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  • Tankless water heaters

    I saw in the past a topic about how bad are the tankless water heaters. I am new in WA State and some people, here in the condominium, are asking for replacement of the conventional water heaters for tankless ones (natural gas all of them) As I wrote in the past, I retired for many years and enter back recently in the market and trying to pass the exam , and I don't have the experience with those tankless heaters, so are those good now? Also, do the manufacturers give classes about?

  • #2
    Biggest issue with a swap out is the gas is typically undersized, 40,000 btu tank to 199,000 tankless.

    The other thing is proper venting material. B vent is not approved , you need stainless catagory c or pvc venting.

    forget about ever breaking even on the gas savings. Only thing green about them is the cash going into your pocket from their wallet.


    Rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Whoa! I really love the mentors here! All water heaters here are direct vents, so I think it will be complicate because the buildings are 3 floors and the vents run inside the walls.

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      • #4
        the only benefit of tankless is endless hot water. BUT only if it's properly commissioned. Some tankless will only accept stainless or polypropylene venting and NOT pvc.
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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        • #5
          I'm a plumbing contractor and built a new house with a top of the line Navien tankless. Works great. LP or NG compatible, 1/2" gas line, 2" PVC vent. I have natural gas, I ran 1" gas pipe to the tankless though and ran a horizontal vent. Josh

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
            the only benefit of tankless is endless hot water. BUT only if it's properly commissioned. Some tankless will only accept stainless or polypropylene venting and NOT pvc.

            There's more than 1 benefit................... The longer life of a copper or stainless heat exchanger (or the heater as a whole) is a benefit. A smaller size/footprint is a benefit. Home resale value for the customer is a benefit. A customer big on going 'green' will consider the higher efficiency a benefit. Offering a customer a cheaper (commercial) water heater package is certainly a benefit to them. Not having to remove a decades old elephant sized boiler from a basement and still having room for a new water heater package is a benefit. PVC venting is a benefit. Meeting recovery rate requirements easier is a benefit. Turning a new customer into a permanent customer due to happiness with their new heater is a benefit. I could go on for much longer but it's late.

            David

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            • #7
              some of the benefits you describe are not always 100% true
              ~~

              ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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              • #8
                Especially when a customer calls with no hot water. Test it, and call the manufacturer to verify its the mother board is shot. Part is located in Tennessee and its a friday afternoon. We are the largest market in the usa in so. Cal. Yet still no parts stocked locally. 27% of heaters sold here are tankless, yet they dont stock parts.

                for me, 1% of heaters installed are tankless. It would be less, but some of my customers need their tankless repalaced, or reinstalled properly.

                just had a call 2 days ago for a tankless. Only reason they want it is because their relocating their heater outside and don't want a shed.

                at the end of the day, there is no money savings when you factor in the initial cost and yearly cleaning. My $5.00 a month gas savings works out to $60.00 a year. Not enough to ever pay back compared to my old tank. Then add in the cost of power and having to add a pump to get the water to the kitchen faster. The constant starting and stopping while my high efficiency washer is filling. Its all snake oil.

                Rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  OK We, need suggestions on this. When Rick's Thankless Tankless gets replaced How does He destroy it on Video ? My suggestion Phoebe throws the detonator switch
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                  • #10
                    I won't install a tankless without local access to parts. I've installed Eternals for a few years and keep a permanent back up model at the shop.

                    David

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                    • #11
                      Problem is there are 3 major brands out here plus a couple not so major. Heaters out here meet different ratings and each model has different parts. Its literally impossible to keep current with every model and every brand out there. Its amazing the manufacturer who's corporate office is based out here, doesn't stock the parts. Supply houses stock dozens of their heaters, yet don't have any replacement parts.

                      at least with a tank heater, the few replacement parts necessary are either in stock at the supply house, or the local distributors warehouse.

