Hot Water Question

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MatthewF

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Hot water heater tank suggestions. We purchased an Inn and currently renovating. The place was originally 3 full bath and we are adding 2 more full baths to make it 5 total. There is a 40 gallon hot water tank which I don’t think is enough if we are fully booked and everyone is showering at once. Any suggestions? What do you all have?
 

JimBoone

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Hot water heater tank suggestions. We purchased an Inn and currently renovating. The place was originally 3 full bath and we are adding 2 more full baths to make it 5 total. There is a 40 gallon hot water tank which I don’t think is enough if we are fully booked and everyone is showering at once. Any suggestions? What do you all have?
MatthewF,

look at this site RightSpec® Sizing Software | Bradford White Water Heaters. Built to be the best.

I have an 8-guest room motel plus our living quarters, in the past did our own laundry also. We have a 60-gal high efficiency propane water heater from Bradford-White, wasn't cheap, and maybe more that is needed for your operation, guess it has been in operation about 7 years. Play with their sizing calculator to get an idea of what you need.

I always like the idea of 2 tanks or a tank with a tankless backup, that way a failure doesn't put you completely down. On that same subject take a look at this https://www.lowes.com/pd/Watts-Water-Heater-Recirculating-Pump/1100949 while it may take a little power to run the pump it saves a lot of wasted water waiting for the hot water to arrive. This kit uses a special valve, but you can also run a 3rd line for your return.
 

GoodScout

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I strongly recommend tankless water heaters for B&Bs and inns. We have them in four of our suites, and when any of our other traditional water heaters break I'll be replacing them with more.

I love not paying to keep water hot when the rooms are empty, or especially during the slower seasons when rooms might stay empty for a week or two.
 

Tom

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We have a 5-room inn plus own quarters. One room has 2-person jetted tub.
We use a mixed system: 50-gallon standard water heater acting as a reservoir for a dual line recirculating system -- not a valve, each hot fixture has 2 lines.
The 50-gallon tank is fine for just us or one other standard room, but when 2 rooms, or jetted tub, I turn on a 200,000 Btu/hr propane fired tankless that preheats water going into the reservoir.
In thirteen years, never ran out of hot water.
I can give more info if you'd like.
 

JimBoone

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We use a mixed system: 50-gallon standard water heater acting as a reservoir for a dual line recirculating system -- not a valve, each hot fixture has 2 lines.
The recirculating line is definitely the superior solution the thermostatic valve feeds the hot/warm water back into the cold line, useful if a person is locked into using existing supply lines. I suppose I've always been impatient, sure is nice to turn on the tap and have hot water right away. Our rooms/building were such that it took forever to get hot water at the far end.
 

Arks

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I have a separate tankless water heater for each of my 6 rooms. No way am I heating big tanks of water 24/7 even when I'm empty or only have a room or two rented. And with tankless, they heat the water on demand, as it's used, so you can never run out. Also, if one DOES stop working (so far has never happened) I only lose hot water to that one room.
 

gillumhouse

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we replaced a water heater at the log house with a tankless. No one mentioned draining it for the winter.

What a mess when the water was turned back on for the summer season. The water has not been turned back on since. It is open for tours by appointment but the water is not on even for the 2 times a years the Association has their covered dish dinners. Bring it with and take it home to clean it. (Pay your "respects" before you leave the house and when you get home.)
 

Arks

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No one mentioned draining it for the winter. What a mess when the water was turned back on for the summer season.
So you're saying it froze and pipes burst during the winter?
 

MatthewF

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I strongly recommend tankless water heaters for B&Bs and inns. We have them in four of our suites, and when any of our other traditional water heaters break I'll be replacing them with more.

I love not paying to keep water hot when the rooms are empty, or especially during the slower seasons when rooms might stay empty for a week or two.
Thanks!
 

MatthewF

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We have a 5-room inn plus own quarters. One room has 2-person jetted tub.
We use a mixed system: 50-gallon standard water heater acting as a reservoir for a dual line recirculating system -- not a valve, each hot fixture has 2 lines.
The 50-gallon tank is fine for just us or one other standard room, but when 2 rooms, or jetted tub, I turn on a 200,000 Btu/hr propane fired tankless that preheats water going into the reservoir.
In thirteen years, never ran out of hot water.
I can give more info if you'd like.
Thanks!
 

JimBoone

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Opposing view to tankless water heaters: If as Arks says you have one for each unit and physically close to the point of use, I can see that possibility. However, daughter's home, tankless unit replaced water tank and supplies kitchen and bath, takes a bit to get hot to kitchen sink, if I turn it off to bring another dish to rinse, it's cold again. Effective use is not as simple as replacing a tank with tankless. I would think you need to design the system to place the tankless unit close to each bath.
 

