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Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

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  • Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

    This topic won't die. After reading Tankless HW heater vs tanked?, and very similar thread that occurred two years ago, and now the Power Vent Water Heater - HELP!! thread, it seems as though some sort of cheat sheet would be appreciated by homeowners and contractors alike.
    So in the same vein as Garager's When Meeting a Contractor thread, perhaps I could start the list with a few of your previously mentioned opinions, and you guys could edit and amend the list? I would love to be able to have a document I could print out and give to clients. It would probably be easiest to assume the heater is serving bath/kitchen fixtures, and not home heating. I thought you guys could fill in the blanks of unit costs, but best to leave install costs unquoted.

    Tanked Gas:
    Low unit cost of approx ___ to ___ dollars.
    Low install cost.
    Should be flushed every ___ years.
    New anode rod every ___ years.
    Ballpark life expectancy of ___ years.
    Powervent Tanked Gas:
    Unit cost of approx ___ to ___ dollars.
    Side vent may require additional install time.
    No chimney required.
    Should be flushed every ___ years.
    New anode rod every ___ years.
    Ballpark life expectancy of ___ years.
    Tankless Gas:
    High initial unit cost of approx ___ to ___ dollars.
    Higher install cost.
    Typical use yields lower gas consumption/gas bills.
    Annual flushing required.
    "Endless" hot water supply means no one gets a cold shower.
    "Endless" hot water supply can be abused by teens.
    Best for small spaces.
    No chimney required.
    Ballpark life expectancy of ___ years.
    Lowered gas bill may offset higher initial price in ___ years?
    As conditions vary due to location and water needs, your local plumber will be able to assess your situation best.

  • #2
    Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

    You have to include something very important though...



    You have to maintain a tankless heater, there's no two ways around that statement.


    You cannot install it and forget it like a tank water heater, which is the majority of all users of the product.


    Another important consideration:

    Can the installer also service the device?


    On tank heaters, I'll service a gas heater but not an electric. An electric is a waste of my time these days because I open up a situation where I can't get OEM thermostats or elements for the wide variety of them. If the customer hasn't drained the heater from the go, you could be doing them a grave injustice by removing that lower element, then the tank blows because you've disturbed the sleeping dog.


    On a PowerVent Water heater, I can install them but I don't want to service them. Parts too expensive and can be very expensive, tank could go within a few months/days or weeks from working on the unit and now you have a bad name for not trying to upsell? Don't think so.

    I just refer to a guy who's been doing it all along, has all the parts and background knowledge. I lose about 30-40 calls a year in this move.


    Tankless sounds good until you get into convincing the customer to spend thousands, not hundreds.

    And then be honest and explain that they are forced by hand to either spend money on the maintenance, or do it themselves. Big difference from a tank heater that is so cut and dry in its application; put it in and forget it.


    So SO many people do not maintain their plumbing, it's evident when I walk through the door. Tankless does however entertain a small percentage of folks that don't mind the application and its costs, and that perfectly fits the need in that way.



    WTF is that in your avatar? Macaroni cheese noodle? I've ate more mac n' cheese in the past week than I have in months after seeing that. Dammnit!
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

      Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
      WTF is that in your avatar? Macaroni cheese noodle? I've ate more mac n' cheese in the past week than I have in months after seeing that. Dammnit!
      Don't you Kentucky folk know a fresh cheese curd when you see one?
      The fresher they are, the more they squeak!
      And as for your avatar, I hope that's a shirt you're wearing, and not the color of your skin after eating too much Mac n' Cheese.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

        I have made a decision to quit cold turkey on the tankless debate. I just can't keep putting myself through the agony. I don't give a rats rear what anyone puts in as long as they make a damned decision.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

          Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
          I have made a decision to quit cold turkey on the tankless debate. I just can't keep putting myself through the agony.
          That's exactly why I thought this would be a good idea. To compile short objective facts so that the debate can be put to rest. All options have pros and cons, and if all the info is in one place, people can judge for themselves which factors are most important to them. (Had we done the same thing for the pres. candidates, maybe we wouldn't have lost a member.)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

            Just a thought.

            I have installed both as a single unit.

            What I mean is, the tankless was used to pre-heat the cold prior to entering the cold side of the hwt (we don't use LPG up here, too cold for most of the year).

            A bronze body circ pump, temperature senser, and a mixing valve where used. This was installed in a detached bungalow with a hw heating via boiler. There was also alot of room in the laundry/mech. room.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

              Shouldn't the tankless be on the outlet side of the tank? By putting on the inlet side you still put the output under restriction as the tankless is controlled by flowrate.

              By putting it on the outlet side, it will run at full flow regardless of gpm until depletion of the tank.

