View Full Version : Tankless water heater

Feb 28th 2010, 08:12 AM
When my house was built in the 70's, they stuck the electric hot water tank as well as the solar tank in the unfinished bathroom on the lower level. We would like to get rid of that situation and go with a tankless system, which would mean not running out of hot water after a couple people shower.

I had always been set on a propane system. Someone mentioned last week about having an electric one. This would allow a ventless sytem as well, which would work for me. And so now I'm torn on which way to go.

Besides Pennsylvania deregulating the electric in the state, and by most estimates electric rates will go up 50% in the next year or so, are there other pro or con issues with electric tankless systems? If you had to choose, propane or electric, which would you go with?

Thank you.

Feb 28th 2010, 12:40 PM
Do you ever lose your electricity during the winter for any extended period of time?

Mar 1st 2010, 06:03 AM
I cannot image that the electric version would heat at the same rate (recharge with a tank type water heater).

A lot of gas appliance now rely on electric for operation, so being without one can mean the appliance will still not operate.

bjorn writes:
which would mean not running out of hot water after a couple people shower.

how about thinking about stuffing four or five folks into the shower at one time? oh la la.

Mar 1st 2010, 11:28 PM
how about thinking about stuffing four or five folks into the shower at one time? oh la la.

Don't give him any ideas :-)

Mar 2nd 2010, 07:18 AM
A lot of gas appliance now rely on electric for operation, so being without one can mean the appliance will still not operate.

Unless you have city water, loss of electric most often means "no water" as well!

...which would mean not running out of hot water after a couple people shower.

Running out can be a good thing if there are teenagers in the house that need to be, uh, "inspired" to shorten their shower time.

Mar 3rd 2010, 06:49 PM
I have a well, electric hot water, and most important. A generator wired to backfeed the house. Ran for 5 days straight in 04 I think it was.
Good point about the electric requirement for propane use nowadays. I didn't know that.

Mar 18th 2010, 08:13 AM
Here is a link with some good info on the various types of water heaters. I was actually looking into them a couple months ago. Especially since it cost me over $1500 in oil this winter to heat my house. My house needs to be better insulated and I need a wall between the garage and the house. I can't afford to heat the world.

This is the system I was actually looking at getting. I believe it comes with the ability to run 5 seperate zones, but that won't matter if your not using hotwater to heat your house.


May 11th 2010, 07:13 PM
The only thing to keep in mind about the tankless is that they should be installed by a licensed plumber, especially if you go with the gas. I understand there's a little more to putting in the gas than the electric. Beside, you'll void the warranty if you install it yourself. Yes, I sell these things, among other things, for a living.

May 12th 2010, 05:15 AM
$1500? We spent $3500 here in CT, and that is after we put in a new boiler, and insulated the attic.

As far as electric verses propane, I would just look at the prices. Do you already have propane (I assume you have electricity)? The mill rate for electricity here is very high, so oil is cheaper, yes electric would be more than $3500/year.

Hot water on demand is great.

May 12th 2010, 01:23 PM
I dont have one but after my research I decided against it. They say the water pressure loss can be signifigant. For me thats not good since I'm the last guy on rural water and my pressure isnt bad but didnt want worse. ALso looking at costs the monthly cost wasntt hat much better(if thats a consideration?).
Regarding propane for me out inthe country it is a minimal 200 gal purchase and often I have to wait for the weather to get a truck here. I use it but sparingly.
Propane burns at a higher BTU so you do get a hotter flame.
A guy you might want to ask is Greg-AKA "SWOBEE" you know him and where he can bee found I think. His job is somewhat related to that stuff.
I think they are a neat idea but they didnt work out after my research. Good Luck Bjorn

May 18th 2010, 09:12 PM
The most considerable drawback to these systems is this: they actually have a rating regarding how many degrees they can increase the water temperature at a MAXIMUM FLOW RATE. This means if its winter and the cold water going into the unit is not heated up from its original temp to a temperature you like at an acceptable flow rate for a satisfying bath or shower then you will need more than one unit in operation for that time of year. Makes you stop and seriously assess the viability of choosing one. JL

Jan 2nd 2011, 08:34 AM
I had one on a trailer home I lived in a few years ago. During the summer it was fine. During the winter the hot water by itsself wasn't warm enough by the time it ran the 60 foot length of the trailer to wash dishes in. Showers weren't "hot" either.

Jan 3rd 2011, 09:12 AM
We loooove our electric tankless water heater.

Pros: Unlimited shower time! Seriously, I could stay in there all day, especially during the rainy cold days of winter. Also we had the plumber run a hot water line to a spigot outside. I built a wood soaking tub and now we can just fill it from a hose with fresh hot water whenever we like. Ahhhh!
Another big plus is the ability to locate the brief case sized heater almost anywhere in the house. This turns out to be an important consideration. See cons below.
Another plus is that we can use hot water from the tap in cooking or for mixing up a quick hot drink. The hot water from a tankless is fresh as it has not been sitting for hours in a hot water tank with who-knows-what sediment collected at the bottom. We used to flush our hot water tank periodically and the water drawn from the bottom was not pretty.
Your electric bill should go down. I say should because with marathon showers and hot tub fillings I am sure we have been using much more hot water than we did pre-tankless. We did notice a fairly small drop in our average electric bill, though.

Cons: Temperature is dependent on flow rate. We are on a well and use a low-flow shower head so that is OK. We would have to regulate the incoming temp for the washing machine and dishwasher by closing or opening the supply valve if we were bothered, which we aren't.
Another con is the length of time it takes for the hot water to come up to temperature after say, the kitchen sink tap is opened. This is a function of how far the heater is from the tap. We live in a small house and the tankless heater is centrally located so are OK on that score, although it was an adjustment at first. It does take some time for the electric coils to heat up.
Also there will need to be some heavy duty wiring done as each coil of my two-coil tankless requires its own 220v. service. I do not remember the amperage but I know it is substantial.

If our tankless heater ever goes bad (we have acidic water) I will happily buy another just like it.