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Old 04-18-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
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why go Tankless water Heater, try this

I am an all around energy semi-conissuer, so to see me doing household hacks should be no surprise to you people..

I have come up with a way to save gas and help your water tank stay a little warmer,

Stack cinder blocks around it!, it keeps in the heat, during the summer this is good for 15$ a month or less! I had another setup where i used two piece of plywood right against the heater(yes I checked to see where the flame/heat was, and used a piece of thin metal to bend in between the two boards to kind of semi-surround the gas heater, there also was insulation on it already which I taped together even more securely..

Basically this is shielding the flame from air currents that contain cool air, be very careful though, that is why I recommend cinder blocks! stack em up and the block up the top leave a few air holes..

get ready for a lower gas bill!

Oh yes one more thing, having a gas stove with a heater built into it in your kitchen is the best way to heat a small apartment that I've come across, it's just so direct, you can't beat it.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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I think there are blankets you can buy specifically for that purpose, though cinderblocks may be cheaper.

My question is, why ever have a tank in the first place? I love that my house came with tankless. I never run out of hot water, even during the morning shower rush.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:04 AM   #3
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Yeah, hot water heaters have clearance requirements to prevent fire. I would not stack anything around them. A fiberglass hot water heater jacket is the best way to go if you want to improve efficiency.

On a side note I have reduced my gas usage at the drycleaners by installing a thermal recovery system on my hot water heater. With a set of 2 pumps, digital controls, and a heat exchanger. I use waste heat from the return line to my boiler to heat the hot water for my shirt laundry. The system has been fully operational for about a month now, and by calculating the run time on the gas burner (I installed an hour meter on the gas burner control circuit to monitor how long it runs) we estimate we will recover our $1,500 investment in as little as 6 months. (Our gas bill runs $3,500 to $4,000/mo)
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:11 AM   #4
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even one layer of bricks around the bottom give it a good inch, yea I had that jacket on my last one, but just one layer of bricks will hold back drafts and save you money, thats good clearance, if there is a cement base for it then around the cement base thats not a fire hazard if anything a fire deterent, when i found this heater, it had a bed next to it..
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:42 AM   #5
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You're talking about blocking "cool air" and drafts from the flame. This is very dangerous with gas heaters. Plus, barricading your heater with bricks only works if you're losing enough heat to heat the bricks up. Fiberglass jacket is the only way to go for efficiency and safety. If you prevent cool air from getting to your burner then when your heater fires you will not get the proper draft to carry the combustion gasses up the flue and out of your house. I sure hope you have a working carbon monoxide detector. This is way too dangerous. GET A FIBERGLASS JACKET. It will save you more money than stacking up bricks. Plus, why do you have cold drafts in your house anyway? Find your cold drafts and seal them up. That will probably save you far more money than playing with your water heater and risking your life.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:12 AM   #6
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hey ok just so you know im only talking about a few around the perimeter not sealing it off like one side blocked the other side open ok not building a sealed wall around it.. ever see a boiler in a closet ? alot of condoes have that, this is more the idea that im mimicking as opposed to block it off just less openness as opposed to what jay prob thinks im doing which is totally sealing it off
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:56 AM   #7
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If that's the case, there's a lot more to be gained by sealing your drafty doors & windows, and installing a fiberglass jacket over your water heater. As a dry cleaner I know a thing or two about making a hot water heater efficient. This is what I have done so far on my 100 gallon commercial gas water heater used to heat water for my shirt laundry:

1. I hooked up an hour meter to the electronic solenoid that opens when the heater fires so I can monitor how long the burner runs on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Since the burner runs at a constant rate I can calculate how much gas the heater uses per hour, and in turn calculate how much of my gas bill is devoted to heating water. I can even calculate the cost per shirt for hot water when I get my bill and see the current billing rate.

2. I installed a simple electronic timer (one normally used to control outside lighting - $15 at any hardware store. The timer is set to shut off the power to the control circuits at closing time, and turn it back on 1 hour before the morning crew shows up. No spending money on keeping the tank hot when we're not using it.

3. I installed the controls (thermostats and pumps) from a solar hot water system on my hot water heater. Instead of connecting to a solar panel, I hooked it up to the return tank on my boiler. I use waste heat from my boiler to heat my hot water for free. The thermal recovery system is set to max out at 168*F, and I turned the thermostat on the natural gas burner to 140*F. The burner only comes on if there is a high demand for hot water (it rarely comes on, only if all the washers are started at the same time.)

