I just had my propane delivered and I only used 111 gallons since mid November! Of course I have my mighty woodburning stove to thank for keeping my home warm and toasty throughout subzero temps this winter but I also installed a tankless water heater a couple of years ago and it is definately providing me with substantial propane savings while IMPROVING our quality of life. First, it only heats the water when you need it, it doesn't keep thirty or forty gallons of water hot just in case you might need it. That is what a standard water heater d0oes. A tankless water heater only heats the water when you are ready to use it. I used to keep my water heater turned way down to save propane, this meant that when you took a shower you could only get it as hot as the water heater was set which wasn't that hot. The other problem with standard water heaters is that you run out of hot water! If two people wanted to take a shower in the am the second person had to wait for the water in the tank to heat up. No more! With the tanless you have endless hot water! And I don't mind if the kids take a longer shower because I know I am still saving money compared to the old heater keeping the water hot all day and night.
Not to mention since there is no tank to rust out, these things last a lot longer than the older models and when they do go, its a small plastic box with cooper pipe which can all be recycled and even if its not it is still MUCH smaller than a big tank. Thats another plus if your house is short on space, it is a small box that hangs on the wall, it actually takes up ZERO floor space. I got mine at Lowes and had a handy friend install it, he was so impressed he went out and got one for his own house. They come in natural gas and propane models and I believe there are electric models also. You can even get small under sink models for say a bathroom sink in an office etc. IMHO these things are a perfect example of sustainable alternatives, while it doesn't eliminate your need for propane etc. it deffinately reduces that need and IMPROVES your quality of life. IMHO tank style water heaters are a dying breed, the tankless style will soon replace them.
Great information. We have been thinking of looking into the Hot Water on Demand thing, but really don't know anything about them.
We have an 80 gallon water heater, and since our daughter moved back home, and when our son is home from college there is never enough hot water. Between the washing machine, dishwasher and showers, it seems one or two of them are running day and night.
I had real problems in Houston, years ago. No problem with, or in the heater itself, but the calcium and mineral deposits clogged every sink and shower aerator. Had to backflush the hot water lines every 2 weeks to have any usable flow.
But when clear - you could open every hot water tap in the house and NEVER run out. Had adjustment for 70 to 90 degree rise in input temperature.
125,000 BTU burner, required 5" or better vent.
Some new ones have only a 4" vent, so no extra work on the roof.
When the existing traditional HW heater dies, I will put a softener in line and reinstall in this house.
All a tankless hot water heater is is copper pipe with a burner around it. I can't imagine that hard water would affect it any different than any other copper pipe. Hard water greatly reduces the efficiency of a tank style heater by forming deposits and making it harder to heat the water. I'm no plumber but in theory it would make sense that a tankless would be better in hard water than a tank style. Are you saying bubba that you uninstalled the tankless water heater because of the clogging? Or are you refering to installing one in a different house?
Joan, an 80 gallon water heater and you are still running out of hot water? Yikes! Run don't walk down to lowes and get you the large size tankless. They come in two sizes. With the smaller size you can have one major hot water draw at a time, like taking a shower, and a smaller one like washing hands. The larger size allows for two or three major hot water draws at the same time. I have the smaller one, with the water pressure in this house you couldn't do two major things at once if you wanted too. But with the larger one you could have both kids in the shower and wash your hands all day 7 days a week and never run out of hot water. And an 80 gallon hot water heater sucks up a lot of wasted energy when its not in use, my guess is it would probably save you some cash in your energy bills.
No problem Joan. I have been very happy with mine, I recomend them to everyone. The model Lowes sells is Bosch, I think there are other brand names out there but I can only personally speak of the Bosch. I found a site with more info. and you can even order them online, though I think lowes price might be a little better but this site does carry reconditioned models.
