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Hot water tanks

weemalky's picture

Wanted some real world feedback from the fine readers out there regarding hot water tanks. My 40 gallon gas fired unit is just starting to leak and needs replaced. I need some feedback on tankless water heaters as I've heard they don't keep up as well with demand as storage types. Everyone and their brother tries to sell you on them but I'm kind of old school. I also have 3 kids,2 of them teenagers, so between the shower, dishwasher and washing machine the tank gets a good workout. Thoughts, opinions, experiences?

I went with another tank. (post #206958, reply #1 of 5)

I did a fair amount of research. Consumer Reports points out that the break even point for a tankless could be 10 years out, owing to the higher install costs, etc. They also point out that the longer the warranty, the more likely the unit is to last longer. (duh). The greater the BTU capacity, the faster the tank will reheat, an often overlooked consideration.

Good luck.

Generally a tankless is a (post #206958, reply #2 of 5)

Generally a tankless is a losing bet.  There are two cases where it might make sense:

  1. Where space is limited and a standard heater would simply be too large.
  2. In a situation where hot water will be used intermittently, as in a vacation cabin.

Otherwise, just pick the best gas tank you can find/afford.  Pay attention to efficiency.  You may want to consider a "condensing" unit with a blower fan, vs a standard draft unit, but understand that the blower is something else that can fail.

If currently you tend to run out of hot water a bit too frequently, consider either getting a unit with a higher BTU rating or one with a larger tank (or both).  (But also keep in mind that running out of hot water convinces teenagers to get out of the shower.)


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Thanks Dan, more space is (post #206958, reply #4 of 5)

Thanks Dan, more space is always nice but not an issue. The existing standard draft unit lasted over 20 years. I've heard the tankless save some money but have also heard there is a slight delay and if more than one fixture is calling for hot it could be a problem. Have you heard anything about using 2 units or using a small(10 gallon) tank in conjunction with the tankless?

It's a myth that tankless (post #206958, reply #5 of 5)

It's a myth that tankless saves money in the general case.  It's only in relatively oddball cases (mostly cases of intermittent use) that it makes sense economically.  A good, well-insulated tank unit is quite efficient for standard residential conditions.

A small tank (usually electric) is fairly often used for "remote" bathrooms and the like where it would otherwise take a long time for hot water to arrive.  Though electric units cost more per BTU to operate, they can be insulated up the wazoo, so the "standing losses" are about zero.  And if fed "hot" water from the main heater the electric use can be minimized.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I'm a fan of gas fired power (post #206958, reply #3 of 5)

I'm a fan of gas fired power vent units. The best quality you can buy.  (So you don't have to go through this again for as long as possible)