Tankless water heater


I'm looking for opinions/advice on these. I've just purchased a house and the current hot water boiler is in the closet in the child's room on the second floor. Aside from the fact that this renders her closet practically useless for hanging clothes, I'm concerned that if it leaks there's going to be a huge mess with damage to her room/floor and the floor below. Unfortunately due to the layout of the house (4 mini levels/split level in a townhouse) and the location of the plumbing, there's nowhere else to put the boiler so I was considering getting one of the tankless systems. I think this could be installed in the crawl space under the 2nd level, (tank would never fit in crawl space). The house is currently wired with 125 amp service providing electric heat for 1200 square feet of living space with 2 adults and 2 small children living there. Is it feasible to install? Is there anything else I should consider? Is 125 amp enough to run one of these? This is my first house and I've owned it less than a week, so I know nothing about anything when it comes to home renos/installs....
Any help appreciated Heather
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

125 amp is totally inadquate. figure 200 amp for tankless electric just for heating water.
is you home electric heat? your post isnt clear.
nearly no one who converts to tankless electric is happy with the results:(
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

125 amp is totally inadquate. figure 200 amp for tankless electric just for heating water.
is you home electric heat? your post isnt clear.
The house is currently wired with 125 amp

nearly no one who converts to tankless electric is happy with the results:(
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You will probably need more than 125 amps just for the tankless water heater. Gas is not an option? If you are only concerned about flood damage get a plumber to install a pan under the current water heater. There probably is a drain line for the temperature pressure relief valve which can be connected to the pan.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Gas is not really an option, that would have to be a totally separate system, running from a tank just to run the heater. I think that would end up running way more than we could afford to install, there's no natural gas lines where I am in Newfoundland.
It's not just the flood damage, with only 1200 sq feet, the bedroom is rather small, around 100 sq feet so the closet being basically null is a lot of space to lose, especially with a 3 year old. Of course the flood concern is the major one. The boiler is about 6 years old now, so I'm sure it'll be going soon and need to be replaced and we were looking at options to get it out of her room. If we can't get it out of her room, and can't get the tankless system, we'll definately have to get a pan and drain line. It makes me very nervous in it's current location.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hi Heather,
The short answer is no. Given that your home has electric heat (and presumably all electric appliances), you would require a minimum of 200-amps.
Also note that whilst your service panel is said to be 125-amps, the main breaker that feeds power to this panel is actually 100-amps.
Cheers, Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
125 amp for all electric home is really low.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The smallest one person whole house Bosch electric tankless is 120a, with a complete electric house you might need well over 200a, so forget it. 6 years is not old for a good water heater is local water is not bad, ask neighbors how long their tanks last.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The people who sold you this residential lemon ought to be run out of town. Whether you know it or not, from what you have described, you are facing massive $$ to get the place civilized. Although there will be some good advice from responders to your post, the help you likely need goes way beyond that. Consider consulting with a qualified architect or structural engineer to get professional advice. While the upfront cost might seem a bit much, avoiding all the traps of shoddy work and incompetent contractors will ultimately be more than worth the price. Deepest sympathies and good luck.
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The people who sold you this residential lemon ought to be run out of town. Whether you know it or not, from what you have described, you are facing massive $$ to get the place civilized.
I don't really understand what you mean, the only real issue with the house is the hot water boiler location. All the houses in the row are like this, we were just hoping to be able to move it somewhere else.
Although there will be some good advice from responders to your post, the help you likely need goes way beyond that. Consider consulting with a qualified architect or structural engineer to get professional advice. While the upfront cost might seem a bit much, avoiding all the traps of shoddy work and incompetent contractors will ultimately be more than worth the price. Deepest sympathies and good luck.
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You may be looking at an outdoor enclosure for another tank to get your closet back. I don't really see any other option for you save for upgrading the electrical service *before* considering a tankless. Based on the BTUs one of those needs i'm curious if any electric tankless really works well, but I have no experience with them.
nate
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hi Nate,
I have and the experience left me "cold", literally, and this was in southern GA where, unlike Newfoundland, inlet temperatures are considerably warmer.
Someone once remarked that there's a special place reserved in Hell for 120-volt clothes dryers. It will be hopefully a few more years before I can confirm this, but I expect it's right next to the electric tankless water heaters.
Cheers, Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

