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Hey folks,
I need your advice for a new water heater/storage tank or whatever. It's an 1830's, 3 family home. I will be living there. One two bedroom for my my wife and I, and two, one BR's upstairs. The house has an oil fired boiler which heats water and baseboard upstairs. At this point I do not have any storage tanks. There's no access to natural gas, only propane.

My wife is hot water happy. She runs it like it was free, so what I need is the most energy efficient solution I can find. Up front cost will take a second seat to overall cost of operation. There are two cloth washers, one dishwasher, and four bathrooms. Ideally I would like to be prepared for the worst case scenario solution, if there is one. IOW, I want to be able to run 4 showers and perhaps a dishwasher, or clothes washer on hot cycle simultaneously without losing hot water. Is that even possible? and if so, what would you recommend?

Thanks in advance
 

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Personally, I would consider tankless. Your not paying for storing hot water. I installed a TAKAGI tankless back in 2001 and absolutely love it. I can be in the shower and the wife can start filling the washer with hot water and I don't feel a thing. It's also wonderful when as a family, taking four showers back to back and I happen to be last (which is normal with three women in the house), I can take as long and as hot of a shower I want.

I think mine is 87% efficient. The newer ones today are even more efficient I think. The only draw back to tankless as I see it, is you wait a bit longer for hot water, but the trade off is I use less gas keeping all that water heated 24/7. They are also more expensive than traditional water heaters.

Also for me, getting rid of that big bulky storage tank was nice because it allowed me to redo my return air duct work at the furnace and add a high efficiency filter. Which I didn't have room to do before getting rid of the tank.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Agreed; sounds like tankless would be the way to go under the right circumstances (though generally I'm not a believer). Unfortunately, electric would require a fairly hefty service upgrade, and those still don't work as well as gas. Given that natural gas isn't available, LP would be quite pricey to operate.

I think I'd explore the practicality of a separate heater for each "apartment".
 

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The Grand Wazoo
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tankless for sure maybe even 2 one heat one water
He'd need at least 3 commercial tankless units piped together to provide the volume he's trying to achieve, probably closer to 4 if I chose to do the math, but when I joined this forum I was told there would be no math.
 

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diplomat
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I come from oil heat country too, and I'd second the indirect suggestion. It's hard to beat a tank with 100, 200, or 300K BTU's recharging it (however big your boiler is)
 

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Hey folks,
I need your advice for a new water heater/storage tank or whatever. It's an 1830's, 3 family home. I will be living there. One two bedroom for my my wife and I, and two, one BR's upstairs. The house has an oil fired boiler which heats water and baseboard upstairs. At this point I do not have any storage tanks. There's no access to natural gas, only propane.

My wife is hot water happy. She runs it like it was free, so what I need is the most energy efficient solution I can find. Up front cost will take a second seat to overall cost of operation. There are two cloth washers, one dishwasher, and four bathrooms. Ideally I would like to be prepared for the worst case scenario solution, if there is one. IOW, I want to be able to run 4 showers and perhaps a dishwasher, or clothes washer on hot cycle simultaneously without losing hot water. Is that even possible? and if so, what would you recommend?

Thanks in advance
tankless is good, takagi tk1 or Morpheus , the product lines have changed. I've seen a few hotels that use 4 or 5 takagi's plumbed into a storage tank, I don't know why but you can do it.

Someone mentioned a burkay boiler and storage tank. Burkay boilers with the copper coil inside are the best boilers I've ever seen or worked on. I've seen some last 35 years and more, you can just keep changing the copper coils out. It comes down to price.
 

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There's a good chance that oil is cheaper for heating water where you are compared to electricity or propane. If that's true, you can use something like this in a tankless set-up:

https://www.toyotomiusa.com/factoryOutletStore/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=178

Direct vent setups are a good thing, no matter what fuel.

Washing machine choice makes a big difference on sizing - top loads use a lot of water, front loads much less.

One benefit of using separate systems for each apartment is you can track usage for each apartment. I've seen nightmare tenants run hot water in the tub and down the drain all day to suck the oil tank dry.
 

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Ask yourself a question.... how many times in your life have you needed four showers, a dishwasher and a washing machine all going at once?
 
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