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Discussion Starter #1
So my current HW heater is leaking, needs to be replaced. It's a pretty inefficient 40 gallon natural gas unit (56k btu/hour, 47.1 gal/hour recovery).

I live by myself, and the only uses for hot water are a single shower and the sink, so what I've got now is pretty overkill.

I'm thinking a tankless heater . . . do they work as indicated? In other words, if I got a cheap(er) one rated @ ~3.5 gpm, would I have any troubles getting/keeping good hot water for showers? Is it worth the 2-3x larger investment on the onset (compared to a traditional 30 or 40 gallon tank).

And how about electric vs. natural gas? Installation for both would actually be a pain - electric 'cause I'd need a high-amp outlet installed, gas because the gas lines under the house need to be replaced, and the crawl space isn't big enough to fit under there . . . which means ripping up the kitchen floor.

Any thoughts?
 

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¡¡¡ǝɹǝɥ sɐʍ sdnʇuǝɯǝɔ
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Heat you water on the stove.
 

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Living on a Warmer Buoy
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get large tub. place on top of firepit. place burnables in firepit. pour water into tub. ignite fire in firepit. wait until water is heated through. bathe yourself. repeat process for next bathing time.
 

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I house-sat for a guy at work that had a tankless water heater. I hated taking a shower there because the water never felt hot to me. However, I'm not sure if that was because the water heater couldn't put out hot enough water, or if he just had the temperature turned down (to prevent scalding, since he had 2 young kids).

If you don't want to go tankless, I'd say just spend enough money to get a good, efficient, gas water heater. I have 2 50-gal water heaters and my gas bill isn't that expensive (and my 2 furnaces and stovetop are gas, too).
 

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6MT RWD
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Just take cold showers. [Russell Peters] "Be a man!"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
2k5spd said:
I house-sat for a guy at work that had a tankless water heater. I hated taking a shower there because the water never felt hot to me. However, I'm not sure if that was because the water heater couldn't put out hot enough water, or if he just had the temperature turned down (to prevent scalding, since he had 2 young kids).
Yeah, that's what I'm worried about. On paper I think my situation is ideal for a tankless setup. I don't take especially hot or long showers - and there's less than 10 feet of piping to my bathroom, and only 15 feet to my kitchen sink. I'd say my hot water goes completely unused 23.5 hours out of the day. So keeping 30-40 gallons hot & ready all the time seems like a big waste of energy.

But at the same time I can't afford to drop $1,100 on a big ~7gpm one. $600 for a ~3.5gpm one is doable, though . . . . if they work like they're supposed to.

I still need to compare my gas & electric costs to see which would be cheaper to run, though. And like I said, installation for the gas would be a huge pain in the ass.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm eyeing the Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 on this page. I need roughly a 65 degree rise in the winter (40 degree ground water), which would garner 2.5 gpm . . . Shower head is only 2.2 gpm, so in theory it'd work pretty well.

Under $500, too - although an electrician to install the high-amp outlet will cost some.
 

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Sarah is my baby
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When I was in Africa, all the hotels just had these tiny little water heaters mounted high in the bathroom. . . the tank couldnt have been more than 8 gallons or so. You had to turn a switch to turn it on and start heating water, but it only took like 15 minutes.
 

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Tankless hot water heaters are as you noted more efficient and should only run twice the price of a good standard water heater with tank. You shoul dhave no problems with the water being hot enough at any time, and you never run out of hot water.
While flow is important and you have looked at that, realize that you need to take into account that rarely if ever will you only be drawing water just from the water heater, this applies to the traditional tank also unless you comletely drain it. So the flow you mentioned shouldn't be a big deal at all.
Also, expect it to take about 5 years to recoup the initial price difference by going with the tankless. If you are concerned with rerunning lines and such, you can always just go for a traditional water heater and put it on a timer/regulater so that while you are not home it never kicks on and then have it scheduled to kick on a hour or so before you would arrive home from work. Basically working like a thermostat that would be used for a furnace
 

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the inline units can be temp adjusted, and they DO get hot; I can attest to that. But definately check the temp range that is advertised; A HOT hottub runs about 104 degrees, so anything that puts out more than 110 degree peak will be plenty hot enough.

The other benifit to the tankless design is that if you locate it near the bathroom, the wait for hot water in the shower is a lot less... plus, you never run out! :cool:
 

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KG6TWI
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Tankless ftw. The water heater in my house is less than 2 years old, it was replaced right beofer I bought the place.
I'm am considering getting a tankless just for the space in my garage. It would cost me near about $500 to relocate my WH outside on the otherside of the wall of the garage, for slightly more I can buy a tankless and mount it above the current WH in the rafters in the garage and save all that space.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Haven't done anything yet - putting it off for the another month or two until the camp budget clears up enough to buy it for me . . .

One thing the guy inspecting the boiler system in another building told me, though - the tankless setups aren't great if you've got hard water. Lots of buildup, and it clogs the lines pretty quickly.

Although I'm not sure how that'd be different in a tankless setup vs. a "regular" water heater.
 

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If you read the above link, it explains the how the hard water affects both systems.
The conclusion is that hard water in the lines is the same, but in the tank/heat exchanger you'd have to flush/clean out.

I'm trying to find out more about them, since I read here that the Takagi can be used as a radiant heater or baseboard heater also.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Heh heh, so my old hwh has officially sh|t the bed . . . It started leaking like crazy sometime last night, probably a cup or two every minute - enough to extinguish the pilot light. :laugh:

Going into town tomorrow afternoon to buy one, just getting a boring natural gas one - camp can't afford a swanky tankless electric one. :(

Good news is that I think I can replace the gas line under the house without ripping up the kitchen floor, although I'll need to rent an impact drill & masonry bit to punch a hole for the new line. And I need to replace the base floor under where the old one has been leaking, so some work there. Probably take the opportunity to de-carpet my entryway & bathroom, cause that's nasty & annoying in all sorts of ways.

My goal is to get a hot shower by Monday, but I'm not optimistic. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Quick update, found a 40 gallon gas heater for $250 at the local building supply place. That was as good a deal as I could find anywhere online, so yeah. They had 30 gallon ones as well, but they were $100 more expensive . . . :laugh:

Wish I/we could have afforded a tankless on-demand setup, but oh well.

The floor that the old hwh was sitting on was all punky/smelly & rotting, so I ripped all that out to replace it. And then I discovered that the floor supports were all rotted as well, so I've been replacing all that sh|t while I'm in there. Some pics coming up in a few minutes once I get them off the camera.
 
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