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.
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,
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.
- 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
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?
On Jul 11, 8:41?am, firstname.lastname@example.org 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...........
Wow - thanks for all of the replies!
I went and checked some of the things you all mentioned... here is some
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
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?
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
again install costs will be less but operating costs will wipe out the
install savings fast.
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.
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.
I'd do just the opposite -- cold water into the gas heater first. That way
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.
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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