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Water Heater Install


Justin Hernandez

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The new energy standards for water heaters  have made water heater change outs a nightmare. As of April 2015 new more efficient water heaters have to be installed, these new units are bigger than previous models. Most times I have to down size from 38 gallon lowboy to 28 gallon which was done here. The worst design we have here in Florida is a water heater sitting on the floor and an air handler sitting right on top in a tiny closet which is the case here. This was a tight fit and I had just enough room to mount my disconnect switch without the closet door hitting it. 

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Man 28 gallons is a tiny ass water heater!! I hope it has a quick recovery. In Florida wouldn't it be easier to just go with an electric tank less water heater? In Michigan it wouldn't work as we have too deal with to much thermal rise unless electric is your only option the best thing is a gas fired tank less unit.

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I put in a lot of electric tank less heaters the problem is that they have to be wired with #6 gauge wire 60amps the old heaters are #10 gauge 30amps. Which can get pricey to install but people love the fact that they think there going to save so much money on the electric bill and gain two square feet of storage. Which you're not going to save very much the unit is drawing like 40amps as soon as you turn the water on the lights dim in the whole house because of the amp draw. The real problem is the units don't last because there undersized they really are made for a point of use type not the whole house. But that's what everyone puts in because that's the only feasible option for electric tank less what is really need is the 100amp model but its super expensive. After a little while the homeowner hates the tank less and all plumbers know there junk, just stay away from electric tank less. We have some natural gas heaters here but that's only in the really old neighborhoods. The best set up would be a natural gas tank less, our crappy water doesn't help much either. 

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  • 1 month later...

Sounds like you know water heaters so can I ask a question? We bought a cabin up in the mountains above Southern California (Idyllwild)

It's a very charming place but super small. 1 bedroom, 1 bath, & an attached enclosed deck that doubles as an office & 2nd bedroom.

The back door to the deck is blocked by a stacked washer/dryer while a more convenient spot is occupied by a traditional (propane) water heater. We can't use the mud room because of the layout.

I was thinking it might be possible to remove the water heater, put the washer/dryer in its place, add a tankless on the wall where the washer/dryer was. In this way I would have access to my back door and mud room.

We don't live in the cabin full time and we try not to use too much water. (Septic) it does snow but I hear the snow doesn't last long. Would an electric work in this situation or is gas till the way to go?

We are 'on the grid' for electricity but have a very large propane tank for gas.

Any advice is welcome

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It may only be practical if you use a lot of warm water, but what about a heat pump driven water heater? 

 

If it is hot outside, you could even use the cold side (evaporator) as an air conditioner while heating the water.

Using the heat of the house to heat the water, two birds with one stone. Low electric bill, no pollution, and extremly high efficiency. But yeah, high initial cost. 

 

The heat problem is not a problem from where I live, but it's getting a bit more common to drill 100-200m hole, and use a water to water heat pump to heat up the house and water heater. But sure, if you don't have ice cold winters (live in a warm place), you could use it like I mentioned at the top. 

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Sounds like you know water heaters so can I ask a question? We bought a cabin up in the mountains above Southern California (Idyllwild)

It's a very charming place but super small. 1 bedroom, 1 bath, & an attached enclosed deck that doubles as an office & 2nd bedroom.

The back door to the deck is blocked by a stacked washer/dryer while a more convenient spot is occupied by a traditional (propane) water heater. We can't use the mud room because of the layout.

I was thinking it might be possible to remove the water heater, put the washer/dryer in its place, add a tankless on the wall where the washer/dryer was. In this way I would have access to my back door and mud room.

We don't live in the cabin full time and we try not to use too much water. (Septic) it does snow but I hear the snow doesn't last long. Would an electric work in this situation or is gas till the way to go?

We are 'on the grid' for electricity but have a very large propane tank for gas.

Any advice is welcome

In your case you do need a tank less unit. Do you know how many amps your electric service is?? 

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I don't know what the specs are for main/feed. I did do a quick check and found no grounds. I installed GFCI as a temporary solution. I will have to check the main panel and ground in the mudroom. The place doesn't use much power though, I'll try to do a power survey next time I'm up there. I'm going away tomorrow to a field bio trip with my wife. We are leading about 20 college students to Channel Island National Park, there's a restricted portion on Santa Cruz Island we visit. Mostly restoration and education, so no fun outdoors 4x4.. :( I should be back up in the cabin in a few weeks.

