tankless water heater

memahAugust 18, 2011

We are thinking of putting in a tankless water heater instead of replacing our old hot water tank. It seems to take forever to get hot water from the garage to the kitchen (60+ ft away) and to the master bath (40+ ft away). Would this help for this problem? Any suggestion of brands to look at? Or any suggestions of what to do instead of getting the tankless water heater?

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Tankless heater will not solve your problem. The heated water will still have to travel the entire length of the pipe which means it will still have to push out the entire volume of cold water in the pipe first....which means your "forever" problem will still be with you.

To solve this problem will require a recirculation device, probably with timer. Pretty common installations. Such devices have been discussed many times on this forum. Use the "search" function.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 1:35PM
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Tankless is expensive. You may need bigger gas or electric service increasing the cost even more. Go to the US DOE web site and find worksheets to use your local fuel costs to pick a water heater. Consider heat pump water heaters and solar for economical water heating in the long run, but the up-front cost is high.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 8:14PM
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Tankless *could* solve the problem, but TWO would be required. One installed at the master bath to service it, and another at the kitchen area ... but I don't imagine that's what you have in mind to do.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 9:46PM
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The only problem with that idea is you cannot install a gas fired water heater in a bathroom, bedroom or any room that opens directly into a bathroom or bedroom.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 11:09PM
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Electric tankless units are available. The OP does not state whether gas or electric is involved. I know electric tankless is disparaged for various reasons but they have flexibility of installation that gas does not.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Thank You everyone for your help. Our currrent hot water tank is gas. We have had 2 people out and both said it would cost us over $4000 to put in the tankless heater and both recommended we replace our old tank and put in the recirculation device.
Thank You again.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 10:12AM
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Memah, glad you decided to go with the recirculation device.

I'm posting my experience just in case what we went through can be helpful to someone else. We have 2 tankless water heaters in our home, and 1 traditional hot water tank.

It was a huge learning curve for me with a couple of expensive mistakes.

As Dadoes says, a tankless could solve the problem...but the tankless would have to be installed at the site of the source that you need to heat up.

We have a large, gas tankless that heats 2 bathrooms that are in close proximity. We are able to have gas because the tankless is mounted on an exterior wall, outside.

My vegetable sink in my kitchen was installed after the house--on a slab--was built. We had to crack open the slab, run pipes, and then install the sink with an electric tankless hot water heater placed right there in the kitchen cabinet under the veggie sink.

As it turned out, the small model we got could only raise the temperature of the ground water enough to provide lukewarm water--and we live in the deep Southern US, in Zone 9! I researched the heck out of it (and I'm a researcher by profession, so I *really* looked into this) and discovered that in order to get HOT water to that veggie sink, I'd have to buy a very large, $900 tankless water heater. I did, but it wasn't fun. We had to have multiple electricians try their hand at running the (now thicker) electrical cord through to the veggie sink, which involved maneuvering through 90 degree angles and a lot of skill.

We now have very HOT water at the veggie sink.

The kicker is, we still have 2 sinks in the house (powder room and main kitchen sink) that take forever to get hot water from the one tank we have that supplies them. It doesn't bother me, but I've spoken to a plumber, and if it did, I'd DEFINITELY go with the recirculation device.

The biggest lesson learned, for us, was that if you want HOT water, you need a tankless water heater powerful enough to *significantly* raise the temperature of your groundwater. You have to examine the groundwater charts for your area, and the spec sheets for the various heaters. From what I learned, the smaller, cheaper models just don't cut it.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 8:10PM
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Although I'm a fan of gas tankless heaters in the right application, this wasn't it.

A traditional tank heater with a circulating pump is the right answer.

Of course, I think a builder who builds such a house should be beaten - but that's neither here nor there.

Be sure that you have the hot water lines and the return lines insulated. You don't want to lose all of that heat to the surrounding air.

Re: Madeline616 comments above: It is absolutely necessary to understand the sizing, temp rise, and energy requirements of a tankless heater. I think a lot of tankless installations get a bad rep because the people who installed them didn't understand how to size them, install them, or even decide if they were appropriate in the first place.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:39PM
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Amen to what you said. It was so expensive and frustrating to have installed a tankless that was, simply, entirely too small and piddly for my sink, and having to re-do the project with a much larger/more powerful unit...for just 1 sink!

Hoping others who are getting a tankless will read this and do the research re: groundwater temperature and the tankless's ability to raise the temperature "X" number of degrees above the groundwater. It takes a bit of looking into, but it is so worth it!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 8:02AM
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