To clarify, I am skeptical about the hot water problem being the only issue with the house. It may be more factual to say that that is the first one you are aware of. Other issues will surface over time, that being the nature of old and unusual houses. Good ideas with professional help can guide you through those crises.
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I've become a fan of tankless water heaters. I would certainly use them on a new construction. I can't say the same for a retro install as I haven't seen a post construction install. The folks that built new homes (I know of three) have three units and they are "zoned". Those folks love the systems.
Here is a help guide: (with a video)
Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide http://www.tanklesswaterheaterguide.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Meant to add the fourth house. A three TWH system was placed in parallel (5600 sf home). The plumber was removed from the job, for other reasons.
It cost the couple another $400.00 for material (pc board, ??) so the system would only call on one heater at a time. When demand goes up the middle unit turns on, and so forth.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Meant to add the fourth house. A three TWH system was placed in parallel (5600 sf home). The plumber was removed from the job, for other reasons.
It cost the couple another $400.00 for material (pc board, ??) so the system would only call on one heater at a time. When demand goes up the middle unit turns on, and so forth.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Put a drain pan under it and a hose to the basement, put in a mains auto shutoff incase of leaks or pipe bursts. Once I saw the effects of a toilet breaking by itself when the homeowner was on vacation 2 days, it cost about 15000.00 in damages in the early 90s. There are ways to protect your home with auto shut off devices
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think what you should be looking for is several small tankless water heaters for each hot water demand area. Not one big central one. They make the small ones but I have no idea what they cost. They are supposed to be popular in Europe. A friend of mine was in France and his uncle had them in his apartment and they worked great.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Short version -- Don't do it - you'll still have a potential leak worry.because you'll still have a water heater with its associated joints and connection in your closet. Water leaks are likely to come from the connections, not from rusting through the tank body.
Long version -- For an interior location like you've described, the hot water tank (I hope it's not actually a "boiler"!) should already be sitting in a tray to keep leaks from causing damage -- and it's probable that the tray has its own drain, which should ease your worries about water damage -- if a fitting on the tank leaks, the water goes into the tray, and then drains outside. Even without a separate drain, any new leak from the unit is likely to be small at first, and retained in the tray, and you're likely to notice the water before it ever becomes a big problem.. If your existing hot water tank was improperly installed (ie, without a tray), your before-sale building inspection should have uncovered that fact.
I'm not a fan of tankless water heaters, having used them for a number of years at apartments in Asia. Tankless heaters were always considered "low-end" and the bigger, better apartments had a conventional hot water tank.
As you've described your situation, if you substitute a tankless unit for the existing tank, you'll gain some closet space, but it won't get hot water to your sinks any faster because they'll still run through a length of cold tubing. Also, you won't have eliminated your worry about water damage, because the tankless unit has fittings and connections that are just as likely to leak as those of a tank. I don't like the suggestion of a series of smaller tankless units because it means giving up cupboard space in each kitchen or bathroom, a considerable extra expense for wiring and plumbing each unit -- and also creates several new opportunities for leakage problems.
I'd suggest you check on how the existing tank is installed, and if the existing unit has been there for a long time and you're really really concerned, buy a new one now and make sure it's installed with a proper drain.
By the way, there are several other more serious water-damage areas with which to be concerned, including the hoses to your washer (which may burst after a few years of use if they are kept under pressure), leaks in/around the disposal, blockages in the air conditioner condensate line, ice dam problems around the gutters if you live in the north, and water intrusion around the foundation if the property isn't sloped sufficiently.
You might ask around your townhouse neighbors if anyone has had a water tank leak problem -- barring multiple problem statements, don't obsess over the issue and enjoy your new home --
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.