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View Poll Results: Tank or tankless?

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  • Tankless

    14 48.28%
  • Tank

    10 34.48%
  • Combination (please post if 'combo')

    4 13.79%
  • Other (please post if 'other')

    1 3.45%
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Thread: If install cost wasn't an issue...

  1. #16
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    How much is the labor cost to swap out the exchanger....
    I could do it in about an hour and half so say $240, which is about the same amount of time it takes me to swap out a tank water heater in most normal cases.

  2. #17
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    Dunbar makes another friend

  3. #18
    DIY Junior Member Diavolicchio's Avatar
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    I'd definitely go tankless, because of the maximum temp rise needed of around 30 degrees and because of the sheer volume of water my primary shower would blow through in a given day. Space is also at a premium for me and I have no desire to double the size of the mechanicals room to be able to hold the hot water tanks that would be necessary to address my hot water needs.

    I would just make sure that I screened out any disgruntled Dunbars from servicing the system.


    John
    Last edited by Diavolicchio; 12-12-2009 at 07:15 AM.

  4. #19
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default combo

    I have no issue with using a tankless, IF it can be installed near the room where the hot water is being used, and if it is a gas unit. IF it is going to be installed at the same location that a tank type could go, then I would prefer the tank type, since saving water would not be a factor. It will have fewer problems, be easier to service when it does have them, and may be less expensive to operate regardless of the claims by the tankless manufacturers.

  5. #20
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    I'd buy a solar setup
    I just picked up (2) 4x12 panels for free from someone
    They were getting 170 degree water out of the setup
    Ideally I'd like it setup to provide heat for the garage/basement/house in the winter
    IF - it would not get up to 120 for hot water
    MIght as well heat the basement if it can at least get to 65
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  6. #21
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    I'd buy a solar setup
    I just picked up (2) 4x12 panels for free from someone
    They were getting 170 degree water out of the setup
    Ideally I'd like it setup to provide heat for the garage/basement/house in the winter
    IF - it would not get up to 120 for hot water
    MIght as well heat the basement if it can at least get to 65
    You can get 170F out of 10 square foot panel, if you crank the flow down to nuthin'. It's all about total net BTUs delivered, not the temperature at which it's delivered. The average efficiency of flat panels at 170F in a coastal New England winter will be ~50% best-case. If you run it a lot cooler you can probably hit 70% or more in the shoulder-seasons.

    I don't know how many therms you expect to reap from ~100sf of low-temp solar in a heating season, but I'd hazard in Rockland MA it's under 200therms (20MBTU), but for the sake of argument say it's 200 (even if 100 is more likely), and lets assume against all likihood that it'll collect it all in the coolest 100 days (or 2400 hours) of the heating season. Is the average heat load on your basement all winter, at 65F interior temp going to be under 20,000,000/2400=8333BTUs/hr? Is it less than half that? Maybe...

    If it's well sealed from infiltration, with an insulated slab and R20 on the walls, or you run the collectors at under 100F to get 65-70% efficiency out of 'em, maybe you'll get a noticable midwinter boost out of it. In the shoulder seasons with somewhat warmer outdoor temps you'll get more.

    The dirty little not-so-secret about solar heating is that most existing standard-construction homes will lose heat far faster than you can collect it with an array that fits within the footprint of the house. If you don't have whole-wall R-values over R25 above grade, and over R15 below grade including R10 under the slab) don't expect too much. 100sf of collector may be measurable in the heating bill, but unless you're already under 700gallons/oil or 1000therms/gas in a season you'll need a sharp pencil to see it. If you're burning only 300gallons or 400 therms/year it'll be dead-obvious.

