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tschmidt
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join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
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reply to jack b

Re: Water Heater Brand Recommendations

said by jack b:

Here, for an unbiased tankless heater vs tank study, have a look at this:

Interesting article.

The big advantage of tankless heaters is small size and no standby loss. A well insulated electric heater has negligible standby loss. Agree with Jack_in_VA See Profile that Propane costs are high relative to electricity. In our area a well insulated Electric water heater make sense.

I had looked at off-peak electric but by the time you factor in the cost of time-of-day controls the kwh savings does not make sense.

Out situation is not typical. Many years ago I added a preheater to our wood stove. During the winter we get about half our hot water from wood. If all goes well over the next couple of months I'll be adding two of 30 gallon tanks to our attached greenhouse. A Solar batch heater should dramatically reduce energy cost for hot water during the summer. In addition the added water will help moderate greenhouse temperature in the winter.

/tom


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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not Sweden
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1 edit
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Can you provide the data for how much you saved in propane costs? The data from the research and testing doesn't lend itself to any large savings.

Here we have no natural gas and propane is $4.35/gal so it's electric water heaters. There is no way that I could heat my hot water with propane cheaper than electric.

I don't have any hard data, only anecdotal evidence from comparing notes with neighbors and friends (and yes, I realize this does not constitute hard data, but it does give some comparative ideas).

And it's impossible for me to separate the hot water heater consumption vs the rest of my propane costs since I run so many appliances off my propane (furnace, tankless water heater, dryer, stove, BBQ grill and portable generator). I'm in a different boat than you are because of my propane price, which is hovering around $2 a gallon (I'm hearing it's about $1.90ish at the moment, and I'm due for a fill-up). For me, it makes a lot more sense than electric... anecdotally my neighbors and friends who all run electric tank heaters (and have propane furnaces and electric dryers) have electricity bills about 2X what I pay. Yes, there are variables like if someone takes a 45 minute shower or leaves the lights on 24/7... but some of them are considering abandoning their tank units in favor of propane tank or tankless.

I can say for sure that when I swapped out my electric dryer for my current propane model, my electric bill dropped about $30/month consistently, indicating that the unit's heating element was costing about that much a month. Nothing else was changed out at that moment.

Is it scientific... heck no. But I do think that the tankless makes sense on a number of levels- it takes up very little space in my utility room, it has supplied endless hot water for 3 simultaneous showers, and (at least from what I can tell) is very efficient with the propane it uses.

In a retrofit application, which is typically more expensive than new construction, it probably doesn't make sense if the install cost is too high. But in new construction, I think it's worth a hard look if one is building with the intent of staying in the home long term and has access to natural gas or inexpensive propane. And depending on the cost of electricity, it might make sense even if propane is relatively expensive given how little propane the tankless consumes.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Here we have no natural gas and propane is $4.35/gal so it's electric water heaters. There is no way that I could heat my hot water with propane cheaper than electric.

Our propane here is $2.35 for a delivery today and we're price locked for 400 gallons at $3.29 (ceiling). Propane doesn't have to be expensive.

I like propane because the recovery is quick for a tank water heater and I can use it when power goes out without having to use a gas guzzling large generator or cycling loads.

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
reply to tp0d
said by tp0d:

Sometimes its not about cheaper, its about quicker. If you had a large family, 3-4 kids, MIL, etc, all living in one house, you would run out of hot water pretty quick, particularly in the morning..

Most of the people I install tankless for, have the above problem.. Or, they have a large tub/shower that drains the current water heater. But the end result is -more- production of hot.

As for electric vs. gas, I can't speak for the billing issues, but gas heats water almost 50% faster than electric. Electric heaters are typically 99% efficient tho, as there are very small standby losses.

-j

Right - electric water heater have a very low recovery rate as compared to traditional gas WH.


Jack_in_VA
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join:2007-11-26
North, VA
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Reviews:
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said by Viper677:

Right - electric water heater have a very low recovery rate as compared to traditional gas WH.

If you never run out of hot water then that is a non-issue. Why spend a large amount of money for a "what if" that never happens?

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by Viper677:

Right - electric water heater have a very low recovery rate as compared to traditional gas WH.

If you never run out of hot water then that is a non-issue. Why spend a large amount of money for a "what if" that never happens?

I was talking about electric water heater, you seem to be mixing it up with tankless water heaters.

You do run out of water in a situation you have an electric water heater.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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said by Viper677:

You do run out of water in a situation you have an electric water heater.

Really? My wife and I take 2 good showers every morning and we've never ever run out of hot water. She takes her's first then me.

Even if from time to time we did manage to run out it would not justify the expense of buying, installing and operating a propane tankless water heater.

