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Thread: Water Heater Dilemma with a Tankless Question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jack1953's Avatar
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    Default Water Heater Dilemma with a Tankless Question

    Bear with me as I try to take you through my scenario. I am currently on my third tanked water heater in 44 months!! Come to find out, the water softener I have seems to eat up the anode rod really fast and this was confirmed by independent studies that were sent to me by A.O. Smith.

    My family definitely likes the soft water but we can't afford to keep paying $300 in labor to have a new heater installed, plus the $300 for the new heater when the warranty runs out!!

    It seems to be that a tankless system would be the way to go whenver this heater, we just had put in, bites the dust.

    I've done some research and see that there are 2 options, gas or electric. Of course, there are pros and cons with both systems. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the gas systems are more expensive to buy and to install, but save you more in efficiency than the electric systems.

    My question is, which option would benefit me over the long haul, assuming I am in a house that I plan to be in for at least 10-12 more years?

    Thanks for your expertise, time, and patience.

    Jack

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack1953 View Post
    ...the water softener I have seems to eat up the anode rod really fast and this was confirmed by independent studies that were sent to me by A.O. Smith.
    Got a link that you can share? There are a few folks in the softener forum that swear up and down that a softener doesn't contribute to corrosion.

    My gas water lasted 10 years on my softened water. When it came time to replace, a rental made the most sense. Free install and free replacement.

    Resizing the gas line and testing the gas supply along with the high cost of a tankless killed that option.

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    DIY Junior Member jack1953's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Got a link that you can share? There are a few folks in the softener forum that swear up and down that a softener doesn't contribute to corrosion.

    My gas water lasted 10 years on my softened water. When it came time to replace, a rental made the most sense. Free install and free replacement.

    Resizing the gas line and testing the gas supply along with the high cost of a tankless killed that option.
    LL,

    Got to run out the door, but when I get back, I will post the pdf links here. Not sure what you mean by rental, but I am curious and open to hear about all my options. Be back later this afternoon/early evening.

    Thanks LL,

    Jack

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    The rental agency takes care of installation and all servicing through a network of contractors. The local contractor affiliated with the rental agency is who sold me my original water heater 13 years ago and was willing to sell me another one. After doing the math on install cost, possible out-of-pocket expenses on warranty work, and replacement cost, the rental worked out cheaper.

    When you get a warranty replacement, is there any out-of-pocket expenses? With the rental, I don't incur any cost to get warranty work done.

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    DIY Junior Member jack1953's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    The rental agency takes care of installation and all servicing through a network of contractors. The local contractor affiliated with the rental agency is who sold me my original water heater 13 years ago and was willing to sell me another one. After doing the math on install cost, possible out-of-pocket expenses on warranty work, and replacement cost, the rental worked out cheaper.

    When you get a warranty replacement, is there any out-of-pocket expenses? With the rental, I don't incur any cost to get warranty work done.
    I have to pay for all the labor.

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    DIY Junior Member jack1953's Avatar
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    I am going to try and attach the pdf files on the soft water studies.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack1953 View Post
    I am going to try and attach the pdf files on the soft water studies.
    Those only mention faster deterioration of the anode, not accelerated corrosion of the tank. Now granted, if all of the anode is consumed, the protection from it ceases but as long as you replace the anode, the protection should last. I don't know what the timeline was for your 3 tanks in 44 months but if equally divided, 14 months per tank is implausible for complete anode consumption.

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Water heater rental services seem to be a Canadian thing- I've yet to hear of it in the US (or even the western provinces of Canada), but it seems fairly common in Ontario.

    And yes, water softeners eat the anodes, leaving the rest of the tank at risk, but the rate at which it's consumed is entirely a function of the amount of softener used and the volume of hot water used. Fourteen months is not implausible at all for a high-volume hot water user with heavily treated water, but 22 months would be even more plausible.

    Regarding gas vs. electric tankless: It's not an efficiency difference, but a fuel-cost difference. Natural gas costs significantly less per BTU than electricity, which is why it's cheaper to operate. The rate at which you can get those BTUs into the water is far less with electricity, so your peak flow rates will be much lower with an electric tankless. A 12KW electric tankless is only ~41,000BTU/hr, whereas gas tankless units start in the low to mid 100,000BTU/hr and go up to over 190,000 BTU/hr output. To run multilple taps with an electric tankless you'd need at least a 20KW tankless, which takes a dedicated 100A, 240VAC for the water heater. In FL pre-heating the water with a cheap in-line batch-solar approach (no pumps) can both increase peak flows through a smaller electric tankless, and cuts down the operating cost considerably (and in some instances can be cheaper to install & operate than a gas-fired tankless.)

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    DIY Junior Member spgrc's Avatar
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    I've had a tankless for about 2 years and I'm really happy with it. Heating a tank water heater to 120 just to mix cold water at approximately 60-40% just so that it is usable at 105 degrees doesn't make sense. I set the tankless to 105 and when using hot water, the facet is at 100% hot and 0% cold water. I have the control unit in the kitchen. When I turn the dishwasher on I'll turn the temperature up to 120. The other advantage is if using hot water at 100%, any other fixture using cold water (e.g. toilet) will have no impact on the hot water temperature. The only impact is water pressure (e.g. 3 sinks use hot water) but that would happen with a tank as well.

    The other advantage is I use hot water from the tankless when cooking. The supply is no different than cold water.

    The bottom line is to efficiently use tankless hot water, usage behaviour should change.
    Last edited by spgrc; 04-19-2012 at 06:03 PM. Reason: spelling

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Got a link that you can share?
    Here is a link to info about corrosion and soft water.

    http://www.ndhealth.gov/wq/gw/pubs/mineral.htm

    Here is a link to Environmental Engineering by Joseph A. Salvato
    The info in the report above comes from this book on page 312 under the heading of “Hardness” and goes to page 313.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=dBz...rosive&f=false


    Here is a CDC site and it discusses corrosion of low hardness water under the heading of
    “Water properties influencing corrosion”

    http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/fact.../corrosion.htm
    Last edited by Smooky; 04-19-2012 at 06:53 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Water has the nickname of universal solvent for a reason...while it may take millenia, few things are immune to its long-term effects and some will succumb much faster.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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