I had a tankless water heater installed in my last house at the same time as having a gas furnace installed. It was the best investment I've ever made and I am in the process of researching the models again to have one installed in this house. Not only is having endless hot water on tap wonderful but getting back the space in my laundry where the tank sits is going to be fantastic. One other thing that hasn;t been mentioned is that you can get temperature controllers for them which in a house with young kids is great. I set the temp on the controller and there is no way they can burn themselves if the play with or knock the faucet handle in the shower.
spot, you have been infinitely helpful as i contemplate practically razing my house. I can't afford to cherry this one out like I did the previous one because I'm not working full time anymore, but I'm going to put my money where it will help most.
So your stove & tankless heater will be at the top of the "must" list.
It's so daunting to consider all the options & costs when wanting to build sustainably.
Summer, when we bought this house in 91 it was a mess. Very well built and solid structurally but maint had been let slide and many components were past their normal lifespan. Over the years it has been gutters, roof, furnace, pressure tank, plumbing, windows, insulation, etc. etc. etc. and I'm still working on it as time and money permit.
My personal strategy is to develope an overall plan, then hit the things that can't wait. For example when we bought the house the gutters were metal and had rusted through everywhere, as a result water was pooling around the foundation, freezing and beginning to bow the basement walls. It also resulted in a LOT of water in the basement! This was a project that would have cost far more to put off than to do it fast. Then when those projects are taken care of I focus on anything that will save me money in the long run, focusing on the ones with the biggest potential savings first. Also smaller projects that don't take a lot of cash. I try to do as much as I can myself to save money, plus it makes me feel good to know I did it myself. Its amazing how much you can accomplish with a readers digest home repair book and a lot of determination! LOL The water heater was on the list as a desirable, but when the old one broke it became a necessistity. Sometimes your plans have to be adjusted. I still have a lot of work to do on 'this old house' but I am already enjoying savings from previous projects which helps fund future ones. Anyhow, thats my personal strategy. Asthetics can wait if they are costly. Just take it a step at a time and consider it a fun challenge. I honestly don't know what I would ever do if I ran out of projects, probably move like I did the last time. LOL
I use a tankless heater much the same as those mentioned above, an aussie brand, and, call me mean if you will, I turn off the pilot light and just light it up when we shower or do the washing up- saves heaps of gas, and heaps of money.
I installed the tankless when the original sprung a leak and was full of scale. I removed and reinstalled a conventional heater when we sold the house. But, I kept the tankless for a future house. My job provided me with a few moves, so I did not reinstall it in any of the houses I rented or bought.
Now that we are adding improvements every couple of years to our present house, I will probably reinstall it, but will use either a filtration system or water softener in line with it. I have no desire to repeat the backflushing again. I have had to do a bunch of retro-plumbing on this house, as is.
I just found this thread. I did a LOT of research 3-4 weeks ago when my water heater burned out the heating element. My sis owns this house even though she hasn;t moved here yet, but she'd like tankless, so I did my homework.
We won't install one until we can replace all the crappy undersized water pipes, maybe this summer. But here are some important features and differences.
First, better ones now come with filters for scale/lime build-up, or you can add one.
Second, you can do a single whole-house tankless heater, or add one in every bath/laundry/kitchen that uses hot water. For larger houses or those with long plumbing runs to bathrooms at the other end of the house, most manufacturers recommend adding an auxillary pump kinda thing.
Frankly, I'm leaning towards one in every bath, etc. Those run on 115 volts and simply plug in, whereas the whole house units run on 220v. I can install and hookup the single units myself, no need for an electrician and a plumber.
Now having said all that... if I were doing a dwelling almost from scratch, I would have an exterior wood-fired boiler to provide heat in the floors and hot water to bathe, cook, and do laundry. Heck, I'd even use it to heat a greenhouse!
Solar hot water is not too viable in my climate with cloudy days and freezing temps in winter which would require a sophisticated closed-loop system. However, I have toyed with a summer system which I could do for pennies, and switch back in late fall. I grew up with solar hot water and we seldom had to run the auxillary heater except for prolonged rainy days even with 4 in the house.
Here is a thread with pix of the house I just sold after fixing it up for 10 years. Unfortunately, I never took any before pix. But it will give you an idea of my tastes & proclivities. Tonight or tomorrow I will be posting pix of the shack for which I'm setting up to do a rehab. First project will be turning one end of the garage into a self-contained studio for my artwork & living space during the construction. The garage is 57 feet long! Dang hillbillies.
