I am in a pickle! I was so happy because I was getting ready to convert to gas. I was planning to buy a gas tankless water heater. Unfortunately my happiness is fading fast. It will take about a month to get the permit for gas. In the meantime, my old 22-year old Rheem has decided to start leaking. The drip pan is currently half full and I know it's on its last leg (no, let's face it, it's beyond it's last leg).

So I cancelled the gas hookup because I am going to have to buy a new water heater in the next few days. I now don't have time to wait for the permit and trenching the gas lines to my house.

Problem is my water heater is up in the attic. The current water heater was apparently put up there before the ceiling was installed. The old tank will not fit through the attic access (which is 22 x 36 approximately) to get it out of the attic. The old tank is 24" diameter x 32" high and it is 40 gallons. I would have to find a unit that is less than 22" diameter obviously. I think 40 gallons is good for a 2 person household because we never run out of water.

The attic has trusses so finding another space for a taller, thinner unit is not as easy as it might sound. I honestly would prefer not to have to expand the attic access because the would involve major carpentry.

My DH is pushing for electric tankless. The house is 1700 SF and there are two bathrooms with showers/tubs. I use my dishwasher daily at night. I do 4-5 loads of laundry on the weekend. Of course, daily showers for the two of us. Will the electric tankless be a good choice?

I could possibly find a space in a closet on the main floor for a tank water heater but I don't know if there could be an overflow hose which I understand would be necessary (where would it go?)

I am really starting to worry about 40 gallons of water dropping out of my attic in my guest bedroom. I really need guidance on how to handle this and hope one of you can help me with some good advice.

(Also, advice on whether there's a way to get the old unit out of the attic without destroying the ceiling - Can the old tank be cut in half?)

Thanks, in advance, for any advice you might have.