How to Achieve Optimal Performance from Your Tankless Water Heater Unit

How to Achieve Optimal Performance from Your Tankless Water Heater Unit
February 21, 2013 Lorelie
Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater

For many homeowners who would like to get the most out of their water heater units, they tend to consider getting the tankless ones nowadays because of the many advantages it can give.  As the name implies, a tankless water heater does not actually have a water tank.  Tankless water heaters are actually popular these days due to the fact that they do not take up too much space at home as well as it has a clever way on how it heats water on demand.  This significantly minimizes the cost of electricity by means of not needing to heat up stored water all the time.  It has been studied that if you use a tankless water heater in your home, you can reduce about 19% of the total home energy use consumed only via water heating.

Even if tankless water heaters have been around for some time in Japan, Europe and other countries for many decades, they are surprisingly a new technology in the areas of North America.  While there are those who extremely liked the idea of using tankless water heaters in homes of North America, there are others who still prefer to use the traditional tank-type water heaters.

If you feel like you are not thoroughly satisfied with your tankless water heater unit, take a look at these commonly reported issues and the possible solutions to each of them:

1.  Be wise in obtaining the right size of the water heater unit for your home.  Tankless water heater units are actually rated by the maximum rise in temperature possible at a specific flow rate.  In order to make sure that your tankless water heater unit will deliver hot water adequately, first determine the flow rate and the rise in temperature that you will need.  After that, find out the suitable flow rate by means of listing each and every hot water outlets that are to be connected to the water heater and then add up their flow rates in gallons per minute.  Do ensure that the tankless water heater unit that you will buy can really deliver the typical temperature rise of 39 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit at the preferred flow rate.

2.  In order to prevent the water from overheating, tankless water heaters need a minimum flow of water through the heating system.  This ranges from a half gallon per minute up to two gallons per minute.  If this requirement is not met, then you would most likely be forced to, for instance, wash dishes and if you would like to keep the hot water going, the flow of the water must be higher as well.  To solve this problem, ensure that the flow rates at outlets you will connect to the water heater unit exceeds its minimum requirements.

3.  If you are worried about wasting water, select a point-of-use model.  There are lots of tankless water heater users who strongly believe that they tend to waste a great deal of water while waiting for it to turn warm/hot.  The wasting of water is actually caused by two factors:

The first cause is the number of feet of plumbing (which is particularly the cold water) between the tap and the water heater.  Due to this, whole-home tankless water heater systems do not provide a water-saving advantage over the traditional tank-type water heater systems.  Nonetheless, tankless water heater systems can actually be installed in a configuration that is point-of-use, with which a smaller, dedicated water heater is situated very near to the water outlet.

The second cause of wasting water on the use of the tankless water heater is the amount of time that is needed for the water heater to generate warm/hot water.  If you use a traditional tank-type water heater unit which already has hot water stored in the tank, that time is a definite zero.  Thus, the tankless water heater units are deemed to be at a disadvantage at this point.

4.  Properly ventilate the tankless water heater unit’s exhaust.  Of course, the tighter a building is, the easier it is to produce differentials in pressure.  This result to a combustion appliance to backdraft (exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide are brought inside the home).  Whether you have a tankless water heater or a tank-type one, if you have a gas-fired water heater unit, it must be sealed-combustion and direct-vent in order to prevent dangerous gases like carbon monoxide from leaking into the living space.

5.  Even if tankless water heaters are also called instantaneous water heaters, do not be fooled.  This simply means that the cool water inevitably flows throughout the unit long before the sensors sense it and commence the water heating.

The best ways to solve this “weakness” is by preheating and buffering.  Solar water heater units increase the water temperature that enters the tankless water heater, thus minimizing the time to heat the water.  Also, a 5 to 10-gallon tank-type water heater unit that is plumbed right out of the tankless water heater dilutes the cool water with hot water in the tank, which makes the delay less evident.  This solution may have a lesser up-front cost, but it is actually less energy-efficient.

6.  Hire a plumber who is experienced in the installation of tankless water heater units.  Even if a tankless water heater unit is smaller than the traditional one, it is rather complicated to install, due to the fact that it needs proper configuration and the sizing of the unit to fit into the house’s plumbing, electric or gas supply, as well as ventilation requirements.  Many manufacturers will refer you to their local plumbing contractors if ever you need one.  You can also ask the hardware store or the plumbing supply house where you have bought your tankless water heater unit to give you contact numbers of at least three experienced, factory-trained plumbing contractors, and you get to decide which of them you will hire once you get bids from all of them.

The tips mentioned above are some ways on how you can achieve optimal performance from your tankless water heater unit.  There may be disadvantages to using tankless water heaters, but if you consider many factors, surely you will agree that the tankless units can cater efficiently for those who typically need hot water on demand.

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