July 27th, 2008, 01:14 PM
Need some pro advice/suggestions; changing my water heater
I have a question that I'd like your help on. This is a really pressing issue, and the quicker I can get some suggestions, the better off I'd be.
I have a 3 story house that is being served with a Kenmore Power Miser 8 40 gallon water heater, that is located in a non-temp controlled basement. We have 4 bathrooms in the house (3 with showers), a laundry machine, one kitchen with a dishwasher. The water heater has been in place since we moved in (10 years ago), and I am just now getting to replace it. In addition, there are about 8-14 people living in the house at a given time.
The water heater itself is pretty old, and is damaged (water corrosion and rust). In addition, water runs out fairly quickly, as you'd imagine, with it begin so small and so many people in the house. Our water/gas bill in the winter time is absolutely absurd. I'm thinking I can help to cut it down by replacing the water heater, which needs to be changed anyway.
Here's the dilemma. I called out my plumber, who is a master plumber, and through my research and his tips, this what I'm faced with.
1. I know that I will NOT move to an electric heater, as it costs more to run per year than a gas model. Correct me if I'm wrong.
2. What size should I get? For my size house, should it be 50, 60, 75 gallon, or higher?
3. Due to height issues at the location where the water heater is located, my plumber said that I should get a 50 gallon, and this should suffice.
4. My current water heater is what my plumber called a "high recovery" water heater. Do I need to get something that is equivalent?
5. Due to the location of the water heater, my plumber said that there is little chance that I'd be able to alleviate the issue of "running the hot water tap until the water actually gets warm, during the winter" due to the size of my house. He indicated that this COULD be alleviated by the use of a hot water pump that continuously circulates hot water through the pipes. However, I'm leery about this, as it may actually raise the cost of utilities (gas/electric) in order to run such a setup.
6. I indicated that I might be open to running 2 water heaters in parallel. My plumber indicated that this is definitely doable, although costs to run it is going to double.
7. I was thinking that for each bathroom, I could rig a small individual heater, let's say a 10/20 gallon, and then connect that to the main water source for each bathroom, so that the bathrooms themselves would never run out of hot water. The idea here is that while the water in the pipes from the main water heater will be cold, at least an immediate source of hot water would be available. If this happens to run out, the water from the main water heater would have already made the water in the lines warm, and there would be warm water readily available. The only problem I'm finding is that these little water heaters cost WAY TOO MUCH to run.
So basically, that's where I'm at right now. There's too many options available to me, and I'm lost because it's overwhelming. Basically, I'd like to get the cheapest water heater available, that will give me the lowest cost-per-year to run, and will give me readily give me hot water available when we need it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I know it's a lot, but I'd like your input/suggestions.
July 27th, 2008, 09:20 PM
I can't answer all your questions, as my expertise isn't in water heater applications and installation, your plumber is absolutely correct from everything I've read.
Yes, I would say get the biggest one you can that will fit, 50 gallons should be fine if you cant get a 60 gallon one to fit.
I'm not familiar with High Recovery water heaters. But you can search google.com to find out about them, I just did and the first result I got looks like thats what you need to stick with:
I'm not familiar with the hot water pump or running 2 water heaters in parallel.
And yes, I agree that gas is better and cheaper in your Area.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, Electric is cheaper due to our hydro power plants we have here.
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July 28th, 2008, 10:26 AM
go big as can, 80g would be best. circulation pumps keep hot water at the faucets and waste less water, but consume electricity 24hrs- don't think it's too costly to run. insulate hot pipes and put a heater blanket(insulation) on heater to save on heat loss. doubling volume(two) only increases operating costs, better off with circ pump and biggest heater that will fit- insulate it and pipes, where accessible. might be able to hook up circ pump to on/off timer that can coordinate to usage times- don't run all night if no use. ask master plumber if could run two squat 50's in tandem- feed output of one set at lower temp range into second one so water is prewarmed and finish water heating in second heater so it runs less to get hot, yes both will be "on" but prewarmed water will take less energy to finish heating instead of independent tanks and will give you a warm "reserve" of water when needed. good luck
July 28th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by ivoidwarranties
Wow. Lots of good info there.
I actually found this device that I think I am going to install at each sink. It's not automatic, so pumps will not be running continuously, it'll be on demand.
In addition, I doubt I can do anything higher than 50gallons due to height restrictions. I think it's a good idea to do the "prewarmed" idea; I'll ask my plumber about it.
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