Advice on new water heater


Old 03-04-01, 07:06 PM
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We have an A.O.Smith 50 gallon natural gas water heater that we bought in 1995. While it has been adequate, we now have 5 people taking showers in the morning, and the hot water doesn't last. Our showers run about 4-5 gallons/minute, so it's not hard to see why a 50 gallon tank doesn't last.

One option is to use a flow restricting shower head. Are there any good brands?

If we decide to get a water heater, what's the best route to go? Do I go with a large capacity (75-100 gal) conventional gas heater, a quick recovery heater, or one of the new tankless models. If tankless is good, what are the top 3-4 brands to look at?

Mark Winzenburg
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Old 03-04-01, 08:29 PM
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All flow restrictor shower heads will meet the rules required by city, state or federal agencies. The brand name doesn't matter. Choose whichever one appeals to you but get one.

In regards to wanting more hot water volume, there is two possibilities. As you mentioned, a single larger tank of either size, space providing, would help plenty.

If there is sufficient space for another tank where the existing tank is, installing two into one hot water system is an alternate solution. In this case, keep the 50 you already have and add another of the same gallon capacity.

Regard 'tankless water heaters,' I recently post an FYI on that very subject. Might be worth your while to read it.

Old 03-06-01, 04:31 AM
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Good advice Tom

in both of your threads.Yes install a second HWH in series.If you do so install shut of valves and by pass valves;so that,if future repairs are necessary,you can always isolate one heater from the other and still have hot water.As I mentioned in a previous thread I do alot of commercial refrigeration,commercial heating and resturant cooking equipment.Due to limited kitchen space tankless HWH heaters are used to supply hot water to dishwashing equipment(where electric boosters are not used).Tom is correct.When I need parts I have to order them from New Hampshire.The part I order the most is the rubber disc that senses the water pressure drop,that in turn,starts the gas heat.I always order a spare for my customers.LISTEN TO Toms advice,as he stated it will keep you out of "hot water".PDF
Old 03-06-01, 09:00 AM
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Are we sure we want to put the second hotwater heater in series? Then you have hotwater being withdrawn from one heater, and replaced with hot water from the upstream heater. Since the water coming into the downstream heater is already hot, the burner is probably not going to come on.

I could be wrong, but I would put them in parallel, and withdraw hot water simultaneously from both tanks.

What is the normal industry practice?

Old 03-06-01, 11:48 AM
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Question Service the old heater?

Thanks for the great discussion.

I've called around to 4 plumbers and none of them sells tankless water heaters. The salesman at Sears didn't even know what they were. Sounds like service would be a pain.

Should I spend the money to get the old 50 gallon tank serviced, or just use it until it dies? The service would run $80 & parts, so I'm not sure its worth it. The heater is 6 years old. We drain a couple of gallons of water from the bottom of the tank every year, but have not had the dip tube, thermostat, or anode checked. I just discovered that this series of water heaters suffered from defective dip tubes, but the repair program (class action lawsuit)closed before I heard about it. Thoughts?
Old 03-06-01, 03:01 PM
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State HWH????????

Very possible the dip tube.Please go back in the forum a few weeks.Some one also had similiar problem and was going to write manufacturer.It may help you in extended warranty area.Parallel is a good idea for water flow.In that thread I explained to them what the purpose of the dip tube was.PDF
Old 03-06-01, 04:55 PM
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I have not read anything that you have posted that would cause me to spend money on the heater. I think it is fine, you are just exceeding it's capacity with 5 people taking showers. Remember, usable hot water is only about 75% of heater capacity, or about 37 gallons for you, about 7 minutes, but that is assuming all hot, and no cold water.

Low flow shower heads will help, but installing a second heater in parallel is probably the way to go.

In most diptube failures, you have significant reduction of hot water, maybe 2 minutes of flow at most. If you want to check the dip tube, you can pull it yourself. It is not difficult. If you need some help, post back.

Old 03-07-01, 12:53 PM
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Thanks to you all!

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