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Here. This is out of Consumer Reports.

Heating water accounts for up to 30 percent of the average home's energy budget. Some makers of gas-fired tankless water heaters claim their products can cut your energy costs up to half over regular storage heaters. So is it time to switch?

Probably not. Gas tankless water heaters, which use high-powered burners to quickly heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger, were 22 percent more energy efficient on average than the gas-fired storage-tank models in our tests. That translates into a savings of around $70 to $80 per year, based on 2008 national energy costs. But because they cost much more than storage water heaters, it can take up to 22 years to break even—longer than the 20-year life of many models. Moreover, our online poll of 1,200 readers revealed wide variations in installation costs, energy savings, and satisfaction.

With the help of an outside lab, we pitted Takagi and Noritz gas-fired tankless water heaters against three storage water heaters. EvenWe didn't test electric tankless heaters because many can't deliver hot water fast enough to replace a conventional water heater if ground­water is cold. in areas with warm groundwater, most homeowners would need to upgrade their electrical service to power a whole-house tankless model.

Our tests simulated daily use of 76 to 78 gallons of hot water. That's the equivalent of taking three showers, washing one laun­dry load, running the dishwasher once (six cycles), and turning on the faucet nine times, for a total of 19 draws. While that's considered heavy use compared with the standard Department of Energy test, we think it more accurately represents an average family's habits. We also ran more than 45,000 gallons of very hard water through a tanked model and a Rinnai tankless model to simulate about 11 years of regular use.

Here's what else we found:

Water runs hot and cold
Manufacturers of tankless water heaters are fond of touting their products' ability to provide an endless amount of hot water. But inconsistent water temperatures were a common complaint among our poll respondents. When you turn on the faucet, tankless models feed in some cold water to gauge how big a temperature rise is needed. If there's cool water lingering in your pipes, you'll receive a momentary "cold-water sandwich" between the old and new hot water. And a tankless water heater's burner might not ignite when you try to get just a trickle of hot water for, say, shaving.

Nor do tankless water heaters deliver hot water instantaneously. It takes time to heat the water to the target temperature, and just like storage water heaters, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out. And tankless models' electric controls mean you'll also lose hot water during a power outage.

Up-front costs are high
The tankless water heaters we tested cost $800 to $1,150, compared with $300 to $480 for the regular storage-tank types. Tankless models need electrical outlets for their fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new ventilation system. That can bring average installation costs to $1,200, compared with $300 for storage-tank models.

Tankless units might need more care
During our long-term testing, an indicator on the tankless model warned of scale buildup. We paid $334 for special valves and a plumber to flush out the water heater with vinegar. Many industry pros recommend that tankless models be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless models. Experts suggest installing a water softener if your water hardness is above 11 grains per gallon. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty.

Efficient storage models are pricey
We also tested the $1,400 Vertex, a high-efficiency storage water heater by A.O. Smith. The manufacturer claims its installation costs are similar to a regular storage model. But its high cost offsets much of the roughly $70 per year the Vertex will save you. Instead, we recommend buying a conventional storage water heater with a 9- or 12-year warranty. In previous tests, we found that those models generally had thicker insulation, bigger burners or larger heating elements, and better corrosion-fighting metal rods called anodes.

Posted: September 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: October 2008

So basically Consumer Reports is verifying pretty much everything those of us that have been screwing around with these things have been saying. Believe me, we have seen these products 25 years ago and had allthe same issues with them. In fact, most of those have long since been scrapped for more conventional heaters.

Indirect heaters use a boiler to heat a quantity of hot water. The storage tank is super insulated and has very very low standby loss. The recovery of these units if properly sized will allow you to virtually run hot water all day long.
 

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Thanks for posting this! I've been a dissenting voice with regards to these things for awhile now for all the reasons mentioned in that article. It just amazes me sometimes how people will jump all over a product just because of claims that its "eco friendly". We as plumbers would be wise to properly inform our clients about them and not push them. I don't mean to sound entirely negative about them, I just feel strongly that its important that everyone involved understands what they're really getting. There's lots of "fine print"!!
 

