New Home Water Heater Argument

The builder of our new home (we bought after 95% completed)has installed a 50 gallon electric water heater in a house that has 3.5 baths. Our house is less than 3 months old. We soon noticed that we were running out of hot water after two baths and a shower. We have 3 small kids, so the baths were close together.
I have tried to convince the builder that the electric water heater needs to be a minimum of 66 gallons, but more like 88 when you consider a washing maching, dishwasher and jacquzi tub. I've done the research and followed the calculation method, but the builder is not willing to do anything about it after several conversations and providing them with the calculation method.
I even called several local plumbers hoping that would influence the builder (we've moved in from out of town). I don't know what else to do beside spreading out the showers, baths, clothes washing and dishwasher times, which is something my wife is not willing to do....yet! We feel the builder should replace the water heater with a more sizeable one. The argument from the builder is that this is what they install in all their house (apparently regardless of size and the fact that this one is electric and the rest of the new neighborhood is gas). Also they said that the one we have now could not be installed in another new house as the warranty would not be valid.
What can I do besides buying one myself at my cost? Is this my problem or the builders?
What help can anyone provide?
Thanks...Jim
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nope, its not the builders problem. a 50 gallon heater should be plenty for a "normal" family (I'm assuming that you're in a 3-6 bedroom home). Some places have a spec for gallons/bedroom for hot water heaters, but most don't. If you bought hte house knowing that there was a 50 Gal HW heater, and its operating properly, the builder doesn't really have any responsibility.
If its really a problem for you, either spread out your HW usage, or get another heater. There are heaters that recharge faster than electric. You can also get a HW heater installed right att eh tub - they only heat water when you run the hot water - there's no tank. I think they're called something like "tankless hot water heaters" or somesuch. great when you have a need for lots of haot water in place, but don't want to have to keep a ton of water sitting around hot when you don't need it. For example: if you're going to draw 3 or 4 bathtubs of water in a one or two hour time period, but the rest of the time you don't use tohns of hot water, you've got a need for lots of hot water fast when the kids are taking their baths, but the rest of the time, your current HW heater is plenty. You *could* go buy a 100 gallon hot water heater, and pay for the energy to keep all that water hot all the time. Or you could install a tankless heater in the tub water supply, and have all the hot water you could ever use at the tub (this would also disconnect the tub from your main hot water heater...... More energy efficient, and probably about the same cost as upgrading to a bigger HW heater.
Another option would be to turn up the temperature on your existing heater. Be really carefull though - espescially with kids - you can set it hot enough to cause some pretty bad burns.
Good luck
-JD

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The issue here is that YOU need, not "the house needs" a bigger water heater. If you were taking 3 showers instead (older kids) it wouldn't be a problem, would it?
Suppose you took really long showers and had 4 kids? You would need an even BIGGER heater still. How is this the builder's responsibility?
Note the recovery rate for electric heaters is longer than gas. If you have gas - I would get one installed ASAP as the electric bills are gonna kill you.
If not you're gonna have to bite the bullet and buy yourself another electric water heater and use both in tandem until your hot water needs come down to a more normal family level.

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Jim wrote:

1. Did you get a set of specifications stating what size water heater should have been installed? If you did, and it is different from what you got then the builder should replace the heater. If you got no specs then you are stuck with what you got. Unfortunately, the time to bargain about this kind of item is before you sign the contract.
2. Electric water heaters usually have an upper and lower heating element. It's possible that the temp was not set correctly on one of the elements. I've seen the upper one set very low in new houses. If only one of the two elements was working, the recovery time would be much longer.
3. You could also consider raising the temp. This will not reduce the recovery time, but since the water is hotter you will use less for showers and baths. However, since you have little children, you've got to be careful to not get the water so hot that scalding could be a problem.
4. Stop trying to do everything at the same time, take shorter showers, use warm instead of hot water (and be sure the correct level is set) in the washing machine, etc :)
Oh, and one more thing. I just checked the specs on my house, 50 gal water heater.
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C G ("piper_chuck"@nospam,yahoo.com) said...

