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Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

Posted by impliedconsent (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 15, 10 at 8:26

Recently, while doing my "bi-decade" home inspection of all parts big and small of the house, I ran across our 17yr old hot water tank (A.O. Smith 40/G NG). There seemed to be some weird funkiness to the tank and it got me to think that I should replace it. After doing some research, I found that maybe I should have replaced that thing about 7yrs ago (which partially explains my cold showers ... the other part belongs to my wife ... anyway).
So, more research. I didn't find any tank water heaters that qualified for the 30% Energy Star initiative (best I found was .70EF). What I did find, which surprised me, were plenty of tankless that did qualify for the credit. More research...and narrowed it down to a brand called Navien and model NR-210A.
So, calling my local plumber(s), I wanted job quotes for: 1) install / replace tank water heater with one of the .70EF models ... and ... 2) install / replace to Tankless Navien. Here's where it gets ugly.

1) house was built in 1993, fist owner. Since it was built in 1993, the codes were different. For me to install a new tank HWH would require the company to install a square cement wall around the unit and deepen the ditch (it's in a "half" crawl space with 6' height). The existing unit is 48" and newer units are taller. BLUF: to replace with a .7EF HWH, 12yr warranty, do the install with construction will cost me about 3k and no 30% Fed Credit.
I've had 3 companies come out and they won't touch it without the modifications. My 3k quote was the low quote (I won't even suggest what the others were). From all the research I did, the Nevien consistently hit the top of the charts as it relates to EF and warranty (my 2 criteria). I provided each company with my research. I got responses from my research: from dumbfounded - never heard of companies like Navian or Noritz or Paloma ... to stunned happy surprise that a consumer did research. My research was done not on company market fluff, but the governments Energy Star program. As of right now, there are ZERO tank HWH's that qualify for the credit.

2) for 3.3k, I get a new Navien NR-210A (bells/whistles), .98EF and installation of circulation T's at the long runs on external circulation, 15/5yrs warranty ... and the 30% Fed Credit. To me it was no brainer. More efficiency, less cost overall after credit.

My math:
Standard tank: 3000.00
Tax Credit: 0.00
TOTAL: 3000.00

Tankless: 3300.00
Fed Tax Credit: 990.00
State Rebate: 199.00
TOTAL: 2111.00

Delta: 889.00 savings going tankless, + reduced gas costs.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

"Standard tank: 3000.00 "

That is an outrageously expensive water heater.

Did they gold plat the inside of the tank for corrosion protection?

RE: Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

If it didn't include delivery and 2 years of free gas, tell'm to take a hike.

RE: Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

Most of the cost was not the tank, but the construction they would have to do to get it to code. I'm not clear on exactly what the spec's of the code are; however, it involved creating a 4" minimum width, 4sided-concrete wall. They said because of the height of the 6' crawl space, they would have to dig a ditch deeper (certain spec) to comply with vent angles, etc...

I'm not a plumber, but 3 separate companies wouldn't touch a normal tank install without doing the modifications. Tankless: mount, hook-up, done. (I have a 1" gas main into the house, made it easier).

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