  7. #22
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    When we 1st moved in we went thru 3 tanks of oil the 1st year
    We used about 1.25 tanks of oil last year, it was 10% colder then average & I was heating 10% more space
    The new sunroom off the back is not fully sealed, so once that is done it will be even warmer
    I heat with wood in fall & Spring, supplement with wood in the winter
    I'd like to get it under 1 tank of oil a year

    I built a greenhouse against one part of the back of the house
    On a sunny 30 degree day it goes up to 60 or so
    That keeps part of the house much warmer
    In the Spring It was going up to 107 in the greenhouse
    Hate to see what it would go to if I didn't take the storm windows off in the Spring
    So another plan is to heat my hot tub with a solar collector in the good weather

    Other option is to heat the garage...even up to 60 would be nice
    Better then leaving the panels "idle" in the winter

    and by solar setup I actually meant a 6-9kw or better photovoltaic/wind system to offset my electric WH
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  8. #23
    In the Trades AAnderson's Avatar
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    Absolutely tankless! Bare in mind this is still new territory for a lot of plumbers and home owners. I've sent clients to this site to get a slightly more objective opinion on the subject than other sites
    . There are two type of plumbers here, those that are stuck in the tank ages and those that have evolved and adapted to new technologies.
    Heat exchanger replacement? It depends, indoor Rinnai; 1 1/2 hours, exterior 30 minutes. Navien HX replacement (yes it can happen and did), 2 hours, Tagaki, 2 hours, Bosch 250, 635, 2400 and 2700, 1 1/2 hour.
    Navien board replacement of the V1.50 with an upgrade to the new V2.0; 15 minutes, Rinnai, same, Bosch, 30 minutes. We've had a number of Takaki ground fault circuits cook in lightning strikes as have Rinnai
    Water valve replacement on a Rinnai 2532, R 85 or R 94LS 30 minutes, gas valve replacement on same with high / low fire adjustment; 45 minutes
    Bosch gas valve replacement 250, 635, 45 minutes CO2 adjustment; 15 minutes with a combustion gas analyzer.

    So far in 30 plus years we've installed about 1,500+ tankless WH. the over whelming have been Rinnai in the last 11 years and they have the best technical service. Navien well, as i've told reps, if you want to try and be #1 you have to start with support.
    You can't expect a home owner to work on a tankless and as we all know, home owners don't call until it's broke at 4:30 PM on Friday.
    We used to be the go to people for Bosch in central California but we parted ways with them and if you've dealt with Bosch very often, you can imagine why. We focus on service for Paloma/ Rheem, Rinnai, Tagaki, Noritz and Navien.
    The problem is never in the box, its either gas, venting, application and mis-installation that give us 30 plus hours a week in tankless service calls alone and these result in either failed systems or very expensive re-installations.
    We just swapped out a Rinnai R 85 LP and installed a Navien RR 240 A because the water quality and lack of condensate collection ate the HX on the R85 after it was installed 18 months ago. The owners had paid $9,900 for the Rinnai installation where we charged $3,400 to installed the Navien, The original contractor installed a recirc pump with a 28 gpm flow (way over sized). Judging by the amount of couples and capped tee's, i'd say they really didn't know what they were doing. Gas was taken off from a 3/4" line to the FAU.

  9. #24
    DIY Member ChuckS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAnderson View Post
    We used to be the go to people for Bosch in central California but we parted ways with them and if you've dealt with Bosch very often, you can imagine why. We focus on service for Paloma/ Rheem, Rinnai, Tagaki, Noritz and Navien.
    What do you think of Paloma? We've had one a few months now and it seems to keep up. Are they reliable? Do they last?

  10. #25
    In the Trades AAnderson's Avatar
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    Default Paloma

    For the life of me, I have no idea why Paloma and Rheem have tech support in Alabama. Getting through to them is difficult and they want you in front of the uit if there is a problem. I like like their WH but not the support. I had a customer the had one in a sealed room and the oxygen sensor did it's job. I told the customer that if the O2 drops below 17% the unit will shut down. I also told them to either keep the door open or get a carpenter to install 2 large vents in the doors. they didn't and I go the same call again... the new Paloma line is pretty robust and if they move into the commercial market, they will do well. Selling them at Lowe's and Home Depot is not the best market move I've seen.