              Or is it better/more efficient your way but having a limit on gpm? Just seems like you have a tankless with an unnecessary tank in that no more hot water can be produced in the manner you describe.

              J.C.
              Last edited by BobsPlumbing; 09-14-2008, 10:22 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                Shouldn't the tankless be on the outlet side of the tank? By putting on the inlet side you still put the output under restriction as the tankless is controlled by flowrate.

                By putting it on the outlet side, it will run at full flow regardless of gpm until depletion of the tank.

                Or is it better/more efficient your way but having a limit on gpm? Just seems like you have a tankless with an unnecessary tank in that no more hot water can be produced in the manner you describe.

                J.C.

                Sorry, I should have explained better.

                The outlet of the tankless was tee'd into the cw supply to the hwt. There was also a tee off the outlet of the hwt to the inlet of the tankless.

                The tankless was used only to top up the heat of the heated water in the in the hwt.

                The hwt had it's own thermostat and ran independently of the tankless.

                Am I making Vinsense?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                  Kinda'. Would like to see a pic to make sure I get it. Thanks.

                  J.C.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                    Highly unlikely I can get a picture as the house in question has since been sold. I don't know if they kept the system.

                    Basically, a dhw system with the tankless tee'd in. When the demand was low, and the temp. sensor called for heat, the circ pump turned on until the temp in the hwt was reached. Pump supply to cold inlet, out the hw side of hwt, through the tankless, through the pump, repeat until hwt is up to temp. During high demand, the oil fire hwt (elec. too much $$) kicks in.

                    If memory serves me right, this was part of a Canadaian energy eff. study experiment. I can't say if it is currently being used as I am not privy to that info yet. I will however get info and get back to you on this.

                    I believe the idea was to use to btu's in the heating system (always hot during winter) during low demand so as to prevent the hwt from firing up during those periods of the day.

                    Clear as mud?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                      One advantage you could put with tankless is that a lot of tankless manufactures now offer wireless remote controls allowing one to set the water temperature to 105 degrees, in the case of a shower for example, thus allowing greater efficiency due to the fact the water does not have to be cooled prior to use. I believe they even allow you to set the gallons too. You could just simply state in your list, "Remote control of temperature with optional wireless remotes".

                      Edit:

                      You also state no chimney is required. Venting is definitely required for the gas based units, which may or may not require a chimney depending on the location unit. Electric units do not require a chimney or venting, but do require high voltage requirements.
                      Last edited by theoak; 09-14-2008, 07:12 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                        another thing that comes up is the technical aspect of the tankless.

                        my b.i.l./ joeys brother is in houston with hurricane ike

                        lost power and it might be off for weeks. fortunately he has a tank heater and can still take a warm shower. the house is fine, the trees are down and the pool is full of rocks from the water fall that was destroyed from the trees falling.

                        he had to stay as he's an e.r. dr. had no choice but to stay.

                        houston is the 4th. largest city in our nation. lots of homes are going to need rebuilding. there will be a surge in construction and i'm sure a surge in tankless.

                        i still won't recommend them to my customers with all the info i know on them.

                        rick.
                        phoebe it is

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                          No Rick. You are a licensed plumber with years of experience. There is no way you could have a more valid opinion than someone who has a tankless water heater themselves.

                          J.C.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                            Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                            No Rick. You are a licensed plumber with years of experience. There is no way you could have a more valid opinion than someone who has a tankless water heater themselves.

                            J.C.
                            You are finally seeing the light

                            Definitely, hot water storage would be an advantage that you could add on the tank side.

                            On the tankless side though there are UPS options too. I can not seem to find the link but there is a company that advertises a "tankless UPS". If memory serves it seemed to advertise something like 80 minutes worth of hot water. At 2.5 gallons per minute, that is a lot of hot water. Granted, this would only work in the case of just a power outage.

                            In extreme conditions like a hurricane, odds are you would not have gas either. A tank would give you 40/50/whatever gallons of clean, good water.

                            Edit:

                            Here we go, found the link.

                            If you Google the unit you find it anywhere from 70 to 90 dollars. I am sure another UPS brand/model would do the trick, so long as the specs matched.

                            Therefore, if you wanted, you could add something to the effect, "Use in power outage not possible, except with optional UPS."
                            Last edited by theoak; 09-15-2008, 08:30 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tankless Vs. Tanked Hot Water Heater Cheat Sheet

                              This subject seems time sensitive right now. Both Joey's brother and my son live in the Houston area. Power is said to be out for as long as a month. When Joey talked to her brother and when I talked to my son they both said "at least we have hot water for showers".

                              My son is considering loading the kids and pets and coming out to California for a month or so. However, it is just another reminder hot water is one of the comforts we have a hard time being without.

                              Mark
                              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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