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by Viper677:

You do run out of water in a situation you have an electric water heater.

Really? My wife and I take 2 good showers every morning and we've never ever run out of hot water. She takes her's first then me.

Even if from time to time we did manage to run out it would not justify the expense of buying, installing and operating a propane tankless water heater.

So two things:

1. An electric water heater has a 'tank' and water will eventually run out at some point if you keep using hot water for a certain period of time VS tankless water heater where that does not happen. I did not say that you will run out of hot water after 2 showers.

2. I made no comments about justifying the cost of a tankless water heater.

Decision with going with a tankless is based on several factors like, family size, how much hot water is utilized, can you wait a littler longer (20 sec or so) for the hot water to reach the faucet? Do you want to make room for other stuff and get rid of that big tank, how good was the sales pitch of the guy selling you the product etc


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by Viper677:

You do run out of water in a situation you have an electric water heater.

Really? My wife and I take 2 good showers every morning and we've never ever run out of hot water. She takes her's first then me.

Even if from time to time we did manage to run out it would not justify the expense of buying, installing and operating a propane tankless water heater.

Well that's true for you. You only have a 2 person household.


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
reply to jack b
said by jack b:

Here, for an unbiased tankless heater vs tank study, have a look at this:

»www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blo···te-money

That's about as unbiased as some of the political crap I've been seeing lately..

However I think most reading here will realize that if you are really looking for unbiased opinions you will ask folks that have been actually using the product.
--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
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Reviews:
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reply to fifty nine
said by fifty nine:

Well that's true for you. You only have a 2 person household.

That is very true but I also know and have known other households that are larger who limit the amount of time in the shower and back when I was younger and showers were not common the amount of water in the tub. This apparently worked out well. I don't recall knowing anyone who did not take 45 minute showers with the water full on smelling bad or looking dirty.

Those living in the cities where natural gas was available had gas fired tank type and those without gas service used electric. There was no propane.

So to try to say that something is the greatest since sliced bread without taking all variables into account is sometimes stretching the benefits.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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reply to macsierra8
said by macsierra8:

That's about as unbiased as some of the political crap I've been seeing lately..

However I think most reading here will realize that if you are really looking for unbiased opinions you will ask folks that have been actually using the product.

You are kidding? Right? Most of us are going to post anything to put anything we think, do or buy in a positive light. You would take that as absolutely accurate over the tests performed with the results detailed on the website? Sometimes what we think is not necessarily factual.

Where is the documentation from posters of what was being spent and how much hot water in gallons were available vs the new tank-less heaters? Tank Type vs Tank-less.


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV

1 recommendation

said by Jack_in_VA:

Where is the documentation from posters of what was being spent and how much hot water in gallons were available vs the new tank-less heaters? Tank Type vs Tank-less.

Well, where the hell is your documentation? Did the person in the blog post his personal documentation? No, just general math comparisons probably available from tank water heater manufactures.

As said here before, tank vs tankless comparisons will always vary by situation. Think about that and explain to us how one article magically covers all situations that is portrayed as non-biased..

But again, I figure most people here are smart enough to look at an article with the summation and OPINION in the first line and realize it's biased. The article uses cherry picked numbers and that's BS, let us decide after gathering all the facts.

For instance, in my situation, I'm getting double in gas savings in dollars using Rinnai's chart which was calculated using government guidelines the same as car fuel mileage numbers are.

The so called "green blogger" in that link stated Rinnai's calculation was bogus.. If you can't see bias in that statement your not looking for an honest conclusion
--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.


jack b
Gone Fishing
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join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
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While the blogger is interjecting his own thoughts, the study authors and the results themselves don't have any axe to grind. It's just data. (91 page pdf)
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by jack b:

While the blogger is interjecting his own thoughts, the study authors and the results themselves don't have any axe to grind. It's just data. (91 page pdf)

Kind of hard for perceptions to refute accurate data.


Zupper
Premium
join:2002-12-28
Novelty, OH
reply to QuaffAPint
I have nearly the same question and situation as the OP, so I was interested in this thread.

That stainless American Heater referenced is curious. Given its materials, I wonder why it only has a 10/1 year warranty. With its recovery rate and BTU intake, it looks more like a "tankless" style heat exchanger, but in a tank.

I did some research a few months ago. From that, I also learned that a now required feature of FVIR should be considered. Seems some manufacturers designs are prone to getting gummed up by normal dust bunnies, and cause false trips.

Also, if you are using a water softener, I have heard those can cause the anode to be consumed dramatically quicker. In this case, I have seen recommendations to use a powered anode (versus sacrificial).

