New water heater less efficient than old one?

Hello All,
Last year, our Phase III, 40 Gallon, water heater sprung a leak, so we had to have it replaced.
I spoke with the Plumber about this and we did talk about the old tank being 40 Gallon. He mentioned that he would replace it with a Weil McLain, but never said anything about the size of the new tank.
When the plumbers came, they brought the new tank, which was comparable in size, however, the new tank is only 28 Gallons.
I didn't notice this at the time because the two tanks are very similar in size (the new one is a bit shorter, but it's noticeably wider than the phase iii).
I noticed the difference when my wife started to complain that after 20 minutes in the shower, she has to shut down the cold water entirely in order for the shower water to stay warm. That's when I started to look into the problem and noticed that the new tank is only 28 gallons. It's a Weil McLain Gold 30.
I called the plumber immediately and he said that the size of the tank doesn't really matter. That a 28 Gallon tank should be more than sufficient for my needs.
I ran some tests, and found the following:
The maximum temperature of the water from this heater (we have to crank it up all the way) is 160 deg. Farenheit. The dial on the old one was kept at 167 deg. and that wasn't the maximum.
With the old tank, we NEVER ran out of hot water while showering.
I did some tests as to how fast the temperature drops, and here are the results:
I ran the shower as we normally would when we take a shower and after 10 minutes, I meassured the temperature of the hot water alone: it dropped from 160 deg. to 140 deg.
After another 10 minutes, the temperature of the hot water alone dropped to 110 deg.
The plumber came here about 2 or 3 weeks ago and said that the problem might be that the heater is not getting enough hot water from the boiler (a gas-based HydroTherm), and he mentioned the possibility of replacing the zone valve with one that has a wider inside diameter. I was skeptical, but willing to go with it.
The day before yesterday I spoke with him (he was supposed to come, and instead called me - after I called him. He had me measure the GPM output of my shower (which is 3 Gallons Per Minute) and he mentioned in passing that I might need a new shower head - I'm not going to replace the shower head. We love this shower and the high pressure it produces.
So, I'm still waiting for him to get back to me.
Can someone tell me if I'm right assuming that the size difference (38 gallons vs 28 gallons) is the main culprit here?
At this point I'm extremely angry about what is happening. I had no way to infere that in spite of knowing that I had a 40 gal tank, he would replace it with a 30 gal tank. Furthermore, the price difference between these two sizes in Weil McLain's line is about $75. Why would I want to save a miserable $75 in a $2000 job?!?!?!
Thanks for any ideas, opinions, or advice!!!!
Frank
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TWENTY minutes in the shower ??
A car wash doesn't take that long !
On 21 May 2004 12:54:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com (Remove Animal from email address) wrote:

<rj>
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Maybe she's in there with the plumber....
(Remove Animal

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wrote:

Yeah, but I'm making a WAG that you probably don't shave your legs and armpits, do you?
Jeff
--

Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone
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So he screwed you, but a 20 min shower? You should of gone tankless you asked before , you were told , but didnt . now you heat it always , a waste. So ?
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The 28 gallon heater should keep up with your shower depending on the output of your boiler. The Gold 30 will provide 230 GPH of 115F water, 140 GPH of 140F water. The problem is something to do with the boiler or water flow through the heat exchanger.
Most likely the 40 gallon unit would provide more hot water but more than your needs. Check out, www.weil-mclain.com/netdocs/ratingsplus.htm#RATINGS
The lack of comunication with your installer bothers me. I would have thought he would have put in the same size unit or at least discussed it with you before hand. Greg
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