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Tankless Water Heaters in Residential

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  • Tankless Water Heaters in Residential

    Various "on-demand" water heaters have been installed in commercials construction for years. But in a recent artical in Reeves Journal (August 2005), it was mentioned that their use in residential is growing rapidly.

    I was wondering if any of you in the residential field have been installing them.

    the dog
    the dog

  • #2
    DOG, GOOD TOPIC. INTERESTING THAT SOMANY OF MY CUSTOMERS HAVE ASKED ME ABOUT THESE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.

    TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, THE ANSWER IS NO. I BOUGHT 1 FOR MY HOUSE LAST MONTH. MY WIFE DOESN'T WANT ME TO SPEND THE TIME AND EFFORT ON IT.

    A FEW FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN THINKING ABOUT THE WHOLE PICTURE.
    #1- THE COST OF THE UNIT AND ALL THE ACCESSORIES. THE SMALLER UNITS, LESS THAN 6GPM ARE APPROX. $700. WHOLESALE. THEN ADD IN THE STAINLESS STEEL CAT.#3 VENTING IF INSTALLED INDOORS. THEN THE LARGER GAS LINE FOR THE UNIT. 200,000+ BTU.
    THE SAD PART IS MANY PLUMBERS? HAVE NOT DONE THIS. THE BIGGEST MISTAKE, ACCORDING TO THE NORITZ REP IS WRONG VENTING AND GAS LINE TOO SMALL.
    #2- A RECIRC. SYSTEM IS A LITTLE TRICKY. THE HEATER WILL FIRE WITH FLOW. YOU NEED TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. ALSO IT KIND OF DEFEATS THE WHOLE ENERGY SAVING THING.
    #3- SURE IT SAVES ON HEAT LOSS, GAS BILLS. BUT IN MY OWN HOME, IT WOULD BE PEANUTS. I PRESENTLY PAY $50.00 TO THE GAS CO. THIS LAST FOR 3 MONTHS AT A TIME. YES I DO BATHE MORE THAN JUST ON SUNDAYS. SOMETIMES 3 TIMES A DAY. YES, THE WIFE COOKS AT HOME,GAS. YES THE DRYER IS GAS TOO. AS IN MY APPLICATION. THE NUMBERS DON'T ADD UP.

    A PERFECT APPLICATION WOULD BE A LARGE BATHTUB THAT GETS USED ALL THE TIME.
    A HEATER THAT CAN PRODUCE 13 GPM IS VERY COSTLY. APPROX. $3000.
    REMEMBER THE THE HEATER IS RATED FOR THE MAX. FLOW. IT WILL NOT FLOW ANYTHING BEYOND THESE NUMBERS.
    THEY ALSO RECOMMEND TO FLUSH OUT THE HEAT EXCHANGER EVERY YEAR WITH VINEGAR. MOST HOMEOWNERS NEVER FLUSH OR DRAIN A NORMAL TANK HEATER.

    IN A PERFECT APPLICATION, I WOULD INSTALL THE HEATER OUTSIDE, NO VENT. NEXT TO THE GAS METER WITH NO CIRC. LOOP.
    LAST PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. NO POWER, NO WATER. INSIDE OF THE UNITS LOOKS LIKE WHAT YOU SEE IN A LAPTOP COMPUTER. THESE THINGS ARE MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN A LARRS OR RAYPACK.

    STILL HAVN'T QUITE CONVINCED ME THAT THE FUTURE IS TANKLESS. LOOK AT THE SOLAR MARKET OF THE 70'S.

    MARK, CHIME IN.

    RICK.

    Comment


    • #3
      The small point of use instataneous units were very popular throughout the late ninties and first part of this decade. In strip malls where several retail outlets had only one unisex toilet room for each store the savings during construction was substantial and the operating savings of not keeping a tank hot was also enough to take into consideration.

      These units did not provide enough of a temperature gain during the winter time when incoming water is often below 40 degrees. As a result a few contractors have made a substantial amount of money around here going back and installing small tank heaters and pulling a 12/2 line to the breaker box.

      Very few are currently being installed or speced. here anymore
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also a few gas whole house units have been installed. (Sorry, should have read dogs first post a little closer.)I sort of agree with Rick in that they are more trouble than its worth considering a timer and a blanket will provide almost as much savings at a tiny fraction of the cost and maintenance.

        In a larger commercial or industrial application where the technology is more mature and the potential for savings is far greater the market is stronger. However most of these units still have a small holding tank with a circ pump to insure enough volume to meet demand.
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have only seen a few in homes but have done quite a bit in commercial. The problem I am seeing with commercial is in churches where the tankless heater is 150 feet away from the kitchen. Sometimes it takes 5-minutes or longer to get hot water to the sink.

          What I have being doing on those is installing a 6-gallon electric heater under the sink and running the supply from the tankless into the heater. That way I'm only heating 6-gallons of water but it gives them hot water until the tankless water arrives.

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            That makes sense. Any ideas as to the actuall utility savings you guys have experienced?
            Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Plumber,

              I think where you really save is in a commercial building where you only have a need for 8 hours per day 5 days per week. I think it would take a long time to see much of a savings in a home full of kids that are always using water.

              The savings is for the installations which have a need for a lot of hot water but the is infrequent and storage is costly.

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

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ToUtahNow:
                I have only seen a few in homes but have done quite a bit in commercial. The problem I am seeing with commercial is in churches where the tankless heater is 150 feet away from the kitchen. Sometimes it takes 5-minutes or longer to get hot water to the sink.

                What I have being doing on those is installing a 6-gallon electric heater under the sink and running the supply from the tankless into the heater. That way I'm only heating 6-gallons of water but it gives them hot water until the tankless water arrives.

