Electric Tankless Hot Water Heater


  #1  
Old 02-20-08, 10:33 PM
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Thumbs down Electric Tankless Hot Water Heater

I bought a SETS Electric Hot water heater for my house and I had a professional electrician and professional plumber install the system. I wanted to save money and be green, have endless hot water, not to mention gain some much needed space. Sounded great! NOT!
No one can have a regular hot shower and forget about ever having a bath again!

It has a built in safety feature that will shut off the heater if the water gets too hot, sound ok? Not!
The hot water handle can only be barely turned on and then you wait 2-3 minutes with water running, and then it is lukewarm, not real warm and never hot.

Then you get in and after long enough to get wet and put shampoo in the lights start dimming on and off (your warning), then the system will evoke the safety feature and the water will turn ice numbing cold for 3 or more minutes (feels like forever!).

Then the system will kick back on and the water will warm up long enough for you to jump back to the water and rinse before repeating the process.

Sure you can have hot water forever, just not continuesly!

I have done everything by the book, exactly like the manufacturer suggested. My bathroom is not even 5 feet from the source, pipes are normal, I have the next to biggest system you can get, and still doesn't work.

Forget customer service. I have followed all advice and no results 6 months later. It was supposed to handle two showers at once or shower and dishwasher etc. Ha! It can't even do one decent shower with no one else in the house, and no other electric being used! Beware, Beware, Beware!

And by all means, if you think you know how to fix this situation, reply.

I haven't had a bath in six months, the shower pressure has to be so low, that if I was to switch to tub spout it is only a trickle and would take days to fill the tub and by then the water would be cold again! My teenager will even walk to her grandma's house in 30degree weather to take a decent shower! Now I am broke and stuck with it! Don't make the same mistake I did!

 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 02-21-08 at 05:39 AM. Reason: Removed email address; also removed solicitation for advice on removing a safety feature.
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Old 02-21-08, 12:43 AM
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Get the installers back in there. It is obviously screwed up.

That kind of system, if working properly, will give you a constant supply of hot water.
 
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Old 02-21-08, 12:00 PM
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Get the installers back in there. It is obviously screwed up.
Absolutely !! I installed one in my house in 2007. Best thing.
Never runs out of hot water. Those units are very sensitive to water pressure and supply, along with power requirements. If you have anti-scald shower valves this will screw up the metering of the water temperature of the unit. Just because you had professionals install it (that was a good choice) doesnt mean they didnt overlook something. If the contractor is truely a pro, calling them back because its not working the way you thought should be no problem for them.
 
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Old 02-21-08, 01:11 PM
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I love mine!

I think you either have a bad unit or a poor installer. We've had a tankless for 3 years. Our unit is electric and our electric bills are much lower. I can shower while the dishwasher or washing machine is running, with no change in temperature.

I hope you read the "sticky" posted at the beginning of this forum- it's full of information regarding a tankless hot water heater.

Connie
 
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Old 02-21-08, 02:42 PM
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I have a SETS 280 and it works just fine. Had a problem early on but customer service was right there (on the phone) and I got it handled. Their service manager was great both via email and on the phone.

Your amp draw is what, 120? Did you upgrade your electrical panel service? I built my place new and upgraded from the standard 200 amp service to 400 amp because of the electric tankless.

Did your electrician perform all the tests on the thermostats and voltage regulators the book mentions? You could do that yourself if you buy the right meter. Not very expensive, either. The owners manual walks you through it.

If you put two small washers as spacers between the metal plate holding the three thermostats and the legs to which they attach, you will get enough clearance for the thermostats to not touch the heating chambers. This is normally the cure for fluctuating temps. One gentleman I'm talking too has that problem and he needs to talk to customer service. He has issues similar to yours.

It is possible you have a bad flow sensor but without taking the readings in the book (and the customer service manager will ask for them in order to do a proper diagnosis) you won't know.

Yes, you do need to fudge a little on flow rates at the shower, but my unit is about 20 feet linear from the tankless and heats the water just fine and for as long as I want it.

Did you take your flow restrictors out per the book?

Those are things Dave, the service manager will ask.

The only thing I don't like about the tankless is I should have installed a small 2-gallon tank under the sink wired to the 110 electrical socket to keep sink water hot and available. The tankless doesn't like the on and off again short term bursts typically used in a kitchen. That's my wife's only complaint.
 
  #6  
Old 02-23-08, 10:33 PM
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Thumbs down

Ok. I have a SETS Model 220 which is configured for colder climates wher temperature can drop below 55 degrees, suitable for Northern US and Canada and it must have 208-240 volts and 100 amp at the main panel.

