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Old 02-09-2009, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 386,642 times
Reputation: 82

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I am considering buying a tankless hot water heater. My 40 gallon hot water heater provides hot water and whole house heating. Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,823 posts, read 46,180,288 times
Reputation: 13816
Does your existing water heater actually provide space heating for your house, or does a hot-water space heating system heat or pre-heat water for your water heater?

Assuming you have a "regular" tank-type water heater, either gas or electric, the only savings you would get are from the heat lost by the tank when you are not using the hot water. If your hot water tank is inside your heated living area, and is heated by the same fuel as your space heat, you won't save anything - the fuel or juice not going to the hot water tank will go to space heat.

Where a tankless really shines is for someone who seldom uses hot water but when they do use it they use a lot. Something like a vacation house, dacha, whatever.

If you have hard water you'll need a good softener or the tankless will tend to scale up.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 386,642 times
Reputation: 82
My hot water tank is located in a storage room that is accessed from the garage. There is a heat exchanger that uses hot water from the hot water heater to heat the house. We also have a large whirpool tub. We can't use both at the same time without running out of hot water. If I install a larger hot water tank, I will have to move the vent pipe over a few inches, but I can do that. That is probably what I am going to do. If tankless water heaters were the best way to go then someone would have recommended it by now. I wouldn't mind paying $800 for a tankless hot water tank, but I have seen prices from $300 to $4,000. Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Burlington Washington
100 posts, read 263,409 times
Reputation: 41
husband is plumber and he installs them all the time. When they get them installed the customers love them
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Burlington Washington
100 posts, read 263,409 times
Reputation: 41
go with takagi brand- if gas if electric no tankless.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 386,642 times
Reputation: 82
Thanks Jen. I have natural gas, 3/4 pipe and 120v outlet, so installation would be easy. Now I've got to find someone that has one installed in their home. I have read that my natural gas bill will be cut in half. Thanks
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,823 posts, read 46,180,288 times
Reputation: 13816
That is an odd system that I have never seen before - water heater that actually heats the entire house.

I think the problem with a tankless water heater might be what then will you do to heat the house?

You might be able to turn the temperature down on the existing water heater, continue to use it to heat the house, burning less gas, then install the tankless heater in the hot water line where it comes into the house. This should reduce the amount of heat lost from your existing device - which I am inclined to call more of a whole house "boiler" even if it does not actually boil the water, just heat it up.

Is the room where the existing boiler sits quite warm? Does this heat make it into the house, or is it lost to the garage, or somewhere else?

Where are you anyway? I am guessing Canada - ?

How much are your current gas bills?

Final thought - I'd let this project wait till spring. Maybe that's your point - to put in a tankless so you can shut this existing boiler off during the summer?
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 386,642 times
Reputation: 82
I am in Mississippi. The central heat works just like the heater in a car. Hot water from the hot water tank is pumped through an array of copper tubing. A fan pulls air from inside the house and blows it across the array and the hot air is distributed to all the rooms through air ducts. The water is returned to the hot water tank to be re-heated. An obvious problem with the tankless hot water heater is that it needs electricity for the motherboard. No electricity means no hot water. My total natural gas bill is about $500 dollars per year. We have gas logs in the fireplace for heat when the electricity is off, but hardly ever use them. The hot water heater is the only other thing that uses natural gas.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,823 posts, read 46,180,288 times
Reputation: 13816
Is the existing water heater a regular natural gas type, burner at the bottom, cylindrical upright tank of about 30 to 50 gallons? Is the space heater something commercial or something someone built themselves?

Is the point of adding a once-thru water heater to be able to turn this device off during the summer?

During the winter you'll still need some sort of space heat. In parts of Mississippi, I know you have ice storms that will knock the power out for a few days, so you wouldn't want to do away with the original system entirely.

Actually $500 per year IMHO is not bad.

Sorry for the dumb questions but I have never seen a setup like this - and I have lived all over, including Mississippi (Port Gibson area).

Anybody else ever see a system like this? Cosmic? Harry Chickpea?
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 386,642 times
Reputation: 82
It is just a regular 40 gallon cylindrical tank 15 years old. I know the newer ones are higher efficient and quicker recovery. If the electricity goes off we have the gas logs in the fireplace to stay warm, and hot water from the gas hot water heater. I am leaning toward getting a 50 gallon hot water heater and moving the vent pipe over to fit. I use to deliver pipe, valves and fittings to Bruce Hardwoods in Port Gibson.
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