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Thread: Experience with tankless LP water heater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Experience with tankless LP water heater

    I am looking for your experience with tankless LP water heater. I know, it is not money wise spent, expensive compared to regular electric water heater. But it is a endless, to the point, hot water supply - this is what I am looking for.
    I have experience to use it back 35 years ago in Russia. It is a very popular source of hot water back then and it is very popular in Europe.
    Right now I have 50 Gal electric water heater in very small space, I need more hot water and don't have a space to install anything bigger by size. Even a new generation electric one will be difficult to cramp in this space.
    Please, if you have one, give me your opinions for usage, service, which company make it.
    Thank you, Ed.

  2. #2
    We’ve had a Rinnai since 2012. No issues, works fine. We bought it online and and it was installed by a regular plumbing contractor. I guess, make sure to get an appropriately sized unit for the volume you expect? Nor sure what else to say beyond that.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Beantown
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    Also have a Rinnai since ain’t 2012 also.

    So far so good. Actually just had it serviced for the first time last month. Was told it was in perfect condition still. I like it as you don’t run out of hot water. Still gotta clear the cloud from the pipes but that’s the same with any water heater.

    In my small basement shop it’s a godsend. I redid my heating and hot water prior to building my workshop. Put my dam furnace right in the middle of the space for efficiency reasons. Regret that now with a shop. But man thank god for the wall mount hot water heater, serious space saver and it works well.

  4. #4
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    Erik and Patrick, thanks for info. I am looking for Rinnai unit too, High efficiency and recirculating pump.
    Do you have a problem with low flow activation? Like , if you will open just a kitchen sink a little bit, will unit start heating?
    Any problem to contact Rinnai service over the phone, if needed?
    Do you have electric unit or gas?
    Thanks, Ed.

  5. #5
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    I have two of them in our home; one in the original side and one in our addition built in 2008. Two made more sense because of "water logistics". I'm exceedingly pleased with them. The two I have are branded Rheem but they are also sold as WaiWela, etc. These things are super efficient, only require PVC for venting and we never run out of hot water.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eduard Nemirovsky View Post
    Erik and Patrick, thanks for info. I am looking for Rinnai unit too, High efficiency and recirculating pump.
    Do you have a problem with low flow activation? Like , if you will open just a kitchen sink a little bit, will unit start heating?
    Any problem to contact Rinnai service over the phone, if needed?
    Do you have electric unit or gas?
    Thanks, Ed.
    Eduard, it triggers any time a hot water valve is opened but does take a minute or so for hot water to happen at the sinks (or showers, for that matter). So, ďyesĒ, even at part throttle if thatís the question. Iím used to it and never have found it to be an issue. Have honestly had zero issues with it, so couldnít say about Rinnaiís support. Ours is gas, BTW. Hope this helps,

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Beantown
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    Zero problems. Gas fired.

    Never called service as I have yet to need it “knock on wood”

    My house is 1650 sq ft one bath one kitchen with a sink and dishwasher. So not a lot of usage. I shower all the time when other hot water is being used.

  8. #8
    I have three Rheem natural gas units and they work fine. One condensing and two non-condensing.

    Just a note, the condensing units that use PVC for venting have a chemical package inside them to neutralize the acidic condensate. That has to be replaced every few years. The non-condensing ones don't have that issue but can't use PVC for venting.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    We had a natural gas Rinnai in our last house and liked it. We would have gotten one when we built our current house but the tankless would have been the only gas device and the cost to run gas to our house would have been $10,000.

    They suggest that you flush clean the tankless every year. Itís easy to do yourself. Just get a couple of 5 gallon buckets (clean), a cheap utility pump from HF, 3 gallons of cheap white vintage and a couple of short (4 FT) garden hoses. You put the thing in bypass, clean one little filter screen and circulate the vinaigrette through the system for 45 minutes or so. Use the second bucket for a water rinse for five minutes while you dump first bucket and fill for second rinse. Easy. The first time you do it you will save a little after the cost of equipment. After that, you save about $80 over having some guy out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    NE Iowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eduard Nemirovsky View Post
    I am looking for your experience with tankless LP water heater. I know, it is not money wise spent, expensive compared to regular electric water heater. But it is a endless, to the point, hot water supply - this is what I am looking for.
    I have experience to use it back 35 years ago in Russia. It is a very popular source of hot water back then and it is very popular in Europe.
    Right now I have 50 Gal electric water heater in very small space, I need more hot water and don't have a space to install anything bigger by size. Even a new generation electric one will be difficult to cramp in this space.
    Please, if you have one, give me your opinions for usage, service, which company make it.
    Thank you, Ed.
    I have two Takagi's - one an older, non condensing (hot exhaust) that has been in operation for 15 years, and a newer condensing (cold exhaust) with fewer miles on it. I wouldn't even consider a tank type water heater at this point.