                Mark
                Years ago I installed a few in some new resturants I worked on (back in the mid-80's) which heated the entire system. Since then I've installed quite a few in office buildings where the small heaters are located directly under or near the fixture.

                I'm not a big fan, because I have experienced numerous call backs on defective units.

                I'm not framiliar with any of the large or residential heaters so I won't comment on those. I was just wondering if any of you were involved in this trend, but it doesn't sound like it.

                the dog
                the dog

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rick,

                  The reason so many of your customers are asking you is probably because they listen to the same radio stations I do, which advertise tankless heaters about every 5 minutes.

                  the dog
                  the dog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I HAVE NOT PERSONALLY INSTALLED A TANKLESS RESIDENTIAL UNIT. I HAVE TAKEN A FEW CLASSES FROM THE MANUFACTOR. TAGAGI, NORITZ, RHEEM. ONCE AGAIN THE APPLICATIONS AND EXPENCE THAT I SEE FOR MY CLIENTS HAVE NOT BEEN WORTH IT. I HAVE SERVICED A FEW OF THE UNITS, SO FAR THE FEEDBACK HAS BEEN OK. THERE IS 1 CLIENT WHERE THEY DID A GUEST HOME AND WERE SOLD A VERY SMALL UNIT. PROBLEM IS IT IS ONLY RATED FOR 2.5 GPM. NORMALLY THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE FOR A SINGLE SHOWER, BUT THEN THEY INSTALLED A SHOWER WITH 2 HEADS AND 4 BODY SPRAYS. THEY CAN ONLY USE 1 HEAD SLIGHTY.
                    I PERSONALLY DON'T SEE THE PAYBACK ON A RESIDENTIAL INSTALLATION AT THIS TIME. GAS IS CHEAP, HEAT LOSS IS LOW. MY ONLY APPLICATION THAT I CAN SEE IS A HOME WITH A LARGE TUB AND A SMALL LOCATION FOR A TANK HEATER. EVEN 2- 50 GALLON HEATERS CAN SUPPLY MOST LARGE HOUSEHOLDS. PLUS THIS WAY THERE IS A BACKUP IF ONE LEAKS. I'VE DONE QUITE A FEW AND SO FAR NO ISSUES. 2 HEATERS CAN VENT INTO 1- 4'' VENT 2X 40,000 BTU. 1 1/2'' GAS LINE IS USUALLY LARGE ENOUGH. AND THE HEATERS ARE STILL WAY LESS EXPENSIVE THAN A TANKLESS. TANK HEATERS CAN DRAW AS FAST AS THEY FILL. TANKLESS ARE LIMITED TO THE SIZE MODEL YOU BUY. IF YOU NEED A HIGH GPM, THEN YOU NEED A LARGER HEATER.

                    THESE HEATERS DO WORK, BUT I DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE COST EFFECTIVE. THEY HAVE A PLACE, BUT I HAVN'T NEEDED IT YET.

                    RICK.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK:
                      I HAVE NOT PERSONALLY INSTALLED A TANKLESS RESIDENTIAL UNIT. I HAVE TAKEN A FEW CLASSES FROM THE MANUFACTOR. TAGAGI, NORITZ, RHEEM. ONCE AGAIN THE APPLICATIONS AND EXPENCE THAT I SEE FOR MY CLIENTS HAVE NOT BEEN WORTH IT. I HAVE SERVICED A FEW OF THE UNITS, SO FAR THE FEEDBACK HAS BEEN OK. THERE IS 1 CLIENT WHERE THEY DID A GUEST HOME AND WERE SOLD A VERY SMALL UNIT. PROBLEM IS IT IS ONLY RATED FOR 2.5 GPM. NORMALLY THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE FOR A SINGLE SHOWER, BUT THEN THEY INSTALLED A SHOWER WITH 2 HEADS AND 4 BODY SPRAYS. THEY CAN ONLY USE 1 HEAD SLIGHTY.
                      I PERSONALLY DON'T SEE THE PAYBACK ON A RESIDENTIAL INSTALLATION AT THIS TIME. GAS IS CHEAP, HEAT LOSS IS LOW. MY ONLY APPLICATION THAT I CAN SEE IS A HOME WITH A LARGE TUB AND A SMALL LOCATION FOR A TANK HEATER. EVEN 2- 50 GALLON HEATERS CAN SUPPLY MOST LARGE HOUSEHOLDS. PLUS THIS WAY THERE IS A BACKUP IF ONE LEAKS. I'VE DONE QUITE A FEW AND SO FAR NO ISSUES. 2 HEATERS CAN VENT INTO 1- 4'' VENT 2X 40,000 BTU. 1 1/2'' GAS LINE IS USUALLY LARGE ENOUGH. AND THE HEATERS ARE STILL WAY LESS EXPENSIVE THAN A TANKLESS. TANK HEATERS CAN DRAW AS FAST AS THEY FILL. TANKLESS ARE LIMITED TO THE SIZE MODEL YOU BUY. IF YOU NEED A HIGH GPM, THEN YOU NEED A LARGER HEATER.

                      THESE HEATERS DO WORK, BUT I DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE COST EFFECTIVE. THEY HAVE A PLACE, BUT I HAVN'T NEEDED IT YET.

                      RICK.
                      Rick,

                      I understand what you are saying, and agree with you. But, you may want to pay attention to the radio commercials, because they are your competitition. For my money, I would rather have you at my house than some idiot on the radio. But, I too am a plumber. Your market is homeowners who listen to the radio.

                      Listen to KFI (AM). If your customers are asking you about it, they want to know.

                      Some advice, which may be wrong.


                      Your Hero,

                      the dog
                      the dog

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        in my opinion this is one of the best threads.

                        was curious about them ,now i have no desire to go there. thank,s all
                        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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