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    Question tankless water heater recommendation

    Does anyone have a recommendation on a tankless water heater? HD sells the Aquastar, Bosch and Paloma brands. I know nothing about any of these companies, whether their products are good or bad, reliable, etc. Also, is it worth paying more to get one with a higher GPM rate? It seems they start around 3.5 gallons per minute and go up from there. I live alone but if I were ever to sell I'm wondering if a 3.5 GPM unit would be insufficient for a family. The only concern I saw from one of the user reviews is as follows...

    "This has been a great heater, significantly lowering our costs, however, it only provides a 70 deg F temperature rise. In winter, our cold water is about 40deg F (5deg C) to 110F. This provides a good shower, but is not hot enough for dishes, etc.

    Any advice/recommendations as far as performance, brand reliability, etc. would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Some of us think that asking us for a recommendation for a tankless heater, is like asking vegetarians where to find a good steak house. In other words using "good" and "tankless" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

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    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Performance of even a well made tankless unit depends upon many variables like:

    • Where do you live? Some parts of the US are better suited for a tankless than others.

    • Do have "city water" or use a well? Do you have to treat your water?

    • What is the temperature of the incoming water?

    • Do you have adequate gas service? Electric is out of the question.

    • How many and what types of plumbing fixtures do you have that use hot water?

    • Even if you choose a quality brand with a good reputation, what is the availability of parts and service for it in your area?

    • You mentioned resell. Will the new owners be satisfied with only being able to run certain fixtures at the same time? Hard to answer that one.

    • And most importantly, what are the plumbing code requirements for installation where you live?


    Brace yourself. The topic of tankless water heaters are second only to religion for the spirited debates they can spark!
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 02-12-2009 at 01:25 PM.
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    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Depending on how many fixtures in the home that uses hot water, you may need to install more thanone unit to meet the demand for future owners. Give this thread a read. http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26706

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    The projected 4.8% savings over a conventional tank type high effeciency heater will take the better part of 20 years use to hit the break even point. The required annual maintainence on the unit (descaling) will more than likely negate any savings at all and in fact if you project those costs over the life of the heater, make tankless heaters more expensive to operate.

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Please>>>>>not again>>>>>>>>>>>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodrey View Post
    Does anyone have a recommendation on a tankless water heater? HD sells the Aquastar, Bosch and Paloma brands. I know nothing about any of these companies, whether their products are good or bad, reliable, etc. Also, is it worth paying more to get one with a higher GPM rate? It seems they start around 3.5 gallons per minute and go up from there. I live alone but if I were ever to sell I'm wondering if a 3.5 GPM unit would be insufficient for a family. The only concern I saw from one of the user reviews is as follows...

    "This has been a great heater, significantly lowering our costs, however, it only provides a 70 deg F temperature rise. In winter, our cold water is about 40deg F (5deg C) to 110F. This provides a good shower, but is not hot enough for dishes, etc.

    Any advice/recommendations as far as performance, brand reliability, etc. would be appreciated.


    Watch out.

    The lower end tankless heaters do no control the outgoing water temperature with a thermostat. A lot of them will have a modulating burner control setting and a water volume control setting. They maintain water temperature rise based only on water flow. These low end units do not adjust for changes in incoming water temperature. The control setup has to be adjusted by season to compensate for incoming water temperature variations.

    Look for a unit that clearly states that the unit has a modulating gas burner that is controlled by a thermostat that measures the outgoing water temperature. If you are interested in any specific unit, go to the manufacturers web site and read the instruction manual for the unit in question. Those manuals may be of help to you, but maybe not.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodrey View Post
    Does anyone have a recommendation on a tankless water heater? HD sells the Aquastar, Bosch and Paloma brands. I know nothing about any of these companies, whether their products are good or bad, reliable, etc. Also, is it worth paying more to get one with a higher GPM rate? It seems they start around 3.5 gallons per minute and go up from there. I live alone but if I were ever to sell I'm wondering if a 3.5 GPM unit would be insufficient for a family. The only concern I saw from one of the user reviews is as follows...

