Water heater question... hook up in series?

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Hi all -
I have a 50 gal gas powervent waterheater, but I run out of hot water frequently. Can I buy another electric one & feed the hot from my existing heater into the inlet for the new electric one?
Figure that might be the cheapest way since the electric one will only really need to maintain the temp, rather than heating it & I won't have to spend $$$ on another powervent model.
Thanks!
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Alex wrote:

Get a proper sized tankless and replace your tank model. I did this 6 months or so ago and would never go back to tank model.
Rich
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What kind of demand do you have? Seems like a 50 gallon power vent should not have issues keeping up unless you have a lot of people using a lot of hot water. Are you sure it is working properly?
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50 gal is a pretty big tank to run out of hot water frequently under normal use unless you have a very large family or run a small hotel. Are you sure the tank is working properly?

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Any chance you just moved in?
When my wife and I moved into a house, BC, we would run out of hot water from a 40 gallon tank really quick. Imagine 2 newlyweds not being able to share a long shower!
Anyway, after a little investigation, I found out that the water heater was piped wrong. It was filling from the top and taking water from the bottom. The really strange part was that the paperwork said it was installed 4 years before we moved in and we knew that there had been 2 adults and 3 teenagers living in the house before us.
How they put up with that for 4 years is beyond me. I can't imagine how bad their old HW heater must of been if they thought the new one was working properly,
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You HAVE been married a long time! ** Any chance you knew about 'the birth' in Nazareth? :-) :-) :-)
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BC - Before Children
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Quite common. Some heaters don't have a defined cold water inlet. They have you put in the cold water tube in the hole you want to use. Also have had the tube come loose so the cold did not go to the bottom but the hot was still taken from the top. I think that happened when the tank had been drained and the water was turned on too fast.
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- Quite common. Some heaters don't have a defined cold water inlet.
That may be so, but not in this case. The top of the tank was clearly marked as to which was which.
The person that installed it was simply incompetent. I called the company (a mid-sized local plumbing and heating firm) and basically threatened to spread the word about their expertise unless they sent someone out to fix it. So even though it was in the house for 4 years, they came and swapped the pipes for free. It was worth a shot, and it worked!
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Alex wrote:

It sounds like you have something else wrong. It may be as simple as a dip tube coming loose. Tell us more. How old is the heater? Do you have abnormally high hot water usage rates? How long have you had this heater and has it always had this problem?
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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Could be filled with sediment...
Dave
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On Jul 11, 8:41?am, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

yeah adding another in series is a good option, how many BTUs is the power vent, i had a friend with this trouble turned out his tanks burner was only 28K BTU:(
power vents often are lower btu...........
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Wow - thanks for all of the replies!
I went and checked some of the things you all mentioned... here is some more info.
Four people in the house - one big whirlpool tub, one regular tub/shower, and one freestanding shower stall.
When the big tub is used, we usually run out of hot during the 2nd or 3rd shower at or near the same time as the whirlpool was used.
We've pretty much have had this issue the whole time, but the kids were young back then... now that they're getting older, it's longer showers/baths & it's also harder to schedule their bathing time in order to spread out the usage.
I checked the hot water tank... looks like it's plumbed correctly - the inputs at the top are labelled hot/cold & the piping seems right.
I flushed it for sediment just a couple of years ago when I needed to replace the controller board or some such thing... it was originally installed in 99, so it's ~8 years old.
The model is Rheem "21VP50E - 1 A". It's a 50g gas model with this info on the label:
input btuh 40,000 Manifold 4.0 Cap 1st hour 72g
Do you think it's undersized for the load we have with the whirlpool tub?
I was leaning towards the extra electric tank since I can do that for a couple hundred $$$... I think a tankless that can handle what we need would be a grand or two, no?
Thanks again!
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The whirlpool tub will easily drain the HWH. If you need to fill this tub regularly I'd suggest getting a larger HWH, or plumbing an on demand heater for the tub.
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you way undersized because of that whirpool tub.
electric sounds great till you look into energy costs. why not a second gas direct vent in series? preferably as high BTU as possible. you may have trouble finding more than 40K BTU as direct vent.
electric will help a lot but its recovery will only be 1/2 of a similiar sized gas tank. so go large on electric.
how many amps is your main breaker and do you have space for a 2 pole breaker?
again install costs will be less but operating costs will wipe out the install savings fast.
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The only problem with your proposed setup is that you always have to have the electric heater on, if for example the kids are away and the 50 gallon gas is sufficient. Perhaps a tricier setup which allows you to manually bypass the electric would make more sense. Or even trickier one that allows you to bypass either WH. That way if the gas heater failed, you would could still have hot water while you were getting a replacement.
--
Peace,
BobJ

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i would go electric first, then gas athough 2 gas tanks will cost way less to operate.
electric tank last is a bad idea, energy cost wise.
ideally install a tankless gas direct vent on a outside wall, then feed that water threu a well insulated line to the standard gas tank.
this should add very little to operating costs since the water must be heated anyway and the only losses from the tankless are standby in hopefully well insulated line.......
will need new large gas line but with a nice large tankless you will have nearly unlimited hot water.
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I'd do just the opposite -- cold water into the gas heater first. That way most of the heating is done with the (usually) cheaper gas and the (usually) more expensive electricity just has to make up any stand-by losses.
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wrote:

electric tank will be making up al standby losses
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Yes, it will be making up the standby losses, but if you put it first, it doesn't stop losing heat, does it? It stll has the same loss plus it now has to heat the incoming cold water, which could be 40 deg in winter, and bring it up to full temp.
His idea of a second water heaer in series AFTER the existing gas is not bad. If I could, I'd probably set it up so the electric after the gas only served the bath with the whirlpool tub. Most new houses with these around here have two water heaters for exactly that reason. Whether to go with a gas vs electric for the second one depends on energy costs vs install costs/headaches.
But best idea of all may be to go with a new single 75 gal. I think he said existing was about 8 years old, so it's proably 2/3 the way thru it's typical life. Or for applications like this, tankless could be a good option.
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