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Old 10-18-16, 10:36 AM   #1
oil pan 4
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Default Looks like it'd time for a new hot water heater

I noticed that one of 2 hot water heaters in my house has started leaking. It's a gas fired hot water heater.
I want to say it's just condensation dripping out but I don't think I can belive this much longer.
This hot water heater only supplies hot water to the back bathroom which has a sink and shower as the only demands on it.
This is the only bathroom at the moment as the main bath room is being torn apart and is on a 30 gallon gas water heater.
Once the main bath room is finished this back bathroom won't be getting used much.

The easy thing to do would be to stick another 30 gallon gas hot water heater in its place. But that pilot lite will waste a lot of gas and the water takes a really long time to heat from cold if I were just to turn it off.
I'm thinking that I should replace it with a 19 gallon electric. I want a 19 gallon because it's short, I can lift it up off the floor and get some storage back which my wife would really love.
2 problems the 19 gallon is 1500w 120v powered.
This bath room is going to have to last 2 people for a few more months. That's not going to work for showing in winter with a 40f water inlet water. So I would like to put a 240v element in it. I have never tried this before.
Also there is not an electrical hook up for a water heater over there. I can pull the wire so not really a big deal. Problem is I need to run a sub panel in the garage. If I left the water heater as 120v I wouldn't bother with a sub panel but with a 4500 or 5500 watt element I would really want to sub panel.
The 19 gallon is the same diameter as the larger 2 element 30 and 40 gallon heaters. So a longer element should go I no problem.

Does anyone know if a stubby 19 gallon heater can take a longer element?
I can change to a 240v thermostat too if they are different.

Since this is going to be a lightly used bathroom there really isn't any point in putting an expensive high efficiency hybrid or tankless water heater. The 19 gallon is about $300 with my military discount at lowes. Anything that is tankless or hybrid is at least 2x to 4x that much.
I want to do an electric wrap it with lots of insulation and forgetaboutit.


Last edited by oil pan 4; 10-18-16 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 10-18-16, 11:54 AM   #2
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Just buy a 240 volt short water heater. Chances are good that someone in town has these units in stock, as they are common in manufactured and mobile homes. Maybe not the big box store, but more likely an independent (plumbing or mobile home) supply house. That way, if the unit has problems under warranty, you won't be doomed. Modifying the unit in any way usually voids your warranty.

If the big box store doesn't stock the exact model you need, find it online and have them ship it to your local store for free. If you do it online, you can track the unit, and know when it has arrived at the store for pickup. The local help is not so great at calling to let you know when the unit arrives.
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Old 10-18-16, 09:19 PM   #3
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Go with what Jeff said about a locating a short 240V unit. If you're concerned about running out of warm water, run the 19 gallon unit at a higher base temp than you were running the 30 gallon gas unit for the few months that you need to rely on this unit. You mix hot with cold to get a 1.2gpm or 1.5gpm stream out the shower head.

If your cold water is coming out of the ground at 40F, it must feel like what we get out of the ground at our property in Northern Maine.

(I have a 1500W 240V lower element in my 50 gallon WH in Florida)
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Old 10-19-16, 09:18 AM   #4
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Yes in NM the water lines only have to be buried 12 to 18 inches and it gets below 0F here in the winter.
In maine the have to be down something like 4 feet.
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Old 10-19-16, 09:22 AM   #5
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Have you considered running a line from the other water heater and adding a recirculation pump?
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Old 10-19-16, 09:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiHaoMike View Post
Have you considered running a line from the other water heater and adding a recirculation pump?
I like this idea. I have a recirculation pump that I have setup when you turn on the bathroom light it will kick on the pump for a certain amount of time. This works very well.
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Old 10-19-16, 10:03 AM   #7
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I can look into doing that.
Only problem I see is the back bathroom is part of an addition, so I may not be able to easily run a hot water line back there as easy as I would like.
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Old 10-19-16, 10:52 PM   #8
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PEX line is very easy to route.
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Old 10-20-16, 07:51 AM   #9
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I'm thinking that the attic crawl spaces from the old and newer construction may not be connected, divided by an old covered up section of roof.
I will try to get up there this weekend.
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Old 10-20-16, 08:08 AM   #10
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I will second that. I ran loop with insulated Pex very quick to run.

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