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Thread: Tank / Tankless Combo

  1. #1

    Default Tank / Tankless Combo

    Dear forum members,

    I've spent countless hours researching the water heater options. Hopefully the experts on this forum will be able to provide some recommendations. I have a 50 gallon Rheem tank, which seems to work fine, except when we have guests... and also it can never fill our whirlpool with anything but a room temperature water. The most obvious solution would be to install the second tank, but I feel bad about "punishing the environment" and running the second water heater only because we need extra hot water 5-10 times a year.

    So I got all jazzed up about the tankless systems, however after reading a lot of the posts on this forum, I am getting cold feet. Ideally I would want a hybrid unit, the one that provides a combination of tank with high efficiency modulating and condensing burner. This unit should be able to provide amble hot water during peak usage, but still stay efficient during low demand times.

    I came across Phoenix, which seems to combine everything I'd want from the water heater, including efficiency and ability to use PVC piping for intake / exhaust, but there's no dealers in Chicago area, and the information about these units is extremely scarce. I am also apprehensive about the potential cost of this unit (couldn't find even an approximate pricing)...

    Any comments / suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Chicago, IL


    All they are offering is a power vented water heater. Many other manufatrus offer this as well.

    Bradford White


    Want something a bit more commercial check out this Lochinvar unit. It uses a heat exchanger and a storage tank with a recirc pump, the smaller unit can handle 155GPH at a 100 F rise. Lochinvar Efficiency Pac

    No A.O Smith makes a unit that has 96 % thermal efficiency. Called the Vertex GDHE-50 its very impresive.

    These models can be easly found in the Chicago area. I hope this information helps a little.

  3. #3

    Default Non-modulating


    Thanks for your reply, it was very helpful. I really wanted a unit with a modulating burner, to reduce on-off cycling, however the Vertex sounds like a reasonable alternative and it also qualifies for 30% tax rebate.

    Did anyone have any hands-on experience with these units?

  4. #4
    DIY Member dimprov's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Austin, Texas



    You may find this comparison chart helpful:


    It lists condensing water heaters from various manufacturers that have thermal efficiency of 90% or greater.

    The Rheem HE45-199 looks to be of similar design to the Phoenix:
    Perhaps they exist in the Chicago area.

    Although it looks like beautiful engineering, it's priced at around $5800 and comes with a rather pathetic 3 year limited warranty against tank leaks. So, as Dirty Harry would say, "Do you feel lucky?"

    Last edited by dimprov; 03-03-2009 at 11:13 AM.


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