water heater - 2 in a series

I am building a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath house. The house will be 65% occupied by 2 people with above average water consumption Remaining 35% of the time house will be fully occupied with an above average water consumption (3 bathrooms, washer, dishwasher might be running at the same time) Natural gas is available on site.
I am planning to create a universal domestic hot water solution which will be easy to use and cost effective - my plan is to use two gas water heaters connected in series. During period of low hot water consumption only heater closer to the faucets will be on; cold water will be supplied from the street and will be passing through the second water heater before it will be heated. Hot water will be available at all faucets all the time. When house is fully occupied the second water heater will be turned on effectively providing 2 X hot water volume of a single water heater without increasing the time to heat a single heater's volume of water.
My questions are: 1. does this make sense? 2. what other more effective solutions are there? (I don't think I am sold on the tankless water heaters and I don't see humongous cost benefit but rather high initial cost and potential maintenance cost) 3. what are the cons? 4. what temp should I set on the water heaters when both are on (with high being the desired temp)? faucet + low + high + cold water supply faucet + mid + high + cold water supply faucet + high + high + cold water supply (I am thinking this) faucet + high + mid + cold water supply (or this) faucet + high + low + cold water supply
Many thanks.
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If you're using a hot water boiler to heat the house, get an indirect water heater.

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If you "turn off" the second water heater, you will have to wait a very long time for the hot water to reach the sink. You are better off turning off the first, it seems, if this whole scheme is even plausible
As for a "solution" that is "cost effective": I can't help wonder why 4 people need so much water. Doesn't anyone care about conservation, the environment, humility, thrift, and all those other things that would lead one to just say "well, maybe our water consumption is excessive... if we just used a normal amount of water, we could easily have 4 people on one medium-sized water heater, and save some money, gas, water while also benefiting the environment, our country, and the world."
No need to respond -- I know it's no use, and I shouldn't even post such hopless rants.
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We have 2 in a series due to the big draw for a jacuzzi tub. However, with the recent high gas prices, we turned off the first in the series and left the second one (one closest to the demand) on. Works fine. jim
kevin wrote:

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So you are telling us that you spent an awful lot of money on a second water heater (and gas) for a system (mindless brainstorm) that is useless? I hope this wasnt your idea? Bubba
On Thu, 02 Feb 2006 14:25:25 GMT, " snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com"

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theres overall use, and seperately peak demand
4 people living and working the same schedule, say all showering within a half hour each morning, drive up peak demand a lot
where overall use is probably similiar to 4 people who all work different shifts, showering at different times spread thruout the day.
they can both need the same overall amount of hot water, but one might need 2 tanks in series to meet the needs.
it doesnt automatically mean someone is being wasteful...
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Say you've a 50-gal heater. That's 12.5 gal./shower, and the heater can recover some within .5 hr. That defines waste to me.
(My younger son would take such long, steamy showers that I wondered how his skin stayed on. Then I started to throttle the hot supply after 10 minutes- stimulated him some.)
I'd first look into reduced-flow shower heads. Besides, IMHO they're a big improvement over the water-disposal units prior.
Then maybe up the heater thermostat setting a few degrees.
There's only so much cheap energy out there.
J
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Thanks for all the replies. My existing shower heads use 2 gals/min (and I think they are reduced flow). For 4 people this means max 6 minute shower at the same time (on a 50 gals tank) - nothing excessive I would say. Considering the fact we often shower in the evening (after the sport activities or just a busy day) the dishwasher and washer might be on at the same time and therefore further limit the usable volume of DHW. I figure that an expense for another water heater of some $340 is not too bad considering possible returns. Two DHW loops will make me run both heaters at the same so this is not my preferred solution. I will certainly consider all advices. Thx again.

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Since you building a home. Consider the two water heater in two loops. One for the bathrooms. The other for the kitchen and laundry. Where I live there are lots of homes with a water heater and air handler on both ends of the home. This is done to cut the time it takes to get hot water from one end to the other. Put time clocks on the water heaters for normal operation. When company comes over ride them. You may need some help to find a pilotless ignition gas water heater. Or you could use electric.
Set the heaters to something that is comfortable. The recover time is based on the amount of water used and incoming temp.
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Since dishwasher and clothes washer like hot water and clothes one sets its own temp.
use one tank for dishwasher and clothes set at 150 degrees
have other tank set at 120 for hand sinks and showers, no chance of scalding!
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