    I have nothing but good to say about the Takagis. The 15 year old one has literally been completely trouble free. I have done nothing in the way of repair or adjustment on it, and have never wanted for hot water. The newer one had valve solenoid issue shortly after installation. Takagi provided excellent telephone support to help me identify the issue, shipped new parts immediately, and it's been clean sailing ever since.

    Again, I wouldn't even think about a tank heater at this point.

    I also used to have a tankless electric heater, but it was too small for our house, so couldn't deliver a full stream of hot water. If I were doing new construction with new electric, I'd probably wire for enough current to handle a big enough electric one.

    The one thing you absolutely have to do for to either LP or electric tankless heaters to work, though, is to make sure that your water supply remains reliably softened. They cannot handle water with any significant calcium or other high saturation minerals that will precipitate out when the water is heated. The heat exchangers have many small passages for the water, and ANY scale in them will soon render the water heater useless, and probably not economically repairable.

  11. #11
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    Looks like a only good experience so far. Thank you everyone for your time and information.
    Another question - if I will install by myself and only gas line by professional - would I be covered with warranty or everything needs to be done by professional installer?
    House, I want to install this unit, located middle of nowhere, with closest Rinnai certified installer about 200 miles away.
    Ed.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Eduard Nemirovsky View Post
    Looks like a only good experience so far. Thank you everyone for your time and information.
    Another question - if I will install by myself and only gas line by professional - would I be covered with warranty or everything needs to be done by professional installer?
    House, I want to install this unit, located middle of nowhere, with closest Rinnai certified installer about 200 miles away.
    Ed.
    I had a plumber install mine, and he was not a certified installer. I had a question about one of my units and when I called Rheem they asked me to send them a picture of the unit, including the hookups. After looking at it, they replied that the installation looked okay. So I think if you follow the directions you'll be okay.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    The one thing you absolutely have to do for to either LP or electric tankless heaters to work, though, is to make sure that your water supply remains reliably softened. They cannot handle water with any significant calcium or other high saturation minerals that will precipitate out when the water is heated. The heat exchangers have many small passages for the water, and ANY scale in them will soon render the water heater useless, and probably not economically repairable.
    Scale is a serious problem and that's why the manufacturers require that you flush the unit with a mild acid (vinegar) once a year. It's easy to do - you just have to remember to do it. I suppose if you had water with a lot of calcium in it you might have to flush twice a year.

    I have a softener but I have a bypass so the water is not completely softened. I flush once a year.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #14
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    I have a Rheem LP has on-demand water heater. I love it. It does have a little lag, but it is hard to say how much because the previous owner of my home plumbed it with 3/4” pipe, and it takes a while
    to flush the pipes to begin with, on top of the lag time to heat the water, but it isn’t very long; perhaps 30 seconds max to reach full hot.

    I love it, because it never stops making hot water. As I type, literally, we have house guests returning from the beach, and the fourth person just entered the shower, and I’m about to take a hot bath. Can’t do that with most water heaters.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eduard Nemirovsky View Post
    Looks like a only good experience so far. Thank you everyone for your time and information.
    Another question - if I will install by myself and only gas line by professional - would I be covered with warranty or everything needs to be done by professional installer?
    House, I want to install this unit, located middle of nowhere, with closest Rinnai certified installer about 200 miles away.
    Ed.
    I suppose your mileage on the warranty will vary with the manufacturer. I installed both of mine - water, electrical, and gas. When I had the issue with the second, Takagi clearly could have denied me service, but was very helpful, prompt and efficient talking me through the repair after asking a couple of questions clearly intended to verify that I knew what I was doing.

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