    "This has been a great heater, significantly lowering our costs, however, it only provides a 70 deg F temperature rise. In winter, our cold water is about 40deg F (5deg C) to 110F. This provides a good shower, but is not hot enough for dishes, etc.

    Any advice/recommendations as far as performance, brand reliability, etc. would be appreciated.
    Getting a "fair" question regarding tankless water heaters from this website will be a joke at best and a complete attack on your intelligence at worst. Do what I did last year.... Figure out your TOTAL hot water needs, your cold water inlet temp (lowest average), and what the piping is like in your house size wise (both water and gas). Once you have those FACTS as they apply to YOUR situation you can begin to make an educated guess on YOUR needs.

    A tankless unit isn't for everyone in every situation, however, a tankless system will work for far more than some of the so called pro's on here will admit to. When I was researching a unit to go in MY home last summer I looked at what the big box stores had to offer. I found that they didn't have the modulated burner feature that would allow for variable gas consumption and thus true variable hot water output without restricting flow prematurely or in place of burner control. A couple of the "upper end" tankless units had the ability to vary the burner based on hot water demand. Those units were what I narrowed my choice to.... it was so tempting to run to Lowes and make a quick purchase but I am glad I didn't do that.

    Trust no one... do your research. If you don't feel comfortable with this path... go hire a plumber and give him you checkbook.
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default tankless

    I believe it was Will Rogers who said, "Never argue about politics or religion". I guess we can add tankless heaters and putty/silicone to that list, because there will never be a definitive settlement to it.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Here's the part that kills me. For some warped reason you seem to think we are against tankless heaters because we are against new technology ? Look, if the products performed to homeowners expectations and there were not warranty problems and service issues and they actually delivered on thier promiss why would'nt we want to sell and install them? I can make damn good money selling and installing them can't I? I am after all in business to make money and any product that Performs well would certainly be an opportunity to make more. We are against them because of the numerous problems associated with them and we all have enough integrity not to be pushing problems on our customers. Those home owners that have decided to hack one in for themselves don't ever have to deal with unhappy customers, questions and call backs. Nor do they have to answer to inspectors or anyone other than their wives and family. So no, you guys are not going to get a glowing endorsment of these things from professionals that deal with them day in and day out. If you are in love with yours than great, but neither one of you has enough experiance to be giving anybody advice on the subject.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Trenchcoat's Avatar
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    Here's my tankless experiance. Last March my 40 gallon gas water heater finally died after almost 25 years. We did a bunch of web research and decided to have a Rinnai tankless installed by a local company. They came out and did a very nice job of installing the new unit. They upsized the gas line and ran the vent properly and did a very neat job of the whole thing. From day one we noticed that there was a long lag time in getting the hot water to the fixtures. running a small amount of water such as rinsing dishes would not be enough to let the heater fire. Running anything other than one fixture in the house at a time either produced not enough hot water or the temperature would fluctuate. We have Symmons temperature pressure balanced valves in both bathrooms and they do not like the temperature of fluctuation at all so we had to resort to planning shower times so that no one else in the house would be running water at the same time. Lastly the unbelieveable gas savings amounted to about 4 bucks a month and was far and away not worth the inconveniance and aggravation. The plumber (nice guy) came out a bunch of times to see if he could make things better. Our piping is 1" copper for the main line with 3/4" branches and 1/2" feeders so he says that is more than enough. The simple fact is that the unit just does not have the capacity to make hot water for anything other than a single bath home with two people living in it. After a very frustrating 9 months we finally had the thing taken out and have gone back to a 40 gallon gas water heater. It sure is nice to be able to take a long hot shower again without having to dance from one end of the tub to the other. Maybe these things would work ok in a camp or a very small house but if you have more than one bathroom and a couple of kids in the house BEWARE.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Imagine that.. An unsatisfied tankelss customer. Who'd a figured?

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