(this photo thread is an adjunct to another one peopled by some folks who have struggled with situational or chemical depression & we just chat all day long. good group.)
Spot ~ your comment [quote] I just had my propane delivered and I only used 111 gallons since mid November! [/quote] as opposed to how much consumption previously with the old water heater? I am curious because I am wanting a propane tankless water heater. Our water leaves lots of scale and mineral deposits. We currently use an electric water heater and replace burned out elements on a regular basis. The tank capacity (if not flushed) will become much smaller because of the mineral deposits and the water volume will become much less. By not having to maintain a water temperature I am sure this system will be far more efficient.
Spot8907: One of the burners on my electric hot water heater gave out several months ago because of a lightening strike. I have been shuffling and shuffling trying to figure out how I will get a natural gas water heater which will be several hundred dollars. The electric right now heats only a few gallons at a time. To do the dishes I have to do one dishpanful, then wait to til the water reheats. (The lightning strike also got the wiring to the dishwasher). I have dreams of having a full bathtub of hot water. Hmmm. Have you solved my problem? Have you changed my life?
Do you know that one of the true joys of life is working out side and getting really dirty and then taking a shower or a bath with LOTS of hot water?
I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We remodeled the kitchen in July 2006 and installed an electric on-demand instant-hot water heater. We are delighted but there is one important drawback to the system.
The unit has a built-in safety feature that shuts off the heat to the unit when the temperature inside the twin heating chambers gets too hot. Since water in South Florida doesn't ever get really cold, very little hot water is required to shower. The water would flow slowly in the heating chambers and get too hot, somehow. Then, the safety feature would kick in and completely shut off the water heater. You would end up showering with cold water for about a minute before the safety feature kicked off again and the heater started heating up again. The shower wasn't pulling enough hot water for the heater to work continuously.
To avoid that, we had to run the hot water in the kitchen while showering, which defeats the energy savings. As a last resolt, I removed the built-in water flow restrictors in the showerhead. That settled it. OK, I use more water than what Water Pik intended (2.5gpm) but I save water by drinking wine and beer. We all do our bit some way or another, I guess. I also turned down the unit's thermostat, thereby producing hot rather than scalding water. Aside from that, the water heater is wonderful and I heartily recommend them.
Don't know. I live within the City limits. When the power goes out, this whole section of town goes. Usually, we have a power outage two or three times a year. The light pole that has the transformer is out on the street. The lightening strike that did in my water heater, hit the fuse box. Not all the fuses were affected, just to one side of the house.
New question about tankless water heaters. I notice the natural gas units have electronic ignitions. Doesn't that mean no hot water if there is a power outage?
Podster, it is hard to say exactly how much propane savings is from my water heater as I installed a woodburning stove soon after I got the water heater, but I do know they used to fill my tank in sept after the summer months but now it is typicaly late Oct. To mid november.Here is a little speel from the Bosch website.
Energy Savings of up to 50%
Your water heater is the second largest consumer of energy in your home after home heating/cooling. Therefore, it is where you can significantly reduce the costs of your annual energy consumption. Why keep a storage tank full of hot water 24 hours a day when the average household use is less than one hour per day?
When water is heated and stored in a tank the inside walls will soon begin to build up mineral deposits. The scale build-up on the bottom of the tank can cause it to decrease in efficiency by as much as 50% over 10 years and the subsequent corrosion of the tank's inside wall will eventually cause it to leak. Compare this to a tankless water heater which does not store water and maintains its efficiency for the lifetime of the unit.
Now bubba stated that he also had hard water and he had to backflush his, so you might want to discuss the issue with him. I also have hard water but I use a water softener, another product I really like but It doesn't relate to sustainability unless you want to count that it improves the life of your appliances, particularly your water heater. Well also you use FAR less soaps and detergents but then again it uses salt to clean the medium so your putting salt into the environment but the newer models don't use as much as the old. Tradeoff I guess.
