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Help with Water Heaters - please

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Czech, Sep 13, 2006.

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  1. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Hey gang, Gotz is back after a summer of ferriting things that burn. Hope all is well with all, need some advice. The twins and I were down in the basement doing cultured rock on the fireplace alcove, heard some hissing noise that I thought was the pee'er running from the boys. Turns out it was the 40 gal DHW tank leaking, it's shot. Do I go tankless or the same old? We're planning on staying here for a while, wondering about rebates for tankless and such, NG prices, have read too much to make a decision at this point. Thoughts? Need to get this done Weds some time, forgot that the balancing valves in the bath don't work so well even w/o hot water! Looking forward to the AM sponge bath......NOT!

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Tip the Rudd heaters at Home cheapo and the same quality sold for more at plumbing supply houses.
    your cheapes and quickest replacement will be a direct replacement of what you now have the tankless may save money in the long run but inital cost will be more. what about rental? from the gas co
  4. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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  5. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    We may differ on "significant," - I'm looking at about $20/month for hot water and cooking with a mid-grade Lowes gas hot water heater.

    Get a larger one than you need (50 or 60 gal), insulate it, and keep it low (115 or 120F). You shower or something, you'll draw a lot of water out of the heater, but it minimizes the gradient betwen the DHW and the surrounding basement.

    I did some rough calculations a while back (probably in the thread MSG reffed) and with this set up I'm somewhere in the ballpark of 80% efficiency, using conventional (cheap) technologies. ROI is solid over a 5 yr period, 10 is maybe iffy.

    Steve
  6. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    For new construction it's great. but unless you have already done everything else, I think you'd be better off by replacing the existing water heater with a newer more efficient water heater of the same type and spend the difference on insulation.
  7. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    Sandor, do you have any idea what prices run on the Marathons? I am building a place now, and need to make a decision soon, I'm going tank type. With 4 bedrooms, I believe I need a 80gallon 1st hour cap, probably have to go with their 85 gallon unit. I have no idea what these sell for.

    Thanks.
    Bri
  8. NFreiermuth

    NFreiermuth New Member

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    Both my friend and I have tankless NG water heaters. They are both Bosch units all copper/brass, and stainless. Guaranteed for 30 Years. I have the Bigger one, the 240FX model. Makes more hot water than you'll ever use. Can easily run two appliances at once. He has the smaller one, the 125HX. There's only him and his wife. He say's it takes a little getting used to, but the gas bills fell by about $15 per month. They both are in the $600 range. Ours works just fine. Takes about ten seconds longer for the hot water to get there, other than that, no difference.

    Remember, they have a bigger flue since they are higher BTU's than your old Tank. They also recommend chimney liners or side wall venting of the appliance.

    ELK will keep you straight on the venting.
  9. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Thanks gang, I knew I came to the right place. I think I'm going to replace with a standard NG high eff tanked heater, the math does not work for the tankless at this time in my opinion. I'd be nice to get a tankless, but I'm not sure how long we'll be in the house and the install (5' double wall!) is much more difficult and expensive. Thanks again,
    Bob
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Look to pay 8-$900 hundred bucks. However, it has a lifetime warranty.

    LOTS of utilities offer big rebates if you purchase the Marathon. Check with yours first.

    To buy it outright, its kinda expensive.

