Home energy audit/tankless water heater cost

hmsweethmJanuary 5, 2010

Hello. I am posting this question here, and in the plumbing forum. We had an energy audit performed in our old house in NJ, and got great advise on how to make our home more energy efficient. It is a 120-year old house with little insulation, so of course that was one of the biggest recommendations, to insulate all over. I have no quarrel with that. Our water heater is really old, and they recommended replacing with a tankless water heater -- two units, in fact, to accommodate our family of five in this house with just under 4,000 square feet of living space in three floors. We have 3.5 baths.

The cost of those units, they said, with installation, was $8,000. That sounds really steep to me. While I sort of believe in the concept of tankless -- it would be great not to heat water you're not using, and nice to have an endless supply of hot water, especially for our jetted tub -- I can't see paying that much.

My questions are, is that a reasonable price for two tankless units, Navien brand, and does a house this size and a family like ours, really need two units? The other alternative is to go with one traditional 75-gallon water heater.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for your input.

And by the way, the temperature here lately has been around 20 degrees, to give you an idea of our climate.

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You should call and get at least 3 quotes from reputable companies in your area. In a 120 year old house, there are assuredly obstacles and challenges running new pipes for both the water as well as gas/electricity for the units themselves.

Just as a baseline - I googled that brand and found prices at about $1,500 per unit for gas. The rest is labor. Also, those appear to be one of the more expensive brands, so you should ask about your options.

Personally, in a 120 year old house, I bet this is one of your least cost effective ways to save energy.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 1:06PM
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Bill, I think you're right that this is the least cost effective way to save energy. We're going with the insulation, but I think we're going to replace our old water heater with another traditional water heater, a gas powered one.
Thanks for your help. This forum is always great and teaches me a lot.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 9:43PM
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hmsweethm - for what it is worth, I'm renovating a 1912 2-story colonial. In my experience, these are the things that have had the biggest impact/bang for my buck.

1) Sealing leaks. I think the house was just one big leak! Caulk, spray foam, weather stripping etc by the carload.

2) High efficiency furnace and A/C. The house didn't have heat upstairs, so we had to use space heaters the first winter!

3) Attic Insulation - someone had put R-15 in about 30 years ago, but it was flattened and pretty useless.

4) Wall insulation - I thought this would help most in winter, but it really moderated temps in summer too.

5) Window coverings - we have old, single pane windows (historic) so they are just never going to be efficient. We put up roll shades with curtains over them.

6) Pipe insulation - super cheap but made an immediate difference. The "hot" water stays hot on the second floor now instead of cooling down along the way.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:29AM
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8000 for water heating is crazy. it will never pay off. just get a modern hi eff tank heater and that will be your most cost effective way to go.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 12:01PM
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