 

I have never replaced a water-heater or tankless, I can sweat pipe, electrical, & carpentry though. You think I can handle the swap or should I hire a pro? I'm thinking I need a pro.

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I don't know what the specs are for main/feed. I did do a quick check and found no grounds. I installed GFCI as a temporary solution. I will have to check the main panel and ground in the mudroom. The place doesn't use much power though, I'll try to do a power survey next time I'm up there. I'm going away tomorrow to a field bio trip with my wife. We are leading about 20 college students to Channel Island National Park, there's a restricted portion on Santa Cruz Island we visit. Mostly restoration and education, so no fun outdoors 4x4.. :( I should be back up in the cabin in a few weeks.

 

I have never replaced a water-heater or tankless, I can sweat pipe, electrical, & carpentry though. You think I can handle the swap or should I hire a pro? I'm thinking I need a pro.

Have fun on your trip!! Most likely your electrical service can't handle the load of the electric tank less from what your telling me. It would be a much cheaper option than propane tank less, for a propane tank less you need 3/4 cold water line, 3/4 gas line, 3/4 relief line, 120 volts for controls, and stainless steel flue pipe through the roof which is very expensive. An electric tank less just needs a 60 amp 220 line and 3/4 cold water pipe and 1/2 hot water pipe. Maybe you can do some of the work yourself for the propane unit and just hire out the flue piping and gas piping which is the most critical part of the system. Also a propane unit will cost about 3-4 times more money compared to the electric tank less just to the buy the unit. If you have more questions ask away and let me know what you decide to do :)  

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That is true but the condensing tank less unit cost more to buy versus a propane unit. You also have to run a drain line for the condensing tank less. Another way would be to buy an outdoor tank less which would be direct vent but than getting all the piping outside would be pricey. It would be nice to just put an electric Titan N-120 in and be done with it 

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I'm back from my Island adventure. It was a blast! I will post some pics in another post later. I should be headed up to the cabin Wed. I need to take a look at the deck and get started replacing it. I'll take some PIC so you guys have a better Idea what I'm working with. Thanks for all the help guys.

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I am knowledgeable on many things, and one thing I would like to know is why I have to run the water in our shower for almost 5 minutes before it gets hot.  Never had this issue in any placed I lived in while I grew in Wisconsin, soon has I moved here to Ohio, every placed I lived in needs to run the water for a period of time before it gets hot.

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I am knowledgeable on many things, and one thing I would like to know is why I have to run the water in our shower for almost 5 minutes before it gets hot.  Never had this issue in any placed I lived in while I grew in Wisconsin, soon has I moved here to Ohio, every placed I lived in needs to run the water for a period of time before it gets hot.

You may want to invest in a recirculation pump.....you'll never have to wait for hot water again.

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I am knowledgeable on many things, and one thing I would like to know is why I have to run the water in our shower for almost 5 minutes before it gets hot.  Never had this issue in any placed I lived in while I grew in Wisconsin, soon has I moved here to Ohio, every placed I lived in needs to run the water for a period of time before it gets hot.

The guys have made some good points. Does the sink faucet in that bathroom take the same amount of time to get hot water or does the shower take longer?? Do you have a tub spout??

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  • 3 weeks later...

I put in a gas 95%+ tankless a few years back. Fairly simple install and works fine. I'm Noticed a big savings in my utility bill compared to my old 80gal electric.

One reasons why the water may take 5 minutes to reach your shower is; they may have ran a 3/4" hot water line up to the bathroom. That is a lot more water then a 1/2" line that you often see. Especially with a low flow head, it takes time to clear out all that hot water.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I put in a gas 95%+ tankless a few years back. Fairly simple install and works fine. I'm Noticed a big savings in my utility bill compared to my old 80gal electric.

One reasons why the water may take 5 minutes to reach your shower is; they may have ran a 3/4" hot water line up to the bathroom. That is a lot more water then a 1/2" line that you often see. Especially with a low flow head, it takes time to clear out all that hot water.

You're right that's why I was asking if the bathroom faucet took the same amount of time, plus the shower diverter many be mixing to much cold water with the hot water. If he tests with the sink assuming he doesn't have a low flow aerator and gets the same results than its most likely a piping or distance problem.   

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