Some bath/shower faucets can be adjusted to set a maximum temperature.
I know this is the case with Moen Positemp faucets -- these are the ones that rotate through cold before getting to hot, so a young child who turns the water on cannot turn on only hot, but must go throug cold first. When the handle is removed, there is a small plastic stop that can be adjusted to stop the handle from turning beyond a certain maximum (hot) point.
--
Calvin Henry-Cotnam
"Never ascribe to malice what can equally be explained by incompetence."
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Your problem pure and simple
Wayne

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snipped-for-privacy@charter.net (Jim) wrote in message

You bought the house and either the water heater was in place or you didn't specify the larger size you find you need. I - non lawyer - think you are stuck with the situation. I think the contractor is correct in saying he cannot reuse the heater elsewhere.
Can you and the contractor or a local plumbing shop find a way of adding a heater to the system?
TB
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Throw the kids into the bath all together (depending on sex and age). They will have more fun than a barrel of monkeys. You will have a few splashes to clean up from the floor after their communal bath, but it solves the problem of insufficient hot water and the kids really start to look forward to bath time because it is PLAY time. If your wife is inflexible to the extreme, I would start looking for a new wife, else be prepaired to live a life of misery.
It seems that you have plenty of money to do whatever you want to make your wife happy, so it is not the big problem it might be in a family of more modest means. Des
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snipped-for-privacy@charter.net (Jim) wrote in message

In all honesty, I think this is your problem not the builders. The builder can't forsee how many people are moving into a house and what their hot water usage habits are. If the water heater leaked, or was in some other way malfunctioning, I could see where you would have a valid complaint for the builder.
You are either going to need to buy a bigger hot water heater, or buy another one and hook it in series with your existing one to provide a larger quantity of hot water.
-Tim
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Tim wrote:

Hi, Even if it were a gas heater, it'd be not big enough. I'd install another one or replace with a bigger one. That's what happens when house is built on spec. not being customized. It's your problem. Haven't you go through the spec. sheet of the house before signing to buy it? Tony
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Some people...
Some people seem to be of the impression that anything they're dissatisfied with is someone else's problem/fault.
Buying a house isn't like buying a gift for someone, who can simply return it or exchange it for a different color.
It's one thing if you looked at the model, and the home you 're buying isn't done exactly the same way, or with the exact additional features you contracted for... or of the same quality... but you bought this house after seeing it 95% complete.
I take it the plumbing was done?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HA HA Budys Here) wrote:

Bravo, bravo.
If a person buys a new home based on the stuff that was in the model home that swayed them to buy their actual home, it's their own lack of foresight of informed defense if they want to make issue with the builder because the water heater ends up being too small to accommodate 8 people taking showers at once. IMO, this is pretty much why God invented Home Depot, weekends, and disposable incomes.
And if I recall right, this is also why God invented the oft-used phrase, "Sounds like a personal problem to me."
AJS
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Truth be told, up until now I was basing my replies, and my entire life in fact... on the assumption that it was *you* who first coined that phrase, AJS. Not God!.
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Nope, it was God. It's right there in the 14th commandment.
AJS
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HA HA Budys Here) wrote:

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I don't think it's the builder's problem because you should have known what size water heater was being installed. It should have been a part of your contract and was certainly stamped on the side of the water heater.
However, a 50 gallon electric water heater is inadequate for 5 people. Electric water heaters are the least expensive to install but the most expensive to operate (you will come to hate electric water heaters when you see your electric bill) and additionally they have the lowest recovery rate. Gas or oil fired recover much faster. I would guess that a 50 gallon electric unit would have to replaced by a 75 gallon, or larger, electric unit.
I have two homes, one with a single 30 gal oil fired water heater and the other with two, 50 gallon electric water heaters. We can run out with the electric units but never with the oil fired one.
RB
Jim wrote:

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Our house had a 30 gal hot water heater.
Also three teen-age sons.......
Five morning showers spread over 1 hour.... We NEVER ran out of hot water.
Maybe with an electric water heater. But certainly not gas !
Are you taking 100-gallon hot-water baths ?
On 29 Dec 2003 15:51:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@charter.net (Jim) wrote:

<rj>
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One thing comes to mind. Baths take more water. I did the calculations onetime, and the tub in my parnets house holds about 50 galons of water when it's full (measure length times width times depth, in inches. Multiply these three. Divide by the capacity of a galon of water, which is 231 cubic inches).
So you figure 30-40 galons to fill a tub, less if it's shallow fill for small kid.
But, a shower.... I had a place ahwile back which had a 12 galon water heater. And somehow I was able to take quick showers. I've known of 5 galon water heaters in campers, and somehow it is possible there too.
Maybe showers when possible? Less water,a nd it's quite cleaner, cause there is always new water. Not sitting in the tub like a piece of meat in your own stew.
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Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@charter.net (Jim) wrote in message (reverse domain)
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