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jzchen 10-09-2017 05:05 AM

Hot Water heater (natural gas) selection- Rinnai tankless?
 
Electric seems out of the question. Last time I had an electrician to the house he said our 200 A service is full, and sounds like I'd need to upgrade to 400 A, which is most likely too costly. The original tank water heater is run on gas line to the house, line is already there, so I guess I'll stick with that.

I've been searching for a more efficient, and hopefully longer lasting hot water heater for our home. Westinghouse and Rheem make tankless natural gas water heaters but seem to be branded with California Prop 65 warnings of cancer causing materials. My mother is a cancer survivor, but may have recurring cancer at the moment, and I think in light of this I would like to avoid those choices with the warning. That at least seems to cut down my choices by a lot, in particular on Home Depot's website. There is one American Standard and Eccotemp (which seems small).

On Lowe's site there are quite a few choices and none I have seen have the Prop 65 warning. They seem to have different brands, so I am hoping that they do list if a product has Prop 65 warning, and Lowe's just doesn't carry such water heater products. The piping next to the water heater seems complicated, and looks like there is a water recirculating pump so that makes things more complicated.

Anyone have any knowledgeable advice? Installation sounds quite pricey as well. (I just fixed our A/C myself, proud to say just needed a 3 AMP ATO automotive fuse! Wish I could install it myself, but seems unlikely....)

Thank you for help in the past! And help on this!

stevenjb 10-09-2017 06:06 AM

Flash water heaters are great. You may need a double flue installed (allows air to come in and escape at the same time). Make sure you have the proper size gas fitting and lines, too small and the heater will not function well. You may have a water pump due to low pressure (may want to do a pressure test). The plumbing for a flash heater looks complicated, like something from the Space Shuttle, but comes down to - what goes in must come out. Also be sure to size the unit properly. Don't want cold showers.

I wouldn't worry too much about the prop 65 notices, I understand your concern. It is probably a component in there with a tagged material (like trace amounts of mercury in CFL light bulbs). It is unlikely members of your family will be opening the unit and touching the components.

You will need to do maintenance on the unit such as flushing the units coils periodically.

A traditional tank water heater will be cheaper to buy and install.

Sent from Tapatalk on Android

jzchen 10-09-2017 08:29 AM

Thank you Steve(n)!!! I am going to check on the size of the gas line, as it runs into the house and I don’t think upgrading the size is possible. I liked the electrical tankless because they have one with a lifetime warranty, but they require a lot of amps/breakers, and this heater is very far from the service entrance as well!

It is nice to know the Prop 65 warning is not a big concern. I was really worried it may affect the water supply, and that would be a no-go for me! Kind of like all those BPA warnings in plastics that have been coming out. Since there is a 12 year old in the house and his grandma with possible cancer I was/am really concerned about exposure, I do believe cancer is part pre-disposition/genetic.

Time for more doctor visits. Hopefully I’ll squeeze in going to Lowe’s or Home Depot sometime soon.

Mister_smart_LA 10-09-2017 07:58 PM

I have a Takagi and I'm happy with it. It saves some energy, and the instant heat is there. It won't be as strong as advertised though because the pipes will still need to warm up. But endless showers are great when you have many visitors.

I don't know what to advise about the cancer warning though.

stevenjb 10-09-2017 08:51 PM

The good thing about flash water heaters is that they can be installed inside or outside the house. And I wanted to further mention the prop 65 notice, you may want to contact the manufacturer to verify how the notice is related to their unit. I can't see a manufacturer designing a unit where the water flowed through a system that has a cancer related fitting (however I could be wrong) - so if you find a unit you like with a prop 65 notice, email or call the manufacturer.

I would always go with a gas unit. You still need electricity going to the unit to power the electronics.

We had a Takagi unit and it worked well.

Sent from Tapatalk on Android

jzchen 10-10-2017 11:35 AM

Well, there might be a lot fewer choices without the Prop 65 warning than I thought! I dug up a Rinnai manual for a model suggested on the "selector" and low and behold it had the same Prop 65 warning!

I'll post here if I am successful in finding any that may not.....