So far, I have not been able to make a decision on a specific brand/model, so I am still hoping my current tank continues to work.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by jack b:

While the blogger is interjecting his own thoughts, the study authors and the results themselves don't have any axe to grind. It's just data. (91 page pdf)

Kind of hard for perceptions to refute accurate data.

Accurate data is always preferable over perception.

But the variable that the study can't control for is local pricing of energy fuels: principally electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane. What economically makes sense for one household may be a terrible choice for another based on the pricing of the fuel(s) in that location.

You and I have different perceptions of propane based on local pricing. We're both right... for you it's pretty darn expensive. For me, it's the most cost effective fuel given my choices.

A tankless may or may not be the right choice based on a number of factors, some of which are above and beyond just pricing. For me, given my needs, available space, fuel pricing, and installation costs, tankless was the right choice.... but it very well might not be the right choice for others.

bemis

join:2008-07-18
Reading, MA
Reviews:
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reply to QuaffAPint
I have an electric Whirlpool 40G from Lowes. It was $238. I installed it myself, seems to be as well constructed, from the outside, as any other I've seen.

It's only been installed 6 months, so I have no idea about the longevity. If it's still leak-free in 6 years I'll be happy, and I'll also be surprised that I'm still in my current home


tschmidt
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Milford, NH
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reply to Viper677
said by Viper677:

electric water heater have a very low recovery rate as compared to traditional gas WH.

That is absolutely true, that is why Electric water heater are sized larger then Natural Gas, Propane or Oil. The fact they have no flue means they have very low loss so except for space sizing is a non-issue.

Depending on your local utility off-peak may make sense. Power is cut-off during peak times in exchange for lower rates. The tradeoff is the need for any even larger tank. For example the recommended tank size for a 3-bedroom 4-person household is ~50 gallons, an off peak tank should be sized at least ~80 gallons.

As Jack_in_VA See Profile posted if you have never run out it is a non-issue. In all the years we have used electric for hot water the only time we ran out was when the lower thermostat failed.

/tom

bemis

join:2008-07-18
Reading, MA
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I had 5 people stay over the house a couple of months ago. The 40 gallon tank provided HW for everyone to shower in the morning. I'd say it was about 1 to 1-1/2 hours of use over a 2 to 2-1/2 hour period with about 15 minutes between each user. Who is in the shower for more than 15 minutes anyway?

I do keep the WH set at 135* which I think helps because the ratio of hot-cold at the shower head is more biased to cold the hotter your water is.

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
said by bemis:

I had 5 people stay over the house a couple of months ago. The 40 gallon tank provided HW for everyone to shower in the morning. I'd say it was about 1 to 1-1/2 hours of use over a 2 to 2-1/2 hour period with about 15 minutes between each user. Who is in the shower for more than 15 minutes anyway?

I do keep the WH set at 135* which I think helps because the ratio of hot-cold at the shower head is more biased to cold the hotter your water is.

You try doing that for a week and then tell us about your electric bill I bet, both elements were working full throttle during that time period that you mentioned.

oh, BTW, I very often take 30 min showers


Jack_in_VA
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reply to bemis
said by bemis:

I have an electric Whirlpool 40G from Lowes. It was $238. I installed it myself, seems to be as well constructed, from the outside, as any other I've seen.

It's only been installed 6 months, so I have no idea about the longevity. If it's still leak-free in 6 years I'll be happy, and I'll also be surprised that I'm still in my current home

I have the same thing. If it fails I'll just replace it myself. Takes an hour or two and good to go.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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reply to Viper677
said by Viper677:

said by bemis:

I had 5 people stay over the house a couple of months ago. The 40 gallon tank provided HW for everyone to shower in the morning. I'd say it was about 1 to 1-1/2 hours of use over a 2 to 2-1/2 hour period with about 15 minutes between each user. Who is in the shower for more than 15 minutes anyway?

I do keep the WH set at 135* which I think helps because the ratio of hot-cold at the shower head is more biased to cold the hotter your water is.

You try doing that for a week and then tell us about your electric bill I bet, both elements were working full throttle during that time period that you mentioned.

oh, BTW, I very often take 30 min showers

A few extra guests every now and then won't make much difference. Only one 4500 watt element can operate at a time so the cost for me would be about $0.45/hr continuous.


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
reply to Jack_in_VA
Click for full size
said by Jack_in_VA:

said by jack b:

While the blogger is interjecting his own thoughts, the study authors and the results themselves don't have any axe to grind. It's just data. (91 page pdf)

Kind of hard for perceptions to refute accurate data.

