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Repalcing a Thermar LP tankless water heater.

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  • Repalcing a Thermar LP tankless water heater.

    This heater was probably installed in the 80s and according to the specs it's around 3.5GPM at 45 degree rise. We can only get parts mailed from a company in Florida and not all parts are available. Only 1 plumber in the area will work on it. The heater is now malfunctioning worse than usual (we've always had intermittent faults with the showers going cold/v hot on us- we have older bath fixtures- and as you can imagine, never really been able to run another faucet when running a shower. We have a 3 bed , 2 bath home-1800 sq ft. Heater is in closet in family bath.

    Now just had bath major remodel, and after the water (well water) was turned back on after the first fit problems were worse. The second time was disastrous. No hot water from kitchen faucet (closest to the water heater in family bath) unless we run another hot faucet at the same time. Can get shower temp water (ie hot and cold faucets on) from bath filler in family bath, but when pull the diverter to shower head it goes cold after 2-3 mins and have to hit diverter with toe and wait for it to warm again.
    Laundry(across hall) AND family bath sink faucet is fine WITH THE AERATORS OFF. Family bath faucet is new.
    In Master (furthest from water heater) can get HW from sink faucet (WITH AERATOR ON) but only if you turn on both HW sink faucets. Bath filler works fine.
    Shower (Grohe valve) doesn't trigger the heater even with another faucet on.

    We would love to be able to fix his heater as selling the house but not sure it's possible and it may be a put off for a buyer -it looks old and pre historic and is obviously under -sized for the house even though we've kind of managed with it for 6 years!

    We would quite like to replace it with a tanked heater because of the cost and tankless seem a little quirky (although in England we had a combi gas boiler for 10 years without much problem).There's room in the closet. Also- we have hard well water and a lot of largish sediment- although we only see it after the water has been off- never see it otherwise and water is clear without taste etc.
    I got a contractor from Lowes out today and he quoted me $2500 for a new tankless (the smaller 180 000 BTU Jacuzzi/Rinnai) and said you would be looking at the same cost for a tanked because of the work involved to change from tankless???
    Does $2500 seem high? The tankless unit is priced at $845 for gen public, looking at maybe $200 for venting materials. We have all the correct size gas pipes, the thing that controls the LP pressure and there's and electrical outlet in the closet and no attic space- so maybe 30 inches from top of heater to the ceiling. Existing hole in the ceiling roof would have to be made bigger for the tankless.
    What could take the $500 , maybe less, price of a 40 gallon tanked water heater up to $2500?
    Thanks for any help.
    Last edited by cheers; 06-13-2013, 09:18 AM.