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Thanks for posting this! I've been a dissenting voice with regards to these things for awhile now for all the reasons mentioned in that article. It just amazes me sometimes how people will jump all over a product just because of claims that its "eco friendly". We as plumbers would be wise to properly inform our clients about them and not push them. I don't mean to sound entirely negative about them, I just feel strongly that its important that everyone involved understands what they're really getting. There's lots of "fine print"!!
A real technician...one who knows what they are talking about can look at a situation and offer multiple solutions to hot water systems. I won't get into why tankless is usually leaps and bounds better tanked heaters but there is alot of fine print on both sides...Print that the salesmen/plumber can easily explain to the client so the client can make a well informed educated decision.

I am glad for you that you don't like tankless....really....They are not the end all solution to everyones problem. I also believe one should question new products that some company came up with and bought their way into code. I would be interested in hearing all your issues with tankless systems. But please do not if this is going to turn into a pissing match. I really want to know why other plumbers dislike tankless systems so much.

I'll let it be known before anything gets said...that this can be a very informational thread...something to which I can learn from or it can be a "you and your heaters suck balls" thread. I'd be interested in keeping it your opinions and facts. I hope this happends as it's rare I learn somthing new about tankless...so thanks in advanced:thumbsup:
 
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My only gripes with tankless are
1. They really don't save much compared to a tank model especially when you compare the cost of installation. On new construction of course this isn't a problem. I see some people who ask about it and when the estimate is finished they piss themselves when they see $4,000 and some would have to call the gas company and have a larger meter installed. Usually the meter is free but the gas company seems to decide at random that some people have to pay for it.

2. Parts. If a 60 gallon Rheem tank stops working on Christmas eve chances are we have the parts in stock and can take care of it. If a tank less breaks we wouldn't have the parts and neither would any local supply house. We would have to order them leaving them without hot water for five days (look when Christmas falls this year). Even during the week we could have a tank going again within hours, a tank less would be the next day at best. The same thing goes for replacement. If a tank starts leaking we can have a new heater in place within hours. A tankless will be at least a day. Obviously if you can get parts for them and buy them locally this is nill. I suspect as time goes on and they become more popular parts will be easier to come by.
 

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Sorry, Tankless. My post is somewhat misleading. It isn't so much that I am against tankless technology but more like exactly what you mention. I am always, for lack of a better word, skeptical about newer technologies. I want to see proof before I accept claims. You are so correct about the knowledge issue, and this is really the crux of the biscuit so to speak. I won't lie, my knowledge of them is probably barely adequate and I do continuously seek input so as to be better informed.

In my experiences so far, where they were installed as part of a new construction, they have performed quite well. But I've seen some places where they were "retro-fitted" without regard to how they would be used, and their owner's were none too pleased. The other major issue I have is exactly what Marlin mentions about parts. With the servicing requirements of these systems, it sometimes takes several days to get the parts needed to properly service them. I had a restaurant call me because theirs wasn't starting when they opened a hot water faucet. They weren't even aware of any service requirements (been operating for over 5 years). Per the manufacturer (Bosch), the water valve is to be rebuilt every 2 to 5 years and the water inlet filter screen is to be cleaned regularly as well. I was able to clean the screen out, but it actually needs replacing along with the rebuild. So now I get to go back in a few days when I get the rebuild kit. To help this situation, when I do an install (only on new construction for now, I won't do retro-fitting), I keep records of what was installed and have a system set up in my computer that will pop up service reminders based on manufacturer recommendations. I can then call the client and inform them of the required service and hopefully when they realize their warranty more or less depends on it, I'll get the sale.

I am sure however, that like most other technological advances we make in society, these systems will improve. And as they become more commonplace, their prices will start coming down. I imagine one day I will look upon them more favorably, but that hasn't happened just yet. I'll say this though, they sure are easier to haul into and out of attics!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll let it be known before anything gets said...that this can be a very informational thread...something to which I can learn from or it can be a "you and your heaters suck balls" thread. I'd be interested in keeping it your opinions and facts. I hope this happends as it's rare I learn somthing new about tankless...so thanks in advanced


So I can't say the suck balls? :rolleyes: Damn.

We sell and install Rinnai. I done been to the school as have a couple of our tech's. When folks want them, we install them. Always very carefull to thouroughly slpain all the pro's and especially the con's and we have them sign a contract.
 

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I have installed several tankless and have been quite happy with the feedback .

I don't push them in all situations , ,,, price ,labor , ease ,etc.

i DO NOT like that consumer reports is out there naming " suggested prices " :furious::furious::furious:

Now all we are going to hear is ," But Consumer's says you should only charge me this much for all your hard work " DAMN !!

