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Thread: First post -- tanked vs tankless

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  1. #1
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default First post -- tanked vs tankless

    First of all, I'm SINGLE and I can guarantee that I only use hot water for one thing at a time. If I'm taking a shower, the dishwasher won't be running etc.

    My house is small, 1600 sq ft and I'm trying to decide which way to go with a water heater.

    Reducing utility costs is a high priority with this and the calculations seem to point to an electric tankless heater -- (looking at an Eemax 95 unit).

    I'll put a low flow showerhead on as well.

    Tankless --

    Needs 38.5 amps at 240v, no problem and the load box is close by in the basement.

    I take quick showers and use cold water for laundry -- rarely use my dishwasher. (I'm not a "hot water freak").

    Tanked --

    If I were to get a 40 gallon electric tanked unit, how long (based on winter Indiana well water), would it take for the water to come up to temperature?

    I know you'll tell me that a timer would be a waste of time but considering my situation, I think I would save considerably. Putting a timer on the heater is something I'm thinking about.

    A daily late afternoon shower is all I need and perhaps a few other hot water chores -- I'm sure 40 gallons would do me fine.

    Another advantage to a tanked unit is the possibility of adding a solar preheater at some point (something I will most likely do).

    So, really my question is --

    How long would it take that 40 gallon heater to get up to temperature?
    (I would think it would have the "typical" (2) 2400 w elements?)

    I think the numbers (if I use a timer) would be damn close to a tankless unit.


    And yes, have a water softener ahead of the water heater.

  2. #2
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    northfork, california


    Yes. You have it. I would go tank and put r-30 or all my old clothes over it. And a timer. Most are 4500 watt elements. given your light use, and big insulation, you would always have hot water, or at least warm even with a timer.

    30 or 40 gallon at true value for about 198 bucks, cant beat that. Could turn the temp WAAY down and forget the timer too.

  3. #3
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    Just for the heck of it, I'd like to calculate my approx daily cost -- how long do you think it takes a 40 gallon to get up to temperature? Not scalding but say, a midway setting. The water heater is in the basement also -- which is nice, very comfy down there, even in winter.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member MoneyMogul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    New York


    I'm not sure where to post this question. I'm thinking about getting a tankless water heater. I have herd that water pressure is very low after you put one in. Does anyone know if that's true?

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    The pressure doens't change, but the volume can, depends on the design. Confusing pressure and volume is not unusual. To ensure the water lingers long enough to actually get warm, some designs include a volume limiter - sort of like you putting your hand through a candle flame. Slow it down, and it gets hot, go through fast, and you may not notice. On a water heater, you want to notice! Not all tankless systems are created equal. If your wintertime incoming water temperatures aren't frigid (now's a good time to measure them), a tankless might work out for you. Don't blindly go by the gpm ratings without reading the fine print. Also, a NG one will have much higher capacity than an electric one, but both might require upgraded supplies, either a new panel and feed, or a larger meter and regulator. They are also require more maintenance, especially if you have hard water. If you don't do this, they get caked up internally with mineral deposits like an old teapot. This adds to the cost as well, especially if you can't do it yourself. The key is to understand your maximum hot water needs - i.e., how many things do you want to be able to run at any one time, then size the thing for your local water and use. You may find it is going to cost you a lot more to install, and you may never recover or break even verses a traditional tank.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Unless you have peak metering of your electric, there won't be any quick pay off for the timer on the water heater. Electric water heaters don't have uninsulated heat transfer surface like gas water heaters do (combustion chamber and flue). This greatly reduces their standby losses.

    Insulate the lines to from the tank (including the relief valve pipe.) That will do more than the timer to reduce losses. Uninsulated projections will bleed off an inordinate amount of heat. But if you have peak metering, you could see substantial cost reduction from a timer. This comes with the downside of the lower average temperature being ideal for legionella bacteria growth. Electric water heaters have more trouble with legionella, although in the studies I came across well water didn't seem to have the problem on the ones they sampled.

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