  11. #26
    In the Trades AAnderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAnderson View Post
    For the life of me, I have no idea why Paloma and Rheem have tech support in Alabama. Getting through to them is difficult and they want you in front of the uit if there is a problem. I like like their WH but not the support. I had a customer the had one in a sealed room and the oxygen sensor did it's job. I told the customer that if the O2 drops below 17% the unit will shut down. I also told them to either keep the door open or get a carpenter to install 2 large vents in the doors. they didn't and I go the same call again... the new Paloma line is pretty robust and if they move into the commercial market, they will do well. Selling them at Lowe's and Home Depot is not the best market move I've seen.
    The bottom line on any tankless is after market support. The only one right now is Rinnai that has been consistent. After servicing a Navien on thanksgiving eve, I had hopes Navien would step up to the plate but so far after nearly a month, zero response from them.
    Regardless of the brand and model you choose, carefully look at who is going to service this once it is in place and who is going to support those that do service this. This is the area most manufactures have failed to recognize, support and training of field service personnel. I had attended a trade show and talked to one manufacture who stated their product would never need service and if there were a problem, their sales people would take care of it. Funny thing, no one picked this product up to distribute.

  12. #27
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    When we 1st moved in we went thru 3 tanks of oil the 1st year
    We used about 1.25 tanks of oil last year, it was 10% colder then average & I was heating 10% more space
    The new sunroom off the back is not fully sealed, so once that is done it will be even warmer
    I heat with wood in fall & Spring, supplement with wood in the winter
    I'd like to get it under 1 tank of oil a year

    I built a greenhouse against one part of the back of the house
    On a sunny 30 degree day it goes up to 60 or so
    That keeps part of the house much warmer
    In the Spring It was going up to 107 in the greenhouse

    Hate to see what it would go to if I didn't take the storm windows off in the Spring
    So another plan is to heat my hot tub with a solar collector in the good weather

    Other option is to heat the garage...even up to 60 would be nice
    Better then leaving the panels "idle" in the winter

    and by solar setup I actually meant a 6-9kw or better photovoltaic/wind system to offset my electric WH
    Sunrooms & passive solar tends to be significantly more efficient than water heating panels due to the ultra-low operating temp. You lose a lot less heat to the 30F outdoors per square foot of glazing with a 60F sunroom (a 30F delta-T) than you lose with a 120-170F panel (a 90-140F delta-T), eh?) You simply can't get the same performance out of a panel.

    To get useful space heating out of 100' of panel, you need to be able to deliver the heat at sub-90F water. (As in a radiant slab), not 120-150F baseboard. With baseboard use at least double (triple, if you have the space) the linear feet that you'd use with 150F water to get something reasonable. Low temps to keep the collector efficiency up is everything.

    If your hot tub is decently insulated you would likely be able to keep it hot all winter long with a single 48' panel. Unlike DHW situations, you're keeping it under 110F, and never drawing off the hot water while introducing volumes of sub-55F water. Solar hot tubs are easy- it's just a lot less energy required.

  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member zl700's Avatar
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    A Anderson once wrote- Did you delete?-

    "After servicing a Navien on thanksgiving eve, I had hopes Navien would step up to the plate but so far after nearly a month, zero response from them."

    I'm curious what you are expecting from Navien?

    When servicing a unit, if you fill out their labor form with a valid claim (screens are normal maint), they send you a check.

    What service did you do and are they aware of it?
    Last edited by zl700; 12-21-2009 at 09:23 AM.

  14. #29
    In the Trades AAnderson's Avatar
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    Navien still has yet to send the service agreement after 18 months of promises. At this point, I really don't expect a thing as they've failed to follow through and don't respond to phone calls or email. I should have known better. What I have begun doing is collecting labor on service charges and informing the customers, they can attempt to collect from Navien.
    This particular service was an emergency called out through Navien to Action Sales, the central California distributor to my office.
    I know two other companies who's claims for labor have been declined, they no longer install or service Navien. This is how a product disappears from the market.

  15. #30
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    This is one of the major problems with tankless compared to tanks. With a tank the service aspect isn't an important consideration. I've generally serviced my own. Even this Whirlpool I have with a major known design defect and a major controls defect (ECO failure) is something that I can replace parts on for free. A properly made and designed tank should be DIY-only throughout its life.

    The homeowner has a lower probability of finding someone who is competent to handle a tankless install and configuration, prevent cold water sandwiches and other problems. Not all of this is the installers fault. Home pipe routing and existing plumbing problems contribute. Plus users can have very different hot water requirements (flow and temperature) that vary by over an order of magnitude.

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