Cal:furious::furious:
 

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Not all consumers particuarly care about the money they may or may not save on gas cost, but rather about gaining the space that a tank type heater requires.
 

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In reply to original post by nhmaster3015 ....

Hi folks.
I signed up just to post my 2 cents and my FWIW ...

I work for a tankless hot water heater company. I'm going to leave the name out because I'm not touting the product I work for. I am talking about the tankless industry as a whole.

A year ago I knew nothing about these units except that you could gain back closet space by installing one.
In this years time I have learned a lot, but I still have a long way to go in learning. However, when I happened across this article I was compelled to join and post my opinion as this article is rather short sighted and terribly wrong in many aspects. It is my opinion that the findings in this test were done by someone with inadequate exeperience in both tankless and traditional water heaters and did not seek the required advice from qualified specialists in installing these units. He was, in fact, a shade-tree mechanic trying to do a product comparison.
While it is perfectly true that up front, it does cost quite a bit more to install tankless, the benefits and long-term savings and environmental impact are the attraction to these units.
If installed correctly, tankless hot water heaters deliver water almost instantaneously. Remember, the unit is NOT under your sink, it's usually in another room or outside the house. The water in the pipes is not maintained to a specific temperature. Then again neither is a traditional tank unit. Cold water has to follow a few feet before it gets to your faucet. Anyone believing anything different is truly operating their brain under unreasonable expectations.
Water will not run hot/cold if the unit has been installed right. This is why you should always pay a plumber to install your unit for you. And make sure the plumber is a certified or recommended installer.
Cheap is never good and good is never cheap. That especially goes with tankless units.
If you are getting hot/cold/hot/cold it is because your unit was not installed properly, or is not functioning properly, OR you are using too much hot water in the rest of your home and the unit you have was not sized properly for your needs. If you open up all 8 of the hot water faucets in your house at once and your unit is only designed to handle 4 or 5 you will have hot/cold fluctuations and other problems. duh.
Maintenance is something people do when something breaks down. Even a traditional tank style water heater requires a yearly flushing which involves searching out a hose and risking burns with dangerous hot water. Half the time it doesnt even work right. Most people do this theirselves. Ask any plumber and they'll tell you that you should do maintenance on tankless and traditional tank units every year by a professional. So comparing the two as something different just shows that the original writer of this article didn't do his/her homework.
Additionally, not maintaining your traditional tank-style unit means you have a time bomb ticking away in your closet in the hallway. Did you see either one of those myth buster episodes with a tank style unit blowing up? I had one blow up in my house once. I thought someone dropped a bomb. The unit shot up into my ATTIC!
Storage ... who needs storage when you have an on demand water heating unit? You are defeating the purpose.
I will say that I agree that it's better to have these units installed in new construction. However I see a huge trend of home owners and businesses - particularly businesses - switching to tankless because they save space and don't have a lot of the problems that tank storage type units have. These units aren't for everyone. But the people that do get them installed and do so correctly will reap the benefits of tankless!
Again, if your unit has been sized properly by a professional licenced plumber/installer/contractor a tankless hot water heater runs efficiently and without problems. There are many units you can pick up on the market today that allow the end user to install. Many end users go for the cheap option instead of the right option.
Who here doesnt have a shade-tree mechanic or plumber or "fill in construction position here" that can "do it his self". How do those results work out? Sometimes just fine but in every case?
Not for my shade-tree mechanic Uncle, god rest his random parts.
 

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Additionally, not maintaining your traditional tank-style unit means you have a time bomb ticking away in your closet in the hallway. Did you see either one of those myth buster episodes with a tank style unit blowing up? I had one blow up in my house once. I thought someone dropped a bomb. The unit shot up into my ATTIC!
Yea, when they plugged all the openings in the tank creating a sealed pressure vessel, removed the T&P, filled the tank with water, plugged the last opening, removed the t-stats and direct wired both elements to power?:thumbup:

That was freakin cool!

Why did you do that to the one in your house?
What are ya freakin dumb?

Hey nothin for nuthing but you drove by about 5 signs as you came in here saying that you have to be a pro plumber to join and post here...



I'm thinkin you might have passed the dumb test...

If you post pictures of your blown up water heater and house we might let it slide...
 

