tankless water heaters

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by joan from zone six, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    considering installling one - propane - anyone have any horror stories or advice or recommendations ? are all brands so danged expensive and if cheap ones are on the market, are they worthwhile?
     
  2. Soap

    Soap Well-Known Member

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    Tankless water heaters are supposed to not like hard water or water with impurities. I was told that since we have a well that a tankless water heater would last much longer if the well water first went through a house filter first and then a water softener. If you haven't have your water tested lately, then you should get it tested before proceeding.
    soap
     

  3. Mike_and_Tina

    Mike_and_Tina Member

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    The kind of tankless WH you are referring to, I assume, are the kind we sell at my orkplace. They run about $500 and they are good for quickly heating small
    volumes of water. They cannot push large volumes of hot water. Instead,
    you'll get a lot of lukewarm water. They have use for homesteaders who
    want to make hot coffee or take a modest hot bath. But, you will not be
    producing tens of gallons of very hot water with a small tankless propane
    or electric "on demand" WH.

    They are good for what they do, but they will not replace a full-size 30 or
    40 gallon WH. I am not speaking from personal experience, rather I am
    relating what several customers have told me about their own personal
    experiences with one.

    Mike
     
  4. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

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    The tankless water heater that I have now is my second one that I have owned. The first one was in another house about 15-years ago. The brand name is Aqua Star. I live in zone 8, and I had to call the factory several times because the water was to hot. They were very helpful to get the problem solved, by doing certain things internally, and even cutting the gas back. They did say that the northern states didn't have any trouble, because the tap water was colder. The down side is that if one is bathing, you can't run the diswasher. They have another higher priced model that you can. I don't know anything about it. I do know you can bath a whole company of people, and never run out of hot water. As long as you have gas, and water you will never run out of hot water. The model I have even has a flashlight battery ingnition for the pilot. That model cost $100.00 more, but considering the standard model, which I had the first time, the always burning pilot cost about $10.00 per month to operate. You get your payback in less than one year. When your not using hotwater there is no cost, because there is no water cooking continusly like a conventional tank type heater. They sell AquaStar at Lowes. I recommend them, & they have a 10-year guarantee, that they back it up, with phone support. Every time you call they keep a profile of your past concerns. I have had this WH for 4-years. The 2- size D batteries last almost 1-year.
     
  5. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the info - i've heard there is a model that replaaces the pilot with a tiny turbine that spins when water runs and turns a magnet that induces a voltage that sparks across a gap and lights the burner - the things they,ll do to eliminate a poor old match
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    It may depend on your volume of use. With a heavy hot water usage you may be better off with a standard hot water heater. If you just use hot water occasionally, then a tankless may be worth the extra cost of purchase and installation.

    I really only require hot water in the mornings. I have my electric hot water heater on a timer. It comes on only from about 5AM to 8AM. That usually gives me all the hot water I need for a day. Should I require extra, such as doing laundry, there is an separate switch on the timer to turn the hot water heater on. When it hits the next timing cycle it will shut off again if you forget to do so yourself.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  7. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    I'm so glad you brought this up, as we've been considering one too. I had no idea they had them at Lowes. I'll go have a look this weekend. Regarding the output, we have only 3 in our family, and our house has only one bathroom, so we all bathe at different times. I do wash and the dishes during the day when the guys are at work and school. Do you think our hot water usage is low enough to get one of these units? I have only seen Bosch brand advertised, and I'm sure they are priced quite high, but the Aqua star brand sounds reasonable.
     
  8. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    one thing i've noted in going over the specs of available units is that gas-fired heaters all seem to require a minimum of 30 psi water pressure - guess this eliminates them for a gravity flow system unless you install an inline pump
     
  9. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    We have thought about these for many years. But it seems as though in the last few years our "water table" must have dropped because we now have the hard water with the mineral deposits etc. After looking over our paperwork for IRS taxes this year we saw that we have spent $600 in propane gas for heating just hot water and our kitchen stove for cooking. I think this is very high. We clean out the deposits from the bottom of the hot water tank to help with the deposit mess...but don't know if that really helps our situation. Have also talked about a water softener but I just don't want another "gadget" to think about and buy salt etc. for it. But...I wonder if in the long run of dollars and cents if perhaps we should invest in a softener so we can have a water heater like the Aqua Star. What do you all think about the cost of this off setting the cost of buying the propane gas. I figure it would take many years to off set this cost. Tell me what you all think ??!!
     
  10. Murdock

    Murdock Member

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    Should work fine for this. My neighbor has one and runs it constantly without any problems. He has a 3 bath, with 4 people in the house. He says it works great for him. I am installing one in my house soon as well.

    Here is the site for the AquaStar system :

    http://www.controlledenergy.com/
     
  11. We have been heating all our water and running our radiant heating in a 1200 square foot house off of a Takagi propane Tankless. We love it!!

