I recently had changed up my 11 year old 50 gal water heater tank located in my basement townhouse with a 199 BTU Rinnai tankless. The tank had rust and leaking (rusty water) coming from the tank.so I decided to look for a new water heater.
I had requested for 3 quotes and decided on MHC due to workmanship familiarity and price. The other quotes were either 25% higher, asked to pay $80 for a quote, or never called back and they never left a call back number.
Initially the MHC Sales Rep (Eric) recommend a 160BTU unit for my townhouse but I had concerns if I need to use all 3 shows in the house and a couple of faucets if we had a lot of guests I opted for the large capacity model (199BTU) as it was only $300 more plus taxes compared to the overall price.
This was done in 2 phases.
First day was to connect another natural gas connection from the main to the tankless as it required a larger diameter pipe than the current 0.5 inch connection in place for the existing tanked heater. They drilled into the foundation, connected a flexible metal tubing and with any other gas leak validation was done in half a day. I ask multiple times that they caulk the outside the foundation around the tubing just to make sure no extra little things came inside that way.
Installation day of the new tankless heater. The new device was definitely smaller both in sized and in the footprint compared to the tank heater. The new tankless is roughly 1/6 the size of my water heater tank and the tankless is mounted flush on a board against the wall freeing up 4ft x 2.5ft footprint. The piping in and out of the tankless was plastic (PVC?) instead of copper which is ok as it would be a better insulator compared to copper reducing some heat loss. The technicians drilled new foundation holes for the new tankless ventilation and the job was done in less than a day.
Post Installation Problems
1) Water flow or pressure issues
The hot water was not providing enough flow compared to the cold water (30% difference). Thus I could only one of anything (ie 1 shower or faucet) at a time. My wife mentioned this to the technician the day when the new tankless was installed but the tech indicated this was normal until I confirmed the issue measuring the water flows for Scenario 1 (2 showers) and Scenario 2 (2 showers plus kitchen faucet).
This took 3 weeks to resolve until the original technician remembered that the main water line may not have been fully opened before he came back the 3rd week. Larger diameter plastic tubes were used to replace the original 0.5 inch to the tankless but it was mainly due to fully opening up the main water line. The tankless did have some resistance but now hot and cold lines outputted a similar amount of water.
Things to think about or need to ask for
- Any drilling in the foundation I asked they at least caulked around the outside where the new vent pipes or gas line come into the basement. This is to prevent any water and/or very flexible rodents from getting in easily.
- Before the installation check how the water is flowing typically in your house under normal usage. I have to bath the kids when my wife showers and sometimes with an active laundry machine. So I definitely noticed when the low flow issue when I bath the kids. There was more water flowing out of my kids than the hot water. I didn't check the flows beforehand so I could only compare with the cold water as water should flow normally regardless of temperature. As it turns out I may not reach full capacity of my tankless as my water flow only gives me 5-6 GPM while the tankless can handle 9.6 GPM.
- Some cleaning up on the inside you may have to take care of on your own. I have concerns about the basement foundation holes so I caulked where the pipes came into the house from the inside of the foundation too.
Tankless Water Heater
Final Rating 8/10 (This is separate from the HomeStars rating)
Reduced rating score from 10 due to
-1 Forgetting to fully turn on the main water connection
-0.5 Troubleshooting for 3 weeks. I could still use a shower and understanding due to the overall pandemic situation. If it was not a pandemic or I could not use any hot water then the penalty is at least 1 if not more.
-0.5 Post clean up issue from the foundation drilling of the vents and gas line connection. Anyone who doesn't get this penalty is probably charging more upfront and this is a small issue to me as I can handle this myself.
Overall I'm fine with the installation and pricing. I was in a state where it was usable until MHC resolve my issues. I would recommend them to other people.