Gloria, one of things I didn't like about mine was that it has a pilot light, I would much rather have gotten electronic ignition to save on the propane. But I notice on their website that bosch now has units that use the flow of the water to somehow create ignition, this would mean no pilot light and you would still have hot water during a power outage, best of both worlds, wish I had one. But I would never replace anything still working simply for the pilot light issue. But if I were to buy one today, that would be the model I would want.
Gloria, you mentioned money being an issue, check this out.
2007 Tax Credit
See also: www.gamanet.org
Energy Efficient Bosch Water Heaters Can Save You $300 on Your 2006-2007 Taxes
Waitsfield, Vt. — Start the New Year off right by purchasing a highly energy-efficient Bosch tankless water heater. Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, homeowners who have a Bosch gas water heater with an Energy Factor of 0.80 or greater installed in their home in 2006/2007 are eligible for a $300 tax credit on their 2006/2007 income taxes.
One of the primary goals of the Energy Bill, which took effect on January 1, 2006, is to reduce America’s energy consumption. To accomplish this goal, it includes incentives for U.S. consumers to use more energy-efficient products and technologies.
Residential water heating is typically the second largest use of energy in American homes, so the Energy Bill includes a special provision to encourage homeowners to use energy efficient tankless water heaters like those produced by Bosch. This is actually a win-win-win for homeowners, who can now receive a tax credit for purchasing a Bosch tankless water heater which can lead to a reduction of 30%-50% in monthly utility bills while helping to preserve the environment.
Only gas tankless water heaters with an Energy Factor (EF) of at least 0.80, as certified by the U.S. Department of Energy, qualify for the tax credit. The Bosch product line includes sixteen powerful, energy-efficient tankless water heaters with EF’s above the 0.80 minimum: Ask your plumber for Bosch tankless water heaters. Standard, old-fashioned storage tank heaters have lower Energy Factors because they heat water continuously, whether it is being used or not. “That’s like leaving your car idling in the driveway 24 hours a day,” noted Kyle Murray, Vice President of Marketing for Bosch Water Heating. Bosch tankless water heaters have EF’s as much as 20 points higher than even the best storage tank heaters.
Tax credits are far from the only benefit enjoyed by homeowners who use Bosch tankless water heaters, of course. These water heaters produce an endless flow of hot water, and only heat that water while it is actually being used. The new generation of Bosch tankless water heaters produces flow volumes of almost seven gallons per minute, which is enough for two major simultaneous household uses such as showers, laundry, dish washing, etc. And Bosch tankless water heaters are as environmentally friendly as they are efficient, producing up to 50% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than less efficient storage tank heaters.
Contractors who build energy-efficient new homes or commercial buildings, or who remodel older buildings, are also eligible for tax incentives under the provisions of the new Energy Bill. This tax credit will continue through Dec. 31, 2007. It is possible that the program will be renewed thereafter. A total cap of $500 in credits per individual is allowable under the current law, with additional credits and requirements involved.
I noticed on the Bosch Hot Water site, that they also manufacture floor heating equipment for heating with hot water. After a winter of getting purple lesions on my feet from the cold, that sounds like a good idea, to go with the instant hot water.
Your welcome Gloria. I have been very pleased with mine, just having endless hot water when you need it is wonderfull. Then add to that the environmental and financial benifits I consider it one of the best purchases I have ever made, I think these things deserve far more attention than they are getting so I am just trying to help get the word out. Apparently these things have popular in europe for quite some time, they deserve the same popularity in the US.
Im still looking to see if the instant hot water heaters can be used for radiant heat of tile floors. I need a new kitchen floor, too. But, then I read that the trend is to heat floors with dry air, not hot water. Im still researching that. But, youve got me off and running, Spot. Sounds like a great rehab project. Hot water, install the new dishwasher sitting in my garage, new tile floors that are warm in winter. That would make a big difference to this 100 year old house.
You bring up a good point gloria. I have a hydronic heating system that heats the house using the hot water from the water heater. It is an energy efficient system for heating, but it does use a conventional hot water tank. I'll need to check into the ability to convert it to an on demand type of hot water tank when the current one needs replacing.
