Mark Tomlinson

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tankless order page


So, for an interesting story (I know, I is totally out of character for this blog).

When we had to redo the house after hurricane Charley, I opted to replace the 20 yr. old hotwater tank with the one in the above link (tankless, instant on). I did this since a good friend of mine had been using one with excellent results. He even lowered his monthly power bill a tad by going to this.

Since it was not directly storm related damage, I went to the electrician (a sub-contractor) that our GC was using and asked about cost to get this done. Turns out they needed to pull 200 amps more service (and a secondary panel) in to make this go, but we were OK with the price and agreed. Then the general contractor heard about it and was like "just roll it into my work and you can pay me the difference". We thought that was fine and so it was agreed. However, the electrician didn't bother to pass on the informatiobn about the specific unit to the GC, who then found a similar model here: Eemax Tankless Heaters no problem we thought, while not the exact same thing they are functionally similar and that should be fine. Besides, they had already installed the other one before we found out.

The specs on the eemaxx claim to put out 140 deg. never did. Best it seemed to do was about 120-ish. This is important since the master bath is about 60 feet away from the heater. Ultimately the water was just never warm enough at the other end. Finally after several months of this we complained to the GC who started troubleshooting it. Turns out one of the 3 heater elements was burned out. Note: A key difference between the Seisco and Eemaxx units is the heating elements. In order to make this system work you need:
1) a way to heat the water
2) a way to monitor outlet temperature
3) a way to monitor flow
4) a computer to control it all.

The Eemax units are 3 custom heating elements rated for 40 amps each and each having an embedded electronics control module. THe Seisco units are standard 7000 watt hot water heater elements (30 amps each and there are 4 total so total current demand is roughly the same for both units) and a mater computer control panel. When the Seisoc heater elements die, trot down to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a new one. When the Eeemax units die, call them, order them and wait...

Since the unit was still under warranty they agreed to replace it and I waited...2 weeks later a completely new unit shows up (new panel, threee new heaters, etc.) and they told me that this was standard behavior for an RMA. Out somes the plumber again to plumb in the new unit (more waiting) and I just did the electical myself. Yeah! It works! Still not hot enough, but better.

Time passes. 2 weeks to be exact. Sunday morning, shower

At all. #$%^

I check the heater elements, all three are toast this time. At this point I call the GC and go (a bit) ballistic. At this point it has been another week of cold showers, but today the Seisco unit is gettting installed. I sure hope this solves the problem. It doesn't take much to make you happy, I know all I want now is a HOT shower :)