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Solar hot water, tankless, gas condensing water heater...?

15 years ago

I'm having trouble with information overload. Maybe you can help?

Background -- DIY couple (plus two young kids) building own home in Los Altos Hills, California. Need domestic hot water only, no radiant floor heat. 4.5 bathrooms, 1 deep tub (not that mom will ever get time to soak). Trying to be green without a lot of green (cash). Looking for a 5-10 year payback. Space in plans for a 120 gallon tank (if needed).

At first, I was convinced a solar hot water system (closed loop drainback) was the answer. After pricing several solar solutions (the ideal setup at $14,000+), I decided to look at other options. 2 tankless Rinnai (94LSIN) look good, but I know some have "issues" with lag times, upfront cost, and inconsistent temperature.

The Eternal Hybrid looks good on paper, but lacks a good warranty... The Navien looks good, but doesn't have much "history" in the US (yet). Bosch has had quality problems. Takagi looks similar to Rinnai.

After reading many chats about the hot water subject (there's a lot I'm leaving out of this post), I'm leaning toward a large (120 gallon?) gas tank. Maybe a gas condensing water heater?

If anyone has specific product recommendations, please share.


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