Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless

 
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:24 PM   #1
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Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


i currently have a weil mcclain ultra boiler. it's about time to upgrade my water heater and it looks like i can get either the indirect 30 gal heater or a tankless for about the same price... what would you guys recommend?
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:11 PM   #2
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Originally Posted by world llc View Post
i currently have a weil mcclain ultra boiler. it's about time to upgrade my water heater and it looks like i can get either the indirect 30 gal heater or a tankless for about the same price... what would you guys recommend?

Indirect!!!

Much higher efficiency, less complicated electronics, etc. Not even a close thing from my perspective.

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Old 12-27-2008, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Originally Posted by 22rifle View Post
Indirect!!!

Much higher efficiency, less complicated electronics, etc. Not even a close thing from my perspective.
that's what i don't understand... the indirect holds and heats 30 gal and the tankless heats what you use... so how is it more efficient?
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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so how is it more efficient?
It isn't.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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It isn't.
A good indirect has almost zero stand by losses. Combined with a high efficiency heat plant, that has to beat a low efficiency heat plant with zero standby losses.

I did make a couple of critical omissions.

1. If there is very minimal hot water demand the tankless is more efficient. But you don't have to use very much hot water before the efficiency award shifts to the Ultra/indirect setup.

2. My answer assumes a standard tankless heater, not a high efficiency model.

Regardless, the generation of hot water is much more efficient with the indirect hooked up to the Ultra than your average tankless will ever be.

Combine what I am saying with the other factors involved (more complicated electronics to go wrong, more complicated equipment to go wrong, very possible lifestyle sacrifices, more roof penetrations, etc.) and the indirect is still a no-brainer.

Unless of course, someone has vested interest in promoting tankless.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Unless of course, someone has vested interest in promoting tankless.
I'm not promoting anything, the OP didn't give enough info for me to even consider answering his question.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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I'm not promoting anything, the OP didn't give enough info for me to even consider answering his question.
I was thinking of a sales rep when I wrote that. Sorry it sounded otherwise.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:11 AM   #8
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


Quote:
Originally Posted by 22rifle View Post
A good indirect has almost zero stand by losses. Combined with a high efficiency heat plant, that has to beat a low efficiency heat plant with zero standby losses.

I did make a couple of critical omissions.

1. If there is very minimal hot water demand the tankless is more efficient. But you don't have to use very much hot water before the efficiency award shifts to the Ultra/indirect setup.

2. My answer assumes a standard tankless heater, not a high efficiency model.

Regardless, the generation of hot water is much more efficient with the indirect hooked up to the Ultra than your average tankless will ever be.

Combine what I am saying with the other factors involved (more complicated electronics to go wrong, more complicated equipment to go wrong, very possible lifestyle sacrifices, more roof penetrations, etc.) and the indirect is still a no-brainer.

Unless of course, someone has vested interest in promoting tankless.
You old timers, still believe indirect water heaters are more efficient still amazes me. What part of keeping water heated 24/7 makes it more efficient then heating on demand.
Why are you worried about complicated electronics failing? most tankless hot water heaters have a 10 year warranty, and what life style sacrifices are you making? Not having a steaming pipe bomb that can exploded at any minute, rusting out tanks, not having a bulky heater that takes up space, more energy efficient. Those don't sound like sacrifices to me, more like a plus. If you're worried about roof penetrations go with electric.

My vote is tankless in an overall opinion, but I don't know your situation well enough to really tell you what I thinks best for the circumstance.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:31 AM   #9
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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You old timers, still believe indirect water heaters are more efficient still amazes me. What part of keeping water heated 24/7 makes it more efficient then heating on demand.
Why are you worried about complicated electronics failing? most tankless hot water heaters have a 10 year warranty, and what life style sacrifices are you making? Not having a steaming pipe bomb that can exploded at any minute, rusting out tanks, not having a bulky heater that takes up space, more energy efficient. Those don't sound like sacrifices to me, more like a plus. If you're worried about roof penetrations go with electric.

My vote is tankless in an overall opinion, but I don't know your situation well enough to really tell you what I thinks best for the circumstance.
Learn what you are talking about before you spout off next time.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:34 AM   #10
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Originally Posted by 22rifle View Post
Learn what you are talking about before you spout off next time.
go to a google search and try to justify your next reply.

Last edited by Static Design; 12-28-2008 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:00 AM   #11
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Originally Posted by Full Spool View Post
go to a google search and try to justify your next reply.
Like I said, learn what you are talking about before you spout off next time.

I am done with you on this subject. You don't know what you are talking about.
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:25 AM   #12
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


living condition is 2 bath, will soon be (next year) 2.5 bath. currently it is just me and my woman and we both take long ( 8 to 15 min.) showers. most days i take 2 showers... a quick one to wake up and 1 after work to clean up. so there's not a lot of usage and we get by great with a 40 gal tank. depending on the market, we will either sell or start up the baby maker and stay. i doubt (if we sell) there would be more then a family of 4 here as i plan to make this a 3 bedroom home.
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:07 AM   #13
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


I resent being called an "old timer" more correctly would be " one with years of experiance and wisdom"

Tankless heaters are nothing new. They've been around for 40 years or so. Neither is the technology. Paloma and ELM Aquastar were marketing these things before most of you were born. The reason many of us "old timers" are leary of tankless technology is because we have seen all of the problems associated with them. Believe me, not much has changed technology wise in 30 years.

