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TankLess Water Heaters?

Brian W.

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I wanted to see who has questions about tankless water heaters. Also what questions people have. From my experiences these can work really well for a person or not work at all. To better educate my customers, I want to ask if anyone has questions. Also list any problems you ran into. If i can answer them or get the answer for you, I will.

I will start off by listing the FOUR Main questions you should have answered to before you buy or install.

1: Have You Checked Gas Sizing?

We recommend that with certain units you use a certain size gas line. If you do not have this size gas, you should contact the local gas company to see if the unit will get enough gas to operate smoothly.

2: Do You Have Enough Combustion Air?

Combustion Air is the air needed to supply oxygen in the tankless water heater’s combustion chamber. The air can be supplied from within the basement, or from outdoors. Check the manual to ensure you have enough combustion air.

3: Do You Meet the Install Clearances (Inside and out)?

Dependent upon the layout of your home, it may not be possible to install a tankless water heater in your home because it must be placed a safe distance away from combustible materials, other heat using appliances, etc….

4: Have You Checked The Vent Type, Including Clearances?

Because the unit heats water as it passes though it quickly, the unit requires a different vent then the typical tank water heater. It is Very Important to insure you have the proper vent type and meet the clearances for the venting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a post I made after reading though another groups questions.. Thought i would share.

HI All,

I Sale Tankless Water Heaters. With that said let me say, I'm not here to sale anyone anyone on Tankless. I'm here to gain feedback of problems people face so I can better train my team on how to sale them. As you may have already read. A Tankless isn't for everyone. I'm going to answer some of the common questions people tend to ask and and address a few peoples feed back about the units... If you have questions don't hesitate to ask! I'm not a technician. I was trained on the units and can get most questions answered.

Question #1

How Much Money Will I Save? This is VERY VERY hard to answer. A few things come into play.

1. How much does gas or power cost?

2. Where do you live (hot climate or cold)?

3. How big is your house?

4. Do you take long showers?

5. Do you wait for the water to run out before getting out of the shower?

6. How far the distance between water heater and fixture that will use the water heater.

7. A few others I can't think of at this time.

The US Average is about 15-30% in savings. This is strongly based upon you keeping your normal water usage habbits.

Example: A person brought the unit from us and called upset that their water bill went up. After trouble shooting with tech. Come to find out they were taking longer showers. They had been taking a shower until the tank ran out of hot water.

Question #2

Which unit is right for me?

This question is very easy to answer yet a few people get it wrong. The unit works by heating water as it passes though the unit. If your water is cold, it shows the water down in order to heat it to the temperature you have set. A lot of people try to insure they can run All water fixtures at the same time. The truth is we don't. Most people run shower (or two) or dishwasher (also check to see if the dishwasher heats its own water!) or washing machine. It's not often you will take a shower(s) and do a load of laundry while doing the dishing.

Example: (Real Experience) A lady was sold (*sigh*) a Electric water heater. The units out put max is about 2.6 Gallons per minute. She brought it in June. Loved it! Even sent us a email about how much she liked it.... However... November came... She can't take a hot bath. Reasons:

Her in-ground water temp went from 60*F to 40*F. Because the unit needed to slow the water down.. It was giving her about 1gpm...

When you are picking a unit out. You should mostly consider the things that are major to you. Most people only worry about a shower. Lets face it, if it takes 10 or 30 minutes to do a wash you don't really care, when you do care, most likely you've forgot to wash something. Remember if your going to add on to the house or sale the house, it might be wise to upgrade to the next size water heater.

Question #3 (no one ever ask... but should)

Is a Tankless right for me?

I have yet to have anyone ask me this question. Yet it is a question to be answered. This isn't the perfect answer but can give you a general idea of what to think about or who could install a unit. Many of the units are in Europe and work really really well. The reason being they don't have long distance to go for water and they have a water heater everywhere water is used. (so I'm told/read).

Yes: Building a new home, a Tankless can work well for you. You are able to lay out the the plumbing plans somewhat so you have the best travel of water. Also you are able to get the size pipe (Gas/Water) wanted by the water heater manufacturer. I bold the gas because it Is a MAJOR factor for the water heater.

Maybe: Home that has shower(s) far from Tanless unit. The reason for a maybe is because you will have a long wait time dependent upon where the water heater is. If you have the water heater in the garage and your bedroom shower is on the side of the house. This is still a problem with a Tank Type water heater. It could be cheaper to put in two tankless water heaters than to put in two tankless.

