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tankless electric water heater any thoughts??

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by petemal, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. petemal

    petemal Member

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    LONG ISLAND, NY
    not sure if this is the forum but i know there is a lot of knowledge out there. I am trying to rid myself of oil as much as possible, 4.00 a gallon and going up fast, last year i installed an insert Austroflamm/Rika integra II in my den, lowered my fuel consumption from 1000 gallons year to about 400. 2650 sq ft above ground living space 2 story. I am currently using hydonic and radiant heat as a back up to insert. Heat is not the problem, My boiler is about 5 years old I heat my hot water with oil, indirect from boiler, i currently have a turbomax 2000 Instantaneous Indirect Water Heater. There is no gas in the street and about 6 houses down, the local company wants to much to install it, I feel that my boiler is always running to keep my hot water at the temp. even though i am not using it for heat. i looked into these tankless heaters a few years back and installed one in office but it only seemed like the hot water lasted for a few mins not enough for a shower, I just spoke to a friend and he installed one of these and he said they are great, here is the link

    http://www.wamhomecenter.com/produc...ter-Heater-Point-of-Use-5-GPM-1165p121125.htm

    it is suppose to handle 5 gallons a min much more then the ones before, i guess the question is
    Does anyone have experience with these units?
    is it worth it?
    should i get rid of my hot water system entirely or use with it?
    will this really handle my house?
    how much was the electric bill increase?
    can anyone recommend a unit or brand for entire house?


    I currently have a 10.8kw PV system so i looked into solar hot water but it doesnt seem practical, I use most of hot water in early morning or late night when the sun is not out, even with the storage tanks i feel i will loose temp.
    I have one solar tube and several skylights, i feel this is the final step to being completely efficient. My goal is to bring down my oil use to 80 gallons a year. and i could focus my efforts on my pellet storage... any suggestions

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  2. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    This will probably get moved to DIY forum.

    Can't speak for the Rheem, but I replaced my old water heater with a Steibel Eltron electric water heater. Made in Germany

    http://www.amazon.com/Stiebel-Eltro...NRY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327618296&sr=8-1

    Works pretty well. I should add, the first one stopped working after a month. Some type of computer chip problem tripping the safety switch. Anyway, they sent a new one right away at no cost. However I did have to pay the plumber another $100 to switch. But since then, it has been good.

    The big expense was running the super copper wires for the voltage, and the minor plumbing to rework the pipes to fit the unit.

    The water is warmed to desired temp, and there have been no spikes or drops in temp. Even in the coldest days, it can handle it. Sometimes the hot water pressure is low, but I am sure that has to do with the neighborhood water pressure, which fluctuates sometimes.

    In a regular month, when not using the pellet stove, my electric bill is around $120. Two people, three bedroom ranch.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Cooper

    Cooper New Member

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    Im in your boat i have tankless water heater oil boiler and im looking to get off the oil!
    The only problem i have with electric tankless is the amps at 75! normal 20 amp breaker wont cover the load im thinking 40 gallon electric water heater
  4. Enigma869

    Enigma869 Feeling the Heat

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    The post is interesting to me, because I've never seen a tankless hot water heater that worked with oil. I had a Rinnai in my last house but that was on propane. I've always been told that tankless hot water heaters only work with natural gas or propane.
  5. Cooper

    Cooper New Member

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    The tankless these guys are showing are electric powered not oil .
  6. Enigma869

    Enigma869 Feeling the Heat

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    Got it. I guess I didn't even know that was possible. I love this place. Quite the education.
  7. imacman

    imacman Guest

    You might want to post this (or one of the mods will move it) in the " DIY and General non-hearth advice" forum.
  8. 1Dtml

    1Dtml Feeling the Heat

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    I'm a bit perplexed on why your indirect hot water tank is running your boiler all the time, for my new install runs only when water is in use.

    I went the other way to complete my end of oil dependance in that I had the tankless coil removed from my oil boiler, and had a top performer indirect tank installed.

    http://www.vaughncorp.com/html/tp.html

    The top performer doesn't lose more than 2* in eight hours, and now that my boiler isn't firing all the time (as it was with a tankless coil set up) even though the basement is below 50* during the winter.

    You may need to see if your oil boiler is set to "cold fire," which means it only fires when a zone calls (the indirect tank is basically a zone), so that the boiler isn't firing all the time to keep the temperature high enough to heat water all the time (as with a tankless coil set up), only when the zone calls. The low limit on the oil boiler is set low on a cold fire set up as to not waste oil.

    I love this set up combined with the pellet stove, and would recommend it over tankless systems.

    The installer said the "top performer" has a stone/cement liner that keep the heat in, and believe me there is more heat loss in my piping (I'm going to insulate them better) than this tank loses, for as I've said it doesn't tend to run unless we are using large amounts of hot water.

    I was going to add a solar hot water system, but now with this set up it isn't worth it for I'm barely using any oil.