I live in Kentucky, where it gets cold. I did update the Electrical Service (Cutler Hammer 240 ) as per requirements. I took out all flow restricters from the aerators, as per required. Lines were flushed before running system.

I am not sure what voltage tests were performed, but he checked and rechecked and even called back to confirm it was working, which at the time it was, which was in late summer, early fall. Now, it is winter and the water coming in is a lot colder, I don't know if this affects it, though I imagine it would.

In the beginning, water temperature was fine and stayed that way. Now, it just isn't warm enough and when I try to either get more hot water from adjusting faucet or turning up temperature on system, it will either just go cold, or never get any hotter.

And you are correct about the sink's on and off never working for hot water either. But, most of the time I can get better hot water continuously out of the kitchen faucet, as long as I don't turn it all the way on - it can only have half the water pressure.

The dishwasher and washer I have will automatically heat the water to the correct temperature, so I am sure that is using more electricity to compensate.

I have seen absolutely no decrease in electric usage and a significant amount of water usage, due to the fact of having to adjust, let it run, adjust, let it run cycle used for everyones *6people* showers.

Maybe I have too much water coming into the pipes to heat correctly? Cause if it is all the way on, I will have no hot water ever (ergo no tub usage). And if it is only half or part way (ergo adjust run cycle) turned on, it is either lukewarm or it reaches very hot levels and the scalding saftey feature kicks in and all hot water is shut off, completing the adjust, let it run cycle.

Again, I have tried to email customer service and no response.

Does anyone know how to shut off the scalding safety feature???? This would solve all of my problems and I could put individual features on my showers, etc. and set the temperature as I wanted.

I still say it is not worth the effort, cost, or aggravation to install on of these. I think they still have a long way to go to becoming customer friendly and usable.

I mean really, with a regular tank you just hook up and don't worry about for 5 or more years and you don't have the check this, check that, test this, test that, remove this, remove that as you do with these.






 
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Old 02-24-08, 07:15 AM
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Shoe, I am so sorry you are having such a hard time with this tankless heater. I can tell you that our unit is a four channel, utilizing 120 amps. We live in Northern Virginia, and it gets pretty cold here, as well. Most night temperatures have been in the twenties this season, with some in the teens and a few as low as 10 degrees. You do seem to have to run the water a little longer prior to it getting warm, but as I recall, it was the same with our old water heater in the winter.

I wish I could tell you what your problem is, but it's not the technology. Tankless heaters are commonplace in Europe...it's just that most people here have considered energy affordable for a long time. So, no market means no infrastructure...few dealers and fewer still qualified to install and service.

It takes people like us to be "early adopters" and be willing to deal with the complications. I know you're frustrated and disappointed, but bashing the entire fledgling industry is not the answer. We WANT more people to try them...supply and demand will create more dealers and more qualified installers.

These water heaters truly are a great energy savings, if working properly.

Connie
 
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Old 02-24-08, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SHOE200
I am not sure what voltage tests were performed, but he checked and rechecked and even called back to confirm it was working, which at the time it was, which was in late summer, early fall. Now, it is winter and the water coming in is a lot colder, I don't know if this affects it, though I imagine it would.

In the beginning, water temperature was fine and stayed that way. Now, it just isn't warm enough and when I try to either get more hot water from adjusting faucet or turning up temperature on system, it will either just go cold, or never get any hotter.

I have seen absolutely no decrease in electric usage and a significant amount of water usage, due to the fact of having to adjust, let it run, adjust, let it run cycle used for everyones *6people* showers.


Again, I have tried to email customer service and no response.

Shoe, if he didn't write down the voltage tests, he should have. Should have amperage tests, too. I purchased a simple amp meter to conduct both. Really very simple. It's the only way to tell if the electronics are working properly.

Yes, colder inlet temperatures will affect the product's performance. I had to ratchet up my level at the tank during these winter months to compensate and I have the 280 model. Yours is a 220. Little bit different specs. I'll ratchet back down this spring and leave it that way until about late November.

Connie's is the first post I've seen that can actually give a cost differential between tank and tankless. She said she was saving about $70 per month. That's great in my book.

Here are some contact numbers for Dave Smith , the SETS service manager.

Toll free: 877-649-8589

email: dave@sets-systems.com

Make sure you have your test info and serial number of the unit at hand. I assume you have registered your product. They find that helpful if there is to be warranty replacment.
 
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Old 02-24-08, 09:53 AM
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Just to clarify...

I just want to mention that I posted in another thread that I made several other changes at the time we installed the tankless hot water heater. I don't want anyone to be disappointed if their savings are not equivalent to mine. (Or maybe yours will be even better!)

