Author Topic: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless  (Read 3613 times)

blackfedora

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Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« on: January 23, 2014, 03:14:53 PM »
I've noticed that my water bill is almost twice what it was in my apartment and it seems that the problem lies with all of the bath-rooms being on the opposite side of the house from the water heater. At the same time, my water heater is around 10 years old, so I was looking into replacing it and hoping to go tankless.

As I see it I have three options:
1) Install a water circulator so that we're not wasting a ton of water waiting for the shower to warm up. (saves water, costs more electricity)
2) Install a tankless system (saves more electricity, but doesn't help with the hot water delay)
3) Take a chance on this kickstarter (one of these installed in the bathrooms and another replacing the old water heater seems like it would bring hot water quickly to everywhere in the house, but I'm hesitant to invest so heavily in a kickstarter product):
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1132758406/heatworks-model-1-your-next-water-heater?ref=category

What do you guys think? Is there another solution I haven't heard about?

Spork

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 03:37:45 PM »
Be sure that tankless is going to save you money...  Electric tankless systems can be an enormous power draw.  I had seen that the average is something like 120amp.  This may also mean a panel upgrade if your panel can't handle it.

What I have seen some builders do in your situation is find the absolutely smallest tank heater you can find -- 10 gallons is probably about right.  Install that heater near your bathrooms.  The "cold water" feed for that heater is the hot water feed from your large heater.

I'm not anti-tankless.  I have a gas tankless.  I actually like it.  I'm not sure it saves me money, though.  If it does, the payback is in the 15-20 year mark.  (And if the price of propane keeps going up, I am pretty sure I'm in the hole.)

chardog

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 05:53:50 PM »
I had a similar issue with my water heater being on the other end of the house from my master bath.

I installed one of these in the wall next to my shower.  (not under sink as I have a pedestal sink with no cabinet) http://www.homedepot.com/p/Autocirc-Undersink-Instant-Hot-Water-Circulating-System-ACT-E1/100037011

I set the unit to "on" (not the timer) wired it to a motion sensing switch in the wall.  That way, when I enter the bathroom, it starts to circulate, and by the time I step in the shower, I have hot water.

I don't know if the water savings outweighs the electricity costs, but it's nice to have hot water when you step in the shower.

I guess the least expensive option would be to collect the cold water in a bucket while you wait for hot water and use the water for things like filling the toilet tank, watering plants and washing things.

b4u2

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 06:01:56 PM »
I have an electric tank less. When I was single with just 2 housemates my bill was ok. With a family of 5 I think this thing is eating me alive now. I am still monitoring my usage (just bought a TED) so not 100% sure but it is a huge power draw.

Milspecstache

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 06:25:02 PM »
I have a big family at home that uses hot water all day long doing laundry, baths, and dishes.  For me the most economical choice is a tank water heater.  If you could easily run the larger electrical cable to the bathroom to install a tankless water heater nearby and you only need hot water there a few times a day (say morning and evening only) then it might be practical to go tankless.

To run tankless in the place of my existing water heater would require me to run larger cables to supply power and it wouldn't help me minimize water usage because the same distance would be traveled.

My opinion is that water circulators are a nice feature to brag about and probably expected in high-end homes but the reality is that is another component to fail and uses additional electricity to move the water and also to keep all of that piping at a warm temperature.

Start-ups are risky...

Beridian

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2014, 06:42:40 PM »
My water bill has been nasty, averaging about $65 a month.  Here is my very bad-ass solution to the problem:  I keep a 5 gallon bucket outside my shower.   My shower head is the type on a hose.   When I start the shower I put the shower head in the bucket.  It usually takes a gallon or two to get hot.   I then use the contents of the bucket to flush the toilet (pour it into the tank immediately after flushing, you can also pour it right into the bowl but it doesn't work as well). 

I also started keeping another 5 gallon bucket inside the laundry tub under the washing machine discharge hose.  It fills with the washer discharge and overflows into the laundry tub when full.  I use this water to flush the toilets as well and plan to use it to water the lawn and garden in the summer.  In the spring I am going to rig some rain barrels. 

I was also horrified when I figured out that my on-furnace humidifier was pissing away about ten gallons a day (the discharge tube is also in the laundry tub, I figured this out by putting a bucket under it).  Needless to say I lowered the humidifier almost to the off setting.

I know it may sound ridiculous to many folks, but the other great thing about this method is that my biceps get a little extra work out and it is a constant reminder to me not to waste water.

PS - my brother-in-law went with a gas tank-less heater.  He hates it.  It cost a fortune, he had to put in a special chimney liner, and he says the water is not as hot as with a tank, especially when there are multiple simultaneous demands placed on it.  When my old gas tank heater dies I'll replace it a higher efficiency model of the same type.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 06:54:02 PM by Beridian »

Spork

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 08:41:35 PM »
PS - my brother-in-law went with a gas tank-less heater.  He hates it.  It cost a fortune, he had to put in a special chimney liner, and he says the water is not as hot as with a tank, especially when there are multiple simultaneous demands placed on it.  When my old gas tank heater dies I'll replace it a higher efficiency model of the same type.

Strange.  I can deliver 140 degrees to multiple sources.  That's way more than I need.  My vent is direct to outside -- no chimney, no liner.  I'm not convinced they're more cost effective.  But the decent ones do work very well.

tfordon

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Re: Water Recirculation vs. Going Tankless
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 10:46:10 AM »
Are your hot water pipes insulated?