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The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

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  • walrus
    replied
    Originally posted by LynahFan View Post

    Oh hell yeah. Just be glad yours isn’t installed 1/4 mile from the Atlantic Ocean where, but for the presence of Floridians with lawn mowers, it would be a tropical jungle. I swear PVC rusts here if you leave it out overnight. I expect to replace ours every 4 years or so.

    But the wife wants her 45 min showers, ya know?
    I am within a 1/4 mile of ocean, just in cold Maine not warm Fla. I want to know why no DHW via solar. Seems like a no brainer in Fla. I've had 2 panels on my roof since the 90s, Maintenance has been minimal and it works to help with hot water load. Seems like you guys could do nearly 100%?

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  • LynahFan
    replied
    Originally posted by walrus View Post
    Plus tankless heaters are expensive to service.
    Oh hell yeah. Just be glad yours isn’t installed 1/4 mile from the Atlantic Ocean where, but for the presence of Floridians with lawn mowers, it would be a tropical jungle. I swear PVC rusts here if you leave it out overnight. I expect to replace ours every 4 years or so.

    But the wife wants her 45 min showers, ya know?
    Last edited by LynahFan; 03-09-2022, 07:45 PM.

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  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    So the plow took out the door on my mailbox. It's a ****ty mailbox. Decided to just buy a new one.

    get everything installed on the mailbox, start mounting it to the post and realize, the MFer cracked the primary post too. Great. Just ****ing great. Glad we don't have two feed of ice pack around the mailboxes and about two months until it thaws. Goddamnit.

    Leave a comment:


  • MarkEagleUSA
    replied
    Originally posted by Swansong View Post

    I still have some asbestos insulation down in the basement, but once it gets into the walls, it's an old house with horse hair plaster, so no insulation between the exterior walls and the plaster. The basement gets down as low as the low 60s.

    I'd guess on average, it takes a good 1-2 minutes. Not really a complaint, I guess.
    The joys of an older home. Fortunately I've remodeled the entire 1st floor over the last 10-15 years and was able to put proper insulation in the walls, and replace the old, drafty doors and windows.

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  • Swansong
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkEagleUSA View Post
    Are your pipes insulated? Accessible? Foam pipe insulation will go a long way to helping that problem.

    My shower is roughly 25' or so from the hot water tank in the unfinished basement. In winter the basement stays at about 68? since the main heating lines are 1-1/2 steel pipe that run down the center of the basement, so it's far from cold down there. We would have to wait 45-90 seconds to get shower-worthy hot water. Since I insulated the run (which is PEX tubing), hot water can usually be had in 15-30 seconds. Doesn't solve the problem but makes it a bunch easier to tolerate.
    I still have some asbestos insulation down in the basement, but once it gets into the walls, it's an old house with horse hair plaster, so no insulation between the exterior walls and the plaster. The basement gets down as low as the low 60s.

    I'd guess on average, it takes a good 1-2 minutes. Not really a complaint, I guess.

    Leave a comment:


  • MarkEagleUSA
    replied
    Originally posted by Swansong View Post
    Water in the pipes between the heater and the shower head cools off, and it takes a minute for piping hot water to work its way through the labyrinthine plumbing system.
    Are your pipes insulated? Accessible? Foam pipe insulation will go a long way to helping that problem.

    My shower is roughly 25' or so from the hot water tank in the unfinished basement. In winter the basement stays at about 68? since the main heating lines are 1-1/2 steel pipe that run down the center of the basement, so it's far from cold down there. We would have to wait 45-90 seconds to get shower-worthy hot water. Since I insulated the run (which is PEX tubing), hot water can usually be had in 15-30 seconds. Doesn't solve the problem but makes it a bunch easier to tolerate.

    Leave a comment:


  • Swansong
    replied
    Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
    One thing I saw that probably cuts water usage by at least double digits from Gen 1 TWHs was the recirc loop. TWHs take a bit to get up to temp, so you're basically just dumping water down the drain. Some come with a recirc loop (not sure how this works with regards to opening a tap and waiting) that gets the water up to temp and then sends it to the hot water header. Again, it's just one more pain in the *** thing to break and... Jeeze, I dunno man. I'd rather just buy a 12" thick bat of insulation than worry about 100 parts failing.

    Too bad we can't just make these things out of hastelloy, make them vacuum insulated pressure vessels, and they'd outlast the cockroaches.
    I have no earthly idea what almost any of the words in this post mean, but I will say that my totally awesome, 1 year old 40 gallon hot water heater has what I think is the same problem you mention. Water in the pipes between the heater and the shower head cools off, and it takes a minute for piping hot water to work its way through the labyrinthine plumbing system.

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  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Originally posted by walrus View Post
    Plus tankless heaters are expensive to service.
    Yeah, the nightmare stories I've seen where "Oh, part XYZ failed and you can't really service it so they make you send in your unit to prove it defective and they'll send you a new one". Given the supply chain issues now, I'm opting for simplicity. Or efficient and complicated with a simple backup (like keeping my non-smart thermostat in case the ecobee takes a dump).

