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Thread: Help quick before I loose my tenant!!! Need a hot water solution fast!!

  1. #1
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    Default Help quick before I loose my tenant!!! Need a hot water solution fast!!

    Hi-Hope someone can help me!

    I recently closed on a rental property. It is a duplex with one 65 gal hot water heater that is shared between the 2 units.

    Tenant 1 was complaining he had no hot water. Come to find out (after closing) that the breaker for the hot water heater is in tenant 2 electrical panel. Seems as though tenant 2 flips the breaker off.

    I want to install a tank less tank in tenant 1 unit. They will still share the water. They do not share the electricity.

    Can this be done???

    Looking forward to suggestions!!

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    First, a tankless sized to provide hot water to 2 units will probably require a 240 volt, 120 amp circuit. Your 65 gallon unit probably has a 30 amp circuit, and might at most have 40 amps, so if you even have a large enough service to support that, there will be a pretty large bill to install the circuit. Your best solution is to get rid of the tenant who for some reason feels it is ok to turn off that breaker!

    WHo pays the electric? If #2 pays the electric, then of course in his place, I would also flip off the breaker!

  3. #3
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    2 pays the electric for the hot water heater...crazy set up I missed on inspection!
    We do have solar panels and 2 pays less rent to defer the cost.

    Can I somehow install a tankless just for one side of the duplex tapping into the electric on that side?

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It would probably be a lot cheaper to install a new tank in the other unit. A tankless requires periodic maintenance that is one thing you probably don't want to have to do.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I would say that installing a new electric on the other side would do the trick....but you need to have a plumber check and see how the plumbing is run...you may not be able to hook up the WH correctly...

    that may be the reason there is only 1 heater on 1 side...if this is an older home it may be a single family home that some one converted to a duplex and HW can only come from the 1 side because of the way it is plumbed...
    Last edited by Cass; 01-18-2010 at 06:19 AM.

  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The quickest fix would be to install a clip on the breaker that uses a screw to lock the breaker on. These locking clip should be readily available at any decent electrical supply house. If they have the nerve to get out a screwdriver to remove the clip to turn off the breaker, I would be evicting them. They probably take the batteries out of the smoke detectors too.

    In the long run, a 65 gal heater is not adequate for 2 families. It would take an inspection of the existing plumbing and electrical systems to determine what the best solution is if separate hot water supplies are needed. Duplexes around here are fed from the basement with individual tank units. Gas is cheaper here but if the tenant pays the electric I guess it wouldn't matter.

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You CANNOT just install a second water heater and do what you want to, unless you DO disconnect #2 from the other water heater. ANd any tankless electric heater probably needs more power than you have available in that unit. IF #1 is getting a reduced rate to compensate for the hot water tank, WHY should you have to do anything other than tell him NOT TO TURN OFF the circuit breaker. Otherwise switch it to #!, raise the rent on #2 and reduce it in #1.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member asktom's Avatar
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    Or you could pay the electric bill & bump the rent on both.

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