Yes it is.. Here's some more..
--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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·Millenicom
Source? or did I miss seeing it? Looks like a tankless sales promo to me vs factual data

That can't even be anywhere near close. My total electric bill per month is $135 for everything.

I'll stick with my cheap Lowes 40 gal electric and toss it after about 10 years and put another one in. Let's see that's about $25/year equipment cost.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by Jack_in_VA:

That can't even be anywhere near close. My total electric bill per month is $135 for everything.

Depends on what assumptions are used about the price of electricity and the usage and habits of an average family. Again... too many variables.

I'll stick with my cheap Lowes 40 gal electric and toss it after about 10 years and put another one in. Let's see that's about $25/year equipment cost.

This is exactly what I said when I put one of these in a rental unit that I own. Then again... I'm not heating hot water with it..


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to QuaffAPint
Our water heater is a Whirlpool that the former landlord (building sold to new landlord) bought a Lowe's back in 2003. It's a 50 gallon electric that has not given us any problems (knock wood) other than it is expensive to run. If you are looking at gas, get one with an electronic ignition so you are not paying for gas to fuel a pilot light.

At the house I grew up in back in Iowa, our water heater failed the year of the great midwest floods of 1993 (not because of the floods, but from the water heater reaching end of life) and the landlord had to locate one that would fit in a tight space (inside a pegboard enclosure in the kitchen). She had to special order it and water heaters were in short supply due to the widespread flooding and water heaters being destroyed by flooded basements.

People who were selfish would try to donate their flooded water heaters to the local Goodwill along with soaked carpet (during the midwest floods of 1993) because they did not want to pay disposal costs. Unfortunately the disposal costs had to be picked up by Goodwill and that eats into the money that could be spent on their cause of providing job training and work for people with special needs.


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
reply to Jack_in_VA
Click for full size
said by Jack_in_VA:

Source? or did I miss seeing it? Looks like a tankless sales promo to me vs factual data

That can't even be anywhere near close. My total electric bill per month is $135 for everything.

I'll stick with my cheap Lowes 40 gal electric and toss it after about 10 years and put another one in. Let's see that's about $25/year equipment cost.

Kind of hard for perceptions to refute accurate data.

You are kidding? Right? Most of us are going to post anything to put anything we think, do or buy in a positive light. You would take that as absolutely accurate over the tests performed with the results detailed on the website? Sometimes what we think is not necessarily factual.

Where is the documentation from posters of what was being spent and how much hot water in gallons were available vs the new tank-less heaters? Tank Type vs Tank-less.

You are kidding? Right? You didn't like my "sales promo".. Well

Look again at the above clip page 6 (YOUR data summary) in your "documentation" "It's just data. (91 page pdf)"

Can you see the 37% savings? That 37% is the bottom line but it can be offset by initial tankless cost. Right? That initial cost can be estimated all over the place as they have done in the 91 page paper to reach their summation that there is little or no gain.

Did you see anywhere in the 91 pages that they put in a credit for floor space as in tank vs tankless? The building SF costs here put that number at around $1000 up front..

Did you see anywhere in the 91 pages where they calculated for hydronic space heat in conjunction with the HW? That factor right there would tip the annual cost scales way in favor of tankless. I've done that in my own home installation and I can post my last winter NG bill for the coldest month of $56 if you desire.

Now tell me again about those "absolutely accurate" detailed tests in the 91 pages..

--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
So I could achieve a 37 percent savings on my $135/mo electric bill? Space charge inside house is N/A in my case.

Then I would only have the $4.35/gal propane cost plus the expensive tank-less heater to deal with.

All that for a problem that doesn't exist for my wife and I.


macsierra8
Baby Newfoundland
Premium
join:2003-11-30
Minden, NV
Yep, way too many variables to compare tankless vs tank in all situations. Yours is a good example, tankless using electric is probably unfeasible unless you live next to a hydroelectric dam with rates under 5 cents a KWH.

Propane is expensive because of the monopoly with only a few gas companies having access to supplies. The spot price in Mont Belvieu, TX this week is about 75 cents a gallon where they have millions of gallons of excess propane stored in salt caverns. They burned propane off for years because of no place to store it.

Propane in VA shouldn't cost over $1.25 a gallon tops with truck transport costs plus a decent profit. At 4.27 pounds per gallon a semi transport can carry 11,000 gallons. But because of regulations and monopolies we are all screwed. I paid $2.59 a gallon the other day for LPG motor fuel from my buddy and a had few bottles filled.

I blame it on lobbyists and politicians..

--
Hey There, Voter! Do you remember that on Inauguration Day (Jan 20th) 2009, the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $1.78? How's that "Hope & Change" working out for you? Anyone But Obama Nov. 2012.