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If you open up all 8 of the hot water faucets in your house at once and your unit is only designed to handle 4 or 5 you will have hot/cold fluctuations and other problems
I can appreciate your comments however as in most things in life, there are flaws. The quoted comment is true for low end manufacturers, however I have never seen a Noritz or Rinnai do that, even when installed like crap. You should familiarize yourself with the outlet flow controller...it's a servo controlled valve. What you have described is a runaway situation and quality tankless heaters do not do that.

However you need to understand something here guy, you will be hard pressed to sway the minds of long time plumbers that for some reason(s) or another they just don't like them. Like NH, I know he hates tankless....he hates them with a serious passion...so I don't try and tell him he is wrong or that he is uninformed, I appreciate his opinion and should he choose to change his mind on the matter he knows who to talk to on here. Your comments are more for the sales pitch than the technicle plumber. Maybe you could educate members about how plumbers can have better success with the sales process or installation practices or how guys can get the expence of installation down to increase the number of units installed? Just a little food for thought from someone that has been doing this for a little bit more than a year!!
 

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I can appreciate your comments however as in most things in life, there are flaws. The quoted comment is true for low end manufacturers, however I have never seen a Noritz or Rinnai do that, even when installed like crap. You should familiarize yourself with the outlet flow controller...it's a servo controlled valve. What you have described is a runaway situation and quality tankless heaters do not do that.

However you need to understand something here guy, you will be hard pressed to sway the minds of long time plumbers that for some reason(s) or another they just don't like them. Like NH, I know he hates tankless....he hates them with a serious passion...so I don't try and tell him he is wrong or that he is uninformed, I appreciate his opinion and should he choose to change his mind on the matter he knows who to talk to on here. Your comments are more for the sales pitch than the technicle plumber. Maybe you could educate members about how plumbers can have better success with the sales process or installation practices or how guys can get the expence of installation down to increase the number of units installed? Just a little food for thought from someone that has been doing this for a little bit more than a year!!
I believe most of NH Masters hate for tankless stems from the 34 degree tap water in the winter...

Down south it is another world!
 

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I believe most of NH Masters hate for tankless stems from the 34 degree tap water in the winter...

Down south it is another world!
Is there a world below? I didn't know that.

In the winter, I get calls about the water heater not heating up fast enough. These calls are from transplants from the underworld who are use to warm bottled water outta their taps. :laughing:

I had one call where the lady said her toilet tank was leaking all over the place. I looked at it and it was sweat from the winter water and an open heating duct in the powder room. I sold her a toilet blanket (a used saddle blanket) and closed the vent.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You know, perhaps I should occasionally temper or at least quantify some of my radical opinions but that takes all the fun out of it :thumbsup: Seriously though. It's not that I hate tankless heaters. What pisses me off is there are people that have hailed them as the greatest water heating invention since fire. I think those proponants really need to do a bit more unbiased research of the product. And no, selling and installing them doesn't make you an idiot or a bad person. Hell, we sell and install them. When someone waltzes through the door all jacked up because they heard a commercial or more likely they are volvo driving tree huggers, far be it for me to dash their hopes and dreams.
 

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as professionals we learn by not only listening but more so by installing i installed a rinnai in my house 4.5 years ago and we enjoy, is it right for everybody no, in south carolina they work well, if a customer inquires i attempt to supply them with accurate info after all it is there money they are spending and not mine to spend, pros and cons rule the world in the end as long as you have a happy customer and you made some money all is well.:)
 

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Hey I just got a request from a volvo driving(no joke) architect to bid his new house. It is going to be single level 1,900 square feet. He wants 2 Noritz tankless and a seperate boiler for radiant heat. I told him 1 unit would do it all and for 15 minutes he told me about all his research and how this is the most efficient way to go. I wish I had $10,000 to just piss away.
 

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In reply to original post by nhmaster3015 ....

Hi folks.
I signed up just to post my 2 cents and my FWIW ...

I work for a tankless hot water heater company. I'm going to leave the name out because I'm not touting the product I work for. I am talking about the tankless industry as a whole.

