I know it seems that every time this topic comes up it raises more questions for me. But this is a question that I haven't seen asked. Who has tankless water heaters the farthest north and who has had them the longest?
I'm in upstate NY, Albany. I had it or should I say still do. But only as a back. I'm convinced that there's no place for them in MAT unless you figure 1-6 ratio. But then you also have to consider the fill time issues ,etc..
I'm in the Cleveland area. If the system is setup right, tankless can work. The laundromat before me had a 500 gallon boiler and the gas bill ran about $3000 a month not including heating the space in the winter. By going tankless, my gas bill runs me about $500 a month in the summer and around $1000 a month in the winter. I consider myself to be a medium size laundromat and on the really cold days it takes a little longer for hot water but we're not talking hours and it doesn't effect business. I know most people don't agree with tankless and I can understand why with the larger mats but I would do tankless again in another laundromat.
You are not making a fair comparison - you are talking about an old oversized system versus a new smaller system. An instant heat system with a storage tank gives you the worse of both worlds and is the most inefficient system money can buy. With the price of energy if you plan to own your store for any length of time you are crazy to buy a system that is 82-85% efficient versus one that is 95-99% efficient. Do the math, factor in life-cycle costing and you will never go with an instant system.
I have 20 tops, 3 18lbs, 2 20lbs, 2 30lbs, 1 60lb. I have three tanks chained together feed by a 200 gallon storage tank stored at room temp kept at least 60 degrees. I can see where you orginally had a problem. Your setup is just about the same as our's except you are warming your water first before it goes through the water heater, mine is warmed by the room temp. Originally we didn't have the storage tank and on a 20 degree day, it took time to have a toploader fill up on hot let alone multiple machines feed at once. Once we put the storage tank in and kept the water going into the heater at a warmer constant temp rather than at ground temp, it worked much better as it sounds like your fix did too.
Once again Howard you make assumptions you shouldn't. By the way, did you read the recent Journal article about tax planning. It was a very good article on how depreciation and tax planning go hand and hand.
I made no assumption that I should not have. Tankless systems are great for a home shower or single top loader if you are looking to minimize capital expenditures and space. These units are not energy efficient. Further, they don't last long in industrial situations - I have talked with several repair people at the local gas company who tell me that from experience. Further, they cannot keep up with the demand of a single large (60-80 pound) washer - let alone an entire store. Do the math as to the flow rates they can handle. The only way they can work is with a storage tank. Once you have done that you have all the down sides of a tank system with a low efficiency burner. You are much better off with a real hot water system than a toy.
Further, I have had personal conversations with one of the companies that now sells these toys to the laundry industry. I was shocked that he was selling them. He told me that the only reason he is selling them is that customers want them - he thinks it is stupid and will show that to anyone that wants to listen, but if the market wants them he will sell them otherwise he looses business.
I would highly recommend that anyone considering them do the math. Look at your required flow rates and you won't put tankless in unless you are in a very warm climate or have a very small store.