Rinnai R94LSi Natural Gas Indoor Tankless Water Heater, 9.4 GPM Review

Rinnai R94LSi Natural Gas Indoor Tankless Water Heater, 9.4 GPM
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We've had the Rinnai R94LSi for about 1.5 years at this point and have been extremely happy with it. Now that we have had it for a while, I figured I should sit down and write a quick review about it.
Before getting this tankless water heater, we actually had 2 40-gallon hot water heaters in our house. Unfortunately, because of the way the plumbing was run, we had a major issue with running out of hot water if the kids took a shower or bath while we were cleaning up the kitchen at night. When we had the money to do this project, we actually did it to fix the issue with running out of hot water and figured that any energy savings would be a bonus.
Here are some of the main things we've really enjoyed about this unit:
1) Since I replaced 2 water heaters with one tankless heater, I was able to get some extra storage space in the garage and then built a workbench where the storage had previously been. Taken alone, the space savings almost made this tankless worth it for me!
2) We never run out of hot water anymore. Our house has 3.5 bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry - and I can run all the faucets on full blast at any time of year without overloading this unit. (As a side note, we do live in Austin, TX so I suspect that areas with a colder water supply may need a larger unit for the same sized house.)
3) The energy savings have been noticeable. This is one area I wasn't completely convinced of when I bought the tankless unit - but the savings on our monthly bill have been noticeable. What I've done is to compare my gas and water usage with the same month from the previous year and have found that the gas usage has been cut basically in half. The water usage has not changed. It will still take a while before this pays for itself, but I wasn't really expecting that it ever would.
4) We no longer have a water tank in the attic. One of our previous water heaters was sitting in the 2nd story attic and I've known several people who have had their tanks rupture and cause thousands of dollars of damage. With the tankless unit, I no longer have to worry about that issue. Not that other things can't leak, but they don't have 40 gallon tanks! ;).
5) Compared to other brands of tankless heaters, the minimum flow rate is much better - I talk about this in more depth in the next section.
The technology with tankless heaters is quite a bit different from traditional hot water heaters, so here are some other things to consider:
1) I didn't fully understand this before buying the Rinnai, but the minimum flow rate is critically important with tankless water heaters. This number represents the minimum amount of hot water that needs to be flowing before the heater will kick on. Basically, this is just something to keep in mind and it's one of those things that is just different compared to a traditional water heater. I thank my lucky stars that I went with the Rinnai instead of the cheaper models that I also looked at because it turns out that the minimum flow rate isn't as low on those units since most people are just comparing the maximum flow rate numbers! This has impacted me twice when I was taking a cold shower immediately after working out - on those occasions the hot water line was completely drained before I was done showering and I ended up with a REALLY COLD shower until I could get the hot water line filled again.
2) When deciding which tankless unit to buy, be sure to take your local cold water temperature into account. These units will be able to raise the temperature of a certain amount of water by a specific amount - so if your cold water is too cold for the unit you buy, I suspect you will be disapointed. I probably wouldn't even mention this, except that I've read a lot of bad reviews where this seemed to be at the root of the problem. Also, I talked to 3 different plumbers before buying this R94LSi and one of them recommended the R75LSi instead - I'm glad I went with the larger unit since it really wasn't much more money anyway.
As a final note: when we did start looking seriously into this purchase, I had several plumbers come by to bid the job for me; but it quickly became obvious that I could do it for a lot less money. [...]
If you do decide to go the do-it-yourself route, remember that the tankless unit needs a 3/4" gas feed instead of the 1/2" that your current water heater uses. You can't just use an adapter for this - you need to be able to get back to a larger gas section and resize the feed from there (google is a great tool for understanding what you need to do here). As far as the plumbing connections go, the SharkBite connectors were a real life-saver and I'm much more confident in the durability of the connections.
Anyway, I know this review has run kind of long, but I want to repeat that I highly recommend these tankless heaters. We love ours and I would never want to trade back now that I know what I was missing:).

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Rinnai R94LSI-N Interior, 9.4 GPM, Natural Gas, 84% Efficiency Tankless Water HeaterLS Series interior-mount units can be placed in any room, vent directly to the outside and have an integrated condensate collector. All LS units contain a newly designed, commercial-grade heat exchanger for optimum durability. Homeowners get the reliability of commercial-grade constructionRinnai R94LSI-N Interior, 9.4 GPM, Natural Gas, 84% Efficiency Tankless Water Heater Features:; Sleek, modern design with silver finish and sculpted cover; Applicable for both residential and commercial applications due to commercial-grade heat exchanger; Temperature range with standard MC-91 controller (included): 98 Degree Farenhieght to 140 Degree Farenhieght; Temperature range with MCC-91 commercial controller: 98 Degree Farenhieght to 160 Degree Farenhieght; Digital temperature control, monitoring, and troubleshooting; EZConnect feature for connecting 2 or more units; 3 or more units can be manifolded using our MSA control boardRinnai R94LSI-N Interior, 9.4 GPM, Natural Gas, 84% Efficiency Tankless Water Heater Specifications:; Maximum / Minimum Gas Rate: 199,000 / 15,000 Input BTUs ; Hot Water Capacity Range: 0.6 to 9.4 GPM ; Fuel Type: Natural Gas ; Energy Factor: 0.82; Temperature Range: 98 to 140 Degree Farenhieght ; Dimensions (WxDxH): 14W x 10D x 26H Inches

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