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I Married Up
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What type of maintenance issues are you having with tankless heaters now that they are not so new anymore?

How often do you flush them out?
How long is the service call?
Assuming a proper valve set up was installed, what materials do you use for flushing?
Life of the tankless vs. tank type?
What other maintenance issues have regularly come up?
Are the customers as happy with them 3 years after the initial install?
 

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Please post an intro, tell us a little about yourself................:laughing::laughing::laughing:

Just kidding.

Sorry, we don't do much tankless. I think they recomend a yearly flush.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
INRO:

I've worked in maintenance at a motel in high school and read an article about starting my own handyman plumbing business. Thought I would start with tankless heaters. Wanted to do drains since that is where the easy money is but I couldn't afford the $150 power snake so I decided to do tankless water heaters since I already have pliers and a torch. :laughing:
 

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Payback is too long IMO. Most of the H.O.s who inquire about them realize that the cost associated with endless hot water is more than they anticipated.

A little discussed reality with tankless, the savings are more dismal when you factor in that H.O.'s change their habits as a result of having access to endless hot water. All quoted savings are based on using hot water in the same way you did prior to getting a tankless. Reality is, after a tankless, people will take longer showers, fill up the Whirlpool more often, and generally waste more hot water since the possibility of running out is eliminated.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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1/32" of calcium lime buildup will rob the efficiency of a tankless by as much as 30%.


When you clean them, you can't see how well it cleans, just the difference of color in the solution...and that could be intentional to 'think' it is working.

If they created a tankless that was priced respectively and had compartments that were built like waterproof suitcases to clean...I'd sell the dog**** out of them.

But those scales and charts/graphs are fictitious when we all know those compartments lime scale up. It's the end product of heating water at high temperatures with mineral content.


People don't drain their water heaters now....you think they'll listen to a plumber on a tankless? How could it possibly need cleaning when it is so small in respect to a big bad tank water heater?


In hot climate areas, it's a no brainer...less than 35 degree temperature rise. Put those in cold climate area and almost double that degree rise.

I get stroked for my knowledge on these all the time. Haven't mislead one customer with the facts I push that are points considered in my region in relation to hard water and temperatures that affect how hard the unit has to work.

I know of customers that have them in my area, they always undersize them though because they bought on price before sizing. No fault to the product but telling someone 3-5 grand really corks their bat, so to speak.

And you most likely won't be back to clean it for up to $200 a cleaning. You can cheat and white vineager the unit...but you'll have an hour in it to do it right.

A strong acid like muriatic would be my answer...but since it is not a product that's used in food preparation or can be consumed by humans, it's off the list. You can drink vineager if you had to.
 

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Here with our incoming water temps in the mid 30's in the winter, really the only residential use for tankless is someone that has a car wash shower system, and is ready to pay the price for the ganged system it would require.

We don't see many at all...

Those that do have them are less than satisfied and probably would go back to a tank next time.

The main reasons is the slow payback, and inconvenience associated with low flow and intermittent hot water use without a storage tank. Once you figure a storage tank added to the system the cost and payback makes it prohibitive.
 

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So far, I have seen a lot of plumbers post about not liking them, but no one has stated real solid reasons for that. Except the payback, and possibly the cleaning procedures.
Not having had a chance to install them, but being very interested in it here are a few observations that I have made.
1. There are several plumbers on here that install quite a few, and make who knows how much money doing it.
2. Ignorance on the workings of a tankless prevent many from pursuing any type of attempt at gaining some market share with them.
3. Most "Problems" are from improperly installed units, and therefore cannot be blamed on the product.
4. I am convinced that with many other types of products, we the plumber are our own worst enemy.
That's it for this round.
 

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I don't sell them for economic reasons at all, I sell them for convenience. People don't have a regular water heater because it's cheaper than not having hot water, they like the convenience of not having to boil water every time they want to take a bath. We've all gotten used to this convenience and take it as a given now. Tankless heaters just take this convenience further. I don't sell the dog **** out of them though. :) I really need to find somebody that's not looking to save money but rather somebody who wants the other benefits (endless hot water, space savings, high tech geeks, etc.). I think they're great so long as you understand their limitations and know what they will do and how they'll perform in different installations. I've seen a ton of folks with tankless heaters that are soured on them now because they were promised the world and what they got was a crappy tankless install that wasn't thought out and most likely undersized to save $$$.






Paul
 

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Ok, I have a sceneraio for those who are oppposed to tankless.

I have a customer that is going to need a water heater any time now, due to the condition of the 40 gallon tank.

They are a younger married company with 5 kids. Their oldest is 8 years old.
With a family of seven what would you put in for them?
 

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50 gallon tank water heater, and I guarantee 2 things:


If you call them back, ask what they think, and they'll say they have a lot more hot water than the old 40 that came out,

and they will still use hot water in moderation, and they probably didn't spend over a grand to accomplish the bottom line.


Trying to push tankless is a sales pitch/move entirely, when one product certainly tasks the need, like it has for 50+ years.

