A tankless water heater for Joey and Janice

Exciting news, readers! We’ve joined the world of the enlightened and we just this very day upgraded to a tankless water heater. Why tankless, you ask? Dan’s line of work shows him all the inner secrets of new home construction, and from his first year on the job, he’s said tankless is the way to go. It heats water on demand as you need it, so depending on your usage, you use less energy to get the hot water you need.

Readers, take a knee. Think of your giant aging traditional water heater in your basement, and the giant size of its tank, sitting there all day and night heating water. We are but two simple people, and we don’t need or use a lot of anything, including water. We don’t own a dishwasher, and I don’t know what wacky school of thought you have on washing dishes by hand, but I don’t rinse my dishes. No siree Bob. We fill the sink with enough hot soapy water for the job, scrub them until they’re as clean as dishes need to be (read: no more food stuck on them) and sit them in the rack to dry. “But, that soap residue on the dishes!” you cry. I hear you, and I dismiss your fears as something that does not matter. I have never rinsed the soap off my dishes, and I’m not going to start now. It’s wasteful and unnecessary, and I have had zero ill effects from my methods. I’m quite certain any dishwasher would use a ton more water than washing by hand too, so there’s that. We also take super short showers, and, prepare yourself for secrets to be revealed, neither one of us showers every day. Accept it, we’re moving on now.

The old traditional water heater we had was massive, and I know for a fact we weren’t using most of that water each day. So every day, the clunky old beast would fire up and heat the water sitting in the tank so it could be enjoyed by no one.

When we bought our house, we took over the existing contract for the water heater, through MorEnergy. I really didn’t want to take over the contract, because everything about this company screamed “SCAM!” to me. When looking them up, I found more information about red flags and sketchy door-to-door sales practices than about their services. When I called to ask a few questions about the contract before signing our agreement with them, it was IMPOSSIBLE to find a real person to speak with. The only reason anyone ever called me back was because I told our real estate lawyers that I wouldn’t sign our purchase agreement and all the final paperwork until someone from MorEnergy called me back. All I wanted to know was if we could swap out the heater we had for a tankless rental option. The answer was a simple no. The previous homeowners had signed up for a 10 year contract (doesn’t that seem like it shouldn’t be a thing?!) and we couldn’t change anything until the contract expired in August 2015. Fine. Whatever. We signed on to take over the rental and patiently counted down the days before we could end the service with MorEnergy and get what we wanted.

That was a year and a half ago, and earlier this year, I started picking Simon’s brain about how hard it would be to set up the water heater in a different room in the basement. Here’s why:

Giant old tankLook at this thing. It’s sitting in the corner of one of the THREE rooms in the basement to have mechanical equipment in them. There’s the furnace in the storage room, the laundry room with the breaker panel and the water softener, and then this monstrosity sitting in the corner of the workout room. Why?! I know why, it’s because all the mechanicals were installed by different people who all did the thing that was easiest for them. Run the pipes to this thing from across the house? Sure! Smack some unsightly holes into the 1970s wood paneling to access the pipes from the other room? You betcha!

Simon was optimistic about moving it, saying it would just take some tidying up of the capped off pipes later, and the new one just gets installed where it has access to the pipes it needs. Sounds simple enough. I was prepared to wait out the last few months of the contract before doing anything else, and then we got wonderful news.

Reliance Home Comfort bought out MorEnergy and a bunch of other cruddy scam-filled companies. I got a letter in the mail about a month ago simply informing me that Reliance was taking over our account, and we were now their customer. Neat. I called them (and got to speak to someone right away, I might add) and asked if it was possible to replace our aging water heater with what we actually wanted. “Sure, no problem” they said.

I made an appointment for a guy to come out and inspect the site for moving the water heater to another location. He was also going to take a look at our furnace and AC while he was there, because I know they’re in it to sell you junk, and why not buy a new furnace while you’re at it? I decided I would humour them, but I’m not a sucker.

The installation of our new water heater was handled by another company contracted by Reliance. They were due to arrive between 8am and noon today, and they did! They called first to make sure I was home, and they were here at 9:30 to start work. I kept out of their way, and spent most of my morning policing Oscar so he wouldn’t wander downstairs and assist them.

Here’s the new location where we wanted the tankless unit to go, in the laundry room above the washer:

tankless water heater's new homeThe man who did the site inspection said this would be fine; the tankless water heater needs to vent directly outside, and it can tie into the water line and the gas line from here. Aces.

The crew of two was here for about 3 hours doing the installation. They installed the new water heater and connected it to everything that matters, and unhooked the old one from the pipes and capped those off. They removed the venting from the old water heater, but they only capped off the old pipes where they connected to the water heater, so I still have dangling pipes to deal with.

Here’s the big reveal!

Shiny new tankless water heaterIsn’t it pretty? It’s very slim and so much smaller than the big ugly tank. It sits quite nicely above the washer, although it had to be mounted a bit lower than we thought because there’s another pipe in its way. The washing machine is portable, it can move anywhere, and eventually we’ll do something with the laundry room and this won’t even be where the washer and dryer need to sit.

The nice installation man showed me how it works and pointed out all the important shut-off valves. The small little digital box to the left of the tank is the thermostat, which you can set easily with the push of a button. I set it to 120 F because there’s no need to scald myself with all the hot water I can made on demand now.

The nicest change was all the space that opened up in the workout room:

Buh-bye old tanky! Please forgive the horrendous mess, the installation folks aren’t responsible for cleaning up what was under the old tank or mopping up their water spills.

Oscar inspectsLeftover pipes a-danglin'Such a big change! The awkward black pipe you see still in place is the drip pipe for whatever liquid comes out of the furnace. Again, it’s the same problem of someone who installed something and didn’t want to do the right thing, just the quick thing. One day we’ll come up with an alternative that isn’t running an ugly leaking black pipe into a floor drain in the other room. We’re thinking a pump that sends that water out somewhere else. Or chiseling up the concrete floor and making a drain in the same room as the furnace. Yeah, one of those.

The nicest part was watching them haul away the old clunker:

On the truck with you, beast!As for other mechanical things, the site inspection man from Reliance quoted us on a new furnace and AC to replace our somewhat-old-but-not-aging-and-dead mechanicals. Even with their “deeply discounted promotional” pricing, $6,400 (regularly $8,400) is really expensive, and far more than we plan on spending for a furnace and AC. They don’t need to be replaced yet, and we’ve been servicing them regularly like good little responsible homeowners. Dan knows for a fact that we can get a furnace and AC for way cheaper when the time comes.

As for our water heater, we were paying $25-ish a month for the old one through MorEnergy, and the price didn’t change when Reliance took over our account. The tankless unit rents for $39.95 a month plus HST and some garbage fee I didn’t pay attention to when it was explained to me on the phone. It should be between $45 and $50 a month. Now, “that’s a steep increase”, you say. I hear ya, but I’m curious to see what the savings in other utilities will be from not filling and heating a whole tank of water that we don’t use. I’ll keep you posted on the progress as we see our utility bills over the next year. I’m optimistic, and even if it doesn’t come out as huge savings, or savings at all, I’m happy not wasting the water and the energy. Go planet!

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About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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One Response to A tankless water heater for Joey and Janice

  1. Pingback: BASEMENT BATHROOM. All caps. | Joey & Janice buy a house

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