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    One thing I saw that probably cuts water usage by at least double digits from Gen 1 TWHs was the recirc loop. TWHs take a bit to get up to temp, so you're basically just dumping water down the drain. Some come with a recirc loop (not sure how this works with regards to opening a tap and waiting) that gets the water up to temp and then sends it to the hot water header. Again, it's just one more pain in the *** thing to break and... Jeeze, I dunno man. I'd rather just buy a 12" thick bat of insulation than worry about 100 parts failing.

    Too bad we can't just make these things out of hastelloy, make them vacuum insulated pressure vessels, and they'd outlast the cockroaches.

    Leave a comment:


  • walrus
    replied
    Plus tankless heaters are expensive to service.

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Originally posted by LynahFan View Post
    Edit to add: we're about to install one.
    Gut laugh.

    Leave a comment:


  • LynahFan
    replied
    Originally posted by Swansong View Post

    I know better than to question your math, but there is a lot more than just shower use in terms of hot water.



    I did not go with a tankless system when I needed to replace my heater last year, but it was more about the fact that the installation would have been crazy expensive for me as they'd have had to re-plumb my entire system. Right now my boiler and hot water heater are next to each other in the middle of the basement, next to the central chimney. Tankless systems must be installed on an external wall and vented, so I'd have had to run gas lines, all the plumbing and power to a part of the wall that doesn't have those things, plus I'd have to cut a hole in the wall for said vent.


    Also, my hot water heater and boiler both went on the same day, so I was already facing a $NASA installation/equipment charge.
    Exactly - and that's why they never pay. NA$A to install, and the "maintenance heat" that you save compared to all that usage (which I meant to point out that I was being very, very conservative on, especially in the teenage girl department) is vanishingly small.

    If you want the luxury of unlimited hot water - pay NA$A and own it as a luxury item. Don't buy one thinking that you're cleverly beating the system and somehow saving money.

    Edit to add: we're about to install one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Swansong
    replied
    Originally posted by LynahFan View Post

    Uh, oh. Now you done it - made me go and do some calculations.

    Say you take a 10 minute shower at 2.5 GPM (typical) of 120F water, and your water supply comes into your house at 70 F. The energy used to heat those 25 gallons of water by 70F is 10,000 BTU.

    Now, if your hot water heater is 6 ft tall and 2 ft in diameter and has an insulation R-value of 24, then the rate of heat loss (to your 70F house) would be (6 * 2* pi) * 50 / 24 = 78 BTU/hr. So for your hot water heater to lose as much heat as you use in a single, 10 minute shower would take 127 hours - more than 5 days.

    That right there should convince you that your hot water energy bill is driven by usage and not maintaining the temperature of the hot water heater. But in case you're still not convinced:

    On a weekly basis, if you take a 10 min shower every day, you'd be paying for 70,000 BTUs to heat water "initially" and for 78*168 = 18470 BTU to maintain it, for a total of 116K.

    Now, you can eliminate the 18470 maintenance BTUs by going tankless, but if that tankless water heater tempts you to add just 2 minutes to each shower, then you won't reduce - you'll break even.

    If you have a wife and 3 teenage daughters, so that your nominal weekly usage is 7*5*10 = 350 minutes of showering, then your break-even is at a whopping 10 min 22 seconds per shower.
    I know better than to question your math, but there is a lot more than just shower use in terms of hot water.



    I did not go with a tankless system when I needed to replace my heater last year, but it was more about the fact that the installation would have been crazy expensive for me as they'd have had to re-plumb my entire system. Right now my boiler and hot water heater are next to each other in the middle of the basement, next to the central chimney. Tankless systems must be installed on an external wall and vented, so I'd have had to run gas lines, all the plumbing and power to a part of the wall that doesn't have those things, plus I'd have to cut a hole in the wall for said vent.


    Also, my hot water heater and boiler both went on the same day, so I was already facing a $NASA installation/equipment charge.

    Leave a comment:


  • walrus
    replied
    I have a small passive solar house, this time of year if sun is out its easy to get house in the 70s. In the dead of winter I heat with wood. One centrally located wood stove heats the house easily and temp in living room is generally low 70s. I just installed a ground mount Solar array, 8600 watts. My goal is utilize 2- 12k ductless mini splits to lower the amount of wood I burn and to make it easier to control temps in the shoulder seasons, fall and spring. We shall see if it works. So far I have been impressed with the output of the solar.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kepler
    replied
    Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
    My wife wasn't thrilled either until she started sleeping better with a cold room and warm blankets. We more or less sleep nordic style where she has a couple extra blankets under the main comforter, at least in the winter. I sleep warm and basically get zero sleep if the room is at 70+.
    This is The Way.

    I also have a sleeping body temperature of about 170 degrees, so that helps.

    Leave a comment:

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