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doechsli

join:2003-11-26
Louisville, KY
Reviews:
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[Plumbing] Experiences downsizing a water heater....

I currently have a 50 gallon gas water heater (RUUD) that is still operating at 17 years old. I know it's days are numbered so I've been trying to plan out the replacement when the time comes. All my kids are gone and it is just myself and my wife in the house. All the sizing programs put me at the 40 gallon size. Anyone downsized like this before and what was your experience? In case it matters, I'm located in Louisville, Ky. and during the winter, inlet temps on the water supply can get pretty cold.


telco_mtl

join:2012-01-06

said by doechsli:

I currently have a 50 gallon gas water heater (RUUD) that is still operating at 17 years old. I know it's days are numbered so I've been trying to plan out the replacement when the time comes. All my kids are gone and it is just myself and my wife in the house. All the sizing programs put me at the 40 gallon size. Anyone downsized like this before and what was your experience? In case it matters, I'm located in Louisville, Ky. and during the winter, inlet temps on the water supply can get pretty cold.

here in quebec its pretty cold in the winter, my water is nice and cold right out of the tap for drinking, and the average house has a 40 gallon electric water heater. Its more than enough for my wifes un ending showers, you cant have a bath right after one of her epic showers but its still more than enough hot water. WHats also nice is the newer water heaters are very well insulated. i shut mine off when i went on vacation for a week when i came back water was still lukewarm


davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none

1 recommendation

reply to doechsli

if it is just 2 of you then 40 will be fine. We had a 40 in the house when we bought it and up until my older daughter started taking LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG showers it was plenty for us to bathe 2 kids and both get showers. When it died we went up to an 80 gallon so we would have enough HW for multiple showers. NOT, the soon to be 10 year old has this inherent belief that a shower is not over until the water is cold! So I have learned to use a quart of ice water dumped over the shower curtain, it is the only way we can save water.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to doechsli

A quick look at Home Depot shows a difference of about $40 up front cost and no difference in yearly cost of usage.



Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2
reply to doechsli

The only potential issue I see in downsizing by 10 gallons is a large bath. If you have one of the bigger garden tubs, or a jet tub, you might consider how much water it takes to fill it. A wife who can't take a proper hot bubble bath can make life unpleasant.

On the other hand, at 17 years old, it is quite possible you have enough sludge built up in that 50 gallon to only get about 40 gallons of usable water anyway.


doechsli

join:2003-11-26
Louisville, KY
reply to doechsli

No giant tubs in the house.....showers only. Two and 1/2 baths.......



SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
Norman, OK
kudos:5
reply to doechsli

I'm thinking of going with a tankless system when my current 9 year old natural gas water tank needs replacing. My brother, who loves in far west South Carolina, has one and really likes it for him and his wife. His is actually mounted on an outside garage wall which I was surprised at. Have you considered a tankless system?

I'd be curious about others experiences with tankless systems...



Boooost

@151.190.40.x
reply to doechsli

Electric or gas? What size heating elements or how many BTUs?

I went from a 75 gallon tank to a 48 gallon tank with a 65,000 BTU burner. I'm glad I got the one with the bigger burner. No problem doing laundry, running the dish washer, and taking a shower at the same time.


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
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reply to Camelot One

said by Camelot One:

The only potential issue I see in downsizing by 10 gallons is a large bath. If you have one of the bigger garden tubs, or a jet tub, you might consider how much water it takes to fill it. A wife who can't take a proper hot bubble bath can make life unpleasant.

My parents have one of those large jet tubs in their new house. In 5 years since they bought the house they've only used it about 10 times.

Costs a small FORTUNE both in water consumption and natural gas consumption (to heat the water) to fill the damned thing!

towerdave

join:2002-01-16
O Fallon, IL
reply to doechsli

I've been trained to look more at recovery time than size. If a 40 gallon WH can recover in 10 minutes, that's better than a 50 gallon WH that takes twice as long to recover. Right? Or am I looking at the wrong thing?

All times are just for illustration, I have no idea if a 40 gallon water heater can recover that fast.

