Newbie looking for some answers

Old 09-14-09, 06:26 PM
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Newbie looking for some answers

Hey guys.

A friend told me about tankless hot water heaters and I was very interested. THe reason im thinking about changing my hot water heater is becasue its small. My Wive tends to take long showers, and the boiler I have is only like a 3 gallon tank or something like that. My house is baseboard hot water heat (oil furnace)

So let me give you some specs

1000 sq/ft ranch brick home

1 shower
1 bathroom sink
1 kitchen sink

They are the only uses of hot water in the house.

The questions I have:

What size Tank less hot water heater would I need?
What power source is the most efficient (gas, electric, etc.)?
Do they make them for Heating a home?
Can I duct (gas powered) out chimney?
Old 09-17-09, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Your source of domestic hot water is likely from a "tankless coil" located in your heating boiler. About the only thing worse than this method is using a large kettle on a wood-burning kitchen range.

Probably the best solution for you is what is called an indirect water heater which is coupled to the heating boiler and can utilize the higher efficiency of the boiler's burner. The indirect heater has a tank that is highly insulated and therefore has a minimal standby loss. Only downsides are that it has a relatively high capital cost and that it takes additional floorspace near the boiler.

Stand-alone instantaneous (tankless) water heaters run the gamut from not very good to premium quality. They come in several different sizes to accommodate the lifestyles of different households. They tend to be costly and they are costly to install. To my knowledge they do not have any that burn oil so if you do not have gas available you would have to choose an electric model. The electric models require a lot of power and it is likely that you would need to upgrade your electrical service to use an electric tankless water heater.

They also don't like hard water and if you have hard water you will need to clean the coil at least yearly, perhaps more than one a year.
Old 09-18-09, 08:05 AM
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Furd, would it make sense for him to install a conventional storage tank type of water heater, so that he doesn't have to fire the boiler all summer? I'm assuming gas isn't available, but a 50 gallon electric should supply enough water for one bathroom and kitchen sink. The OP doesn't mention any laundry facilities on site, so I'd think electrical operation costs would be minimal.
Old 09-18-09, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Yes, he certainly could install a stand-alone electric water heater and depending on the relative costs of fuel oil and electricity that is probably what I would do.

Although it takes the same number of BTUs to heat a specific quantity of water, the source of those BTUs needs to be considered. A tank-type water heater adds the BTUs in a relatively slow manner so there is not a huge jolt of electricity needed but a much more gentle draw on the electric utility. Almost any home can have a tank-type water heater added with only an additional circuit breaker and relatively light wiring from the circuit breaker panel to the water heater. An electric tankless on the other hand will often require a completely new electrical service upgrade at a cost of one-to-three thousand dollars before the first drop of water is heated.

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