Your experience with natural gas tankless water heaters

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2020, 06:48 PM
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Smile Your experience with natural gas tankless water heaters

Mrs. Pirate and I are 7 year residents of TV and plan to build and move to a new home in the deep south…that is south of CR-44. The default in new homes is a natural gas tankless water heater. We’ve never had one of them, so I’m hoping to learn from the experience of other Villagers who have natural gas tankless water heaters.

Overall, are you pleased with your natural gas tankless unit?…or if you had a do-over, would you choose a natural gas tank-type unit?

Do you perform the periodic flushes on the recommended schedule? How much time do you spend for each one?

If you don’t flush it yourself, do you pay someone to do it? How much money do you spend for each one?

If you’ve had a premature failure of your unit, it would be helpful to have input on the following.

What make/model unit do you have?
How long was the advertised warranty?
How long was it before you experienced premature failure?
How long were you without hot water before it was fixed?

Was your unit repaired under warranty at no expense to you? … OR …
Was your unit repaired at your expense because the warranty was void? What was the reason the warranty was voided? How much did it cost you?

Was your unit replaced under warranty at no expense to you? … OR …
Was your unit replaced at your expense because the warranty was void? What was the reason the warranty was voided? How much did it cost you?

I know this is a big ask, but I’ll bet there are others with the same or similar questions. Thanks in advance!

Rebel
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2020, 07:54 PM
vintageogauge vintageogauge is offline
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Ours will be 3 years old next month and I have yet to flush it. We have a filter system as well as a softener system and don't have a problem with calcium buildup or clogged screens on our fixtures. It takes a while for hot water to get to the bathroom as it's on the other side of the house but it would take just as long if I had a tank heater. One great thing about having the tankless is you gain closet storage space in your garage where there would normally be a tank which is priceless.
  #3  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:24 PM
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We don't live in TV yet but have a Navien NPE-240.

This one is three years old and has never had a problem. The one we had before this was also a Navien but was a prototype. The only problem we ever had with that one was a defective motherboard which the factory immediately sent out a factory rep to diagnose and repair. Since that unit was one of the first of its kind in North America it got special attention. It lasted 7 years. I believe the current model has a 5 year warranty.

I would never go back to a tank type heater. I like the recirc function and I like never running out of hot water.

I do the periodic maintenance my self. Initial cost was a pump, Robot Check

A set of hoses. Robot Check

And a five gallon bucket. Now the only cost involved is the 2 gallons of vinegar I use to do the descaling and takes less than an hour. forty five minutes of that is pumping through the vinegar.
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2020, 11:14 PM
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Might add - are the outside water pipes protected from freezing.
How do you want to use your hot water? Circulating pump running all day or at specific times so you have hot water at the tap or just run water until you get the hot water? Never had a thankless system but I think I would stick to the tank system. If you have a walkin tub then a larger (50 gallon) tax system might be better than 40 gal. Tankless might be best for the walkin tub but I have no experience in that.
  #5  
Old 02-03-2020, 08:03 AM
MSchad MSchad is offline
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I love our tankless on demand water heater. First, your not using energy trying to keep 40/50 gal of water hot 24/7. Second, you NEVER run out of hot water no matter how much you use.
  #6  
Old 02-03-2020, 09:41 AM
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Default Continuous hot water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchad View Post
I love our tankless on demand water heater. First, your not using energy trying to keep 40/50 gal of water hot 24/7. Second, you NEVER run out of hot water no matter how much you use.
Has any owner of a tankless system ever - through normal use or as an experiment - challenged the advertising tag line that a tankless system provides continuous hot water? I was at a big box home improvement store last weekend and one of their experienced sales staff said that most tankless systems are rated to provide 56 gallons in the first hour...and then the water quickly goes from cool to cold.

I'm confused how that could happen if the water is being heated continuously as it is used. I understand how there's a lag between initial demand and actually having hot water at the tap - it's no different from a tank system - you either have a recirculation pump or you don't. But how can a continuously running gas powered heater have only a 56 gallon capacity for the first hour? Interestingly, the small print at the display in the big box store said something similar.

