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Thread: Somewhat different reasons for going tankless

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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Default Somewhat different reasons for going tankless

    First post--but not new to forums or to DIY.
    I have a seasonal cottage in northern Michigan. During the winter I shut down everything and drain the water lines so I can let the house go cold.
    I still like to spend 2-3 weekends there during the winter so water has always been an issue and for the most part I bring in a couple water jugs for my stay. I need to replace my inadequate 20gal electric water heater anyways so I'm considering going tankless (NG) with the idea that it might be a better choice than a large tank unit (water sits stagnant in it for weeks when full & is a PITA to drain for winter).

    Are my reasons valid? Will tankless last as long or longer than a tank unit when it mostly sits unused for 2-3 weeks at a time, and is empty in the winter? Efficiency & savings is not my goal--with such infrequent use my utility bills are very low and generally appliances last forever.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer to your questions; your thinking sounds good to me. But note that the tankless will probably require more current. So do you have 200 amp electric service for the cabin? That can affect your choices.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You may need an air compressor to ensure you don't have water left inside of a tankless system and the prep to allow it to be applied. Electric tankless systems are current hogs if you want much of any flow out of them. In a cabin, your largest flow may be manageable as long as you can get people to cooperate and not try to draw hot water from multiple sources at the same time. The thing will still need periodic demineralization to continue to work well which, if you want to do it yourself, requires a small pump and the right fittings installed on the unit.
    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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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reach4 View Post
    I don't know the answer to your questions; your thinking sounds good to me. But note that the tankless will probably require more current. So do you have 200 amp electric service for the cabin? That can affect your choices.
    I'm switching appliances to nat. gas.

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Yes, your idea sounds reasonable. Just install the service valves to drain or de-scale when needed.
    Lifespeed

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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    OK--then I have a "nuts & bolts" question about tankless heaters. Most of the ones I'm looking at (condensing so I can use PVC vent) have the same specs & same warranty but the heat exchangers differ in materials. I've seen aluminum or copper or stainless. I' leaning towards SS since I have untreated well water, even though the others might be better at heat transfer. My cottage sits unoccupied 95% of the time so it's a little odd to need to think about what can kill an appliance that isn't used much.
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

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    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Copper or stainless. Some heaters use a combination with the secondary exchanger SS.
    Lifespeed

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