    I take long showers and wash lots of clothes. I never run out of hot water. You can run the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time. I take showers when the radiant floor heat is flowing, no problems.

    We are on a well. I plumbed in a filter before and after the heater. We get lots of scale flowing after the heater. The filter catches this. i like the fact that the scale is not sitting in the bottom of a tank.

    I have never had this supply of neverending hot water.


    Jill(Wyoming)
     
  12. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    helena - you always have the option of using a cistern with captured rainwater - water quality would not then be a problem
     
  13. We have had the AquaStar brand for about 18 months now. We did have a problem with the gas valve sticking open and the water getting so hot it blew a hole in the pipe. The company was very happy to send us replacement parts but they did take about a month to get them. Luckily they also talked my husband through a simple repair until the part came in. We were told they do not work well in hard water and will need an inline filter, but luckily we do not have hard water. KimH
     
  14. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm....a cistern ?? I actually think there is one is our in..back of the cellar mud room where no one dares to go alone"..room. But it didn't seem to be very big. That just be something we can look in to for this idea. thanks..
     
  15. punkrockpilot

    punkrockpilot Well-Known Member

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    I installed a propane Aquastar 125 with pilot light 2 years ago at my friends horse ranch and he has had no problems with it since then. You NEVER run out of hot water. Make sure to follow the venting instructions carefully.
     
  16. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    We had an aquastar first in our current home. This was before the internet and quick information. The kids were young and the water was always way too hot, so it was actually a danger and we replaced it with a tank model. We have hard well water and a gravity feed system and never had problem with pressure, etc. DH didn't think there was a remedy for the temperature. It did have a little leak, but I'm sure the company would have taken care of that had we contacted them. Other than the temp, I know that it takes a larger vent pipe than a tank heater, so that needs to be considered.
     
  17. elinor

    elinor Well-Known Member

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    We've been using a Bosch on-demand heater for 5-6 years. Besides relighting the pilot a couple time we've had NO problems whatsoever with it. When researching these heaters, the only people that had horror stories were the standard heater and gas salesmen. The people that had them loved them and we are VERY happy with ours. We installed a good filter before the unit and do have well water.
    Previously we had been using an electric tank heater, and the Bosch unit paid for itself in about a year. We have a family of 3 and never run out of hot water. The benefit of having hot water when there is no electricity is also important for us. Power is not extremely reliable around here, especially during inclement weather.
    We recommend the tankless water heaters, if you purchase a quality unit such as Bosch. This is one of those areas, you get what you pay for.

    Good day to all.
    elinor
     
  18. Hi,
    I’ve been designing my own POU (point of use) on demand hot water heater. Because I live in a rural area and have a rural electric co-op my electric rates are low (7.35 cents for 1KWH) so I’m making mine electric. I like electric also because it comes from Hydro here and I don’t have 300F heat going out my flue from an oil hot water heater.. Think about it, all that heat going out your flue is wasted energy. Anytime you have heat you aren’t using you have wasted energy. That incandescent light bulb is really a heater that glows, a very inefficient one at that.
    Here’s what I’ve learned about on-demand hot water heaters:
    First, you only need to plumb a cold water line.
    2. You don’t have a boiler heating water all day when your not home. Those of you who shut off your tanked hot water heaters will incur costs when you turn it back on as the water has cooled and must be reheated.
    3. POU means that you also don’t have a delay before the hot water gets to the faucet.
    4. There is no tank to rupture with a very costly replacement. In fact I don’t see why a tankless water heater can’t last a lifetime.
    It sounds like some of you have not gotten an engineered system. There should be a thermostat on the heater that should regulate the temperature very accurately regardless of the incoming water temp.
    Another saving feature you might look into is a hot water recovery system. They are maintenance free and save a bundle on your water bill even if you use a tanked system. (Do a search for GFX recovery )
    I did a lot of boring math on this and I’m building one for my home so I guess that should tell you something!
    My two cents, RobD
     
  19. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

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    We've had our Bosch AquaStar almost 4 years now and we love it. We bought ours from Home Depot. We also have the power vent which is a bit noisy but you get use to it. DH installed it himself; he is very handy and the installation was was a bit challenging for him. It was well worth it though, no problems, all the hot water we need, and cheap to operate. Ours runs on propane. We use propane only for cooking and hot water. I call the coop once a year to top off the tank, last year it cost me $225.
     
  20. simpleman

    simpleman Well-Known Member

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    Joan,

    I have seen new in the box tankless water heaters on eBay for just a few hundred bucks. You might try there first, to see if you can save some money.

    They do need a goodly amount of water pressure to operate correctly. What is your water pressure and will it handle such a unit? Is a question you need to consider.

    Ernest