The sales agent also said peak demand (simultaneous use of clothes washer, dishwasher and shower) can overtax the tankless system and not produce sufficient hot water to produce a comfortable shower.

Again, I'm...nonplussed. Does anyone have experience with this issue...one way or the other?

Thanks again! Rebel
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Last edited by Rebel Pirate; 02-03-2020 at 09:42 AM. Reason: misspelled a word...
  #7  
Old 02-03-2020, 09:54 AM
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Very smart to do your Due Diligence.
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2020, 10:30 AM
TedfromGA TedfromGA is offline
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We had a tankless system for our house in GA. The home was 4 baths, and a jacuzzi tub. I followed the maintenance procedure of de-liming the unit once a year. Used CLR. There were no problems and never had any problem hot water volume. I believe all the tankless systems have similar design features when it comes to providing hot water. That is: as the demand for hot water (volume) increases the system will provide full volume up to the point where so much water is flowing that it can not heat it to the desired temp. When that happens the unit begins to restrict the flow to maintain the outlet temp that it is set at.

The units I've seen in the new part of the Villages are on the small side and probably will begin to restrict flow if more than 2 spigots are opened. My recommendations - insulate as much as you can hot water pipes and regularly de-lime the unit (unless you have a water softener). Do NOT install a recirculating pump as that will void the warranty. It will also cause the tankless unit to run all the time which will significantly shorten the life of the system. There is a circulation pump (on Amazon) that can be installed at the furthest point to recirculate the water until warm water reaches it which will cause it to turn off. This will save wasting water but won't improve the time it takes to get hot water.
  #9  
Old 02-03-2020, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel Pirate View Post
Has any owner of a tankless system ever - through normal use or as an experiment - challenged the advertising tag line that a tankless system provides continuous hot water? I was at a big box home improvement store last weekend and one of their experienced sales staff said that most tankless systems are rated to provide 56 gallons in the first hour...and then the water quickly goes from cool to cold.

I'm confused how that could happen if the water is being heated continuously as it is used. I understand how there's a lag between initial demand and actually having hot water at the tap - it's no different from a tank system - you either have a recirculation pump or you don't. But how can a continuously running gas powered heater have only a 56 gallon capacity for the first hour? Interestingly, the small print at the display in the big box store said something similar.

The sales agent also said peak demand (simultaneous use of clothes washer, dishwasher and shower) can overtax the tankless system and not produce sufficient hot water to produce a comfortable shower.

Again, I'm...nonplussed. Does anyone have experience with this issue...one way or the other?

Thanks again! Rebel
I don't understand how a salesman could tell you that the heater would stop heating water after a certain amount of time. It's basically a mini blast furnace. As long as it has a continuous gas supply and a continuous water supply it should run until you're tired of hot water. But to answer your question.. I have never run out of hot water. But then again I can't remember the last time I took an hour long shower either.

As far how many things you can run at a time.. That would be specific to each unit. Our unit has a 199,900 BTU/h capacity. Depending on how cold it is outside will determine the quantity of hot water it can produce. For example, the flow rate for a 35*F temp rise is 11.2 gallons per minute. A 45*F temp rise is 8.7gpm. A 67*F temp rise is only 5.6gpm. Our unit is mounted in an insulated garage so it never gets anywhere near freezing. And remember, that's just amount of hot water produced. Not the amount of water at the faucet once cold water is mixed in.

Our unit has a built in recirculation pump. But unless the house is plumbed with a return line or you can hook into your plumbing system to allow it to actually circulate it won't do you any good.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2020, 11:07 PM
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I have installed my own tankless heater (gas) in a different home.

In TV I have tankless and in a second home in TV a tanked electric heater.

On this forum I am known for my extensive home automation/monitoring and my DIY for, well, everything. And a distain for opinions not based upon actual facts.