Connie
 
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Old 02-24-08, 12:28 PM
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Connie, basicallt what else did you do? Insulation, CFL's, hide your husband's remote control?
 
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Old 02-24-08, 02:13 PM
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Is it hijacking if I boost my own reply from another thread? Here 'tis, anyway...

We had a 50 gallon tank that was 13 years old. I also bought a new washing machine at the same time (LG WM3431HW combo)
It is not only energy efficient, it heats it's own water. It's a very cool machine....one machine is both washer and dryer. It doesn't need a vent, so you get the warm, moist air back to you instead of being vented outside. It operates on one 30 amp breaker, instead of a typical "washer plus dryer" amp requirement of 70 or better.It does take a long time for a load of laundry to finish, so probably isn't a good idea for a large family unless you can plan your laundry time wisely. You also get the benefit of not having to drag the wet clothes from one machine to another...saves a whole different kind of energy!

While researching these appliances, I realized how much energy we waste, so now am careful. If I'm just rinsing my hands, I don't turn on the hot water. Brushing my teeth- don't let the water run. Thermostat is on 66 degrees...if you were outside in that temp, you'd be wearing a short sleeve shirt! (Of course, when friends come to visit, they never take their coat off!)

I'm not sure what our rate is- I didn't keep that part of the bill, but we used an average of 2,379 kWh a month. That's with an indoor hot tub, 2 networked computers that are always on, ( I know- we could save some watts there!) We do use dimmers and have some fluorescents where I can stand it.

We also have 6 porch lights on a timer, 2 sets of security floods that are on motion detectors, about 40 low voltage landscape lights, bunch of cordless tools that are always charging, couple of laptops,and a big, honkin' 60" television with all the goodies that go with it, and everything is electric...no gas lines in this neck of the woods. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I used close to 6000 lights. *When the led's come down in price, I'll switch.

Our electric bill for this month was $243.90, but I guess I won't be able to tell you the rate until next month.

I should scuttle this over to the "green" forum, huh?

And no, Speedy...I didn't hide the remote, but I did get a nice universal remote so he'd quit shuffling those things! (It's rechargeable, though...more electricity!)
 
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Old 02-24-08, 03:43 PM
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Very nice.

I'm going to replace our two freezers once my dad's place sells and the estate is setlted. They are both old and not very energy efficient. I'm going to get a Kill-A-Watt EZ meter and see just how much they are using and then compare that with the new models and see what the difference would be. Also plan to dump the older television and get a nice big (well 46 inch) flat screen that has Energy Star capabilities. I'll put the meter on that, too.

I put CFL's throughout the house and that cut the light bill 23%.

We bought front loaders about three years ago and they are wonderful. Use a whole lot less power. We moved into a new energy efficient home last year and are enjoying the savings. We have 1200 square feet more than the old place (which we energy updated well) and use a little less power. I like thata lot.
 
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Old 02-24-08, 06:11 PM
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I gotta' ask

Hi
Reading the tread and it really stinks what SHOE200 is going through. I installed a Rheem(Paloma) LP tankless last year. Love the thing. Has a slight learning curve for sure. Was using a coil in the boiler before and that was terrible. Boiler stayed hot all year long and oil useage was not so good. Also it fluctuated temps like crazy.
My question: Whay are you folks using an electric model ? Is it beacuse of logistics (venting, gas pipng, etc) or is the the cost of LP vs elec? Our electric rate...at the moment...is about 11.80 cents per kWh. I pay about 2.06 per gallon for LP. My LP bill is about $40./ mo. This is also with a six burner stove hooked up. There are 2 adults and 3 kids (with one xtra kid on weekends).
If i did some voodoo math and said I use the stove about 5 hrs a week at roughly 15,000 btu/hr = 75,000 btu/week x 4 weeks = 300,000 btu's/mo. 1 gallon of LP=90,000 btu so I use roughly 4 gallons LP/mo for the stove. That means the tankless uses 16 gallons/mo or $33.00/mo for the useage.
How does this compare to elec? How many watt hrs would you say an elec model uses each month?
Again, just curious. I have no intention of changing to an elec model or any model for that matter. As long as this baby keeps working the way it does (and should) IM HAPPY !!
 
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Old 02-24-08, 07:24 PM
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I'm using electric because the unit is 99.3% efficient and the best gas tankless I could find is about 80% from what I remember.

My electric rates with all taxes, charges, etc. is 9.5 cents a kilowatt and my gas charges with all fees, taxes, etc. boils down to about $1.25 per therm. Electric is simply cheaper for me to use. In the northwest, I also get nice clean hydro power and don't have to burn fossil fuel.

