Water heater

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Well, 0n Thursday I did my now monthly check on our 18 year old GSW (10 year tank) gas water heater and found the insulation was damp, so for the second time in the 26 years we've owned the house, I had to go buy and install a new water heater. I could have run over to a distributor I've bought a fair amount of plumbing supplies from and saved a bit of money, but Home Despot is only about a mile away, and I figured I could manage hauling the heater home on the rack mounted to the trailer hitch on my PT Cruiser - from the distributor I'd have needed to borrow a truck or a trailer.
I settled on the 12 year GE (Rudd/Rheem) 40 US Gallon conventional heater at $549 canadian. It had no legs like the old one had, so I needed to block up the one side to level it, since the other side was sitting on the edge of the raised sub-floor of the adjacent rec-room. Thankfully the alighnment of the gas and water lines was almost identical but the new heater was about 6 inches higher - had to take out 6" of vent and shorten both the cold ceed and hot outlet 6 inches . The gas fitting was 1.5" higher, so I had to replace 2 elbows and nipples with street elbows - which allowed the gas line to line up virtually perfectly. 4 hours including emptying the old heater,running out for new 1/2" unions and ball valve, then the street elbows, hauling the new one down into the basement and the old one out, and dropping the old one off at the dump.
We'll see if this one stands up as well as the last 2 - 16 years for the original, 18 for the replacement. - virtually NO sediment buildup in the old tank, by the way. The water around here used to be VERY hard (groundwater) but since the region started supplementing with water from the Grand about 10 years ago, using artificial recharge wells, the hardness has improved - and we DO have a softener.
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Not bad time for all involved. Easier to shorten than lengthen everything.
At work we had an 80 gallon unit leak. It was in there when we bought the building and the former owner had many more employees than us, thus the large tank. I opted to replace it with an identical unit to avoid what you had to do. Everything lined up.
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wrote:

Actually, I've found it's actually easier to LENTHEN a lot of things when it comes to plumbing - and particularly gas-fitting.

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On Sat, 04 Jun 2011 22:16:50 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Times like this when you appreciate plastic pipe ;-)
Plastic also does not cause the galvanic corrosion at the nipples that causes most water heater failures. Did you use dielectric unions?
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 01:19:31 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I will NEVER use plastic pipe, particularly for this application - and the water heater comes with the dialectric joints pre-installed and standard equipment. I NEVER heat fittings at the tank. I ALWAYS use pipe unions at leat six inches up from the tank, solder the fittings to the pipe, thread the pipe on with teflon pipe sealing compound, and then tighten up the unions.
Makes it a treat to remove later too, as you just uncrank the unions and the system is apart - no hassles with trying to heat pipes with water in them enough to unsolder joints, or cutting into the copper pipe with a tube cutter. And I still use leaded solder because it wets and flows so much better - and a PROPERLY soldered joint does not expose enough solder to the water to be an issue - particularly in the DHW system. I tin the copper pipe, heat it and slide the fluxed fitting on ALL THE WAY, then touch just enough solder to the outer end of the joint to form a neat fillet, and the joint is done. Solder exposed to water? negligible at best.
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The OP is far better served by a conventional tank unit! It costs far less and was easily installed:) Drawng low amounts of hot water isnt a issue, with tankless a low flow can cause no heat..Theres no lag time from faucet on to burners firing water heating. ... No issues with cold incoming winter water temperatures causing cool showers..Much of a standard tanks losses go to heat the home in winter so they really arent losses at all. all except what goes up the flue. the standard tank tends to be highly reliable over its lifetime, tankless require a knowledgable tech and routine maintence.... a power outgage on a standard tank is generally a non issue, most dont need line voltage. many tankless require line voltage to operate, no power no hot water at all, if you ever had a multi day power failure a hot shower is really nice. some people in a winter power failure have heated their homes by snaking a garden hose running water slowly all thru the house, ending at a bathtub, where hot water is finally released. this is a excellent emergency heating idea. the $549.00 the OP paid for his new tank divided by 18 years is just over 30 bucks a year, thats a bargaiin.
tankless instaneous sound awesome but the numbers just dont work.
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 05:22:05 -0700, bob haller wrote:

I find tankless to be quite efficient. I have 2 small electrics, one under the bathroom, one under the kitchen. I like something that only uses energy when I use it. Who needs 40 gallons of hot water sitting in the basement for nothing, losing heat and costing you money all the time.
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Are you referring to the sinks that the heaters are under??? Do you have a tank under the bathrub also????
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 08:12:54 -0700, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

No, one tankless heater takes care of the sink and shower. Who uses both at the same time?
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 09:41:31 -0700, harry wrote:
I've been thinking solar hot water as a supplement/alternate or preheater for electric tankless.
Is yours similar to this? http://www.compactsolarwater.com /
What about that electric thing for the winter to keep it from freezing? Take a lot of power?
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On 6/5/2011 7:46 AM, Dbdblocker wrote:

SOME of us have incoming water at 38 (THIRTY EIGHT) degrees in the winter. No way to get 140 degree water out of a tankless with that input. Unless you like a trickle.
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Steve Barker
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How much heat do they really loose??? I shut off the gas around supper time on Friday, in anticipation of draining the tank Sat morning. I got started at about 10am, draining the tank - and the water was still VERY hot. - and that was an 18 year old tank with wet insulation... The outer shell of the new heater is 3.5 degrees C warmer than ambient in my basement right now, with water temp set at about 165f
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They also heat the home in the summer (creating additional load on your AC)
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On 6/5/2011 2:44 PM, Malcom "Mal" Reynolds wrote:

Actually, the standby losses go up the flue, so neither is true for the most part.
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Steve Barker
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On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 14:59:31 -0500, Steve Barker

Let me guess. One of you has a gas WH and the other electric?
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wrote:

does that somehow change the standby losses?
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Tankless is like buying a new car for better gas mileage:) the new car costs a 100 grand:( and saves ONE MPG.
The payoff exceeeds the life of the vehicle:(
and so does the payoff for tankless:( Older ones were low tech but the latest ones really need a technician for routine maintence and that costs real bucks
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On 6/5/2011 7:49 PM, bob haller wrote:

I just had my natural gas water heater replaced and the plumbing company told me the same thing. Their view was to only install a tankless when floor space was a concern.
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On 6/5/2011 6:12 PM, Malcom "Mal" Reynolds wrote:

he was probably suggesting that an electric one probably does not lose it's heat up the flue. He is correct.
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No, but without a flue, they are not lost up the flue. Either statement can be true or false depending on the location of the heater, if the heat is actually used, if there is an AC" and if it is affected.
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