That's what's so wonderfull about a forum like this, hearing from people who are or have done projects really gives you motivation. I have been planning on installing rainwater catchment for a couple of years, just haven't been motivated enough, now after hearing and seeing other peoples projects and getting new ideas I'm motivated to take on a much bigger project than I originally considered. It also helps to avoid mistakes you might otherwise make by hearing of the mistakes of others and getting feedback on your ideas. This is something you can't get from a book. The more people who actually implement these ideas the more of an impact it makes. Kudos for whoever got the idea to start this forum, I can't remember who it was but thanks!
I have had a Bosch natural gas model (the smaller one - when I got mine it was the only one available) with a battery ignition - no pilot light. I love it. I just wish the larger unit was available back then. As spot said, only one hot water use at a time. It must have saved me oodles over the seven years I've had it.
Hi everyone, I just found this forum tonight and wanted to pop out of lurking to chime in :)
We just installed a Rheem tankless water heater last month; we were very excited to do so, because it freed up space (our water heater is on the first floor of our house) and is so much more efficient, which is important to me. The bad part of our experience is that the city inspector failed our new unit--turns out that for about 6 months of the year, the gallons-per-minute rise for incoming cold water to increase by 77 degrees isn't up to city code. The city wants 5 GPM, but our unit only does 4.3 GPM in cold weather. We WILL be at code in summer, when the incoming water only has to rise by maybe 50 or 60 degrees. So, people in colder climates may want to check their local code requirements first to see if their units would pass muster with city hall. We thought we would be fine, since our unit was the largest residential unit for sale at the store we purchased it from. The bottom line for us is that we just have to wait a little longer for hot water when we turn on sink faucets in winter. No health or safety issues, and hot water still reaches the shower & laundry quickly.
It was frustrating for us, but I'd still choose a tankless WH option again. The tax credit and energy savings are worth having to point out the issue on the paperwork when we sell our house down the road.
For those interested in buying a unit, it also helps to shop around. We also saved about hundred dollars by ordering the vent kit online instead of buying at a local big box store. (plumbers supply company)
You actually pulled a permit for water heater? Masochist? LOL Just kidding, good heads up for those more law abiding than myself. Since the water coming out of my well actually hurts its so cold I doubt any tankless would be up to code here. Funny though, I've never had any problem?
Why should they be worried about the water not being hot enough?? I don't get it. Codes are supposed to be about safety and keeping people from 'offending' their neighbors with structures, etc. What's their role in this case?
Victorgardener: I totally agree that codes should be about safety & structural issues rather than more subjective ones, such as speed of hot water delivery...it's been very frustrating, because we scheduled the inspection now to avoid unpleasant surprises later when we sell our house in a few years. We may appeal it, as it seems a silly decision to me.
Plus, the inspector had a bad cold and I ended up with the sniffles a few days later. Injury to insult, I guess! lol
I believe the water heater codes were put inplace after some incidences where pathogenic bacteria grew in water that wasn't hot enough to kill them. There was a limit placed on how hot the water was allowed to be in some areas as folks were increasing the water temperature to compensate from a tank to small for their needs and some children were scalded by the tap water.
victor, your asking a gov't employee who administers codes to think outside the box! The codes were probably written before tankless hot water heaters were available and they just can't deal with it.
We had a heck of a time getting a building permit for a steel frame residential property because the city/town didn't have anything in their books to deal with steel frame for residential, so of course the only response they were willing to give was "no". It didn't matter if you had information to show that the seismic strength was superior to wood frame or that the adjacent towns allowed it. It was outside their code book and they couldn't deal with it.
OK, finally got smart and asked my DH about this GPM heating in a tankless unit. DH is also a licensed general contractor & plumbing is one of his trades. He said junebugs city code issue is a local code and not all areas have it, but many do. This issue relates to tankless heaters specifically, not the tanked variety. He said the usual reason for the GPM requirement is that the city is worried about pathogens in the water and a lower GPM heating speed wouldn't heat the water fast enough for the usage outflow to kill off the pathogens.