TD



shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
Premium
join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA

Yes, I would go with a smaller tank with the larger burner. It will be just as effective as a larger tank.


LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to TheMG

said by TheMG:

said by Camelot One:

The only potential issue I see in downsizing by 10 gallons is a large bath. If you have one of the bigger garden tubs, or a jet tub, you might consider how much water it takes to fill it. A wife who can't take a proper hot bubble bath can make life unpleasant.

My parents have one of those large jet tubs in their new house. In 5 years since they bought the house they've only used it about 10 times.

Costs a small FORTUNE both in water consumption and natural gas consumption (to heat the water) to fill the damned thing!

news to me, i figure it costs me roughly 3 dollars and our tub uses 90 gallons, and i use 2 electric water heaters

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to doechsli

How is your house heated?
If it's gas/hot water, then consider an 30-40 gallon indirect tank, especially if you have a modulating condensing boiler (modcon).

The modcon will more efficient than a stand-alone conventional DHW heater, and it will recover much faster.

Or look at a 3+ gal./minute tankless (if you don't have hard water - hard water will kill a tankless in a couple of years).

Both these solutions will produce an effectively endless stream of hot water for just about any need.



JimDandy

@63.246.135.x
reply to LittleBill

I used an electric tankless heater for eight years and it was great.

Lower energy cost which was important because where I was the electricity rate was $0.52 per Kwh. Figure on saving 30% on energy.

Also they have a longer life as there isn't a storage tank to rust away.

The small size frees up additional storage room if that is important to you.

With a tankless heater that is correctly sized you never run out of hot water.



NS4683

join:2000-08-25
South Amboy, NJ
kudos:1

said by JimDandy :

I used an electric tankless heater for eight years and it was great.

Lower energy cost which was important because where I was the electricity rate was $0.52 per Kwh. Figure on saving 30% on energy.

I would say $0.52 per kWh is far from being cheap.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to doechsli

A family of 4 on a 40 Gallon Gas W/H is fine. Two would be no problem at all.
--



JimDandy

@63.246.135.x
reply to NS4683

When you live on a Caribbean island that generates electricity using fuel oil that is what electricity costs. No natural gas and propane has to be imported you are screwed. Water was also expensive in that most of it had to be produced using reverse osmosis and those pumps run on electricity. Water was $0.04 per gallon.

Life in paradise wasn't cheap.



toby
Troy Mcclure

join:2001-11-13
Portland, OR
reply to doechsli

Figure on saving 50 cents per year, it takes hardly any energy to keep water warm once it has heated up in the efficient tanks.


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to doechsli

In NC the wife and me have a 40 gallon electric tank and it is PLENTY for our showers / laundry. For the kitchen - I have an EEMAX 95T tankless to get hot water to the kitchen in a reasonable amount of time.


modelamac

join:2002-04-13
Waterford, MI
reply to doechsli

Not a huge factor, but the size of your house might be considered as the determining factor. If over 1600 sq ft, you probably should put in another 50, as that house would normally house a larger family. Makes it a bit easier to sell.



Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT
Reviews:
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reply to doechsli

Another vote for researching on-demand hot water systems. As you know, the tank types, whether direct or indirect try to keep the water warm 24/7. In KY, you might even have viable hot water electricity prices if KY is part of that TVA system. Some folks in that system pay around $0.08 per kWh, as opposed to $0.26 per kWh here in the expensive northeastern US. Comparing fuel types is as easy as what is the price for x BTUs. Natural gas often wins that comparison, if you're lucky.


tedmarshall

join:2000-12-02

On thing about on-demand systems is that their instantaneous energy draw is enormous. In an older house, you may not have the infrastructure in place to support it. If you are talking about an electric heater, forget about it if you have less than a 200A feed. If NG, your piping is probably not large enough diameter to feed enough gas.


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA

My brotherinlaw ran into that. After everything was installed and not working properly he found out his line from the street was to small to support it. NG wouldnt work for him.


joewho
Premium
join:2004-08-20
Dundee, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to doechsli

rheem #xg40t09he40u0. I installed a new 40 gal. gas heater last month to replace an old 40 gal. Just my wife and I. We have a normal sized tub that is jetted. I use it whenever my back/hips hurt from work. With the old one, we turned the single handle shower to a bit more than half way to start and continue towards hot until the water runs out. The temp. was adjusted to almost full on hot.