    http://www.energy-innovation.com/products.php?mode=prd&prdid=7
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure what the latest technology in water heaters is, but in our last place we a NG fired model that exhausted out the side of the house with a fan. I didn't like it because the fan's noise was transmitted upstairs, annoyingly. I'm not sure there was any way to make that work in a power outage either, without powering the fan. I can see rigging up some kind of work around for a piezo start (battery?).
  12. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Update- I went shopping at the big box stores last night, ended up buying the cheapest tanked model they had for the following reasons. They offered 3 different levels, good, better, best. The only difference between the good and the better was warrrenty period, no efficiency difference between the two. The best was a bit more efficient, but only by 50 or so therms (?) a year. I wasn't too concerned about warrenty, if they had a very high efficency with a short warrenty I would have rolled the dice and bought that one. Even with the cheapest one, the updates between it and the 1991 model that it replaced are notable. The combustion chamber is sealed with a piazo ignitor, the insulation is injection foam not wrapped like the old one. It runs extemely quiet, can't tell when it's fired or not. I also bought a blanket for 10 bucks, after it was running for an hour or so I did slip my hand under the blanket and it was warm so may be I'm saving a btu or so. The top of the heater never did get warm to the touch. Elk would have been proud of me, I also found quite a few places on the vent that needed screws, it's all righty thight now. Even left the volatile gas alarm on the floor by the heater over night just to make sure my gas connections were good (yeah, I soap watered 'em too!). Thanks again, B.
  13. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    Sandor, thanks for the info. Our local power co-op has the 75 gallon model (MR75245) for $545 with some rebates, it's got a 78g first hour cap (seems way low if you start with 75, but what do I know). I need to see if my inspector will let me go with it, if so it's what I'm buying. 4500 Watt elements, I'll need to upgrade my wiring and breaker (30amp in there now), but its only a few feet, pretty cheap to pull the wire. Both my electrical and plumbing inspectors have been good to work with, they tend to work with homeowners doing their own work, as long as you are trying to play by the rules.

    Bri

    Bri
  14. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I have no clue why an inspector would stop you from doing this. Most electric water heaters have 4500W elements.

    Anyway, I think $545 for that unit is a fabulous deal. Go for it!
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Brian, how many bathrooms? Do you have any 80 gallon, two person tubs? How many people are going to be using hot water? FWIW, our family of 4 has done fine on a 40gal unit. Seems like a 52 gal max would do you fine. You shouldn't have to upgrade the circuit for this. As Sandor said, a 4500W element is pretty standard. It's pulling under 20 amps. But with 80 gal of water, the recovery will be slower compared to the same element in a smaller tank.

    I took out an 80 gal. HW heater after I removed the 2 person tub that came with the house. Pretty silly unless the family bathes together. Installed a nice shower instead and have never regretted it. Our electrical bill showed an immediate improvement.
  16. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    I need to see what the inspector will let me do, you are right there is no need to go that big. We only have a 30 in the shop now and it's been fine for the 2 of us. Its a code thing I believe, we have 4 bedrooms, one will be ours, one guest and the other 2 office and sewing room, so we don't need that much hot water. But I believe they base it on sleeping spaces, I need to follow up with him on it.

    And yes, the elements are 4500 watt, at 220V thats 20.5 watts-per element or 41 total. I believe that you need to size for no more than 75% of the normal rating on the breaker, 54>60 amp breaker. I may see about running one breaker per element, I have spare 10 gauge wire, need to see if that's kosher, if so 30A is fine.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Both elements don't come on at once. Only one element at a time is active. 30 amps is fine. I would be very surprised in this day if code required anything over 40 gallons. Actually I would be surprised if it said anything about the heater size at all. Code is usually more about protection. If it did I would put in any old used heater to get them out of my hair and then install what common sense dictates.
  18. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    Thanks for that, it wasn't clear to me from what reading I was doing that this (one element at a time) was the case. Makes life easy. I agree with you, the smaller tank is going to loose less heat as well as cost less to install, all the more reason to go that way. I need to have a conversation with my inspector next week.

    Also, I know pressure relief valves need to be plumbed to drain, I have that covered. However, I have seen several new installations with a drain pan around the heater, I assume to contain tank leaks, with these plumbed to drain outside. My application is in a basement, with no handy way to drain outside, my sewer line comes in above floor level. Do you know if pans are required in basements, or if they have to drain? I'm wondering if this is only required in living space applications. If I could do so painlessly, I'd tie to drain, it just ain't painless.

    Thanks again.
    Bri
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure if there is a local building code requirement for a pan in the basement. Usually it is required protection in an area where damage could happen if it leaked; for example in a first or second floor closet. Check with your plumber or inspector on that one.
  20. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I believe this is true under normal operating conditions. but if the first element can't keep up the second one will kick in. Like when you first turn it on this will be the highest current draw.. remember though you will have a two pole breaker with common trip for 220vac so yes 30 amp is fine.... again the the highest current is when the elements first turn on its called the inrush current and it is actually higher than the 20.5 amps stated seen some guys throw a 20amp in there thinking its close enough and then wonder why it trips..
    again 30 should be fine with #10 copper wire..
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