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Old 03-14-2012, 12:43 PM
 
504 posts, read 882,239 times
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I am curious, all these discussed here are gas. We do not have gas availability, I wouls assume there is an electric option? Anyone have one of these and is the savings going to be as great or does the fact it is electric negate the savings?
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:58 AM
 
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What is entailed in changing to a tankless water heater when our current water heater location is in the attic? Is it possible to go tankless in the attic or is the retrofit very expensive with that location???
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
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We save a TON of energy with our Rinnai tankless HWH, installed a year ago...

...because intermittently for the last few months, and routinely for the past two weeks, we only get 2-3 minutes of hot water at a time before the system goes into error mode!

The Rinnai rep is coming out today with the owner of the plumbing company that installed it to see if they can get to the bottom of it. Have even videotaped the failure mode and sent a video to the company. Fingers crossed to again have uninterrupted hot water, because it is awesome when working.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
811 posts, read 852,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfcub View Post
I am curious, all these discussed here are gas. We do not have gas availability, I would assume there is an electric option? Anyone have one of these and is the savings going to be as great or does the fact it is electric negate the savings?
Yes, electrically powered PoU (Point of Use) water heaters are common. I don't have first-hand experience, but to give you an answer until someone else can reply with specifics:

(I'll try to stay away from comparing electric to gas PoUs, as that discussion is large enough for it's own thread, and wouldn't answer your question).

An electric PoU unit can be easy to install as they are smaller than a tank unit. Actually, other posters have commented on how long it takes to get hot water from the heating unit to a distant shower. That problem comes from the distance to the heater and it doesn't matter what makes the water hot. A recirculation return line and tank and pump are one solution (it's what most commercial buildings use to make sure bathroom hot water comes quick). But that will have a cost. A very small electric PoU might be cheaper, even if you have gas in the house (but far away). Some are small enough to serve a single shower or sink, and can be installed under the lavatory in a space about a foot wide by a foot tall by about 6" deep.

But getting back to the concerns of changing from an electric tank to an electric PoU….

Like all PoU's, when they run they use a HUGE amount of energy. The savings come from the fact that the unit only runs as you use the water, not 'idling' constantly. However, when you do use it, the energy need is much much more than for a tank type heater. The real question for an electric installation is: "how much modification to the existing house electrical circuit breakers and wiring will be needed to accommodate the PoU needs". That answer usually is "pretty expensive".

It's hard to say if, once installed, electric vs NG savings are comparable, since electricity typically costs more, but electrical heating is more efficient than gas. Find the name of a local plumbing shop that does both, and ask them to give you an estimate to install either a replacement tank vs a PoU, and also see if they can give you a payback duration of the difference, given your own local electrical rates. I would imagine most shops would have some Budget Level estimates already pre-calculated.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:59 PM
 
504 posts, read 882,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_RDNC View Post
Yes, electrically powered PoU (Point of Use) water heaters are common. I don't have first-hand experience, but to give you an answer until someone else can reply with specifics:

(I'll try to stay away from comparing electric to gas PoUs, as that discussion is large enough for it's own thread, and wouldn't answer your question).

An electric PoU unit can be easy to install as they are smaller than a tank unit. Actually, other posters have commented on how long it takes to get hot water from the heating unit to a distant shower. That problem comes from the distance to the heater and it doesn't matter what makes the water hot. A recirculation return line and tank and pump are one solution (it's what most commercial buildings use to make sure bathroom hot water comes quick). But that will have a cost. A very small electric PoU might be cheaper, even if you have gas in the house (but far away). Some are small enough to serve a single shower or sink, and can be installed under the lavatory in a space about a foot wide by a foot tall by about 6" deep.

But getting back to the concerns of changing from an electric tank to an electric PoU….

Like all PoU's, when they run they use a HUGE amount of energy. The savings come from the fact that the unit only runs as you use the water, not 'idling' constantly. However, when you do use it, the energy need is much much more than for a tank type heater. The real question for an electric installation is: "how much modification to the existing house electrical circuit breakers and wiring will be needed to accommodate the PoU needs". That answer usually is "pretty expensive".

It's hard to say if, once installed, electric vs NG savings are comparable, since electricity typically costs more, but electrical heating is more efficient than gas. Find the name of a local plumbing shop that does both, and ask them to give you an estimate to install either a replacement tank vs a PoU, and also see if they can give you a payback duration of the difference, given your own local electrical rates. I would imagine most shops would have some Budget Level estimates already pre-calculated.
Thank you very much Ed for your detailed response. That is very good information.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:20 PM
rfb
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,272 posts, read 3,048,207 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dianeh View Post
What is entailed in changing to a tankless water heater when our current water heater location is in the attic? Is it possible to go tankless in the attic or is the retrofit very expensive with that location???
IIRC, a tankless water heater takes a wider vent pipe than a tank water heater. This requires the installer to (likely) need to replace the vent pipe through your ceiling, which can be expensive.

But why would you want to have the water heater in your attic? A failure of the system could result in a massive amount of water cascading down through your home. Instead, the installer can install one in your crawl space or, if there is insufficient space, on the outside of your house (typically near your furnace).
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
79 posts, read 78,339 times
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There were two reasons we switched to a tankless...besides the energy savings, the other reason was to get rid of a tank heater in the attic. The tankless is attached to the outside of the crawlspace wall, in the back of the house near the HVAC units. It has a small electric heater that kicks on to prevent the small amount of water pipe that is outside the crawl from freezing. Well, during winters where the temperature actually goes below 32.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:10 PM
 
183 posts, read 109,212 times
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For electric tankless, you may want to check out Stiebel-Eltron units(no I don't work for them). While all the info here is excellent, keep in mind every home set-up needing conversion is a case by case basis. Gas tankless are not as efficient as electric as a rule of thumb, but it will also depend on your utility rates (ie. electric is most expensive in New England compared to other areas of the country). There's also a lot of wrong information out there. My in-laws were going to get one and an electrician came out to their house and told them it would cost them over $2k to convert everything, and it was dead wrong...wound up only costing them about $700, so verify and talk to a few different companies...speak directly with the manufacturer vs. a middleman, you'll get the best info.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:45 PM
jhk
 
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thanks for the info. Ended up going with Poole's Plumbing out of Garner. Very happy with them. Got a gas 50g top vent water heater installed for $850.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:52 AM
 
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Good to hear about Poole's Plumbing. They were one of three estimates we got. It was just under $3000 to install Rennai tankless unit on outside wall near HVAC unit. I think it is the 9.8 gpm unit.

Guess I should call them and set up an install date.
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