What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heater is basicaly energy efficient water heater without a water storage tank. Also known as “instant“ or “on demand“ water heater, it provides hot water only when needed. Traditional water heaters with storage compartment are constantly heating water, thereby producing energy losses that are not cheap. This technology was originally developed in Europe but from the start of early 90′s as energy prices started to increase, it was more and more used all over United States and Canada.
Today’s models are widely used for home and commercial purposes and can handle demands of big household or commercial application.
Essentialy there are two types of tankless water heaters:
Electric (electric heater heats the water)
Gas powered (gas burner heats the water).
Both types deliver instant and constant supply of hot water when you need it.
Tankless Water Heater Savings
By using Tankless Water Heater you can save great deal of money on your gas or electric bills.
Water heating uses about 20% of all US energy consumption (according to the U.S. department of energy – DOE ), so choosing energy efficient water heater is a must to these days.
For homes that use up to 40 gallons of hot water daily, energy savings can be from 25 to 35%.
And for homes that use a lot of hot water (up to 80 gallons per day), savings can achieve 8-14% more.
Adittional savings can be achieved by using one small unit for every appliance that uses a lot of hot water. This way you can boost energy efficiency up to 50%.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
When you turn on hot water tap, cold water is going directly into the tankless water heater unit where flow sensor detects it and power up the heater. While traveling through system of pipes in the unit and thanks to the powerfull heaters,it’s being instantly heated to the desired level. That process is repeating constantly until you turn the facet off, and water flow sensor detects it after what it will turn off the heater.
Counter to regular storage tank water heaters as soon as you turn of the faucet, tankless water heater shuts down and that way saves a lot of energy.
Typically they have rates of about 2-5 gallons per minute which sholud be enough for normal home usage. For larger famillies or commercial use there are more powerful water heaters that can deliver up to 10 gallons of hot water per minute.
If we put aside the fact that all tankless water heaters are working on the same pattern, there is a lot of variations in technology available. From Basic ON/OFF models to fully automatic models there are many differences in performance they deliver.
Tankless Water Heater Pros And Cons
However, tankless water heaters have some limits depending on model. Water flow rate they deliver is different according to the model and it’s power. For example if you and your family need to take a shower in two bathrooms at the same time and you run your dishwasher machine, you can reach the limit of smaller tankless water heater. Stronger tankless water heaters can hold up to 4 or 5 showers and a kitchen appliance at the same time.
One more thing to consider when choosing your model is minimum flow rate that is needed to start the heater. This may vary from one manufacturer to another and among models also. This could be unpleasant if you need a morning shower and just a little hot water. If value of minimal water flow is too low you can possibly start your morning with “cold shave”.
Selecting The Best Tankless Water Heater
There are numerous types and models of tankless water heaters on the market. The first thing you have to decide is whether you need an electric or a gas powered water heater. After that, you should try to calculate how much hot water you are currently using. That will give you a clue about how powerful your tankless water heater should be.
You should also decide whether you want a single water heater for the whole house or you would rather have several smaller heaters for different appliances. You can also choose between interior and exterior units, depending on where you are planning to mount your water heater. The final step is selecting the brand and model. We have provided you with detailed reviews of numerous different models which will help you make you final decision and get the one that is best for you.
Some basic things to consider when choosing the right model are:
– incoming water temperature (the colder the climate, the more powerful model you’ll need)
- maximum flow rate needed (3-5 gallons per minute is enough for most standard households. )
- features ( do you have some special request as: dimensions, functions, outdoor or indor, etc.)
– Available electrical services in your home (consult an local electrician to check this for you if unsure how to do that)
Tankless Water Heater Tax Credit
Not only that tankless water heaters save you money by reducing your energy consumption but they also qualify for federal energy tax credit. All you need to do is save your receipt and fill in an IRS form and you can save up to $500!
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 signed by President Obama on December 17, 2010, extended tax credits for qualifying energy-efficient, residential water heaters and boilers placed in service between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011
Tankless Water Heater Installation
They can be installed virtually anywhere, depending on the model you choose. You can get a modern looking interior model that will be a fine addition to your home or you can choose an exterior model that can be repainted or textured to match the exterior of your house.
And if you need more than one unit for a larger home or spa, there are models that allow you to link two or more units together in parallel.
Installation of Tankless Water Heater is basically very simple but it should be performed by licensed electrician anyway. You can choose one of your local electricians to do it for you. It should take up to few hours of work, however, it can vary from one installation to another depending on circumstances.
One thing you need to check before buying and installing your electric tankless water heater is to ensure that your home have sufficient electrical capacity and installations for model that you choose. If you are unsure how to do this, consult local electrician to check it for you.