A year ago I knew nothing about these units except that you could gain back closet space by installing one.
In this years time I have learned a lot, but I still have a long way to go in learning. However, when I happened across this article I was compelled to join and post my opinion as this article is rather short sighted and terribly wrong in many aspects. It is my opinion that the findings in this test were done by someone with inadequate exeperience in both tankless and traditional water heaters and did not seek the required advice from qualified specialists in installing these units. He was, in fact, a shade-tree mechanic trying to do a product comparison.
While it is perfectly true that up front, it does cost quite a bit more to install tankless, the benefits and long-term savings and environmental impact are the attraction to these units.
If installed correctly, tankless hot water heaters deliver water almost instantaneously. Remember, the unit is NOT under your sink, it's usually in another room or outside the house. The water in the pipes is not maintained to a specific temperature. Then again neither is a traditional tank unit. Cold water has to follow a few feet before it gets to your faucet. Anyone believing anything different is truly operating their brain under unreasonable expectations.
Water will not run hot/cold if the unit has been installed right. This is why you should always pay a plumber to install your unit for you. And make sure the plumber is a certified or recommended installer.
Cheap is never good and good is never cheap. That especially goes with tankless units.
If you are getting hot/cold/hot/cold it is because your unit was not installed properly, or is not functioning properly, OR you are using too much hot water in the rest of your home and the unit you have was not sized properly for your needs. If you open up all 8 of the hot water faucets in your house at once and your unit is only designed to handle 4 or 5 you will have hot/cold fluctuations and other problems. duh.
Maintenance is something people do when something breaks down. Even a traditional tank style water heater requires a yearly flushing which involves searching out a hose and risking burns with dangerous hot water. Half the time it doesnt even work right. Most people do this theirselves. Ask any plumber and they'll tell you that you should do maintenance on tankless and traditional tank units every year by a professional. So comparing the two as something different just shows that the original writer of this article didn't do his/her homework.
Additionally, not maintaining your traditional tank-style unit means you have a time bomb ticking away in your closet in the hallway. Did you see either one of those myth buster episodes with a tank style unit blowing up? I had one blow up in my house once. I thought someone dropped a bomb. The unit shot up into my ATTIC!
Storage ... who needs storage when you have an on demand water heating unit? You are defeating the purpose.
I will say that I agree that it's better to have these units installed in new construction. However I see a huge trend of home owners and businesses - particularly businesses - switching to tankless because they save space and don't have a lot of the problems that tank storage type units have. These units aren't for everyone. But the people that do get them installed and do so correctly will reap the benefits of tankless!
Again, if your unit has been sized properly by a professional licenced plumber/installer/contractor a tankless hot water heater runs efficiently and without problems. There are many units you can pick up on the market today that allow the end user to install. Many end users go for the cheap option instead of the right option.
Who here doesnt have a shade-tree mechanic or plumber or "fill in construction position here" that can "do it his self". How do those results work out? Sometimes just fine but in every case?
Not for my shade-tree mechanic Uncle, god rest his random parts.

SamIam:
I realize you learned a lot about tankless heaters. I do not doubt at all what you are saying is true. My point is, and all-ways will be that if you say the phrase " hot water heater" instead of just " water heater", then you are no doubt not a professional plumber and should learn proper " plumbing language" before you post. I have no gripes with your post other than that. The more I read, the more I can learn. It's just that when I learned how to read when I was a kid, I still have in my head, " run spot run. See spot jump. I have out grown that now and am tired of seeing that in print... :censored:
 

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Response to tankless dissenters

Food for thought:
#1 - Tankless water heating is not "new" technology (If you've never seen a heat exchanger then I guess so.) These units have been in regular usage overseas for over 20 years and were developed in Japan if I'm not mistaken. Look at the money side of things....if they are such an inferior product why would the manufactorers give you a 10 year warranty versus 6 on tank heaters?
#2 - As far as servicing these units I can have a 7.4 GPM torn down in less then 10 minutes. Also Rheem's warranty program will get you parts next day air.(Had a water inlet solenoid valve go out on a Friday and had it working on saturday.)
#3 - Is actually a couple of questions for the dissenters:
"What did you think of cpvc water piping when it first hit the market?"
"What did you think of pex when it took the place of cpvc?"
"What did you think of pvc dwv when it took the place of abs?"
"What did you think of abs dwv when it took the place of cast iron?"
"What did you think of copper when it took the place of galvanized steel?"

Why and what does it take for you to finally accept a new product???
Usually it is cost and when the tankless water heating units drop in price below tank type units (and they will given current pricing on both) you will most likely all be getting in line. :icon_redface:
 
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