Topic: Water Heater Recommendations?

My water heater is pushing 25 years of service and I want to preemptively replace it. I'm looking in the 50-75 gal range for 4-5 people, with occasional weekends with 10-12 people.

Are there any brands (preferably US made if possible) that I should look at?

Thanks!

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

go tankless!

I bought a house with an oil tankless system that also heats the house with hot water baseboards.

Heats great, efficient, does require some maintenance (oil burner needs to be serviced yearly), but works great and never need to worry about the water going cold after the kids get done with their showers...

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

Tankless, but if you just want a replacement, I'd recommend A.O. Smith.  Made in South Carolina.  We have one in our house, seems to be a quality unit.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

Thanks - I'll start looking at tankless. Any issues with more than one shower at a time?

I'm currently running an AO Smith built in 1993. Good to know they're still a quality product.

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

Do you mean tankless, or an indirect system?

Tankless systems are just a coil that is located inside the furnace/boiler. Domestic hot water for the faucets and showers runs through the coil and is heated as it passes through the furnace. This works well for homes in a cold climate (especially during the winter) because the boiler is always hot to keep the house warm. Not as efficient during the summer because you are running the furnace all the time just to make hot water for showers, even though you don't need the hot water for the baseboard heat.

Indirect systems are basically a 30 gallon or larger thermos bottle of stored hot water that has a coil inside that is heated by the furnace as a separate "zone". The storage tanks are super-insulated and once heated up, the stored water stays hot for a long time. As the temp gets too low, the furnace fires up and heats it back up. In the summer, you will be running the furnace a lot less because of how long the water stays hot in the storage tank.

When our house was built almost 20 years ago, they installed a tankless coil in the furnace, which worked "OK". Since we have hot water/baseboard heat, this was the easy thing to do (didn't need to install a separate hot water heater). With 3 teenage kids in the house, we often ran out of hot water and sometimes had to wait between showers. We recently upgraded to an indirect system and the difference is quite noticeable. We have no issue with 3 showers running at the same time, there is plenty of hot water. In our region of the country (New England) an indirect system is reported to be at least 10% more efficient than the tankless coil. I can't speak to how more/less efficient this system is to a regular hot water heater (basically a storage tank that has its own built-in heater), because we never had one.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

I'm looking to replace a standard hot water tank for my house - I'm considering switching to a tankless model (like this: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Rinnai-Super-H … kaa8P8HAQ)

But I spoke with a pipefitter friend who said that he would just stick with a standard tank model as the higher purchase price of a tankless model and the additional work needed to install a tankless wouldn't be recouped in the land of cheap-ish natural gas.

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

We have a standard water heater and a peak/off peak set up.  Heats at night, off during the day.  Costs much less than tankless system,  with the benefits of the storage setup.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

nickD wrote:

I'm looking to replace a standard hot water tank for my house - I'm considering switching to a tankless model (like this: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Rinnai-Super-H … kaa8P8HAQ)

But I spoke with a pipefitter friend who said that he would just stick with a standard tank model as the higher purchase price of a tankless model and the additional work needed to install a tankless wouldn't be recouped in the land of cheap-ish natural gas.


I mis-understood, I thought you were talking about a coil-in-boiler type system. Yes, the tankless systems (ones that have their own heat source) are more expensive to purchase and install than just replacing your standard water heater. It will take some time to recoup that investment, you would have to run the numbers.

The downside to the indirect systems are usually low capacity, but the one in your link appears to be pretty good (7.5gpm), but you need to make sure that it will cover your typical concurrent usage (showers, washing machine, faucets). You don't want to wait for the laundry to finish before being able to take a shower. For large demand homes, people often use multiple, smaller capacity tankless systems right at the demand location (under the kitchen sink, in the laundry room, etc.). If you can get a tankless system that meets your capacity needs, the hot water will never run out.

The indirect systems are more efficient than either standard water heaters or tankless water heaters because the indirect system does not have a heat source and therefore no combustion losses (its merely a heat storage device). But, you need to have an existing hydronic heating system to be able to add an indirect system - wouldn't work for a forced hot air system.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

I put a small on-demand water heater in my house seven years ago (I think) and have been extremely happy with it.
It's a smaller unit, 3.x GPM but there's only one bathroom and three people living here.
The hot water never runs out but takes a little longer to get going.  Any number of people can have consecutive showers.
The one downside is they require power.  No power, not hot water.

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

I was talking to my brother-in-law about tankless water heaters. He's a general contractor.
He mentioned that one MAJOR concern with the tankless units is maintenance. The
manufacturers require very specific maintenance routines to warranty them. While
I have not personally looked at the maintenance routine, but you may want to check on that.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

DelinquentRacer wrote:

I was talking to my brother-in-law about tankless water heaters. He's a general contractor.
He mentioned that one MAJOR concern with the tankless units is maintenance. The
manufacturers require very specific maintenance routines to warranty them. While
I have not personally looked at the maintenance routine, but you may want to check on that.


Thanks - I was looking at that as well. Where my water heater is at (deep in the basement far from exterior wall), I would need to do some pretty substantial rework to get proper ventilation as well for the increased BTU need from a tankless.

I think I'll probably stick with a regular tank model and if I ever build a house, go tankless.

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

While no one ever does it, changing the anodes in the tank makes it last longer.  Once the sacrificial anodes are gone, the tank starts eating itself.  On the top of the tank there are usually what looks like a plug or two that are actually long anode rods that go down into the tank.

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13 (edited by CowDriver 2017-06-28 09:52 AM)

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

cheseroo wrote:

While no one ever does it, changing the anodes in the tank makes it last longer.  Once the sacrificial anodes are gone, the tank starts eating itself.  On the top of the tank there are usually what looks like a plug or two that are actually long anode rods that go down into the tank.

I have been aware of that, but have never seen any place selling them.   Have I just been blind, or are they a special-order item at e.g. Home Depot?

Of course, I would have great difficulty replacing them.   My water heater is mounted on a shelf so high that there is not enough room above it to withdraw/insert anything longer than about 24" without hitting the garage roof.

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

I've seen them at Home Depot

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Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

cheseroo wrote:

I've seen them at Home Depot

That is good to know.   I'll keep an eye out for them the next time I'm there.
Of course, there is still the problem of installing it, unless I cut a hole in the garage roof!  smile

Thanks

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
IOE winner in the Super Snipe -- Buttonwillow 2012
IOE winner in Super Snipe v2.0 -- Buttonwillow 2016
"Every Super Snipe in Lemons has won an IOE!"

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

Ever menards carries three-four types. Lowes has two, HD three.  I have a situation where I need a non-zinc rod...Menards has me covered.

Re: Water Heater Recommendations?

Only input I can offer, watch out for Honeywell gas valve.
I'd recommend doing a google on whichever you choose.

A friend who has one called me to say it stopped working and could I take a look at it.
A quick google search revealed that if the thermostat is turned up too high (she did turn hers up), it bricks the gas valve.
I did find some workarounds involving bleeding down the caps to 'reboot' the thermostat. A pita, if you want to take a hot shower now.

Here's an example of what I found:
http://www.tylertork.com/qna/2013/gasvalve