In California one can buy 'earthquake activated' shutoff gas valves for
your home Since the home is most likely to shear off the pipe, makes
sense. Doesn't do any good for the pipe being sheared inside the ground
away from the meter, though.
In those cases I would suspect there would be far less potential for gas to
build up in an enclosed space to explosive levels. However I do believe
that in certain areas of California the main distribution feeders are
protected as well as individual homes because there are underground tunnels
that could fill up with gas. I am too lazy to look it up. (-:
I know Japan, specifically Tokyo, has a lot of earthquake-activated
equipment designed to prevent massive fires since they can do so much damage
to an earthquake stricken area. Tokyo has lots of wooden buildings spaced
very close together and I've read books that talk about how bad a
conflagration could be if it got really out of control on a very windy day.
Got a "mate" who is a "firey" in Australia and sends me all these books.
They've been having some seriously bad times with bushfires in recent years
as humans move further out into the "bush."
I've also read speculation that says if a really bad earthquake hits in
Tokyo Bay all of the surrounding oil and chemical plant tanks will burst and
spill into the water. It will make TEPCO and Fukashima look like a bubble
bath. Can't quite remember the name of that book. Something like "Ring of
Poison Pearls." CRS today. )-:
I've got something like that from HF, years ago. Don't think they still
have the item, sadly. That does above ground meter shut off, which I can
do with a pipe wrench. And "curb box valves" for water, which NYS
Not sure if that will work on the utility company's gas valves, under
ground. Anyone know?
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
On 8/15/2013 3:44 PM, Tomsic wrote:
On 8/13/2013 6:49 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
**********Trim Alarmist Nonsense**********
Around here most of the guys installing extra equipment at a home and
the equipment requires more BTU than the existing gas lines will
provide, make a call to the gas company to see if a 2psi gas service
is available and it usually is. The gas meter is changed out to one that
has a red dial and markings making it easy to identify it as a 2psi
meter and a regulator is added to bring the pressure back down to 6-8
inches WC for the existing lines serving existing equipment. The 2psi
line is tapped ahead or the regulator for the exiting gas lines and a
1/2" flexible line carrying 2psi gas is run to the new equipment where
a regulator is added bringing the pressure back down to the required
pressure to operate the new equipment. Most gas appliances require a
pressure of 6-8 inches water column to operate but the generators I used
to install required 11" WC pressure in order to run properly. When
me and my late friend GB were doing a lot of remodels, it was less
expensive and took less labor to install 1/2" flexible gas lines
carrying 2psi to all the appliances, water heater, wall heaters and or
furnace then add a regulator at the point of use. The flexible gas lines
gave us a lot of flexibility (no pun) when installing equipment
and making changes especially when in the middle of a remodel. I think
there has been a code change requiring the thinner walled gas lines to
be grounded better because a lightning strike could punch a hole in the
flexible gas lines. Of course a direct hit can melt a heavy walled gas
line too. ^_^
Not necessarily complicated, but complex. And 3 or 4 tankless units
gets PRICY and requires HUGE gas and/or electric service to support
more than one running at a time.
And there is a difference between a "tankless" and a "point of use"
And using them in tandem adds un-necessary complexity. Otherwize you
get half hot and half cold with a parallel system, or both need to run
together all the time.
A well insulated tank unit of adequate size, with a smaller point of
use tank heater (5 gallon-ish) at washroom or kitchen if they are at
the far end of the house to avoid running a lot of cold water through
the lines to get hot water, can be a very effective and price
It's a good plan, but I don't think thermal shocking is the main cause
of water heater failure. It could be one element, but only an
"autopsy" would determine that.
I think the main failure causes are scale/sediment build-up and
corrosion. Both are closely related to how much water flows through
the heater. I think scale/sediment resisting heat flow and causing
the metal to fatigue is a bigger culprit. But that and corrosion go
I never replaced an anode, and doubt I will. Never had a tank that
didn't last 15 years before leaking. They're going to lose thermal
efficiency as they scale up, so a new one is in order anyway.
Small expense as home expenses go, and most here can DIY.
I did hours of research on this subject a while back.
Learned tankless is overly complex, still has quirks/idiosyncrasies and
is likely to generate expensive maintenance issues down the road.
Additional gotcha's include the probable need to install a higher
capacity gas line.
Plumbers hype tankless due to their greater initial purchase price,
additional installation and future maintenance/repair income.
(Anyone remember ol' Rube!)
Conventional tank type heaters may require a little more space/volume,
but are cheaper, simple, reliable and have an extensive proven track
record. In my book, they're right technology for the job.
