On Deman Water Heater

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I've read periodically thread on demand water heaters. We actually purchased one (LP) on discount at Lowes over a year ago, but hadn't installed it yet. Well, on Friday our water heater (electric) went out, and we are trying to get this one installed. The heating/plumbing guys are saying that he'll install it, but won't work on it because they can't get parts for it. He is also saying that they have problems when hooked to a well, because they work on water pressure, and when the pump kicks on etc., it changes the water pressure. Can anyone shed some light on this? I don't recall hearing anything like this about them, so I don't know if it's just his personal thing about them to keep from having to deal with them or what. We wanted to switch to gas. Because of the way our house is built, the only way to put a gas water heater in the basement (where the electric one was) is to get a high efficiency unit $$$. Or put a regular gas on in my laundry room, but bringing the water line over and installation it would be $856 including the heater. So to install the demand one would be that, less the cost of the heater. Any thoughts folks? This is a reputable company, not like the ripoff artists that worked too long on the existing water heater less than 6 months ago, NEVER suggesting it was time to replace it (That was $900 for a new pressure tank, and to replace thermostat and element in heater) (ok, venting over ;-) )

-- Joyce Dingman (joycedingman@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002


By the way it's an AquaStar, and I think it was the model 125

-- Joyce Dingman (joycedingman@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002.

Joyce, We had an AquaStar 125 installed about 18 months ago. It does take some practice and patience to become familiar with its quirks. The unit with installation cost us around $750. But I think the savings in propane will make up the difference in the cost of a regular 40 gal tank in about 2 years. It has one small part to replace as part of routine maintenance. Its a small seal I believe, and you can order it from the company. Its not too difficult to replace, but since I haven't done so as yet, I may be talking out of turn.

You also have to replace the two batteries every so often (i.e., we do it at 6 months) The battery is the source for the spark ignition.

Now, the water pressure issue is a fact. If the unit senses a drop in water pressure entering the unit, it shuts off the heat. So, when someone is in the shower and you run hot water in the kitchen, then quickly shut it off, the AquaStar may shut off the heat and the guy in the shower gets a cold shower. He then shuts the water off, and in 2 seconds, turns it on again to reignite the heater. I'm not sure how the pump set-up you have will affect the unit. I do not know if the pressure sensor can be adjusted to be less sensitive. But it can be a real issue.


-- Dwight (summit1762@aol.com), April 09, 2002.

My electric coop offers new, lifetime garentee, electric water heaters installed for $125. The oversize them (80 gallons) and put them on a controled circut so they can use off-peak electricity to run them, generally from 11:00pm to 7:00am. Been on it for 2 plus years, works well.

You stuck $900 into the old one, and now over $500 to install a gas one, plus the cost of the heater? WOW.


-- paul (ramblerplm@hotmail.com), April 09, 2002.

Paul, No, I pulled the bill. It was $906 total. $250 was for the pressure tank, $49 service call, and ended up charging us FIFTEEN man hours @ $32 that totalled $478. First of all the man comes and he uses a cane to get around, and has a boy of about 18 to carry his tools to the basement, do the heavy lifting, etc. Never suspected that this boy doing grunt labor is being charged off at the same rate as him. Of course the problem is that when we started saying, hey, what's going on, he had started both jobs at once, so they were both torn down at the same time and no where near completion. We found out later that everyone we talked to has a similar story.

-- Joyce Dingman (joycedingman@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002.

Dwight, Thanks, that's the kind of input I was looking for. So there are things peculiar to hooking it to a well, but it's still ok.

What's everybody's service "record" been so far? Need any repairs?

-- Joyce Dingman (joycedingman@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002.

We've had a 125-S up and running for over a year and a half now. Ours has the option, yet unused, of sensing the temp of solar heated water and then bring it up to 130 or 140 if lower than that. It has a tiny pilot light - no batteries. We share a water system with 6 other homes that comes from a bold spring. Lots of minerals in the water here, too.

Haven't had a bit of trouble with anything. Nothing has needed to be replaced. In spite of the minerals in the water, we aren't seeing any reduction in the water flow. We don't try to wash dishes, take a shower and do a load of laundry all at the same time. Compared to the last "traditional" propane hot water heater we had, the Aqua Star uses a very, very, very small amount of propane.

We couldn't be more pleased with ours. Take a deep breath and go ahead with getting yours installed. We are delighted with ours and you probably will be with yours.

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), April 09, 2002.

Thank you Carol! I didn't think I had heard any of the things that the plumber was saying, but figured it didn't hurt to check with everybody on the board to see if there was something I was missing ;-)

-- Joyce Dingman (joycedingman@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002.

Sounds like the plumber was a crook Joyce. Aquastar is a well known name, you can get them at ace hardware. Parts should be no problem should you need them. All the second hand comments I have heard have been very positive, concerning Aquastars. Only negative comment was someone had water with very high mineral content and it clogged up the heat exchanger over a long period of time.

-- jz (oz49us@yahoo.com), April 10, 2002.

Great subject. We are looking at putting in an Aquastar this summer. I have done some research on them and there are 2 models. A 1 appliance model and a 2 appliance model. Sounds like if you get the 1 appliance model you have issues with getting a cold shower. Anyone have the bigger 2 appliance model up and running?

-- Jay from MN (candlebn@maxminn.com), April 10, 2002.

You have probably read all about how we liked our Aquastar in the older threads so I won't repeat here. Just want to be sure you remember that it needs a bigger vent pipe than regular gas water heaters. It tells all about that in the manual, make sure your installer reads it.

-- Les Vaughn (rocketcaver@yahoo.com), April 11, 2002.

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