Tankless Hot Water Heaters

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Mount Prospect
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Q:

We were sucked in by the Grand Hall, Eternal Hybrid pitch, and in our opinion it has been a complete disaster. The unit never worked right. Grand Hall repeatedly told us that the problem was with the installation. Even after we corrected everything they pointed to, the unit still has never worked right, and now Grand Hall tells us that we probably damaged the unit, hence they refuse to honor the warranty. I'm beginning to think Grand Hall is just bad news. That aside, we have spent about $12,000 on this fiasco. At this point I don't think a tankless unit could ever be a cash positive proposition. Even if we wiped the $12,000 off as sunk, the price of a new unit and getting it installed is about double what it would cost to have a good tank unit put in. I don't see us ever having enough savings on gas bills for it to be worth it. Possibly if the unit works perfectly for 20+ years there may be a payback, but that seems wildly unlikely.
What has your experience been with doing tankless or hybrid in a colder climate (Chicago) where a typical required rise is 60+ degrees? I think this is one of those that sounds good on paper, but the reality just isn't there yet. I don't want to throw another nickel at hot water until I'm convinced we have a good plan. What would you suggest?
Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

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