Like someone said, do your homework... and if the conclusion is
tankless; do it over again.
Don't just take my word for it, there's a lot on the internet.
for anything they sell.
I assume that's a "vote of tanks." I agree, I've been twiced stumped by "we
don't have spare parts but we'll give you a trade-in of 1/10 the purchase
price for a "refurb." That was a Flip shirtpocket HD video cam. I bought 4
Samsung factory refurbed and much superior cameras for nearly what the Flip
I don't like tankless for another reason and that's the often required
heavy-up of the gas line to the house. The bigger that is, the faster you
get into trouble if there's a break in the line. There's the point I
mentioned before - tankless fail without any backup. If a tank fails, you
might even get one or two more showers out of it. My tank heater failed
when I was covered with dirt from digging trenches but I could still wash
the dirt off and not freeze doing it.
I've since installed a reducing valve (sort of accidentally) and this
waterheater has way exceeded it predicted point of failure. We also have a
low-flow shower valve and my wife stopped taking baths (not showers for you
comedians out there!). According the CAU post, emptying the tank in very
cold weather probably shortens its lifespan.
At the price of a properly installed, decent quality tankless - and
the required gas or electric service, you are going to install
multiples to "zone" a system - or add redundancy?????
Not very likely - especially with the "tightwads" on this group!!!!
And I'm proud to be one of them. Doesn't make any sense, long term or
short term, to install multiple "tankless" units.
What was snipped made it very clear I was referring to not having *any* hot
water if there's a problem with a tankless. Most people do not have
multiple zoned hot water systems in their homes of either type so their
choice is having a potentially useful reserve of (hot) water with a tank and
no (hot) water reserve of any kind with a tankless.
Admittedly you can imagine all sorts of scenarios that are exceptions.
Obama declares martial law or there's an earthquake and all the gas lines
are turned off. Terrorists poison the reservoirs. No matter how many
tankless heaters you have, you're going to be taking a cold shower without
gas. If the reservoirs are poisoned, what would 50gal of clean, potable
water become worth?Are those likely scenarios? No. But they're not
Obviously, in the world of tank v. tankless, boxers v. briefs and chocolate
v. vanilla, there will be differences of opinion. In my case, I have good
reasons to prefer a pilot-lit tank to a tankless. YMMV.
The tank gives me the potential of 50gal of spare (hot) water and a smaller
gas line entering my home. In fact, that would be the risk I would be
concerned about the most - a ruputured large diameter gas feed. There are
some people who don't care about any of that and want hot water fast
whenever they want it. I can wait. It's a small house and it the water
heats up fast enough for me.
That is another interisting question. How many tankless water heaters would
it take for the same house ? Could you supply enough gas if you had a gas
line or enough electricity to run tankless water heaters at one time for 3
Most gas meters have a capacity tag on them.
In my case, I can only run 220,000 BTU at once so I'd be limited to my 120,000 BTU furnace and a single tankless water heater....which is why I don't have a tankless.
Ruh-roh! Someone's been smoking scorpion tails again!
The topic is how the tank/tankless decision plays out during emergencies and
device failures. Martial law is one type of emergency that could interrupt
the gas flow, like an earthquake or terrorist sabotage could. I believe the
gas mains were shut off both during the infamous 14th Street riots in DC and
the ones in Watts as well. Authorities know a few sledgehammered gas feeds
to large businesses can burn a city down pretty quickly. However, I already
admitted those are highly UNlikely (but not impossible) scenarios.
IIRC in California and Japan, gas mains are automatically shut during
earthquakes to prevent massive gas-main fed fires. With tankless heaters,
no hot shower for you while waiting for the gas mains to reopen. Not so with
a tank heater. Maybe even no drinkable water. Clearer now?
Let me try another way: One reason I like tanks is that *whatever* kind of
disaster occurs short of an asteroid strike or a nuke, a tank water heater
*might* very well provide me with 50 extra gallons of very precious and hard
to find potable water stored on premises. A tankless heater has *no* means
of providing *anyone* anywhere with an emergency water supply in *any*
situation. Seems a simple enough concept if you're not "smoking tails." (-:
If hyperbole/humor is going to twist up your panties so much it generates an
irate WTF from you, perhaps I'd better steer clear of you (and you me) until
the scorpion venom leaves your system. That way I don't have to waste time
explaining the obvious -- over and over and over again. As ST's venerable
Dr. McCoy once said "A blind man could see it with a cane!"