                      Rick.
                      phoebe it is

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                      • #12
                        I'm on the fence with Tankless Water Heaters. I want to like them, but I tend to agree with Rick, there not much to gain by going tankless. You can get unlimited hot water from them(when there working), but they is just so much that can go wrong with them. I've put in some Naviens, and they have done well so far(knock on wood) and Rinnai seems to hold up well also. I'm thinking of putting a Navien in my house to get some personal feedback on them.
                        Will Rogers Plumbing
                        Moore, Oklahoma
                        (
                        405) 323-2852

                        "Your Solution for Any Sewer and Drain Cleaning Needs"

                        "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"



                        www.willrogersplumbing.com
                        http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

                        "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"

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                        • #13
                          Ok I have been servicing tankless heaters for a little over 10 years now. Here is the issues I have ran into.
                          1. Longevity is over rated. Most manufactures lowered their warranty period accordingly. I had dozens of various brands have part failures within 5 years of operation.
                          2. Parts can take a few days to a few weeks to get. No local supplier carries any of the parts. If the manufacture distribution warehouse in the states has the parts you get them in days. Otherwise the parts come from the country of origin and can take weeks. I had one part take 2 months to get.
                          3. When one of the many water connections inside get a pinhole leak (Supply pipe, heat exchanger, outlet pipe, bypass pipe) they tend to leak on the electronics. I have had two units that the electrical companies literally burn up, what kept the unit from starting a fire was the leak itself and the breaker eventually popping.
                          4. In the above situation it was a commercial job with multiple tankless heaters installed. The burned up unit needed to be replaced, the issue is with a system controller it must be the same model as the other. In both cases the model is no longer available. It was not just a model number name change (Noritz did this once so the newer model number names are the same as the older models) It was a flat out discontinuation of the model. So in other words if the owners wanted to get back to full capacity they would need to replace all the heaters, in these cases that would be six heaters.
                          There is more but these are the major issues I do not recommend installing these for a residential application. If I have a customer that wants a tankless system installed in their home, first thing I do is explain to them its in their best interest to install (2) two units, this way if one needs parts they will still have hot water while waiting on the parts, even though limited in capacity. I also explain to them they must, let me repeat that they MUST ensure the gas supply is properly sized to handle the increased BTU demand. The so called claims that the heater will "suck" the needed gas through a 1/2" line is total BS.

                          This last winter I had so many people call me due to no hot water calls.. Some issues were the gas meter was not rated for the total demand of the furnace running and the tankless at the same time. Another issue is undersized gas lines, many installers fell hook, line and sinker for the BS that some manufactures put out there saying their units work fine with a 1/2" supply. When the heater needed to run at full capacity (lots of people don't realize the heaters modulate for demand) it is no longer getting the needed supply of gas to run at the 199K+ BTU's especially in most cases the 1/2" line is tapped right off the 3/4" supply pipe that also supplies the dryer, and furnace. A couple other issues had to do with venting.

                          I remember when they first started marketing tankless water heaters, they used to always state how they used them for 50+ years overseas. What they failed to tell you is they rarely if ever used a single unit for the whole house. They installed multiple units at the point of use. In such an install, the heaters can be sized for the demand of water at the point of use, and only run part time so yes they will have a longer life.
                          Last edited by SewerRatz; 09-06-2014, 02:08 PM.
                          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

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                          • LG Maintenance
                            LG Maintenance commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Now that's what I call an informative post. Thanks.

                        • #14
                          What's with the home cheapo Rheem Tankless ? One of My new neighbors bought one and had it installed. I will go over and check the specs. size gas line and audit the total draw , chimney. The installer said nothing about yearly maintenance. I'll hand Her off to a good plumber friend 5 doors up from Her. She said He installed it for $500.00 ??
                          Last edited by toolaholic; 09-03-2014, 08:50 PM.
                          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                          • toolaholic
                            toolaholic commented
                            Editing a comment
                            It's a Rheem Eco sense 8.4 GPM 157,000 BTU TEED OFF A Munchkin boiler 3/4" gas line. No meter change. Does this need to be flushed yearly? No service valves ?

                        • #15
                          WHOA!!! How about an electric one? What kind of power it needs

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