Maybe: Teenagers... They tend to take longer showers. If you have a Tankless unit.... It won't run out of hot water. Which means.. They don't have to get out of the shower; running up your water bill.

Yes: People who travel. Pretty easy.. your not home for 3 months... It's not working for 3 months...

NO/but...: People who use baseboard heating &/or have a re-circling system. This is a trick question. Most companies will tell you no. This is right yet.. you can do a trick to get it to work. The water heater itself can not have preheated water go though it. Most of the units will simply not turn on.

Maybe: Outdoor This is really really dependent upon the Where you live. A lot of the units Claim to work well in cold climates. Which is right. They do work. However like most things cold air, rain, and everything else outside can cause the unit to break down. We haven't had any bad experiences. I don't expect us to have any. The real question is, how long will the unit last.

I can't think of anything else at the moment. If you have any others post away!

Answers to some of the questions or comments i've seen...

GMac Said:

1. Cost - the cost of an all-house unit is $900-$1400 and that does not include installation, which runs $1000-$1200 (our cost for the unit and installation was $2140). In addition, there is a yearly inspection that is required by a licensed plumber/installer in order to maintain your warranty (our cost was $75 per inspection). Note that the cost for the water heater that replaced the tankless water heater was $629 installed.

2. Warranty - although a tankless water heater may last for 30 years, we could not find a manufacturer with a warranty of more than 12 years.

3. Payback - it really depends on how much natural gas you use in a year and how much of that natural gas is used to heat water, but it is highly unlikely that you will ever say a payback on a tankless water heater. For our household, our natural gas bill runs about $400 on a yearly basis and I assumed 25% was to heat water (most experts’ say 20%). I further assumed that the tankless water heater will reduce my cost to heat water by 50% (most experts’ say 25%). Taking the difference between cost/installation of two water heaters ($1511) and dividing by the yearly savings to heat water, it would over 30 years to recover the difference,and that doesn't include the $75 annual inspection fee.

The Cost of these units range. I've seen $350.00 to $1,100. (this is for the brands we sale however). Installation is tricky. I've seen as low as $150 bucks.. And as GMac said... upward $1000. It various on a few things.

1. What city you live in?

a. Are you in New York, New York?

b. Mt. Vernon IL?

2. How many changes do you need to make to install the unit?

a. Do you already have the right gas line size?

b. Do you need a lot of vent pipe?

3. Who are you seeking to install the unit?

a. From selling these units.. I've seen the companies that are "Trained Installers" (trained by the manufacture) tend to charge more. While the plumber down the street charges less.

b. If you do hire the guy down the street. Download & Print the manual! Have him read it insure he/she is clear on how to install the unit.

Warranty - Yes, they are rated to last 12+ years, however, how many other items do you own that will last much longer than the warranty is for? Your Car being a really big one, TVs.

Payback - This is very very dependent upon your house situation. I believe answered this one up above. However I haven't heard of the requirement to have someone look at the unit to keep the warranty. I'm looking into this with the two brands we sell.

RK44 said:

When these units break, you're ability to regain an operable unit takes days, not hours. Why? Because you can't find these parts for these units at your hardware store, your big box store, even your local plumbing supply house. They'll have complete units but they won't stock repair parts like flow switches or the expensive control panel. They got you once, right at the beginning, now it's the mouse and cheese equation to find those parts in a timely manner, then find someone willing to even work on one.

Great points made. However.. out of the year that we have been selling units. I've only seen one instance were we couldn't get a part. I do want to add in we aren't tech. It maybe that no one has called us about parts being on back order. We do not however get a lot of people calling us looking for parts. Believe me, I do hear about the units if something is wrong. We have found that a lot of plumbers aren't installing them correctly. It is a Tankless Unit NOT a Tank style unit. The tricks used on tanks don't work... Such as Turning up the heat on the tank, so when you take a shower you mix more cold to even it out. This would allow your tank to last longer. We receive get Lots of calls with people saying I take showers at 130*F.... We can only reply with.. that will burn you really really bad.. I can't stress it enough do your homework. Insure the installer reads and understands how to install the unit.

I'm not going to say a Tankless unit is for everyone. But don't count it out...

If you have any questions ask away!

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