Water heaters vs. tankless questions


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Old 03-02-18, 11:37 AM
J
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Water heaters vs. tankless questions

Question on water heaters, I have two 50Gal NG heaters now, one is 2 years old, one seems to be dying on me, made in 2011 (recently ordered several warranty replacement parts and replaced those myself to see if it helps). Considering going tankless, but have some concerns. First, looking at Rinnai RUC98iN, ultra efficient high flow rate. Already inspected gas lines, more than enough volume available (1.5" coming into utility room), have 120V nearby, and exterior wall for vent/intake.

Issues, pluses/minuses. Love the idea of much better efficiency and reduced bills. Much smaller as well, which will give me a chance to upgrade my furnace eventually (physically don't have room for a bigger/more efficient one).

Minuses and concerns, first altitude, i know their efficiency drops at my altitude (6k ft). Second, if i lose power i have no hot water. Right now with two tanks, they are redundant so situations like this, where one is dying, i still have hot water. If my single tankless dies, i have no hot water (tough with a 3yr old and 2 month old).

So what would you do? try to sell the 2yr old water heater, get a tankless? or stick with a dual tank setup? BTW, have 4 bathrooms, giant master tub, 7 sinks, need the large volume no matter what which is why i'm looking at 8+GPH.

There's the price too, I can buy the Rinnai for about $1600 and I have a plumber i've been working with for years for jobs i can't do (like NG) and he'll likely charge me around $400-500. A new efficient 50Gal tank is roughly $1000 installed, so it's about 2x the price.

Seriously, appreciate any input you would have, thank you.
Jared
 
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Old 03-02-18, 12:01 PM
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On the surface.... tankless water heaters are right up there with sliced bread.
As with anything..... there are pluses and minuses.

Their "energy" efficiency is offset by more problems than with a conventional water heater. When you look at heating rate.... be sure to look at the chart illustrating heat rise based on incoming water temperature. High mineral content in the water can require more maintenance and cleaning.

These are just my observations and opinions.... others will be by.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 12:53 PM
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Yeah, the mineral content definitely worries me a little. I do have high content, but to that extent, my uncle lives in the mountains and has much higher mineral content and he's had no issues so far.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 03:04 PM
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About 8 years ago we installed a Rinnai tankless water heater in our home here in Alaska. It's been flawless and we really like it.

We enjoy all the benefits of the tankless - only heating when you demand water. Our home is 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, main kitchen and a small kitchenette and we have never lacked for hot water.

What we did was use the old tank style heater as a holding tank. The water comes out of the well - pretty cold - and comes up to room temp in our heated garage. That way the tankless doesn't have to work as hard to bring up the water temp. The holding tank heater also serves as a backup water heater if the tankless fails - we simply re-attach the gas line to the old tank style and we have hot water until we can get the tankless fixed.

This does not fix your idea of saving some space in your utility room, but it's a workable solution.

Good luck!
 
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Old 03-02-18, 03:15 PM
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A great idea. Thanks for the information.
It's good to hear from actual users and about practical experience.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 04:13 PM
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Thank you, pretty good idea. I don't have quite as cold of municipal water as you do, i believe mine is generally incoming around 50-60 depending upon the outdoor temps, which can swing wildly between seasons. But even if i were to go from 2 tanks to 1, and tankless it would help with physical space. Something to think about though. Being that you're on a well, and in AK, have you had any issues with mineral deposits?
 
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Old 03-03-18, 05:42 AM
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We have a good quality filter on our water system, so no problems with mineral deposits. Altho you have jogged my memory to check to see if i need to do any periodic maintenance - i haven't done a thing to the Rinnai since installing it 8 years ago.

You did mention no water during a power outage. I also have a backup generator on our home which powers the well pump, Rinnai and other circuits. I'm sure the Rinnai does not need much power so a small "suitcase" genny, like a Honda 2000 would easily power it plus several other appliances in your home.
 
 

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