A Simple Guide to Tankless Water Heaters

A Simple Guide to Tankless Water Heaters
April 18, 2013 Lorelie
Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters - Your Guide to Wise Purchase

In today’s time, the space in every home matters a lot.  Many people live in homes that have small room spaces and they admit that they have trouble fitting every piece of furniture or item into any room.  Devices such as water heaters and other appliances are very significant as they help make our lives easier and much more comfortable at home, but if you want to incorporate every item into your cramped up house, you need to think of a clever way.

Are you one of those homeowners or renters (who live in an apartment) who have a hard time trying to cope up with small room spaces and would like to just make everything fit?  Fortunately, nowadays, there are many appliances that have undergone improvements wherein they are made even smaller and more compact, and they still turn out to perform much better than their earlier versions.  One of these items is the water heater.

Before, the only water heater available is the tank-type or storage tank water heater.  However, it is a big disadvantage for you if you have a small house and a traditional storage tank water heater.  You will not have any space left to use as this type of water heater will typically take up all the space in any room of your small house.  Thanks to innovation, those who have small houses or those who are residing in small apartments can now enjoy the benefits of hot water (without having to put up with a bulky tank-type water heater) with the use of tankless water heaters.

Tankless water heaters are different from tank-type water heaters because they only heat and provide water when needed.  They can also help you save money because they do not generate standby energy losses that are common with storage water heaters.  Below is a simple guide to tankless water heaters – how they work, how to choose the right one for you, and how to take care of it.

Tankless Water Heaters – How They Work

Tankless water heaters heat up water instantly without the presence of a storage tank.  If a hot water faucet is turned on, the cold water passes through a pipe into the water heater unit.  In there, either an electric element or a gas burner heats up the water.  With this simple method, tankless water heaters can deliver a constant supply of hot water.  You never have to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water so that you can enjoy using it.  However, you need to know that a tankless water heater’s output actually limits the flow rate.

Generally, a tankless water heater unit can deliver hot water at a rate of 2 to 5 gallons (or 7.6 to 15.2 liters) per minute.  Gas-fired tankless water heater units generate higher flow rates than their electric counterparts.  However, there are times that even the biggest, gas-fired unit cannot give out enough hot water for simultaneous and numerous demands in huge households.  For instance, if you take a shower and then another person uses the dishwasher at the same time, it may stretch a tankless water heater unit to its limit.  In order to solve this problem, you can install and use two or more tankless water heater units, connected in parallel to let you use hot water simultaneously in different parts of the house.  You can also opt to install a dedicated tankless water heater unit to appliances that really use up a lot of hot water at a time, such as a dishwasher or a clothes washer.

Tankless Water Heaters – How to Choose the Right One For You

Before you buy a tankless water heater unit, you need to consider the following factors:

  1. Size – in order for you to have enough hot water at home and at the same time maximize its efficiency, you need to have a properly-sized tankless water heater unit.  Ask a professional or someone who knows a lot about tankless water heaters to help you determine which water heater size is the best for your home.
  2. Fuel Type and Availability – when choosing a tankless water heater unit, you have to think of the fuel type you will use as well as its availability and price.  Fuel types include electricity, geothermal energy, fuel oil, propane, natural gas and solar energy.
  3. Energy Efficiency – the easiest way how to determine if the water heater unit is energy efficient is to simply look for the Energy Star label.  Energy Star-labeled products such as in water heaters can significantly reduce high energy bills, therefore saving you money each time.  Did you know that a typical family that uses Energy Star qualified tankless water heaters actually saves more than $100 annually?

Tankless Water Heaters – How to Take Care Of It

When people buy a water heater, they tend to forget about it once it is properly installed in their homes.  Most water heaters work perfectly well for the first few years, but without proper maintenance, they will easily break down.

Proper installation and maintenance of your tankless water heater is crucial if you want to optimize its energy efficiency.

How to install a tankless water heater unit actually depends on a lot of factors.  Such factors include fuel type, local building code requirements, the weather and last but not least, safety measures, especially those concerning the combustion of gas-fired water heater units.  Thus, it is wise to hire a qualified plumbing and heating contractor to help you install your tankless water heater unit.

If you are confident in installing the tankless water heater unit by yourself, you have to at least first talk to the manufacturer.  Manufacturers typically possess the necessary instruction and installation manuals.  Additionally, call your town or city for more information about getting a permit, if it is necessary, and also about local water heater installation codes.  Regular water heater maintenance can truly extend the lifespan of your water heater unit and it can also reduce the loss of efficiency.  Do not overlook the manual for specific maintenance instructions and recommendations.

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