The thermal recovery system continues to run after we close, until it maxes out at 168*F about 30 minutes later. I calculated that at the tank's rated thermal loss of 2%/hr the water should still be over 140*F when the timer turns the heater back on in the morning.

And that's how I can wash over 2,000 shirts/day and my hot water heater runs under 2 hours a day.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
If that's the case, there's a lot more to be gained by sealing your drafty doors & windows, and installing a fiberglass jacket over your water heater. As a dry cleaner I know a thing or two about making a hot water heater efficient. This is what I have done so far on my 100 gallon commercial gas water heater used to heat water for my shirt laundry:

1. I hooked up an hour meter to the electronic solenoid that opens when the heater fires so I can monitor how long the burner runs on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Since the burner runs at a constant rate I can calculate how much gas the heater uses per hour, and in turn calculate how much of my gas bill is devoted to heating water. I can even calculate the cost per shirt for hot water when I get my bill and see the current billing rate.

2. I installed a simple electronic timer (one normally used to control outside lighting - $15 at any hardware store. The timer is set to shut off the power to the control circuits at closing time, and turn it back on 1 hour before the morning crew shows up. No spending money on keeping the tank hot when we're not using it.

3. I installed the controls (thermostats and pumps) from a solar hot water system on my hot water heater. Instead of connecting to a solar panel, I hooked it up to the return tank on my boiler. I use waste heat from my boiler to heat my hot water for free. The thermal recovery system is set to max out at 168*F, and I turned the thermostat on the natural gas burner to 140*F. The burner only comes on if there is a high demand for hot water (it rarely comes on, only if all the washers are started at the same time.)

The thermal recovery system continues to run after we close, until it maxes out at 168*F about 30 minutes later. I calculated that at the tank's rated thermal loss of 2%/hr the water should still be over 140*F when the timer turns the heater back on in the morning.

And that's how I can wash over 2,000 shirts/day and my hot water heater runs under 2 hours a day.
you sir are genious for doing that, I loooove solar heat, it's so much nicer(i know this is off topic) instead of dry and chapping, it's just regular air/being warmer/ good for asthma/winter dry throat/ect, thats why I continue to use my dark blue sheet solar absortion method when I can..

But you're implying you have an electronic pilot on your water heaters? right?
that saves a good deal of $$ too, I think your boilers have to come with them installed for you to be able to use them.. any idea if you can switch? I think I've heard you cant, I hope I'm wrong


all im implying in what I'm talking about is if you simulation the conditions of your hot water heater being next to a wall, it cuts the cold air supply in half, yet still provides adequate ventilation to suck out the monoxide through the chimney/vent, Jay does this sound reasonable?

also I know what you mean about it still being warm hours later in a sense.. since I got done warmerizing my car, it's stays warm for probably 2-3x the amount of time it would before.. without all those cracks for the heat to leak out of
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #9
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Its not solar heat. I am using hot water that accumulates in my return tank for my boiler. Yea, my boiler and hot water heater have electronic ignition There are no pilot lights. I recommend you do nothing to restrict airflow around your hot water heater, aside from making sure outside doors and windows are sealed from drafts. Any potential "savings" you get from messing with the airflow is nothing compared to what a few dollars worth of fiberglass wrapped around the entire tank would do.

Think about it like this. Restricting your airflow does not do any good in your car, why would it work on a water heater? You need a draft going up your flue to carry the combustion gasses out of the house.
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:16 PM   #10
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Its not solar heat. I am using hot water that accumulates in my return tank for my boiler. Yea, my boiler and hot water heater have electronic ignition There are no pilot lights. I recommend you do nothing to restrict airflow around your hot water heater, aside from making sure outside doors and windows are sealed from drafts. Any potential "savings" you get from messing with the airflow is nothing compared to what a few dollars worth of fiberglass wrapped around the entire tank would do.

Think about it like this. Restricting your airflow does not do any good in your car, why would it work on a water heater? You need a draft going up your flue to carry the combustion gasses out of the house.
you cant restrict stagnant air thats my point I was talking about solar as an off the subject thing but ok youre right probably
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