by now.
If you went with an electric tank like you had, find the anode port and break the fitting loose, usually
1&1/16 hex. Re-tape with Teflon and make a note on your tank of the date.
Check it in a couple years. Replacing the anode prolongs the life of the tank...mine's going on 25 now
and I have acid water.
If you are still in the closet make sure you have the headroom for replacement.

michigan doug
07-10-2014, 05:12 PM
The touted advantage of the tankless is no heat loss from a storage tank that bleeds heat 24/7.

Here's an idea, insulation. If that's not good enough, add some more insulation. Tank losses can be made very small.

And let's look at it the other way. Where does the heat leak into? Oh yeah, your house. So in the spring, and the fall, and the winter, it will actually reduce the heat load on your furnace--a little. Not really waste heat then is it?

And if you have hard, or very hard water, the life span of your expensive tankless job can be significantly, if not drastically reduced.


doug

lynnl
07-10-2014, 06:53 PM
Well I learned some jaw-tightening news from one of the local plumbing supply outlets. Effective next April the gov't has mandated that all of the larger (e.g.80 gal) electric heaters mfg'd will be of the heat pump, or hybrid, variety. The smaller tanks, due to more stringent insulation requirements, will all be MUCH larger in diameter.
http://contractormag.com/residential-plumbing/new-efficiency-standards-residential-water-heaters-are-horizon
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/27

So in the coming years there are going to be droves of people like myself who need to replace their water heaters, only to find none available that will fit in their physical space! Arggh! Sonuvab*&$^%es!




Hey lynnl

Guess you're done by now.
If you went with an electric tank like you had, find the anode port and break the fitting loose, usually
1&1/16 hex. Re-tape with Teflon and make a note on your tank of the date.
Check it in a couple years. Replacing the anode prolongs the life of the tank...mine's going on 25 now
and I have acid water.


Carm, I'm not familiar with an anode port; didn't know they had one. Thanks, I'll have to research that.
What's the Teflon for ...just to permit ease of removal? Or does that break up an electrolysis circuit?

I haven't bought one yet, but I'm considering a 65 gal Rheem (from a plumbing supply house) with 6yr warrenty, or a 9yr 50 gal Whirlpool from Lowes. The Whirlpool has what they call a "Smart Sensor" to optimize the heating cycle diurnally or for vacation. But the Rheem guy said those Smart Sensors have proven to be troublesome. At any rate, both of those will fit through my doorway.

Carm
07-11-2014, 02:31 PM
The tape is just for ease of removal, use your favorite, Rectorseal, slic-tite,etc. It won't have any effect
on the cathodic protection.
I think you'll find extended year warranties are due to the anode....longer equals bigger diameter
and/or longer length.

ckelloug
07-11-2014, 04:34 PM
Lynn,

Many years ago, I bought a Marathon brand electric tank hot water heater at Park Supply Off of Jordan near Dykes Restaurant supply. It is all plastic except for the place where it connects to the water so that it can be soldered in. They're guaranteed leak free for 100 years since plastic isn't going to rust. I seem to recall it being somewhat expensive but not ever having to worry about it again seemed like a good idea to me.

lynnl
07-12-2014, 09:48 AM
Thanks Cameron, I'll check into that. I was in Park Supply a few days ago. The only brand they mentioned was Rheem, but that might have been due to the specs that I stated, capacity, dimensions, etc..

Willy
07-12-2014, 01:05 PM
Marathon is made by Rheem. Just replaced my old water heater two weeks ago after 30+ years of good service. I'll be very surprised if the replacement will even get close to half of that life before it pops. If I would have been aware of the Marathon series of water heaters I surely would have gone that route. They claim only a 5 temp loss in 24 hrs, plus a life time warranty. About 2-3 times the price of a conventional electric water heater but considering the performance and the fact it will be the last one you you have to deal with, it's money well spent.

A link to the Marathon series of heaters.
http://www.rheem.com/product/residential-electric-water-heaters-marathon