An Old Tavernkeeper

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Hot water heater tank suggestions. We purchased an Inn and currently renovating. The place was originally 3 full bath and we are adding 2 more full baths to make it 5 total. There is a 40 gallon hot water tank which I don’t think is enough if we are fully booked and everyone is showering at once. Any suggestions? What do you all have?
Matthew, Shower uses approximately 1.6 to 2 gallons per minute so 40 gallon tank is only 20 minutes of showering. One couple could use that up by themselves!

We have a seven shower property on three floors. No need to run tankless to each unit, silly and expensive. Our customers had to wait from 15 to 40 seconds for hot water before the tankless and they wait the same 15 to 40 seconds now.

There were 2 pre-existing 50 gallon water heaters before. Turned the first one off but left it in place as a backup and to allow water to reach room temp if not in use. The second one also left in place as a backup but that second 50 gallon tanked heater is set at 80 degrees to preheat water, feeding into an EEMAX electric tankless water heater set at 135 degrees, feeding into an EEMAX 110V 2 gallon mixing tank set at 120 degrees.

Never ever run out of hot water. Total cost for tankless and mixing tank, including install $960. Tankless unit was $479 but they are now on sale for $416 at Lowes. The mini tank mixer was $119 but right now is $179 at Lowes. So if you have an existing tank to preheat and the room and the panel capacity you can do this same unlimited hot water system for about $1000

Cut our electric bill down by $70 to almost $120 per month, depending on season and despite guests showering much longer on average than before. First tank costs zero to run because it is off and only a back up. The 2nd tank costs very little to run because it is only heating to 80 degrees, but is also there as a backup if one of the tankless elements blows. The tankless doesn't strain because it is getting preheated water. The key to a comfortable and constant water temperature is the heated mixing tank. But again it doesn't use much electric because it is set at 120 degrees and the water coming in from the tankless is at 135.

Good luck!
 

Arks

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tankless unit replaced water tank and supplies kitchen and bath, takes a bit to get hot to kitchen sink.
I would think the location problem would be the same with ANY water heater, tank or tankless. Regardless of how the hot water is made, it will take a while to get from where it's made to the most distant taps.
 
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JimBoone

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I would think the location problem would be the same with ANY water heater, tank or tankless. Regardless of how the hot water is made, it will take a while to get from where it's made to the most distant taps.
Yes, exactly correct. New installation, I think you said yours was that way, with a tankless close to each unit, tankless would be the way to go. Old installation, such as mine, the heater is a great distance from the point of use, in that instance a tank or small tank with a tankless backup AND a recirculatory pump provides the guest hot water without a long wait.
 

Arks

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Old installation, such as mine, the heater is a great distance from the point of use, in that instance a tank or small tank with a tankless backup AND a recirculatory pump provides the guest hot water without a long wait.
But I don't understand why you think hot water from a tankless heater would take longer to get there than a tank system. Hot water is hot water. Both leave the heater at the same temperature.

Indeed, a recirculatory pump system like the big hotels have is the ideal. Hot water circulates through it 24/7, so hot water is there within seconds, but at a huge fuel cost.
 

JimBoone

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But I don't understand why you think hot water from a tankless heater would take longer to get there than a tank system. Hot water is hot water. Both leave the heater at the same temperature.

Indeed, a recirculatory pump system like the big hotels have is the ideal. Hot water circulates through it 24/7, so hot water is there within seconds, but at a huge fuel cost.
Hi Arks, I agree with you, (difficulty of talking via a post in a forum rather than face to face) either one should take about the same time for hot water to reach a room. That said, for our property, a small living area and 11 bedrooms in a row, it took forever to get hot water down the line from one water heater.

The night we arrived at the property (December 91) I went to bed without a hot shower because I gave up waiting on hot water. Learned to tell our guests to just let it run as it would eventually get hot. Somewhere over the years I saw a small pump at the hardware store added it to the system. Wow, that was better than ice cream, turn the tap and water was warm. I don't know about large hotels, but for me I didn't see any difference in the propane bill that heats the water and if there was any small difference, I'm sure it is offset by not running the well pump wasting water.

Building a property from scratch, a number of tankless heaters near the location of use sounds efficient, but anyone stuck with using a common location for a heater, tank or tankless, I'd sure suggest the little pump and if tankless a small tank hybrid system.
 

Arks

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Somewhere over the years I saw a small pump at the hardware store added it to the system. Wow, that was better than ice cream, turn the tap and water was warm.
I recall one time on This Old House they installed a pump that keeps a small amount of hot water moving in a continuous loop through the system all the time, so you don't have to wait so long for hot water to get to the tap. That's what the larger hotels do, keep it circulating all the time so hot water is almost instant in all the rooms. But I'm surprised it didn't raise the propane bill much. That's great!
 

JimBoone

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But I'm surprised it didn't raise the propane bill much. That's great!
Arks, in our case the pump is tiny, you don't need to move a lot of water to keep it warm and son-in-law and I wrapped the pipes to retain heat. A side benefit is that it keeps a bit of water moving so pipes don't freeze in winter. Our hot water tank is only 60 gallons for everything so not a lot of water being stored/heated but a large burner like the tankless type to kick in when needed.
 

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