The biggest problem is hard water conditions, which plug up the flow sensor and the heat exchanger. All of these units are very intolerant of minerals and sediments in the water. The next problem has to do with temperature rise. They will only raise the temperature about 70 degrees. If you live in the south where water comes in on the warmish side, you may be ok. Most places in the northern lattitudes however begin to experiance temperature problems, especially in winter. Then there's the question of the plumbing code, which requires the water heater to deliver enough hot water for the total demand. Believe me there is not one single unit made that will keep up with acouple showers, dishwasher and laundry all running at the same time. The biggest drawback however is the installed price VS the pay-back period. They will NEVER pay themselves off unless you steal the unit and hack it in yourself.

Perhaps when doing your next Google search you should look at something other than the manufacturers propaganda.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:41 AM   #14
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


I have installed several units, incoming ground temp does play a factor into tankless setups I agree with that: but you can also slow down the pressure w/a simple ball valve as the water exist the heater I had to do this a couple of times with water pressure coming into the house at 90psi in 20 degree days. You are right tankless have been around for awhile but now are more affordable and more abundant to the consumers, if the customer has hard water read what the specifcations call for and install a sediment filter.

If you have problems meeting demand then install a 2-units for different stages of heat, if you need more its there.

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Rinnai Tankless LP and Titan Electric
4 1/2 bath, kitchen, 3 stories, etc
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:13 AM   #15
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


Unfortunatly the only thing that will change your mind will be the warranty and service calls that will be sure to come. BTW, since there is absolutly zero pay back on a single unit, how could you possibly justify installing a second one. Sorry, neither you nor the manufacturers are going to talk me into these things. Been there, Done that. Wasn't pretty the first time around and it won't be any better this one. Good luck to you. Keep your fingers crossed.

The performance curves for water heaters all show indirect storage tank heaters to be far and away the most economical and efficient way to heat water both in terms of performance and cost.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #16
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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Originally Posted by nhmaster3015 View Post
Unfortunatly the only thing that will change your mind will be the warranty and service calls that will be sure to come. BTW, since there is absolutly zero pay back on a single unit, how could you possibly justify installing a second one. Sorry, neither you nor the manufacturers are going to talk me into these things. Been there, Done that. Wasn't pretty the first time around and it won't be any better this one. Good luck to you. Keep your fingers crossed.

The performance curves for water heaters all show indirect storage tank heaters to be far and away the most economical and efficient way to heat water both in terms of performance and cost.

There is no pay back? 200 dollar electric tankless hot water heater, uses less energy then a conventional, only heating water when you need it: why isn't there a pay back. I am not here to talk you into a tankless setup the OP offer advice and we are giving it to him. But show me how a 220v tankless hot water heater is less effiencent then your 50 gallon water heater.

The reason we went w/2 set ups incase something happen the other unit could be implemented and the house would still have hot water plus we got a hell of a deal on the LP Rinnai.
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:38 PM   #17
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


OK, it's obvious that you are just arguing for the sake of argument and that you have done absolutly no research into the subject, much less do I believe you have actually installed one of them. Arguing with you is, as 22Rifle pointed out earlier, a waste of time. You have no clue what an indirect water heater is, and if you are basing your argument on electric tankless heaters then you have only dug the grave a bit deeper for yourself.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:09 PM   #18
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


I am just asking questions you have not answered, if I am wrong I am wrong. I have no problem with that: after all we are here to learn from different experiences.

How is a $900 indirect 40gal water heater more efficient then a electric or gas tankless?
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #19
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


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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Old 12-29-2008, 10:29 AM   #20
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Re: Indirect Water Heater V.s. Tankless


So according the the article the indirect will save you $70 dollars a year and the tankless $70-80 but indirect is the way to go with a higher up front cost? The article seems to favor conventional water heaters more then any other, I can put in electric tankless in a home(2 baths), 6/2 wg, disconnect, copper, misc fittings: for an average of 320 in materials and these units have a 10 year warranty (And they don't run out of hot water). My customers are happy and I have been highly impressed with them also but we can both get articles favoring one or the other type, and again if the person has hard water then you need to follow manufacturers specs because thats what they are for.

Lets me work out the math here according to this article.
22 years to pay off a tankless @ $80 year in savings= $1760

I can install including materials on a average of $550 (220v electric Titan), which I am sure many of you charge more then that to install a conventional. I can do an install on a 2 bath house for around the same cost as a conventional and have a savings of 80 dollars a year.

Cost of average install w/materials $550
80 in savings a year x 7 years= $560

So with in 7 years the unit has paid for itself and still is with in warranty, but this is just an average install as circumstance change per job.

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