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Old 02-20-2010, 07:51 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Water problems

Sorry — missed this. We have been grappling with domestic infrastructure crises (like three days without hot water), and I have not been on the ball.

Glad you found the thread!

   
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:15 AM   #2
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kt: Sorry — missed this. We have been grappling with domestic infrastructure crises (like three days without hot water), and I have not been on the ball.
Oh ick!!! Is it fixed now? What's happening with the leak in your roof/ceiling?


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Old 02-20-2010, 12:13 PM   #3
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Definitely not the right season for getting by with cold water. Hope that's firmly past tense by now.

   
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:40 PM   #4
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The leak is pending. Jack laid a heater up there, and we plug it in when it snows (there is usually no problem with rain). No one seems eager to work on the roof in the winter, and I am not eager to have the house exposed, either.

   
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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Definitely not the right season for getting by with cold water. Hope that's firmly past tense by now.
Not firmly, but it seems we have figured out the problem — lack of air for the gas heater part of this tankless thing.

For now, we open the basement door when we want hot water, but on Monday they are going to add an air line to the outdoors, which should fix it. Or so they tell me.

All I want is a good hot bath when I want it. But I have my fingers crossed.

   
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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kt: No one seems eager to work on the roof in the winter, and I am not eager to have the house exposed, either.
I certainly can understand why...glad you figured out an interim solution...

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Old 02-20-2010, 08:22 PM   #7
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Oh, yes, those things do need their air supply. Mine has a special vent pipe -- two pipes, actually, set up concentrically, so the same vent both brings air in and sends the exhaust out.

I do like the tankless approach. Ran some numbers on gas bills before and after, and the tankless heater does cut my carbon emissions.

   
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:53 AM   #8
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Oh, yes, those things do need their air supply. Mine has a special vent pipe -- two pipes, actually, set up concentrically, so the same vent both brings air in and sends the exhaust out.

I do like the tankless approach. Ran some numbers on gas bills before and after, and the tankless heater does cut my carbon emissions.
I hope it does that here, but the jury is still out.

After having it installed and running into all these problems I looked it up on the web, and found very mixed reactions. Either people love it or they really, really hate it. One factor seems to be age and size of the house, and both of those weigh against it here.

The original house was built in 1929; that’s where the furnace, hot water, drains, etc., are located. The other half was added in 1970, and that is where all the water usage is. I have read that these gadgets work best in small to medium houses built in the past 20 years. So I guess we’ll see.

Now that we know to leave the basement door open, we find that none of the bathroom sinks alone do not trigger the hot water — I have to turn on a second sink nearby at the same time, both of them with the hot tap fully open. They are all shallow sinks and running the water full-bore causes a lot of splashing to the wall and me, which makes me cross. And no one can persuade me that in the end we will not use and drain more water because of this thing.

It seems to make the dishwasher run longer; I’m not sure it alone is triggering the heater, so it sits there for many minutes heating cold water.

So gas goes down and water and electricity go up? Not a great bargain.

Tomorrow we may ask them to switch us back to a tank system; our old one was ancient, newer tanks are more efficient, and we can (in any case) do more to insulate the water lines within the house. We could even add a timing device to deliver hot water at key times of day.

This is all such fun. Note to me: Next time mess with the heating system in the summer and with water when we are on vacation!

   
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:36 AM   #9
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Kathleen--

Your experience seems to confirm my opinion of tankless water heaters: you have a choice wasting gas (tank heater) or wasting water (tankless heater). I've used the tankless kind a few times in industrial accommodation units at work, and don't like them. One or two of my friends also have them. You have to run the hot water full bore to get consistent water temperature, then add more cold water to get the right temperature. Trying to use the hot water at less than full flow just causes the burner to cycle on and off, resulting in alternating scalding/freezing/scalding/freezing. Then there's the advertised "benefit" of having "endless hot showers" which only encourages more waste of water.

   
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:32 AM   #10
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Your experience seems to confirm my opinion of tankless water heaters: you have a choice wasting gas (tank heater) or wasting water (tankless heater). I've used the tankless kind a few times in industrial accommodation units at work, and don't like them. One or two of my friends also have them. You have to run the hot water full bore to get consistent water temperature, then add more cold water to get the right temperature. Trying to use the hot water at less than full flow just causes the burner to cycle on and off, resulting in alternating scalding/freezing/scalding/freezing. Then there's the advertised "benefit" of having "endless hot showers" which only encourages more waste of water.
Thanks — appreciate the report of your experiences. (Should have asked here before we okayed this deal!)

We don’t tend to take extra long showers (and I cannot remember a time when the tank ran out of hot water).

I am pretty sure that replacing our 1970s-ish tank with a lot of crap in it with a modern new one should increase efficiency somewhat. And we could insulate more pipes, which should also help.

The tankless unit is a Navien, which is supposedly better than most of its competitors. But so far my experience is negative. It is extremely unsettling to find that the daily shower as a roulette game! Besides, more gas goes to heating than to hot water in a two-person house.

Have to see what Jack thinks tomorrow, but I am set to call the plumbers on their promise to “make us completely happy,” and ask for a new tank system and a refund of the difference in cost (as tanks are also cheaper).

   
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