40 gal just not enough: Replacing water heater for 2400 sq home. Family of 2 adults + 2 children

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Ok, our 40 gal gas water heater is failing. About 10 years old, which I hear is ok.
But every time I talk to someone about their 40 gal water heater, they all complain that they run out of hot water (comparable size homes and kids).
Bur our builder (and all builder's we spoke to when looking to build) *insist* that 40 gallons is enough.
But we were always worried about running the wash or dishwasher before showering, or two long showers would result in the 2nd losing water. Complete with those water saving disks etc.
1. Is 80 gallons overkill? Perhaps I'm reacting viscerally.
2. Am I going to notice a large gas usage increase?
3. Are there rules in place limiting the water tank sizes?
4. Are there any particular brands to look for or stay away from?
I'm sorry for the barrage of questions.
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote: ...

In my experience, yes; but everybody is different. We raised four kids and don't recall running out of hot water being a significant issue.

Well, certainly it will go up -- how much will depend on how much more hot water you end up actually using.

Some jurisdictions, possibly altho I've not heard of it doesn't mean there aren't...

No data...
Comments --
1. There's a middle between 40 and 80, too. What about 50/60???
2. If there's a particular bath that tends to be the problem area, might consider the on-demand solution for the overloaded area.
3. Depending on house layout, two smaller each located strategically might be a better solution than the single larger, too...
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One WH feeding the kids shower, other WH for parents and kitchen?
--
Christopher A. Young
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"Thomas G. Marshall"
wrote in message

When I had two daughters home, I had two 40gal set up in series. They make a 60 gal but 2 - 40's probably would be cheaper.
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Glenn said something like:

Another question that has always bugged me raises in me noggin.
What happens when half a tank is used up? Does ice cold water rush in and cool everything down? Is it thus better to gang two together somehow to have the 2nd take over when the first is refilling?
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Cold water sinks so it pushes the hot water up, although you will get some "warm" water before cold as the hot water runs out.
I would agree that 40 is enough most of the time but you will run short every now and then. I can't imaging a 60 gal not being adequate for you. The idea of 2 x 40 gal is interesting, but I suspect it would use more energy than 1 X 80 check the ratings, certainly more than 1 x 60 gal.
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On Mon, 07 Apr 2008 17:57:00 GMT, "Thomas G. Marshall"

Well, its actually a silly question when you look at the way a water heater actually works. Half of the tank doesnt get "used up". There arent separate chambers in the water heater. The incoming water temperature mixes with the temperature of the water in the tank constantly as the water is being used. Thus, the tank loses temperature if the water is being used up faster than the burner can heat it. You can put two water heater together in parallel with proper valving (not series) if you wish for more capacity but with 4 people you can solve your problem with pretty much a single standard water heater. Keep in mind that if you have high water pressure (something above 75psi or so) you might want to install a pressure reducing valve on your water line. Higher pressure uses more water and is harder on tanks, valves, seats, cartridges, washers and hoses. Bubba
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On Apr 7, 1:24 pm, "Thomas G. Marshall"

Instead of replacing the old with a newer version of the old, you may want to look into a tankless water heater instead of keeping that 40+ gallons of water at ready-to-be-used temperature 24/7/365 when you really only need the hot water for _maybe_ an hour a day. They've been in use around the world for decades, but are just gaining momentum in the US. Here's one link: http://www.tanklesswaterheaterguide.com/ I haven't read through that link, but it seemed to hit the high points and will give you an overview - from there it's up to you and your finely honed Google skills.
R
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Tankless is the way to go. Just ask yourself, do you keep your auto running in the driveway so it will be warm when you get in it?
They say tankless is 80% more efficient than an electric tank. That one is more expensive, but it recoupes in cost in two to three years.
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Spare us the tankless marketing bullship. Standard water heaters DO NOT run constantly. They are well insulated and have a large thermal mass of water inside.
When tankless salesmen feel the need to trot out BS like that, it makes me distrust any further "data" they want to push.
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No, they don't run constantly, but they do maintain a large amount of mass at a substantially higher temperature with relatively little insulation. There's only one way to do that - throw money at it. The standard water heater tank doesn't have a setback or vacation setting, so it maintains that higher temperature regardless of the amount of hot water actually needed, time of day, etc. Tankless is a superior system for almost everyone. I don't buy anything based on what a salesman or marketing department states without performing some due diligence and investigating on my own.
R
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On Mon, 7 Apr 2008 12:30:10 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

I was going to jump on Mike but then you proved him totally correct!