GoFaster 10-10-2017 06:41 PM

As you are finding out, the California "proposition 65" warning is so broad that it is largely useless. Almost everything contains something in it that might cause cancer under the right set of circumstances, so almost everything sold in California has that label on it.

Unless you plan to eat your water heater, I really don't think you need to worry about it.

jzchen 10-14-2017 11:07 PM

EcoSmart and American Standard Water Heaters, in particular the tankless type, seem to escape the Prop 65 warning label, so far as I can tell....

jzchen 11-15-2017 06:18 AM

Hot Water heater (natural gas) selection- Rinnai tankless?
 
Really want an EcoSmart unit, but I don’t have the room in the service panel for the 3 40A breakers, and it would be a very long run of wires to where the heater would be placed....

Argh. Decisions, decisions. Going to have a visitor for Christmas. Hope to get it sorted by then......

jimvw57 11-15-2017 07:41 AM

I have always wondered why you need to use a hot water heater?? if it is hot water, why does it need heating?? Makes you say Hmmmm....

jzchen 11-15-2017 07:46 AM

Hot Water heater (natural gas) selection- Rinnai tankless?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jimvw57 (Post 1582746)
I have always wondered why you need to use a hot water heater?? if it is hot water, why does it need heating?? Makes you say Hmmmm....



Haha haha.

What’s concerning about the tankless type is something called a “cold sandwich”! (Hungry, anyone)? Still trying to sort that concern out....

jimvw57 11-15-2017 09:01 AM

Or how about calling structures Buildings when they are already built? Gallagher was a genius

jzchen 11-15-2017 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimvw57 (Post 1582778)
Or how about calling structures Buildings when they are already built? Gallagher was a genius

Sorry Jim, I saw your post earlier, but I'm afraid even after letting it sift in my mind until now, I'm afraid I'm not sure who you mean for me to contact?

1983JZR3W 11-15-2017 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jzchen (Post 1582842)
Sorry Jim, I saw your post earlier, but I'm afraid even after letting it sift in my mind until now, I'm afraid I'm not sure who you mean for me to contact?

What size hammer do you open your watermelons with....:D

jzchen 11-15-2017 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1983JZR3W (Post 1582866)
What size hammer do you open your watermelons with....:D

I didn't know there are different hammer sizes!?!?!?!?

Man, you guys are COLD!!! (As in cold water....)

1983JZR3W 11-15-2017 08:57 PM

The Gallagher reference made me think of his old watermelon skit when he smashed them with a sledge hammer.

jzchen 11-15-2017 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1983JZR3W (Post 1582922)
The Gallagher reference made me think of his old watermelon skit when he smashed them with a sledge hammer.

No wonder. You guys know about him, but I'm afraid I don't... ☺

jimvw57 11-15-2017 10:22 PM

What is not a slicer, or a dicer, a chopper or a hopper??? SLEDG-A-MATIC!!

jzchen 11-16-2017 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimvw57 (Post 1582938)
What is not a slicer, or a dicer, a chopper or a hopper??? SLEDG-A-MATIC!!

That's good stuff. I could spend the next month just watching him. (Hopefully my aunt doesn't mind cold water!) :o

jzchen 11-17-2017 07:16 AM

It really did help, lighten my spirits. Been kind of down lately.... Thank you.

jimvw57 11-17-2017 11:28 AM

Glad to help. I don't know much about tankless water heaters I'm afraid. Only have messed with conventional ones

toaster 11-17-2017 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jzchen (Post 1582762)
Haha haha.

What’s concerning about the tankless type is something called a “cold sandwich”! (Hungry, anyone)? Still trying to sort that concern out....

I've used the gas fired tankless water heaters a lot in Germany where they are quite common.

If you drop the flow of hot water below the minimum at which the burner will fire, the burner shuts off leaving you with cold water.

So consider the following two scenarios...