    Good luck,

    1D
  9. Brewer

    Brewer Member

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    My hot water heater died 2 wks ago, it was a 1993 lowes deluxe 40 gal self cleaning with 8 yr warranty........thought seriously about the tankless electric....about $1500 for one that might have been borderline adequate, got to the part about the electric upgrade that Cooper mentioned....another few hundred bucks....found out that if your water is the least bit hard it plays he'll with them,our water Is extremely hard, went with the basic lowes 6 yr 40gal......$219 and some change
  10. petemal

    petemal Member

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    [quote author="1Dtml" date="1327639988"]I'm a bit perplexed on why your indirect hot water tank is running your boiler all the time, for my new install runs only when water is in use.

    I went the other way to complete my end of oil dependance in that I had the tankless coil removed from my oil boiler, and had a top performer indirect tank installed.

    http://www.vaughncorp.com/html/tp.html

    The top performer doesn't lose more than 2* in eight hours, and now that my boiler isn't firing all the time (as it was with a tankless coil set up) even though the basement is below 50* during the winter.

    You may need to see if your oil boiler is set to "cold fire," which means it only fires when a zone calls (the indirect tank is basically a zone), so that the boiler isn't firing all the time to keep the temperature high enough to heat water all the time (as with a tankless coil set up), only when the zone calls. The low limit on the oil boiler is set low on a cold fire set up as to not waste oil.

    I love this set up combined with the pellet stove, and would recommend it over tankless systems.

    The installer said the "top performer" has a stone/cement liner that keep the heat in, and believe me there is more heat loss in my piping (I'm going to insulate them better) than this tank loses, for as I've said it doesn't tend to run unless we are using large amounts of hot water.

    I was going to add a solar hot water system, but now with this set up it isn't worth it for I'm barely using any oil.

    Good luck,


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    doesnt the boiler need to run to dump hot water in the tank to store it there so when i call for hot water it is there. even if it calls for hot water 3x a day can i cut that down, also i will check on the cold fire where will that be on the aquastat
  11. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    I had a NG tankless installed two years ago. Really don't notice much difference in the gas bill or water usage to be honest... but it sure was a pricey little deal!
  12. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    Thankless hot water heaters are for low flow water savers, in foreign countries like in Europe or California. You might be able to install boosters at the sink, shower or tub to help with duration, essentially another thankless. But the barker box might need to be upgraded to handle all those amps needed. Also such a system may cost the same as some of the more expansive alternatives. There are thankless boilers that most likely meet a typical American demand, some are built to handle hard water, but cost a lot more. At this point might as well look in to spending into a $5,000 to $7,000 solar domestic hw with a propane or oil fired hw tank. Then there is just suck it up.

    Right now my wife and I are looking into a new manufactured home, so l am looking at best options working in with a pellet stove as a long term investment. But a pellet boiler is not happening.
  13. petemal

    petemal Member

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    why is a pellet boiler not a good option
  14. 1Dtml

    1Dtml Feeling the Heat

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  15. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    :wow:
  16. petemal

    petemal Member

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  17. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    We had Solar hot water for 12 years when the house was first built. We had more than enough hot water in the morning for showers and late at night when the dish washer or washer would run. It was an 80 gallon tank heated to 135* with a regulator set for approx 118*. The only reason we don't use the system is after the tank failed after 12 years because of our horrible well water my grandfather did not want to pay the approx $1000 to replace it instead opting for $200 electric. When the new roof was put on 5 years ago he had the solar panels removed. 2 of the stupidest decisions regarding maintenance of this house =(

    This was using 1982 technology. We would have to run the hot water during the day or the tank would over heat.

    It would produce decent hot water even on pretty cloudy day and had a 115volt element to serve as a backup.

    Something to look into, i am will be looking into it after other items are upgraded in the house.
  18. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    It's gonna cost you a pile of cash to do all the wiring and installation to save a few cents. My indirect oil fired tank bit the dust last winter and good riddance. I went to Lowes and bought a simple 40 gallon electric. The whole rig cost me under 300 bucks and works fine. To make it better I mounted it upstairs in a nice warm closet. The best part is that going to electric hot water upped my bill about 25 bucks a month. Thats Nothing copated to getting ***** for oil. The best part is I have NYSEG which is one of the highest. Aside from the pellet stove I heat the rest of the place with a few electric space heaters and it's still far cheaper than oil.
    The folks selling this stuff have spent a lot of money pushing their complicated, issue prone water heaters. Personally I think there is more pitchmanship going on with those than substance. For most people a simple reliable tank mounted in a warm place with a decent blanket on it is still the better deal and all it costs you is a dedicated circuit and some 10 gauge wire(which will still knock you over if you need a lot of it).
  19. 1Dtml

    1Dtml Feeling the Heat

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    Pete,
    My response was based on your comment that your "indirect hot water tank was firing all the time."

    Any system will have to activate when when the hot water is used, but with my set up the hot water tank holds temperature for well over eight hours, so it keeps the boiler from firing.

    I would check to see if is a "cold fired" set up either directly with a oil technician or ask for specifics on one of the many forums that are available on the net.