So for any other "stinger smokers" out there, let's review. It's a pretty
simple concept: tank water heaters *can* provide an emergency water source
in a variety of disasters that tankless units simply *cannot*, no matter how
many tankless units you install in a house and no matter how large,
well-planned, well-sited, well-built, well-installed, well-maintained,
well-liked, well-sized, well-armed or self-powered they are and no matter
how hard you try to press your case because neither one holds water. (-:
It's junior high school science. Repeat after me slowly: Tank-type water
heaters can store water, tankless ones can't. (-:
1. Initial cost
tankless - high
tank - relatively low
tankless - high for short time, zero after (except for pilot for gas)
tank - high when recovering, low and intermittent thereafter
3. Volume of hot water
tankless - unlimited & continuous up to rated capacity
tank - limited
4. Cost of operation
Can't say for sure but I'm betting the tankless would be way less.
My only experience with tankless was when my wife & I lived on a sail boat
for ten years. I put in a small LPG tankless so we had hot water for
showers, washing dishes, etc. It worked very well for the entire time,
never a problem. I wouldn't characterize it as "complex"; not much to it
other than a gas valve.
Tankless seem to be more popular in non-US countries; there, it is not
uncommon to only have hot water for the bathroom (none in kitchen, no
clothes washers) and they are frequently installed in or near same.
The most attractive thing about tankless is their lower energy use; the
least attractive, their high initial cost. The lower energy cost is
especially attractive to me now that the LPG bandits are charging us close
to $5.00/gal. for LPG; nevertheless, if I were putting in a new one, I'd
probably go for a tank...a small 30 gallon one (only two of us) with the
best insulation available.
On Friday, August 9, 2013 7:57:45 AM UTC-4, dadiOH wrote:
I don't see why it would be way less. From what I can see, the
biggest energy savings difference comes from the fact that the
tankless eliminates the standby losses coming from the tank type
that has a hot tank of water slowing losing heat 24/7. However,
I have a gas water heater and in the summer, no other gas usage
other than some for limited use of the outside gas grill. In
summer, my gas bill is about $16 a month. So that includes
heating the water I actually use, a little gas grilling, and
whatever the standby losses are. Which means the standy losses
can't amount to very much. If it's $5 a month, it would take
a very long time to recover the higher initial cost of a tankless.
Also, the gas water heater I have is just a basic model with
a pilot light. For a couple hundred more you can get a power vent,
higher efficiency one, that would reduce the standby and operating losses.
So, I'm not convinced the tankless are going to save enough on
energy to make them cost effective.
One other factor to add to the usual list of differences is that
with a tank type if you lose power, you still have a tank of hot
water that can last a couple days of limited use. If you have a
gas tankless, some of them will operate without power, some will
I have a conventional tank, not power vented, and if I lose power I
still have an unlimited amount of hot water available to me.
Now if they can figure out how to make a natural-gas-powered furnace fan
motor, then we'd have furnaces that would keep our homes warm in the
winter during power outages (those of us that have 30+ year-old furnaces
that require almost no electricity to operate beyond the fan that is...)
For tankless, nobody here mentions incoming water temperature and the
difficulty that tankless has in northern climates in the winter.
The OP (Kurt Ullman) appears to be located in Indianapolis - so it's not
clear to me how he would be affected by incoming water temperature:
Another aspect (that I've just discovered after doing some goog'ling) is
that it seems to be common for tankless heaters to have flow restrictors
on their output (designed to promote more residency-time for the water
inside the unit to be heated) but this has the effect of causing lower
water pressure in the hot-water lines running from the unit to the rest
of the house when hot water is being used anywhere and thus a mixing
imbalance at fixtures like sinks and showers.
Agreed. Based on a post I read here, when a huge winter storm knocked out
power for about a week I used a 100' old style super-thick rubber hose
attached to the laundry sink and snaked up through the bedroom access panel
and coiled underneath the mattress, exiting into the bathtub.
Set to a trickle it provided enough warmth to sleep comfortably and the
excess filled up the bathtub and went out the overflow drain. I am hoping
when this water heater fails, I can replace it with another pilot light
model and not a piezo-electric one that requires electricity to operate. As
you point out, the pilot light consumes very little gas and what it does is
worth it to me to be able to stay in my own house in situations like that.
Making a gas water heater dependent on electricity to save pennies doesn't
seem like a good tradeoff.
OTOH, if you are on a well, piezo vs pilot makes no difference. If there is
no electricity there is no water.
During the hurricanes of ought four, we were without power for a week. It
was August and sweltering...I prayed to all the gods I could think of for
rain so we could get naked, go outside and wash. It did, we did.
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