Asked on Jun 14, 2012

We are finishing our basement and some of the contractors we have interviewed say we need another water heater.

Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com3po3


What is the best kind? Could we opt to get a bigger or perhaps tankless water heater that could provide the hot water necessary for the whole house? On a daily basis it is just my husband and myself showering at different times. We don't have over night guests that often.
2 answers
  • 3po3
    on Jun 15, 2012

    So they are saying you need a new water heater just for a new basement bathroom? Could you just get a small point-of-use water heater for that bathroom?

  • Choosing a hot water heater is like buying a car, lots of them out there with all sorts of bells attached. Many of which you will never need. But like cars most of them are made pretty well. So brand is really not something you should be to concerned about. What you need to consider is if this is just for the basement bath, if that is what is going in, then a point of use type such as Steve suggested may be your cheapest way out. However if your current hot water heater is getting up there in age, and you will be needing one in the next few years, then you should consider getting a new larger heater for the whole house. Also with a basement remodel you need to consider combustion air for the heater. if they inclosed the heating and the hot water heater and you do not have enough free air for combustion this may be the reason for the new heater. As many use inside air for combustion reasons. Lastly if your considering installing a high efficiency heating system in the future, you should consider a side vented hot water heater that does not use the current chimney. As once you upgrade to the new furnace or boiler, they will no longer use the chimney as most of the systems being installed are side wall vented. Once that happens the chimney flue pipe will be to large for proper venting of the hot water heater and it will need the chimney to be either lined, (expensive) or a new hot water heater that is side vented will need to be installed. Might as well put in what you will need in the future now, when its not so expensive. There are basically three types of heaters. Free standing tank, On demand tankless whole house. and on demand point of use The best choice these days of course is the most expensive which is the on demand tankless whole house units. Rinnai is considered one of the best systems out there. They are in the range of 90% efficient. And if sized correctly you all can take a shower at the same time all day and never run out of hot water. The disadvantages of these heaters is water quality. If you have hard water you need to have a softener installed. As the hard water will lower the efficiency of the unit quite quickly. Making this unit a service headache. The next choice is a free standing tank style heater. They come in 20 gallon units up to 100 or more. For a family of three or four a 40 gallon unit will work nicely. Try to purchase a closed combustion unit. They tend to be more efficient then the old open flame types most people purchase. The last choice is your on demand single point of use. These units work nicely but are a bit expensive to run, they only come as electrical systems so gas is not an option. Just remember you need the power in the panel to run this and like the whole house unit hard water plays havoc on its operational costs and life. Prices from high to low will depend upon local costs, but you can expect to pay over $2000 for the whole house tankless to around $800 for a 40 gallon high efficiency free standing to around $500 for the on demand point of use unit.

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