The insulation in most water heaters today is good and easily supplicated as well. That's not a valid point at all.

Sure it does. Gas water heaters do have (and have had for years) such as setting. An electric heater has the circuit breaker--kick it off and the hot water cost is then zero.

Nope, not even slightly.

Which you didn't do here. There are many situations where tankless is far from optimal.
Oh, and FYI, I've had both, and I'm totally satisfied with the results of my 40 gal *tanked* water heater! We're not talking investigation here, but real world experience.
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Been a long long long long time since you've bought or even looked at a water heater, I'd say
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Reading what I wrote, I'm wondering what I wrote, and am overwrought by that writing. How wrong my writing was.
I can only assume temporary insanity, or possession by demons.
R
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when going on vacation I turn my water heater to vacation setting. i doubt it comes on then and costs almost nothing. i too am not sold on the tankless.

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Salesman I'm not, someone who likes to save money, I am. I'm sorry you are that naive to technology.

Spare us the tankless marketing bullship. Standard water heaters DO NOT run constantly. They are well insulated and have a large thermal mass of water inside.
When tankless salesmen feel the need to trot out BS like that, it makes me distrust any further "data" they want to push.
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You're the one who thought that standard water heaters run continuously and that tankless are 80% more efficient than tanks! SNORT.
Maybe you should listen to someone besides your tankless salesman: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/02/08/ST2008020802253.html
But if you want spend dollars to chase pennies, more power to ya.
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mike said something like:
...[snip]...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/02/08/ST2008020802253.html
I think Bill was actually agreeing with that article, but that article pretty much sells me on the tanks. Anyone here debunk that article at all?
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On Apr 8, 7:27�am, "Thomas G. Marshall"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
whats to debunk the savings will take longer than the life of the heater......
please explain how this is a advantage?
A: DEAR BOB: Tankless water heaters -- it's one of those topics that seem to polarize people, and I have come to realize that many consumers don't stop and ask all the right questions before they get out their credit cards or checkbooks. It is impossible in this limited space to fully discuss the topic.
I am going to stick to some basic facts I've gathered from my utility bill, from water-heater manufacturers and from Web sites that sell additional installation parts. I am adding a pinch of high school math.
A tankless water heater can cost up to three times what a traditional storage-tank water heater does. Some tankless water heaters that use natural gas or propane require expensive stainless-steel exhaust- venting pipes. The gas lines feeding the heaters need to be larger than those required by a traditional model. This is not a challenge in new construction like your vacation home, but it can add considerable expense in an existing home where the fuel lines might need to be redone.
Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than traditional storage-tank heaters. A traditional water heater might be 60 percent efficient, whereas a newer tankless heater often can produce efficiencies of 80 percent or higher.
I studied my August 2007 utility bill and found that I spent about $36 on hot water using a traditional storage-tank heater for a family of five sometimes taking two showers a day. My winter hot-water costs could be expected to be slightly more because the temperature of the incoming water is colder and must be heated longer to reach the desired temperature.
We use our water heater every day. You may be using your water heater for 40 to 50 days a year.
If I were to switch to a tankless heater today, I might save $7 per month on the efficiency differential and maybe an additional $2 per month on the amount of energy lost while the heated water sits in the tank. This means a tankless water heater could save me $108 per year. Let's be more aggressive and say $125 per year.
If my existing water heater failed today and I replaced it with a tankless model sized for my family's needs, I would have to spend an extra $1,550. It would take me nearly 12 1/2 years to break even. If I included lost interest income on the extra money I spent for the tankless model, the payback period would be longer.
In your case, the bottom line is far worse. It could take you at least 30 years to break even because the tankless water heater would sit idle in your vacation home for most of the year. Tankless water heaters must work hard every day to make economic sense for many people.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com said something like:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't believe it is an advantage. Are you asking for me to explain? I need not---I agree with the article.
You may have misread both Bill and I.
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