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Thread: Water heater ?

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    Water heater ?

    Ok, Fanatic's I am going to have to replace my water heater, which of the following would you suggest and what kind of cost do you think they might be?

    1)Gas
    2)Electric
    3)Solar



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Gas is about the only choice in Iowa. Electric will cost more to operate. Solar water heater? Never heard of such a thing but, in general, solar is very inefficient and in all likelihood the water heater wouldn't last long enough to recoop the additional expense.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    What do you have now -- gas or electric? Gas is far superior as far as long term operating costs go, but if you don't already have gas to that location, you will probably need a plumber to run the gas line. Also if there is not already a chimney there, you will need to go power vent which is a bit more up front. Remember that your utility likely has a rebate for high efficiency units.

    Don't know about solar, but like most "green" technology, you will never save cost going that direction, it's more about doing your part for the environment. Geothermal is a noted exception of course, but that is beyond the scope of your questions.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Have you considered whole house tankless system?


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    Re: Water heater ?

    Another option to consider that you did not mention is tankless water heaters. The benefits include taking up less space and only heating water as it is needed, thus potentially lowering your operating costs. But because they heat the water as it is needed, you needed a bigger service (either gas or electric) to the unit, and this will increase your upfront cost. And you need to confirm you have that kind of capacity in your house (IE-and tankless electric water heater may take a 60Amp service and you only have 100Amps for the entire house) Depending upon the usage of your house (are you single and travel alot vs. a 5 person family with lots of showers and clothes washing), one option may is prefered over another. Tankless units will never runout of water as they heat it as it is needed, but you are limited as to how much you can get at any specific time (based upon how large of a unit you purchase). Tankless units are big in Europe, not so much here in the U.S.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    Have you considered whole house tankless system?
    I've considered that in the past but haven't been able to make it pencil out. The system is around $1,000-$1,200 while I can get a gas water heater for $400. I could take 10+ years before that gap is made up in lower energy bills.

    And to the OP: I'd just replace whatever you have now (probably gas). As I mentioned, the materials are around $400 and they are easy to put in (you could do it yourself) or you could pay someone around $1,000 to do it if you don't want to mess with it.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BleedCycloneRed View Post
    Another option to consider that you did not mention is tankless water heaters. The benefits include taking up less space and only heating water as it is needed, thus potentially lowering your operating costs. But because they heat the water as it is needed, you needed a bigger service (either gas or electric) to the unit, and this will increase your upfront cost. And you need to confirm you have that kind of capacity in your house (IE-and tankless electric water heater may take a 60Amp service and you only have 100Amps for the entire house) Depending upon the usage of your house (are you single and travel alot vs. a 5 person family with lots of showers and clothes washing), one option may is prefered over another. Tankless units will never runout of water as they heat it as it is needed, but you are limited as to how much you can get at any specific time (based upon how large of a unit you purchase). Tankless units are big in Europe, not so much here in the U.S.
    Probably because a family of five takes one shower a day on average in Europe



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cycloneworld View Post
    I've considered that in the past but haven't been able to make it pencil out. The system is around $1,000-$1,200 while I can get a gas water heater for $400. I could take 10+ years before that gap is made up in lower energy bills.
    10 years is the expected lifetime of one of these units. I had to replace mine earlier this year, and I was all about the tank-less until I learned this little tidbit. From the people I talked to, the payback period is about 20 years, so you will never recoup the costs.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    The main benefit with the tankless water heater is the "endless" hot water supply. So if you have a large family and people are getting stuck taking cold showers I would look into it. If your current capacity is ok then I would just replace what you have.

    The other big thing about tankless water heaters is that they are rated by gallons per minute. So even though you have "endless" hot water the amount of shower heads\ appliances you can use at one time is limited. So make sure you buy a system for the size house you have.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    So how do tankless water heaters work? Do they heat the pipes directly or something?



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by CyBer View Post
    So how do tankless water heaters work? Do they heat the pipes directly or something?
    Looped lines inside a box with really high BTU's. Thats the number one reason most home owners can't install one. The BTU load on alot of them require a 1" gas line when most residential dwellings only have a 3/4" service. Don't forget about the termination kit that cost an extra 4-500 bucks they don't tell you about when they sell it to ya. Also they have a tenancy to need to be descaled yearly at another yearly service charge. If you have a big family and have the room and want constant hot water, piggy back 2 40 gallon water heaters and use one as a storage tank. That's what I plan on doing down the road & it's still cheaper than the tankless. Also, dont forget to do a BTU load on your whole house before checking. A res. meter can only handle like 250,000 BTU's and the tankless usually take up 180,00 of that. Throw in a 72000 BTU furnace and your already over, that don't include stove's, fireplaces, grills, etc.


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    Re: Water heater ?


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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    Have you considered whole house tankless system?
    When I need a new one I'm going tankless.


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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatkid1974 View Post
    Looped lines inside a box with really high BTU's. Thats the number one reason most home owners can't install one. The BTU load on alot of them require a 1" gas line when most residential dwellings only have a 3/4" service. Don't forget about the termination kit that cost an extra 4-500 bucks they don't tell you about when they sell it to ya. Also they have a tenancy to need to be descaled yearly at another yearly service charge. If you have a big family and have the room and want constant hot water, piggy back 2 40 gallon water heaters and use one as a storage tank. That's what I plan on doing down the road & it's still cheaper than the tankless. Also, dont forget to do a BTU load on your whole house before checking. A res. meter can only handle like 250,000 BTU's and the tankless usually take up 180,00 of that. Throw in a 72000 BTU furnace and your already over, that don't include stove's, fireplaces, grills, etc.
    I had 6 in the family (actually 4 now that two have flown the coop) and have NEVER run out of water with a decent 50 gal gas water heater. I can't imagine needing anything more than a single 50, unless you all take 30 minute showers simultaneously. On occasion we have had the whole family rotating through multiple showers going at once and not had a problem with running out.

    That said, we are building new this winter and going Geo, so we are going to have 2 electric 50's ..... one recovers the heat from the compressor (electric units not hooked up) and flows into the other, which can energize occasionally to heat as needed on demand.



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    Re: Water heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by CyPlainsDrifter View Post
    I had 6 in the family (actually 4 now that two have flown the coop) and have NEVER run out of water with a decent 50 gal gas water heater.
    I agree with this. I had to replace my water heater earlier this year and I was going to get a 75 gal. The contractor said I'd love to sell you one but I really don't think it's necessary. You've got low-flow showerheads and HE washer. Running out of hot water should not be a problem for you. He was right, we can have the whole family of four shower during the same hour with the washer running and not run out of hot water. Sometimes if I know there are people in the shower I'll use the delay timer on the dishwasher and clothes washer but really sort of out of habit than necessity.



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