So there you have another view.
And the concern is that the pathogens will enter the skin, I assume? Not too many people are drinking hot water. I'd be more concerned about the cold water. To boot, we know from composting that many pathogens are not reliably killed unless they reach around 160 degrees so I would guess that some would survive 120.
How in the world did anyone survive before the government decided to "protect" us? I mean c'mon folks all this regulation has created a land of marshmellow idiots that must spend most of their income complying with regulations. People today demand that the government protect them everypossible hazard so the gov. tries to just that. No longer does a child get the experience of the wind blowing through his hair while riding a bike, now he has to suit up with equiptment that cost more than his bike before learning to ride. Where does this all end folks?
A few years back I replaced a bathtub. Could not find a model without the nonslip surface on the bottom, seems they are against the law. This stupid "nonslip" stuff isn't actually nonslip, I've almost broken my neck in the new tub just as many times as I did in the old. What the new tub is though is hard to clean, that supposedly non-slip surface never looks completly clean and white, might as well have kept the old tub.
Oh and then there is the faucet issue, seems code says I have to install one of those ugly one handled faucets to keep someone from being scalded, screw that! At least there are other varieties of faucets still available but who knows for how long.
What is wrong with people? Life is risky. You could be killed by a car sitting on your sofa nowdays but the government has tpo protect people because they have no common sense. Kids are required to wear helmets to ride a bike but parents aren't required to teach or discipline their children to ride safely. Its common to see even very young children riding down the middle of the street with no parent in sight. But run over little Johnny and watch them run for a lawyer.
I think it was Ben Franklin who said something like a man who trades liberty for security deserves neither, well thats what we have neither! Do you know there are warning labels on soda pop now? Yea, contents under pressure don't open towards face or something like that. Be for real folks, if you are that stupid that you need a warning label on pop I doubt you would be able to read anyway! Just saw a new literacy study not long ago 1/3 of adults in D.C. are functionally illiterate, 1/4 in the entire country and these people are worried about putting warning labels on everything, whats the point? Not all regs are bad, we need SOME, but it has passed the boundaries of any common sense whatsoever.
a land of marshmallow idiots . . .. You are so right Spot. I hired a supposedly bonded person to install a roof, then learned he could not read the installation instructions. Finally, the manufacturer's inspector showed up and told me the waranty was not valid because the roof was not installed according to the instructions. O.K. now I need a water heater. Is there someone in my area that can read the installation instructions. My house is 100+ years old. It cannot take many more marshmallow idiots who have taken over the construction trade in this State (hurricane scammers), and who have invaded the city government, and who are just running around being stupid! Well, that is a recognized fact, not just my personal observation. Question is, how to protect your family and property?
Less a land of marshmallows than a land of lawyers. Whether or not you "agree" with a building code, you are still required to comply or lose your license (as a builder or contractor). Can make for a very frustrating job. Many codes relate to situations that no longer exist. I was reading an article about quirky outdated laws that are still on lawbooks around the country, for example, a height restriction on chicken coops in Maine (or somewhere thereabouts) that exists to prevent folks from hanging themselves in their coops. Apparently this was a popular way to commit suicide at the time the law was passed.
Its a land of marshmallows too. People don't want be educated, they want to be protected. If people weren't so anxious to sue there wouldn't be so many lawyers. There is no personal responsibility anymore, people expect life to be garaunteed safe by someone else. Trult defective products should be the only concern, not protecting people from their own stupidity.
A couple of years ago, a woman tried to snatch a baby from a pediatric IC unit at Loyola Hospital near Chicago. The alert hospital security was suspicious about her behavior & tailed her to the parking lot, where they retrieved the baby seconds later.
And the stupid *(&*$#% parents who looked as if drugs could have been a factor in the preemie birth SUED THE HOSPITAL.
I would've been walking around that hospital with a sign saying "THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY BABY!"
Loyola immediately said, this one we're not settling. I never heard an outcome of the case, though.