Hot Water

Hot Water

What do you buy an old fashioned, practical girl for her birthday? Not diamonds, clothes, or furs; a tankless hot water heater!  According to my husband, it was my birthday present this year since it was completed the night before my birthday.  He did get me a few other things, but this was best.  I will no longer be stuck with tepid or cold water since I am last in line on school days for a morning shower.

ugly old tank water heater how long do they last
The 28 year old water heater about to fall apart.

We had a number of reasons why we chose to replace the old tank water heater with a tankless unit.  Primarily, our house is really small and every square foot matters.  It freed up 9 sq. ft inside our back bathroom readying it for a second shower and small redo.  If we wanted to add that square footage on to the house, it would cost us approximately $150 a square foot, thus the new water heater adds a total value of $1350 to our house by freeing up that interior space.  We relocated it to the driveway side of the house not far from our fixtures.  The new water heater is relatively small in comparison to a traditional storage tank water heater, only sticking out about 8 inches from the wall.  The other main reason we chose tankless is it much more efficient than its predecessor. The model we chose is energy star rated at 83% efficient.  We will use less natural gas by only heating the water as needed and none when we are away.  By locating it near the main water fixtures, there is little wait time for the hot water.

We considered a number of different manufacturers and types; plus, we did a lot of research on the pros and cons of tankless water heaters over the last couple of years.  We felt our small home and lifestyle were a good fit for one.  After learning everything we could about models from Bosch, Eternal, Navien, Noritz, Paloma, Rheem, Rinnai, and Takagi, we settled on one from Noritz.  We were very interested in ones made by Navien and Eternal that would have been more efficient due to the fact they were condensing water heaters. However, neither would have been good candidates for our outdoor location.  Theoretically, they could have gone outside, but they aren’t designed with it in mind.  Both would have had an unattractive appearance due to a strange exhaust configuration they needed outdoors, like giant metal bunny ears, and no skirt to cover the pipes.  It would have been ugly in a very high traffic visible part of our yard.  I preferred the streamlined built in exhaust and skirt of the Nortiz.  We talked about putting one of the condensing ones in the attic, but servicing would have been a challenge and if any potential problems arose, it could cause significantly more damage to the house than an outdoor unit.  Therefore, the Noritz was the best choice for our home.  With Navien and Eternal, we also could not justify the additional $1000 cost for the small % increase in efficency we would get out of them.  Maybe over time, the technology will come down in price.

Can a tankless water heater go outdoors. What do they look like
Noritz tankless water heater installed outside our kitchen

The tankless is working really well so far since it is only about 8 feet away from most of our fixtures.  We read about concerns with high efficiency washers not working well with tankless water heaters.  After doing some research, most of the complaints were against LG washers which will fill a load of laundry in spurts and tumbles.  Fortunately, the Samsung front load washer we have doesn’t fill that way, instead filling consistently for about a minute and getting plenty of hot water (not that I wash clothes all that often in hot.)   My only remaining concern now is I need to find a spot in the garden for water storage for the family in case of emergency.

2 thoughts on “Hot Water

  1. Thanks for a very interesting and informative post.
    Are you still happy with your tankless water heater? Are you having any problems with mineral build up from hard water?
    Do you have any further advice or thoughts to share for anyone (me!) considering installing one for a 1920something SoCal bungalow in 2015? We just had our old tank water heater pulled from a tiny closet in the kitchen and need to replace it with an outdoor heater.

    1. We are still happy with the tankless hot water heater. Especially since it freed up space in our master bathroom. HOWEVER, it does get mineral deposits and needs to be flushed with vinegar every 1 to 2 years. Two faucets have had to be taken appart and soaked for mineral deposits too. That may or may no have something to due with the hot water heater. Our water isn’t overly hard here. Some places have such hard water, it voids the warranty unless the owner also installs a water softener. My folks have a similar unit to ours, but a few years older. It broke down after 3 years due to hardwater deposits and needed a plumber. Theirs was covered by the warranty. Tankless water heaters are definitely not a NO MAINTENANCE item. If you DIY your own unit, plumb it so it can be flushed easily.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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