You take a navy type shower where you shut off the water while lathering up... the dribble shower head does not draw enough water so the burner shuts off... the small flow of water through the water heater is now cold, and fills the hot-water line... turn the shower head back on and you get a load of cold water until the hot again reaches the shower head. You just had a cold sandwich! :(

I like to use a small flow of water at the kitchen sink when peeling potatoes... in the winter the incoming cold water is so cold that it hurts my hands... so I mix in a bit of hot water to warm it up. I found I couldn't do this in Germany as it did not produce enough flow of water to keep the burner on and increasing the flow rate was such a waste of water. :(

Using a tankless water heater requires some relearning of things. For example, set the hot water flow rate at the shower and make your temperature adjustments with just the cold tap. If you reduce the hot water flow, its temperature will typically increase a bit... which is counter productive to adjusting temperature. If you have a single lever shower control... well... you're on your own!

~toaster

jzchen 11-18-2017 03:01 AM

Hot Water heater (natural gas) selection- Rinnai tankless?
 
Thanks toaster. Very good info. I had read about the cold sandwich, and am still perplexed at the phenomenon. I guess they can’t leave the burner on an “off” time delay because this may boil the little water where the burner cooks it. Some of them I read will decrease flow rate until the water reaches the set temperature. I wonder how that affects the challenge of adjusting the temperature in a shower....

We live with my parents in their house. Strangely this broken 50 gallon tank water heater seems to feed only two bathrooms, and that’s it. The other 50 gallon feeds the rest of the house, (house is 4000 sq ft), and is still working just fine. I guess the low use may have something to do with the failure compared to the other, much more used one....

Oh well. Still prefer the electric one because EcoSmart provides a lifetime warranty. (Me and my love of lifetime warranties). But I was warned it is more expensive to run electric, and it is most likely true because before we got solar I calculated $0.28/kWhr for a years use. (We are on a tiered rate).....

I have to watch the specs carefully as some of the tankless natural gas water heaters use 3/4” gas line fittings, but I believe the pipe to the current one is only 1/2”....

Then there is cost. The more efficient you want the more they cost! (Condensing ones which are the highest efficiency, cost the most). Then there are venting concerns.... Amazon seems to have good pricing so far, (where you can purchase “expert installation”as well).

Wonder how much eBates cash back that may earn me, (for home services).....

jzchen 11-18-2017 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimvw57 (Post 1583546)
Glad to help. I don't know much about tankless water heaters I'm afraid. Only have messed with conventional ones

The original one is so big, I will not be able to move it on my own. That's part of the reason I am intrigued by these tankless units. Much more manageable if something goes wrong. Then when I was in Home Depot to get something, I went by the water heaters and there are some tank water heaters are quite expensive as well. Labor around here is even MORE expensive than the heaters.......

Thanks again. I think I'll go watch some more. [emoji23]

jimvw57 11-18-2017 03:13 PM

You have to drain the water and rust out f them before you move them, makes them lighter.

gedupont 11-20-2017 11:31 PM

I've had a Navien Premium Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heater (NPE-A) since about 2007 and love it. No muss; no fuss; and no issues other than having to flush it out once a year which is a Saturday morning job. Highly recommend it.

NPE-A series | Navien

George
2015 BRABUS Coupe
TX

jzchen 11-22-2017 05:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gedupont (Post 1584873)
I've had a Navien Premium Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heater (NPE-A) since about 2007 and love it. No muss; no fuss; and no issues other than having to flush it out once a year which is a Saturday morning job. Highly recommend it.



NPE-A series | Navien



George

2015 BRABUS Coupe

TX



Thank you George!

I’m afraid the link is not working on my iPad, but going to us.navien.com has a lot of nice info. Seems like they have a longer warranty than others just off the top of my head in the middle of the night. (I think I may have to take our dog to the vet when they open. Something’s wrong...)


Thank you again for another option. It is always nice to have options. (And I didn’t see a Prop 65 warning while I was on their site to boot!)

Sincerely,
Jesse

jzchen 11-26-2017 11:28 AM

Ended up taking our dog to the ER vet while the rest of the family went to Thanksgiving dinner! About $700 later my wallet was feeling light. So Black Friday I saw a cheap water heater option available on Amazon and pulled the trigger on it for now. If it doesn't work out at least my investment is minimal.

Eccotemp FVI12-NG

(I get to test Amazon's customer service if there is a problem with it...)


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