Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The first two weeks..phew.

Once we got possession, our crack team of dedicated friends and family descended on the house and got straight down to work. Mom & Dad headed up the paint department, my Aunt and Uncle came down and helped with prep, repair, and woodworking, and my friend Michael Turner spent last week showing me how to re-wire without shocking myself or setting anything on fire. The first week, I worked at my day job and tried to help as I could after hours while Meredith and my Parents cleaned up and painted. The second week I took a 'vacation' to spend 12-14 hours a day working on the wiring, plumbing, demolition, and repairs.

List of accomplishments:

- New tankless hot water heater installed.
- All the bedrooms and hallway primed and painted
- All carpets, pads and tack strip removed
- Dangerous wiring removed in the kitchen wall
- Half the kitchen is now wired to code
- The wall between the kitchen and living room has been stripped of sheetrock and electrical stuff in preparation for removal.
- Washer and Dryer hookups have been created in the garage.
- New locks and deadbolts installed.
- Most of our belongings have been moved to the new house.

It was a tremendous couple of weeks, and at the end of it I came down with a cold, but we are 'functional'. We have hot water, refridgeration, a stove, and the ability to wash/dry our clothes. So now our focus moves to cleaning out our rental so we can get our deposit back and finish what we've started.

Notes on the tankless water heater: Originally we bought a Bosch tankless, but returned it and got a Takagi on the advice of our contactor friend Paul. Basically, he said that the Bosch units seemed to suffer from problems more often than the Takagis and all the plumbers he knows prefer the Takagi. It was also cheaper than the equivelant Bosch, so it was a really easy decision.

It was hard to install. I should note that every install will be different, but ours was a PITA. We had hoped to use our old hot water tank flu, but the tankless heater put out so much waste heat that you must use a special stainless flue from top to bottom (an additional $350). It also needs a special 'full-flow' gas pipe and care should be used in hooking up the water lines as the connections on the unit seem a little fragile. But once it was in, and we'd finished getting everything connected it worked like a champ. Now I can take a looong shower without ever running out of hot water! Or more accurately, all of us can take showers right after each other without running out of hot water, and as we only have one bathroom, that is exactly what is going to happen.

A tankless water heater is often referred to as an 'instant' water heater, which it is, but that doesn't mean that you'll have hot water instantly at the tap. With a whole-house tankless heater, you still have to run the water for a while before hot water comes out. That's simply because the water in the pipes between you and the heater will cool off after a while and you have to flush all of that out of the system before the hot water can make it to the faucet.

There are two major benefits for a tankless heater. First, you get unlimited hot water. Second, you save energy because you don't have to try and keep 40-50 gallons of water hot 24 hours a day. You are only heating the water as you need it.

How does it work in reality? For the most part, it works exactly as advertised. Hot showers are hot and you don't run out of hot water. The only problem we've had is running two high-demand uses at the same time, ie the washer on hot, and a shower. When we try to do two things at once, the water is still hot enough, but the mixing of hot and cold gets tricky. For example:
You're in the shower and you've got the temperature just how you like it. Then someone starts a hot-wash cycle. Suddenly the water is 10-15 degrees colder than it was. You turn up the hot, no problem, there's plenty of hot water to go around. But then the washer stops filling and suddenly, like instantly, you've got super-hot water in the shower. I can see why they put so many warnings about getting burned and scalded in the manual!

But other than that, it's works perfectly.

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