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  1. #1
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    Tankless HWH Problems/Solutions

    I have heard mostly positive tankless HWH stories.

    There are drawbacks. Most of them can be dealt with or accepted.

    The one that bothers me the most is: If you are taking a shower with an electric Tankless and the power goes off, even for a few seconds, you are in for quite a surprise.

    Has anyone heard of a solution for this?

  2. #2
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    I want to know about tankless water heaters myself.

    Titan (www.titanheater.com) has electric ones that don't require a special chimney flue for venting, while most of the competition requires venting... which I wonder about, as its not necessary for electric "tank" water heaters.

  3. #3
    Senior Member hos13's Avatar
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    We had a thread about this a while back, this is one of the home improvements I would like to do also. I don't remember any negative about them during that thread.
    "Don't give up, don't ever give up" jimmyv

  4. #4
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    The problem that I am trying to solve is sudden power loss, resulting in nice warm water turning instantly turning into COLD water. It happens infrequently, but from what I understand it is such a traumatic experience that most people revert to the tank type heaters after the experience.

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    The solution would be to install a generator/UPS system.
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  6. #6
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Or go to a gas fired tankless heater and have UPS for the vent fans, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  7. #7
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Once I can afford it, the plan is to to implement a solar and windpower backup system for the Casa de Wordbiker...for the exact reason the OP stated.

    I'm also on a cistern for water. No power, no water pressure...same for the propane central furnace. I can't afford a huge system that would allow me to sell juice back to the juicemongers, but I'll sit in candlelight if I can take a hot shower and heat the house.

    Oh, and accessing BF when the power goes out is just a side benefit.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Caspar_s's Avatar
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    You have the power shutting down that often? Same solution as you have for your computer - a UPS. If you have such bad power problems, you already have one for your computer, right?

    Our bathroom is pitch black in the middle of the day with no power (no window) so having a cold shower would be the least of my worries.

    Most tankless are gas - some have electric ignition - but would still need a vent. All electric would not need a vent.

    Thinking about this... maybe try putting an electric valve inline - power keeps it open, and if there is a failure it shuts the water off.

  9. #9
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caspar_s View Post
    You have the power shutting down that often?
    This past Winter we lost power about a half dozen times...once for nearly 3 days.

    That's a long time to go without juice. The solar/windpower system would be charging batteries, so in effect...yes, a whole-house UPS. I also like the idea of reducing costs even when the grid is up.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  10. #10
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    Even gas-fired tankless needs electricity to control it, at least that's what I was told when shopping for one. Our best bet was to hang it on the outside of our house w/ and put an outlet near where it was hung for it to be plugged into (code prohibits plugging it into an extension cord). Got to be too much like work to figure how to deal w/ it so we just got another gas-fired tank.
    Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 05-14-08 at 12:07 PM.

  11. #11
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Wow, just read this: http://www.progress-energy.com/custs...s/tankless.asp

    Seems that is some situations, a homeowner could be responsible to the utility company having to upgrade their system due to the heater drawing enough power to cause lights to flicker in neighboring homes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hos13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    Wow, just read this: http://www.progress-energy.com/custs...s/tankless.asp

    Seems that is some situations, a homeowner could be responsible to the utility company having to upgrade their system due to the heater drawing enough power to cause lights to flicker in neighboring homes!
    That reminds when I was in college, every time I used my microwave the breaker that powered our hall would trip. I didn't care
    "Don't give up, don't ever give up" jimmyv

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    Wow, just read this: http://www.progress-energy.com/custs...s/tankless.asp

    Seems that is some situations, a homeowner could be responsible to the utility company having to upgrade their system due to the heater drawing enough power to cause lights to flicker in neighboring homes!
    Wow. I can only imagine how that would work in our old neighborhood where we wound up putting a UPS on our telephone answering machine we got so tired of reprogramming the clock after the gazillions of daily mini-flickers. Maybe it was all just somebody down the hill with a tankless water heater all along!

  14. #14
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hos13 View Post
    That reminds when I was in college, every time I used my microwave the breaker that powered our hall would trip. I didn't care
    Sounds like you need a tankless electric water heater, pronto.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

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    A battery back up would have to be like a whole house type system. These things take a lot of juice, at least twice the amount of a standard tank HWH and they typically have two 5500 watt elements in them.

    I was thinking maybe some sort of tank or expanded water container between the shower and the heater. It wouldn't keep you in hot water but it would keep you from the instant comfortable 105 degree shower to 50 degree cold dose (a buffer of sorts) and conceivably back and forth. Done intentionally this is known as a form of torture, I don't think that it is even allowed under international law.

    I was and still am really up on these but I think this problem must be addressed before I move forward, especially since I would like to do this on a large scale in multiple residences.

  16. #16
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    The solution to the cold water from temporary power interruption is this: Shower valves (faucets) are now required to be "anti-scald" types. These were slowly brought into new construction after 1995. The anti scald device works as a balancing valve such as someone flushing a toilet while a person is in the shower. It also works the same way for a sudden lack of flow in the hot supply. Much more can be found by looking here:

    http://www.hometips.com/cs-protected/guides/scald.html

    This site is surely not the only one on the subject. PM me for specifics.

  17. #17
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    I had a tankless water heater when I lived in Germany in the 1980s. The idea was great, but the implementation was somewhat less than good. It took a certain water flow rate to turn on the heat, and the heat was all or nothing. On mine, that rate was somewhat too high, so that I had the choice of icy cold or scalding hot water in my shower. What I had to do to take a shower was turn on the hot water in the sink to keep the flow rate high enough to get the heater to turn on. Then, I could adjust the shower to a comfortable temperature. But that, of course, wasted water and negated the energy saving promised by the heater.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ajay677's Avatar
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    Most tankless water heaters are only capable of raising the water temperature a fixed amount. Does anyone living in an area where the inlet water temperature is quite low, say in the mid to upper 30s F, experience problems getting outlet fllow that is hot enough?

  19. #19
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    With low inlet temps, I believe one just installs a non heated storage tank in line before the heater. This storage tank allows incoming water to sit and come to room temp, decreasing the heating load on the tankless unit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  20. #20
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    My propane-fired tankless is based on flow, but I really don't see much hesitation before the water comes out hot. Maybe a second or two more compared to the conventional tank it replaced.

    All I'd need is enough backup juice to operate the ignition electronics.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ajay677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    With low inlet temps, I believe one just installs a non heated storage tank in line before the heater. This storage tank allows incoming water to sit and come to room temp, decreasing the heating load on the tankless unit.
    Of course. Thanks. Now I know what to do with the old water heater.

  22. #22
    Senior Member FlyingAnchor's Avatar
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    Check out Bosch tankless, I have one that has an inline pizo (sp) igniter. It is gas and I never have to worry about hot water. The pizo igniter automatically sparks as the water flows through the switch, no need to house power at all.

    You can get large or small and that will take care of water flow problems. Mine only realistically covers one shower but with my house that works well for us.

    I love my tankless, I have had it for about two years and it cost about $800.00 back then.

    Steven
    Dragging Anchor

  23. #23
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I live back in a "holler" in WV, and when the electricity goes out, it's usually out for hours - if not days. While we'll never freeze to death (free gas!), the electric pump for the water was a problem. We installed a Generac back-up generator a few years back (after the ice storm in '03 left us powerless for 9 days), which effectively solved the problem of water. We still use a regular tank water heater because out water is so hard it would clog up a tankless model in no time... so, if you're not on a water system, check your water before you make an expensive mistake!
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

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