    Having said this, I believe if set up properly your current indirect hot water tank should be very close to as efficient as any option available, while providing enough hot water availability.

    Heat loss will be the enemy with any system, so if your hot water tank doesn't hold the heat well you should look to purchase and install an insulating kit for it, and then make sure that your hot water lines are insulated as well.

    I hope this helps,

    1D
  20. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

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    When we had our house built 9 years ago I opted to have the contractor install a Amtrol BoilerMate instead of a crappy 8 x 16 deck. We used ~250 gallons of oil over the past year to heat our DHW. I have crunched the numbers many time to try and figure out if an electric water tank would be cheaper and it works out that the electric tank would be more expensive to run at current prices for oil and electric. Oil is $3.70/gallon and electric is $0.0155/kW. The only problem is that my calculation don't take into account the inefficiencies of the oil boiler. An electric tank would not have some of the inefficiencies of the indirect tank that the BiolerMate has.

    http://www.amtrol.com/boilermate.html

    Here is a post from a previous thread (http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/87657/):

    1 gallon of oil = 115,000 BTU’s x 250 gallons = 28,750,000 BTU’s
    1 kWh of electricity = 3,413 BTU’s

    So…. 28,750,000/3,413 = 8,423.67kWh * $0.155 = $1,305.67

    From kofkorn:
    There are a few things wrong with this, mostly not related to the calculation, but related to design and efficiency. You didn’t consider your efficiency of the oil burner which is likely somewhere around 80-85%. That means that 15-20% of your heat is going directly up the chimney. Additionally there is a significant loss when you go from the furnace to the Boiler mate, as the heat can only transfer so quickly. Add onto that, the heat loss of the furnace to your room due to insulation, plus the heat loss of the boiler mate to the room. Also add in the cost of electricity to run the circulator to keep the Boiler mate heated.

    Now on the other side, electric resistance heaters are 100% efficient. Subtract from that the energy lost to the room due to insulation.

    Now compare the two. There likely won’t be a huge difference between the two. I think you will see the biggest difference between the insulation heat loss between the furnace and the electric heater. I’ve found very few situations where an electric hot water heater is better in the winter, when the oil is also being used at the same time for heat. However, if you are keeping the furnace running for DHW only, you will almost always find that the electric is cheaper.
  21. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    The electric ones do use a lot of juice and I do not have 200 amp service. I have a propane tankless mounted above my toilet in the main bath. It does the shower, bath sink, kitchen sink, and dish washer. Awesome unit and going on 5 years old. I also found the exact same unit that was only used for 125 gallons before they removed it. I bought it for cheeeeeap so I have a back up.

    Eric
  22. 1Dtml

    1Dtml Feeling the Heat

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    I'm all about efficiency of systems, but I didn't try to replace my current system (oil boiler) with a solid fuel system like a pellet boiler, I chose to use pellet stoves for heating, and keep my oil burner as back up (if something happens I'll still have hot water, and heat).

    The tankless coil oil boiler set up was firing all the time to keep the boiler at temperature for instant hot water, so I switched over to an indirect storage tank which allows the oil boiler to be "cold fired" when any zone calls including the indirect storage tank, while the storage tank keeps 50 gallons of hot water waiting for instant use.

    My intention was to add a solar domestic hot water storage tank system in the future, so I added some additional temperature gauges to the indirect oil fired storage tank to monitor the two systems. I purchased one of the most efficient indirect water storage tanks that was available http://www.vaughncorp.com/html/tp.html , and have been amazed at how little heat loss there is without the boiler firing to add hot water to it. I am able to monitor how efficient this storage tank is by looking at the extra temperature gauge that is installed above the tank on the hot water feed to the system. The temperature of the aquastat on the storage tank is set at 140*F, and holds this temperature without calling the boiler for well over 12 hours in a basement temperature of 40-50*F.

    This is amazing considering that I still have to insulate all the hot water piping.

    I had figured a 6 year payback if I installed a solar hot water system, but with this change I'm not going to bother because my oil usage has dropped so low that it isn't worth it.

    I consider investment as a total package, and how quickly a given investment pays for itself, so I would highly recommend adding insulation to what you have before changing the system, for some are saying that electric is about the same cost annually, so why spend the $$ on plumbing changes and different equipment, if what you have is in good working condition?????

    1D
  23. md2002

    md2002 Member

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    I don't know about electric but I bought a house recently with Oil fired tank-less hot water heaters and we never had enough water. The hot water would never be enough to take a full hot shower. We just installed a indirect water tank this week and couldn't be happier. We could have replaced the coil but the plumber said we would be doing that every 5-6 years. Also, if you live an an area that has bad water it will kill those systems and they wont last as long as they should.
  24. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    My system will allow you to shower, use the dishwasher and the washing machine at one time. There IS a slight lag (maybe 30 seconds or so when the water temp will fall if you are showering and the other two appliances call for water)... that does not happen much in our house.
  25. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    I shut my furnace down, which was the source of my hot water. I replaced it with an electric hot water heater. My electric bill only went up $25/month and we have some of the highest electric rates in the country!

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