Seeking water heater advice - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-21-2019, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Seeking water heater advice

My house has a 20 year old 80 gallon 4500 watt electric water. Iím planning to replace it soon.

Iím wondering if I really need a 80 gallon tank. We have a big soaking tub that sees only occasional use, otherwise itís just quick showers. That said, the 80 gal WH struggles to fill that tub which I estimate holds 60 gallons.

Iím looking at a 50 gallon 5500 watt model. Will that have a fast enough recovery rate to fill the tub?
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-21-2019, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
My house has a 20 year old 80 gallon 4500 watt electric water. Iím planning to replace it soon.

Iím wondering if I really need a 80 gallon tank. We have a big soaking tub that sees only occasional use, otherwise itís just quick showers. That said, the 80 gal WH struggles to fill that tub which I estimate holds 60 gallons.

Iím looking at a 50 gallon 5500 watt model. Will that have a fast enough recovery rate to fill the tub?

Should be, mine is only 40 gallons, and fills my jacuzzi just fine,
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-21-2019, 08:43 PM
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Does your home have gas available?


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post #4 of 20 Old 01-21-2019, 09:18 PM
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If you aren't plumbed for gas, expect to shell out some big bucks. We have a gas line in our front yard. 22 years ago, I was quoted about 4 grand to convert kitchen, and water heater to natural gas. This didn't include a new HVAC system. Me? I would go with the 80 gallon. My brother-in-law had a bathroom added upstairs. Their 40 gallon gas WH wouldn't fill the garden tub. Had to add another WH just for that. My parents built a house that had two 80 gallon electric water heaters in a split system. Had a houseful of relatives when the Mrs. and I got married. Never ran out of hot water. Now we have been married 46-1/2 years and I'm always in hot water! Hope this helps with your decision. Newer energy efficient WHs might qualify for a tax credit. Check with your utility company.

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post #5 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 07:42 AM
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We had a 50 gal gas heater and three teenagers and never ran out of hot water.
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 10:48 AM
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ducbsa, my daughter always was the last to shower. The other three of us got tired of cold showers. This was with a 40 gallon WH. Was tempted to put in a system I saw in a campground. You pushed a button on the shower control and got hot water for a certain time. Then the water shut off. Similar to what you see in some public restrooms.

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post #7 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 10:48 AM
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We had a 50 gal gas heater and three teenagers and never ran out of hot water.

It all depends upon the teenager. I had one teenage daughter and she ran us out of hot water.


George
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 01:00 PM
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Size of the tank really depends on how many people live in the house and how many applications will be on at the same time. I only have a 40gal gas and never run out of hot water. Modern shower heads also help
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 01:22 PM
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It all depends upon the teenager. I had one teenage daughter and she ran us out of hot water.


George

My father-in-law used to turn the hot water off if my wife or her sister were in the shower for too long.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 02:10 PM
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40 gallon is fine for a family of 4...50 if 3 out of those 4 are women. 80 is insane for most situations, you're just wasting money keeping 2x the amount of water hot. I'd actually suggest looking into a tankless unit. They cost more upfront but you would definitely see the benefit on the utility bill. How much water does this tub hold?

I buy my water heaters from Ferguson Plumbing Supply, they stand behind their products with a replacement policy if anything aside from the heating element fails and offer sound advice when choosing a model. You should be able to purchase from them as a homeowner...I can't remember because I had a business account set up years ago and just get a statement at the end of the month.
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post #11 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 03:06 PM
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A tankless heater will need a very big electrical service to it, to make up for the lack of the "flywheel" effect you really need a lot of heat, probably 25-30 KW, possibly more


And you need real soft water or they will scale up fast


Tankless heaters aren't anything new by any means, Ruud and Rheem made them in the 1930's, but they were more of a commercial heater some were 750,000 BTU of gas but they would give the water a 100 degree rise, and that was at full pressure through 1 1/2 pipe



Then in the 70's the tankless from Europe started showing up, they were nightmares, if you could get one running right if anything broke it was almost impossible to get parts, and everything was metric so that made it worse, nothing here would adapt

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post #12 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
My house has a 20 year old 80 gallon 4500 watt electric water. Iím planning to replace it soon.

Iím wondering if I really need a 80 gallon tank. We have a big soaking tub that sees only occasional use, otherwise itís just quick showers. That said, the 80 gal WH struggles to fill that tub which I estimate holds 60 gallons.

Iím looking at a 50 gallon 5500 watt model. Will that have a fast enough recovery rate to fill the tub?



Sorry I just read your last line, the answer is no


Storage tank heaters are made to use the "flywheel" effect, the 4500 element during use hardly raises the temperature of the water, it does most of it's heating when no water is passing through the heater


If you have room you could get 2 40's or 50's and tee them together to get more capacity, an 80 gallon is real close to a commercial heater, so it will probably be pretty high priced, but a commercial heater would have more elements

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post #13 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 05:42 PM
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...I'd actually suggest looking into a tankless unit. They cost more upfront but you would definitely see the benefit on the utility bill.

Thatís why I asked the OP if he had gas. Weíve had a tankless for years. Endless hot water only when you want it.



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post #14 of 20 Old 01-22-2019, 06:16 PM
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That’s why I asked the OP if he had gas. We’ve had a tankless for years. Endless hot water only when you want it.



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Tankless electric models work just as well and are almost always cheaper then a NG model...operating expense should be similar but I can't say for sure because utility prices vary by region.

Edit: I should note that electric models generally require at least 1 dedicated 50A 240v circuit and larger models can require upto 3 50A 240V circuits running off a 200A panel. They use a lot of power while running but you save money by not heating a big pot of water that isn't getting used for 22 hours a day.

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post #15 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 07:53 AM
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It all depends upon the teenager. I had one teenage daughter and she ran us out of hot water.


George
We had two boys and a girl and they were equally bad. When I finished the basement, I put in the H&C branches with isolation valves, so that I could minimize the shutdown and install the plumbing at my leisure. I called the hot water valve my "teenager valve" and did use it a few times, when they were really bad about a long shower.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 08:16 AM
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I researched installing a tankless last time my hw heater went bad. the local plumbing supplier will not sell them here in pa. water coming out of the ground is too cold and the tankless cannot heat it fast enough.
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 08:39 AM
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I researched installing a tankless last time my hw heater went bad. the local plumbing supplier will not sell them here in pa. water coming out of the ground is too cold and the tankless cannot heat it fast enough.
If you can do gas you should be ok. They're recommended over electric in colder climates.
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 12:58 PM
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I researched installing a tankless last time my hw heater went bad. the local plumbing supplier will not sell them here in pa. water coming out of the ground is too cold and the tankless cannot heat it fast enough.


Sounds odd. Iím in Ohio, temps can be in minus degrees, and Rinnai works just fine. Maybe the tanks have a better profit margin compared to the tankless?


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post #19 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 01:44 PM
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Just how often does the garden tub get used? We have one and it hasnt been used since about 5 years after we got the house when the kids were small. Maybe with the new granddaughter it will get some use but doubt it. Been thinking of tearing it out and installing a walk in multi-head shower. If your big tub gets seldom used then shouldnt be a problem dropping to a smaller unit. If I were you id speak with one of the water heater manufacturers and see what they recommend for your household.

Mike
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-23-2019, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ducbsa View Post
We had two boys and a girl and they were equally bad. When I finished the basement, I put in the H&C branches with isolation valves, so that I could minimize the shutdown and install the plumbing at my leisure. I called the hot water valve my "teenager valve" and did use it a few times, when they were really bad about a long shower.



Do you realize you may have severely ruined a soon to be self induced pleasure event
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