Try this link and see how various fuel costs compare. Plug in your propane rate, electric rate, natural gas rate, heat pump with COP rates and see what you are actually paying per 100,000 btus. The same number of btus will be needed to heat five gallons of water regardless of the source.

www.warmair.com/html/fuel_cost_comparisons.htm
 
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Old 02-26-08, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for the post....

We are at a point where we need to replace our tank (leaking) and are looking into the tankless systems, so your post couldn't have come at a better time..thanks.

I am sorry to hear of your problems though, and hope that you get your situation remedied fast.

Question: Do you think that your problems are related to the fact that your heat source is electricity and not gas? We have Nat. Gas and would go that way if we did go tankless.

Also, do you think that it's a manfucturer flaw, as in bad design by just that one manufacturer or do you think that tankless systems in general are just not far enough along in their development?

For us, we could spend about $400 for a new heater and pretty much just drop it in and go or we could spend about $1200 for the tankless set up and then add another $500 to $800 (estimated) for the gas and installation work.

I'd be interested to hear your views and sincerely hope that your system problems can be fixed.

Thanks
 
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Old 02-26-08, 09:22 AM
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Septicguy, we don't have natural gas here, and while I do have a propane fired fireplace, I just have a small (two 30 lb) tank(s). My driveway runs between the side of the house and a neighbor's fence on one side and it's about 220 feet of concrete to the garage. All the utilities are on the other side of the house, so there's just really no practical place to put a large propane tank. It would definitely have to be underground,'cause I am quite the gardener. I've forgotten the energy efficiency ratings, but I'm sure it's close to Speedymonk's. (BTW, thanks for that chart calculator!)

WiFiGuy, I can't say what Shoe's problem is, but if you read my reply to Shoe, you already know how I feel. If you read the sticky at the beginning of the forum, you'll find lots of good information to help you decide. I did a lot of researching before deciding, then when I had a problem, I couldn't find anyone who knew how to work on it. The company I purchased from was helpful by supplying a new unit, but couldn't find anyone to install it for us.

We wound up getting a friend to help us replace it...none of us are licensed plumbers or electricians. (The friend is a welder and steamfitter, but don't think that mattered too much) The directions were very explicit, the wiring diagrams were excellent, and if the heater broke again tomorrow, and IF I couldn't find anyone to service, and IF we couldn't fix it ourselves,I'd go right out and get another tankless!

(It would be nice, now, if there are more comments to be added, please start a new thread. We won't have to keep scrolling, and if anyone has further advice for Shoe, he won't have to troll through our posts.) Connie
 
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Old 02-26-08, 11:46 AM
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Cool Got More Info...

Ok. I will check and post later the difference in my bills, I have lived here for almost 10 years so I can probably track the difference and graph it for everyone.

I picked SETS because I have only heard good things about them. And you just cannot beat their warranty. Mine came with a lifetime warranty as long as it was installed by a licensed plumber and electrician.

I think their customer service by email is lacking and I will be trying the phone numbers, I just need to get the voltage readouts first so I can let them know. I will update on this issue also.

I think it might be a big difference between gas and electric also. I have not heard as many problems with the gas and the gas tankless is soo more efficient than a regular tank. If it is only for one thing, I think it would be a great solution and worth the investment.

To clarify, just because I am having problems does not mean I don't endorse the use of them, I just think it is new technology to us and we don't have enough professionals familiar with it, this will change with time. This has been used for over 20 years in other countries with no problems, only we are new to it!


The plumbing hookups are relatively simple and they had no trouble installing.

The electrical installation is a bit more particular and my electrician actually had to call to get verification on some things.

I will also try the shower head trick. This might do it...


Is there such a thing as too much water flow affecting flucuations anyone know?

What about plastic pipes? We have copper for the first couple of feet, then it switches to plastic. Could this affect it?

I think the majority of my problems either comes from me not having the right professional to guide me or maybe the size of the tank is not appropriate, or maybe the lines are the issue??? I do not think it is the actual product??? But again, I am not sure, which is my reason for looking for someone else with some insight that may have had this issue.

Don't give up on this technology, if we all work together we can make it work!

By the way, I also use energy saving bulbs, have a new energy star fridge, and new washer/dryer. I highly recommend the front loading washer!!! It is great. Gets the clothes cleaner, uses less water and electricity (energy star), and I can do more in one load! Well worth the investment! Not to mention beautiful to look at.

Ok. I will update when I get more info!

Thanks to everyone!
 
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Old 02-26-08, 05:54 PM
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That's great, Shoe- we'll be looking forward to hearing the solution! (Keep your chin up...we're rooting for you!)
 
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Old 02-27-08, 08:37 AM
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Yay SHOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
 

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