Gas Tank Storage Water Heater Help

chisueDecember 16, 2013

We had two gas 50 gal. Rheem Classic heaters in tandem. One failed last month The plumber moved our recirculator pump to the remaining tank and plumbed so that the house could use only that heater or a (new) second heater.

I'm researching a new second tank in expectation of the existing tank's failure. It's 12+ years old, and the plumber said it would fail more rapidly with the recirculator on it.

I just want another tank -- not interested in installing tankless.

Are there replacement tank heaters I can consider that meet the federal 0.82 (90%) efficiency rating that wouldn't require new venting? If not, what should I be looking for? Brands? Efficiency ratings? Costs?

We are now just two adults in a house with three bathrooms -- no waterfall showers or deep whirlpools. I'd look for a 50-75 gal. tank.

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No! Tank water heaters are going to have to meet the new EF (energy factor) of I think it is .63 in the next round. Word is they may go all the way to .70 someday. For comparison my tankless is .82 and they go as high as .95.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Apparently you run the recirculator 24/7? Doesn't it have a timer on it?

While ours does, I installed a X-10 plug in appliance module for it which allows me to start and stop the pump as needed. I have two X-10 remote control switches for the kitchen and the master bath. When hot water is needed we just press a button and the pump activates. It takes 1 minute for the bath and 5 minutes for the kitchen for the hot water to arrive. When hot water is no longer needed we turn off the pump. Yes, it's not quite as convenient but it saves a lot of energy (gas & electricity) compared to running the pump continuously. I chose X-10 over more costly and arguably better alternatives for remote control.

There are only two of us most of the time and we have 2 1/2 baths and only one 50 gal tank. Have yet to run out of hot water even taking consecutive showers and running the clothes or dishwasher at the same time.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Chisue, take a look at your gas consumption for typical summer months. That's likely a good indication of how much you've been spending to heat water (although going forward you'll probably have some savings simply by having one unit instead of two). And it's a starting point for thinking about how much opportunity you have to save money by using a more efficient water heater.

edited to add - your summer gas usage may also include cooking and clothes drying too.

I'm in an area with high gas prices, but for me heating water costs less than $25 per month. With that, a 25 percent savings (if it were achieveable) is hardly worth any effort and certainly isn't worth incurring any cost for. I've just replaced what I have with the same thing when needed so I have two mid-range grade conventional water heaters. They work fine and I consider the service to be very adequate. Like you, I have two heaters and I've replaced each once in 25 years.

azbound, wow, a 5 minute wait for hot water? How long is the wait if you just turn it on to run?

This post was edited by snidely on Sat, Dec 21, 13 at 20:48

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 6:31PM
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Re Snidley:
It might take less time but the water would be wasted (into a septic tank). The small pump probably moves the water at a slower rate than does system water pressure.

Apparently the OP runs the pump 24/7. That would provide instant hot water but at the cost of running the heater more frequently to offset cooling as the water circulates continuously.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 3:06PM
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azbound, that's an interesting approach you have. That just means that you're using a lot of cold water instead of hot water, most residential hot water usage is impromptu anyway (like hand-washing).

I don't think many people would be happy with such long delays.

I also have a septic tank and I don't consider any indoor water use to be wasted because it all replenishes the local aquifer.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 11:01PM
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The cold water is not used. It returns to the water heater. The system conserves treated water rather than just sending it into the septic system. So the good old water meter doesn't spin. If we had a well maybe it would be a different matter unless it had to be softened. Then there are costs for that treatment.

Yes, I realize that many people couldn't be bothered. Just one of the many problems our society faces these days.

If you like paying for replenishing the aquifer, more power to you.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:36PM
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