Water heaters

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We need a new water heater. Tankless? Traditional tank heater? Give me all the info and experiences you’ve had with either…..pro and con.
 

Cabin Fever

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Your question reminds me of something my Dad told me. Dad was a plumber for the Univ. of Minnesota and I needed a new HWH. We drove to Sears to buy one. There in the Sears plumbing department were three 50-gallon HWHs. Dad said to look at all three models and tell me what differences I saw. I looked close. All were the same height and had the same gas control valve. The only differences where the color of the trim, the warranty period, and the price. Dad said Sears was charging three different prices for the same HWH. The differences in prices were not due to a better quality for the higher priced models. He said the higher cost was because of the longer warranties. In other words, you would be getting the same HWH but paying extra for a longer warranty. At any rate, we bought the cheapest model.
 

joel

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I worked in maintenance for thirty years, every time I said "Hot" water heater someone would say it is a water heater, I would say then the water is hot & it cools down, so to keep it hot, the hot water must be heated so it will not cool down. That why it has a Thermostat.
 

havasu

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I am an administrator on a sister site called www.plumbingforums.com. This is the question that is asked more than any other question.

Both the tanked and tankless water heaters have advantages, and disadvantages. With a tankless, only a natural gas or propane works good, but I would not use an electric version. Tankless is also a smaller installation, and can be mounted inside or outside. The big problem with a tankless is when there is a power outage, you will not have hot water so cold showers are in your future. Also with a tankless, you lose the ability to have 40-50 gallons of emergency potable water. In about 2-3 years, when sediment in your pipes begin to clog the ports of the tankless, you will be calling either a competent plumber, or an electrician, or both, in order to troubleshoot error codes. Lastly, although tanked water heaters have increased in price in the last few years, you should expect to pay almost twice the price for a tankless versus a tanked water heater.

With all I have said, most professional plumbers themselves have tanked water heaters in their own home.
 

Peanut

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My tank is close to 30yrs old, electric. 2 or 3 times I've replaced a heating element, either upper or lower. Last time one went bad I replace both and stored the good one I took out as a spare.
 

viking

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I worked in maintenance for thirty years, every time I said "Hot" water heater someone would say it is a water heater, I would say then the water is hot & it cools down, so to keep it hot, the hot water must be heated so it will not cool down. That why it has a Thermostat.
I catch myself saying hot frequently. I have a squat 40 gallon electric water heater that's under a supply cabinet in the bathroom, I installed it there along with a plumbing wall in the middle of our home so that there was no pipes near an outside wall, doing this provided for short runs from the WH to the bathtub on one end and the kitchen sink on the other end, so that we wouldn't waste a lot of water getting hot water to the place we need it. In the 40 some years we've lived here, I've only replaced the water heater once and after I did that we got a second water heater which is capped and wrapped in a sealed storage container for future use. The only regret I have is that I didn't run a loop waterline over to our wood stove so that we could heat the water when the stove was in use.
 

randyt

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It depends, it seems that a power vent tank water heater is nearly the same price as a on demand but usually the on demand requires a 3/4 inch gas line and a combustion air intake. I normally dont recommend a on demand unless there is a water softener in the home or the home owner will have it cleaned. Time frame depends on how hard your water is. If you have a chimney I recommend a atmosphetic vent water heater. Very parts to go bad on that model.
 

Aklogcabin

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I'm considering a toyo dual purpose boiler- on demand hot water heater. Oil fired as gas not available. Any comments ?
 

HippoTwilight

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I'm in the market too. I have the money set aside, and generally know what I'm going to get. I'm just waiting for signs of the current one to show signs of imminent death.
I'm going to get a hybrid heater, which is sort of like a heat pump. It still has an electric backup element for times like the morning when everybody is showering at the same time. Costs a little more, but has significantly lower operating costs. Comparing the stickers on my current one with the new one, I guesstimate I'll break-even during year 3 of operation at current electric prices.
 

Aklogcabin

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We are considering putting a new toyo in our lower level, replacing a pellet stove. I was thinking about using the old water heater to pre warm the input water. Go from water line with 45 degree well water to the 40 gallon tank then to water heater. Our crawl space stays above 65 degrees. So pre warm the water.
My concern is water pressure. Our pressure runs from 45-60 pounds line pressure. Will it effect the flow ?
 

SheepDog

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The flow will be fine unless you use small pipe or tubing or lots of elbows and such.
 

Caribou

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The flow will be fine. The tank is old and will likely develop a leak in the future.

Toyo has a different system and needs a Toyo certified technician to adequately work on them. I used to be a Toyo dealer, I've sold, installed, and repaired those. Personally, in my own home, if I wanted an oil fired water heater, I'd look for an old style gun type heater. YMMV.
 

Aklogcabin

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Thanks. We have 3/4" copper water pipes. The differance in the distance the hot water will travel is minimal.
Our current 50 gallon hot water tank is only a couple years old. I would reposition it to near the boiler. Primarily im looking to replace our pellet stove . A good stove. But I think I can get more efficient. By eliminating an electric water heater. I still have to buy pellets. And I suspect that buying fuel oil would probably be cheaper at the end of the year.
The biggest problem with pellet stoves is getting parts takes time n there expensive. And we live in AK. There are toyo dealers all around here.
I already have the fuel tank n such so basically just need the boiler. And I have a good buddy who is a certified plumber, technician
 

SheepDog

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The old style gun heaters are dependable burners. They are not as efficient, meaning they don't burn as hot, as the newer burners. I don't know what your winter temps are but if your tank is outside then you might run into problems with the fuel oil gelling in the cold. That can shut down your heat. I've not been exposed to Alaska winters but my oil tanks have always been underground. I know some people have had problems with ice (water in the tank) and others who have had fuel gelling in the line and had to install heat tape and insulation.
I'm sure you will have those details in mind.
 

Aklogcabin

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I have 2 tanks above ground. Use #2 diesel fuel and put in some stabil fuel stabilizer to absorb water use goldenrod filters.
Underground tanks are illegal here.
Our home is set up with 3 separate heating systems for backup. Gets kinda cool in interior AK.
I'm trying to upgrade hopefully.
 

hiwall

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We had a standard 40 gal LP gas water heater. When it was 3 years old the gas valve crapped out. I changed over to a tankless. We have had that for well over two years. I have no way of knowing if it saves us any money on gas. It did save a lot of space. We are happy with it. There are two of us living here.
 

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