Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Dandridge (Near Knoxville), TN, USA
Re: Tankless Hot Water
Since you do not want to use Propane, then I would be pretty serious about the new Heat Pump units. They are not as efficient as gas tankless (even propane), but a lot better than straight electric.
I have been doing quite a bit of research the past few months, since I recently had natural gas run to my home. I had propane before, but only used it for my outside grill and a fireplace that was rarely used. Once natural gas became available, I put in a new Dual Fuel HVAC system (18 SEER heat pump and 96% condensing gas furnace), Gas cooktop, and Gas dryer. The only reason I have not replaced my water heater is because about two years ago I had to replace my electric water heater, and replaced it with another electric, 12 year unit.
Electric Tankless water heaters require a high amperage circuit, you may need to install a new panel, at worst have larger drop to your home.
Electric tankless are not as efficient as gas.
Most tankless heaters have two problems:
1- Cold water "sandwich". Example, your wife is washing her hair, turns off the water while soaping up, turns the water back on to rinse. Since the water heater starts and stops with water flow, and takes a couple seconds to get the water up to temp, she will have hot water for a few seconds, then the "slug" of cold water in the pipe that was produced while waiting for the temp to rise again. (there are some units now that have a small "buffer" tank in them to reduce this problem, but the unit keeps the buffer hot, reducing the efficiency a little bit).
2- Most gas tankless need electrical power to operate, so when you have a power failure, there will be NO hot water, same with an electric tankless. With a tank heater, you have 40+ gallons of hot water to use .
I personally would probably not get tankless, but instead a high efficiency tank type, such as a condensing gas one, or the heat pump units.
When I plumbed my gas lines I used 1-1/4" pipe and the gas company installed the larger meter, so that I would have enough supply should I install a condensing gas water heater in the future.
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