And instead of asking them to spend 3, they spend around 1.

After a week of having a new water heater, there is absolutely no regret in their decision making, especially when the bank account balance reflects that.


Out in california or florida where they can outside mount, not have to worry about venting or 60 degree rise... you better be installing those.
 

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Ok, I have a sceneraio for those who are oppposed to tankless.

I have a customer that is going to need a water heater any time now, due to the condition of the 40 gallon tank.

They are a younger married company with 5 kids. Their oldest is 8 years old.
With a family of seven what would you put in for them?
I think we are wandering away on the thread subject...

I stated above that I don't see many installs here and the reason.

But in response to your scenario you need to give better info...

What is their demand requirements? Are they doing this in a 1 bath home?:laughing:
Yea my parents did that with 6 kids....

What are the rate of rise requirements? Are we in Miami or, Fairbanks, Alaska?

What are the energy sources available?

What is the sizes of the spaces available for mechanical equipment installation?

Is there other already installed equipment available that should be considered? I.E. a boiler

Are you wishing to blindly force tankless as the best solution or, is high output tank an option?

just a few of the many questions....
 

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Ok, I have a sceneraio for those who are oppposed to tankless.

I have a customer that is going to need a water heater any time now, due to the condition of the 40 gallon tank.

They are a younger married company with 5 kids. Their oldest is 8 years old.
With a family of seven what would you put in for them?
80 gal marathon, or a high efficiency gas wit recirculator connection built in, like AO Smith vortex
 

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Ok, Red.

52 degree water.
2.5 bath
Natural Gas Readily available
Mechanical room is a nasty closest type room. Tank-less easily moved to exterior wall in other part of basement.
They have gas forced air, for heating and a/c
Ok, I hope that is enough information. My turn

What would the cost and perfomance be for a high output tank, or your other options?

Dunbar, Why should they have to use moderation, when there is a solution that will provide endless hot water. To be honest, I would not be a happy customer, if I spent a grand and still had to use moderation when talking how water.
 

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Nasty mechanical room does not say the space available. Is there room for a larger tank with the old one removed? How much?

One other question Indie...

In your scenario what unit are you proposing?:whistling2:

PS you are doing a nice job of optimizing this for a tankless install now that you have moved from Indy....:laughing:
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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the death song for tankless.......

DUNBAR, REDWOOD
are you guys are all forgetting something here..

REMEMBER.....ALL THIS CRAP IS GOING DOWN THE DRAIN AT OF THE END OF THIS YEAR....WHEN THE TAX INCENTIVES END...12-31-10


I had a long talk with the Rheem guy on Friday
at their cook out and they were at a loss to answer my biggest question...
acted like deer stareing into headlights...

once you dont get that 30% tax rebate how are
you going to make a tankless heater look feasable?????

how are you going to sell tankless once this
crutch is kicked out from underneath it????

and I also asked why would they sink more money
into tankless research and development with this hanging on
the horision.....????

I remember when those tax credits ended back in
1986 for the solar industry..... even the very best of them were all gone
and out of business in less than two years...


Without the TAX CREDITS, its all over ,
and the fat lady is getting ready to sing in a few short months.....:laughing::laughing::yes::yes:..








http://weilhammerplumbing.com/houseofhorrors/


if you want a dirt cheap tankless heater , just wait till next
spring --summer when the supply houses are stuck with about 50 of them and
cant sell them.....you should be able to get one for 1/3 of the cost
just because their will not be a market for them....




history is just repeating itself again.....
 

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DUNBAR, REDWOOD
are you guys are all forgetting something here..

I had a long talk with the Rheem guy on Friday at their cook out and they were at a loss to answer my biggest question......

once you dont get that 30% tax rebate how are you going to make a tankless heater look feasable?????
Oh I'm not forgetting that...

Already Indie had to move further south to get that 52 degree water temp...:laughing:

I'm pretty sure he's got to stack the deck more before all the bases get covered...:whistling2:

Really we don't see many up here with winter water temps in the mid 30's...

My own nephew built his own house and did a pretty nice job of it, decided to go with an lp gas tankless...

We talked after the fact and he was saying there were some inconveniences that he is now tolerating. Mainly the flow required to turn on and the gpm limitation in the winter. Usable yes... But with limitations and inconvenience.

I told him we should have consulted and discussed a storage tank option but he's not going to bother with it. He'll be doing a tank next time around...:whistling2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think we all agree that the marketing of ALL tankless manufacturers can be taken with a grain of salt. It has all been based (fo the most part on saving energy bucks and getting tax credits. I agree that it is a bubble that is due to bust next year.

However, as usual we as an industry are still left to service what is being installed. So what are we up against? Are they really servicable or was that over promised as well?

I believe (especially in warm water climates) there can be a place for them but the long term maintenance maintenance is seldom discussed. For instance, I think having one in my shop behind the house would be helpful for washing cars adn other utility type things and I would not have to keep a 40 gal. tank ready for weekly or monthly use. And save space. But then there's the cost.:whistling2:
 
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