With the new on, the temp. is adjusted to less than half in order to achieve the same heat level with the shower handle at half way. Still haven't had to turn the handle higher as the hot water hasn't run out. But, since I worked my ass off yesterday, I'm going to take a jet bath today. All in all, I'm sure a 40 gal. would be more than sufficient for the two of you. My wife also takes showers that last forever.
--

we're all connected



Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
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1 edit
reply to doechsli

We used a 40 Gallon HWH when the kids were here, (Up from 30 there when we bought the house) and we downshifted to a 30 Gallon tank when the Kids left...
No problems with 40 + Kids, or 30 and No Kids...

Also, We used an insulation blanket on the 40, but the 30's did not benefit as much from it as did the 40. Not sure if this is improved MFG or what... We found this out when we ripped it on a change from one 30 to another. (We've been in this house since 1972).

At our mountain home we have an on-demand unit, and it keeps up with whatever you ask of it..... Jacuzzi and washing simultaneously? No Problem!
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle



linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
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reply to SoonerAl

I"ve looked at it very extensively based on the experience of an engineer friend who used one when he was on a job in Jamaica for four years. He liked it a lot. It is a box on a wall that only delivers hot water when demanded. There is no more large hot water tanks that you pay to constantly maintain temperature.

The only thing I do differently is have a water conditioner on hot and cold water that softens before it reaches the water heater or any other appliance. I use potassium chloride salt rather than the sodium because as it is eco-friendly to land and animals. It save a ton of time cleaning bathrooms, it saves money on soap and shampoos, the dishwasher is more efficient, and I think clothes look better and last longer. I've been doing it for 40 years.

Tankless is more expensive to install, but you get your money back by not heating the 40 gallons while you sleep and work all day. It does take a tad bit longer for the hot water, but, as long as the shower is running, the hot water will NOT fail. I would have it in the house. SC, I don't think gets as cold in winter as some parts of OK does -- my second home. .
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside


psiu

join:2004-01-20
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
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reply to doechsli

Definitely some good points to consider, I have really only ran into one poorly installed or maintained instant system that I knew of. Someone I know from Europe says they are more prevalent there due to space considerations. So I would not want to dismiss them out of hand, for fear of being like the top-load washer Luddites in those discussions.

Anyway, have been doing some research of my own as the water heater in the house we bought this spring is a 98 vintage itself.

For tank models:
Recovery time is really the main consideration.
Proper maintenance as well. Drain it every year (hahaha).
Seems like (as with most everything) the mid grade models are the best bang for the buck, some improved features that will improve things, they may start to add a bit of insulation, etc.

Tankless:
the temp of the incoming water can be key, some don't peg to a certain output temp, but more to a "incoming + X degrees"
Maintenance is more likely. Either install a water softener, check your water softness, and even so, probably run a descaling solution through it every year to keep it in good condition.
Quirky behavior, definitely noticed this. If flow is too low it won't kick in. Sometimes you get the existing lukewarm water in the pipe, then a burst of cold, then the fresh hot.

The cost considerations are key. Energy costs, initial cost plus installation costs, warranty length (also, I kept seeing tankless models requiring professional installation for the warranty) versus a pretty efficient tank model running on gas may not be worth it.


doechsli

join:2003-11-26
Louisville, KY
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Insight Communic..
reply to doechsli

I will definitely be staying with a regular tank heater and will probably scale back to a 40 gallon model. Trying to stay away from any heaters that require 120 AC to operate as even in a power failure you can get hot water. Thanks for the replies and sharing your experiences.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to doechsli

I just don't see any advantage to dropping down to a 40.


contsole
Premium
join:2003-12-30
Wethersfield, CT
reply to doechsli

I find that I never run out with my oil fired 40 gallon water heater. Could be the 100,000 btu burner and I turn it up a little in the winter.