tankless vs. tank water heater

jlirotSeptember 25, 2012

I have read some of the archives but still have some questions.

I have an interesting problem. I just did all the plumbing set up for my new construction. It's all in - including a recirculation loop.

at the beginning of the job my plumbers talked me out of a tankless unit. They said that with the size of the house they would recommend an 80 gal (I think) heater and recirc system. They said they would give me a tankless but that i wouldn't be happy with it. If I just use the tankless it would take a long time for water to get to the faucets and if i use the recirc - it would run all the time. So, I decided to go with the tank heater.

Fast forward to the end of the job. Where we have put a spot for the heater I was told I need forced air in and out because there is not enough air in the room and too many bends for the exhaust. The problem is that the cost of the heater and installation was quoted at $5K!!!

If I had known the cost ahead of time - I would have found a different spot for it.

Now, I'm wondering what I should do. Figure out how to put a tankless in - it's what I wanted originally. Or buy the $5k forced air and exhaust model. Or dink around with trying to move the heater location.

My house is about 2400 square feet. 2 sinks in kitchen, dishwasher, 2.5 baths, and a washing machine. and a plan to add another bath and sink downstairs (another 1k square feet) eventually (could add separate heater for that if needed).


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Would it be feasible to get a second quote from another plumber? Or, to relocate the water heater?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Sounds like your dealing with some amateur plumbers? Why are there some many bends in the exhaust flue on a new construction home? How did the permits get signed off on that idea? Sorry to be negative but none of this info makes any sense for a newly-constructed 2400sqft home. How many gallons of hot water do you need at any given time? I'm not a fan of Tank-less water heaters at all. When you have no electricity, you have NO hot water with those tank-less systems. With a standard conventional gas tank water heater you at least have hot water when you have no electricity. Example: Hot shower in the morning if the power is out. Do you have natural gas or propane available?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 3:55AM
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Sophie Wheeler

If it's a bad spot for the water heater and needs a lot of turns for the exhaust, then it's a bad spot for tanked or tankless. The only difference might be that a tankless will probably need a larger diameter pipe than a tanked and will take up less physical room in the utility location. It will still need a route to the exterior for the exhaust and supply. And since the routes for the hot water piping will remain the same, you'd still end up with the water at the fixtures at the same time. Now, if that tankless can go into the attic and have a straight run for the pipes out the roof, that might just work much better from a space planning aspect. But then you'd possibly have to reroute some of the home's plumbing to do that. Which wouldn't be a bad thing considering what you're saying about the tangled ball of yard that sounds like exists currently.

Get another plumber in to assess the overall design of the home's water distribution system as well as it's hot water production location. Sounds like it needs a complete revamp for whatever method of heating your water that you choose.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:23AM
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