Now to dispell common myths and inaccuracies.

You don't use much hot water, I know because I monitor both hot and total water consumption, separate from irrigation. Roughly 50% of your total or 25 to 45 gallons/day covers pretty much everyone of every living style.

No you DO NOT save a dramatic amount by not having to keep a tank of water hot. I know because the electric monitor checks electricity consumption 10,000 times per second. I completely under the standby costs of a water heat. The cost to heat the water from cold is where the money is at. Speaking of money an electric heater costs about 12.00 a month for most people. I know because I rent my home and I see different living styles as they relate to electricity consumption by people of varying backgrounds.

Tankless heaters are rated by flow. Two gpm is plenty and you will never run out of hot h2o. A tanked heater with a 50 gallon tank has 28 gallons of piping hot water, by comparison.

I flush mine annually for thirty minutes. Easy.

My opinion is indifference, I only want tankless because I get more space in the garage. I used to think the heater made a difference, now I can worry about more important things.
  #11  
Old 02-04-2020, 06:33 AM
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We live in TV south of 44, and we have a tankless hot water heater (all of the houses in our neighborhood have them). All of my houses prior to TV had tanked hot water heaters. Other than the space savings in the garage you gain with a tankless hot water heater, I prefer the tanked system. My experience is that you get hot water to the faucet faster with a tanked system. With a tankless system, the water has to be running for the system to activate, and then the heater takes time to fire up and start heating the water. In a tanked system, the water is already hot and ready to go. Both systems have to clear the cold water already in the lines before the hot water reaches the faucet (it is inaccurate to state that either system has instant hot water). You can install a circulation pump on a tanked system to help address this, but my understanding is there is not a comparable solution for a tankless system. And that is my biggest issue with a tankless system; we have found that it takes about twice as long to get hot water to the faucet compared to a tanked system (with no circulation pump). It takes almost two minutes for hot water to reach the faucets in our master bath (furthest away from the heater). So we are wasting more water with a tanked system, or just as often, wasting gas because I will turn on the hot water to wash my hands and finish before any hot water reaches the faucet. It is only my wife and I, and we have never ran out of hot water with a tanked hot water heater, so the endless supply of hot water with a tankless system isn’t a material benefit. We have spoken with several of our neighbors, and most have similar feedback with their tankless system as well.
  #12  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:39 AM
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I have no doubt that the water is instantaneously hot, but my biggest complaint is the amount of time it takes to push the cool/cold water through the lines before actually getting hot water at the tap or shower head. We had a 2 story house in Wisconsin with a 50 gallon water heater (NO recirculation pump) and always had hot water in about 10 seconds.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:39 AM
dmarti1973 dmarti1973 is offline
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I built a home in 2005 and installed a tankless, gas, water heater. I spent $1100 as I recall and never had one problem with it in the 10+ years I owned the home. I never flushed it, but did check the filter. I was on a well and that may have made a difference. I am not sure that it saved me any $$$ over the years, but there was no water heater tanks to be concerned with either!
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:08 AM
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In the older high rise I lived in in Fort Lauderdale, many of us retrofitted the hot water system to electric tankless systems (no gas in the building). Some of us had a unit installed in each of the bathrooms in our apartments. There was no problem with how instant the hot water was. It came out hot and long lasting (i.e. we never ran out of hot water). The only problem any of us experienced was the quality of the water flow into the building. Fort Lauderdale water carries a lot of sediment. After the initial installations burned out a few units, there was a simple solution...additional filters added for the unit for those of us switching to electric tankless systems with minimal maintenance required. By the way, the under sink unit was no bigger than a BBQ tank and flat. It did not interfere with storage or aesthetics. The only downside was the initial cost for replumbing the bathrooms to a modest extent.
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:09 AM
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Keep in mind the units here in the villages do not have the recirculating feature that some people are talking about. I have done my own descaling after 18 months and it was not really needed. The person before explained the proChess accurately. Like the unit and extra storage space in the garage.
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