The tankless water heater is a new invention. They are also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters. It can provide hot water only as you need. Nowadays the tankless water heater has gained in popularity. Tankless Water Heater has many benefits over the traditional heater. Before buying a tankless unit, you need to consider the limitations and drawbacks. This buying guide has complete information for researching tankless water heater. It allows you to jump to the section you have an interest. You need not browse the entire manual. This article will be helpful to make an informed buying decision.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless Water Heater is energy efficient than a traditional unit. It heats water without the use of a storage tank. When the hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. The tankless water heater can deliver a constant supply of hot water. They heat water as it is used. They do not boil water in a storage tank. Tankless water heaters do not have a large container. So they take less physical space.
Types of Tankless Water Heater:
There are three types of tankless water heater available on the market. They are-
This is the first generation of the tankless unit. It uses a heat exchanger to heat water on-demand. It can reach an efficiency factor of .82 to .85. This technology has been in use in Europe and Japan for decades. The advantage of this unit is in reliability in that they are established products with few manufacturing issues. The main drawback of this unit is hot exhaust. It means you have to install expensive stainless steel venting.
These units are the second generation of tankless water heaters. After a primary heat exchanger, it uses a second heat exchanger to heat water. It reuses the heat from your exhaust to further heating. It results in an efficiency of 92% to 94%. It uses inexpensive PVC for venting. The main drawback is higher unit cost and lower productivity for small water draws.
- Condensing Hybrid
This is the third generation of the tankless water heater. It was a pioneer in the United States. These Heaters incorporate a small between 1liter and 2-gallon holding tank. The smallholding tank keeps a reservoir of hot water. These water heaters achieve an actual efficiency of 92 to 96%. This unit can vent in less expensive PVC. These units addressed cold water and pressure fluctuation issues. That sometimes occurred with first and second-generation models. The drawback is they are manufacturing by smaller companies.
Benefits of A Tankless Water Heater:
- Wall mountable to save space:
The tankless water heater is an excellent solution for limited space. Tankless units are small and compact. So you can mount them on the wall for convenience. You can enjoy an unlimited supply of hot water from a significant amount of free space.
- Endless Hot Water Supply:
The tankless water heater is also known as an instantaneous unit. It is a great way to get unlimited hot water. It can heat as much water as you need. It doesn’t keep water storing. You need to turn on the hot water faucet and enjoy enough hot water supply.
- Need Less Maintenance:
A tankless unit is straightforward to maintain. This version doesn’t house water 24 hours a day. So lime scales build-up and corrosion are eliminated. The cleaning process is less extensive than emptying a 30-40 gallon tank.
- Economic Efficiency:
A tankless unit can save money on your energy bill. The traditional water heater uses energy to heat water constantly. Standby heat creates waste. The tankless unit allows you to reduce waste and enjoy economic efficiency. That is why a tankless water heater is an excellent investment for you.
- Fresh Water:
In the tankless unit, water is never sitting in a tank. So there is no chance to contain rust and mineral scale in water. It heats water when hot water is needed and delivers immediately.
- Double the lifespan:
A tankless unit lasts longer than tank ones. The tankless unit has a lifespan of near 20 years. This is a benefit that saves you money over time.
Tankless water heaters have a more extended warranty compare to a traditional one.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Tankless Water Heater:
Before buying a tankless unit, you need to consider the following factors–
- Energy Efficiency:
This is the main reason to shift to this new technology. Before buying, you need to pay close detail to all the options. It can help you to find out the best unit.
- Long Life Service:
This is the initial factor of the tankless water heater. The tankless water heater is long-lasting compared to the traditional water heater. Conventional water heater needs a lot of maintenance. Their lifespan is also lower. The tankless water heater gives you value for your money. With proper support, the tankless water heater can serve you for more 20 years. So before buy, you need to check the factor.
- Compact in Size:
The tankless water heater is compact and sleek in design. So they take less space for installing and look good. You can mount tankless water heater both horizontal and vertical position. Some radiator can fit under your sink or inside the cabinet. So it does not make your attic cluttered. You can choose a tankless unit which is suitable for you.
- Unlimited Hot Water Supply:
In a tankless water heater, hot water does not depend on the storage tank. So you can take the long slow shower. You will never run out of hot water. Water is never sitting in the storage tank. It ensures you clean, warm water. This is without the risk of being exposed to mineral scale water from the containers.
The volts of the tankless unit varies from 110 to 277 V. Before buy; you need to know what your home accommodates and an upgrade you need.
All water heaters need a different amp draw. Be sure your home is capable of meeting the need and choose a model.
- Circuit breaker:
Has your circuit breaker examined? It helps to make sure your home has the connections to support the unit you choose.
- Fuel Type:
This factor should be the first concern. Choosing a gas-fuelled tank means less operating cost. The maintenance cost is a bit high. Selecting an electric one will reduce your maintenance and service cost. This unit can increase in operating loss. You should choose the best type of tankless water heater that serves your need. So you need to know the essential difference between the two units. Here are the differences:
- Uses more than one replaceable heating elements to heat water
- Less expensive
- High-efficiency options available
- Size range: 28 to 100+gallons
Gas or Propane:
- Uses burner to heat water
- Need circulating air
- More expensive
- More energy efficient
- Size range: 30 to 100 gallons
- Water Flow Rate per Minute:
How much water the heater can produce is a matter. The flow rate determines the water heater effectiveness. So, you have to make clear information about the flow rate.
- Glass-Lined Tanks:
You need to consider glass-lined tanks. It designed to reduce corrosion. Before buying a tankless unit, you should check the factor.
- Brass Drain Valves:
These valves are situated near the base of the water heater for draining. You should choose brass drain valves which are more durable than plastic.
- Temperature options on the unit:
You need to choose a tankless unit with temperature control. It can help you to avoid an unwanted situation. It will keep your family safe.
Most often, product price is a big concern. Cost should always be a priority, but it cannot be a primary selection factor. You need to buy a tankless water heater whose price is in line with your budget. By purchasing an inferior quality tankless water heater, you risk accidents, poor performance, and annoying experience. So you can go for a decent product whose price lies within your budget.
- Installation Cost:
Today a tankless water heater has a high demand. This device is suitable for those who want convenience. But these units can cost up to three times more than traditional ones. Gas units cost less to operate than electric units. Before buy, you need to consider the factor. If you buy the group from a professional plumber, your installation may be included in the cost of the unit.
Warranty is a primary concern of your tankless water heater. Most times, offered a warranty on a product reflects its quality and performance. An extended warranty is the best assurance you can get. Before starting the final pick, it is critical to compare the warranty plans. You can go for a tankless water heater whose manufacturer backs the heat exchanger for 10 to 15 years. They have to provide at least a 1-year labor warranty.
How to Select the Right Size Tankless Water Heater:
Selecting a tankless water heater is not very difficult. You need to choose the highest amount of hot water to meet your demand. List the number of hot water devices you expect to have open at any one time. Then add up their flow rates.
This is the desired flow rate for the heater. You need to know the flow rate to choose a tankless water heater. You can follow the following assumption to find the size of the unit that is right for you.
How much water is needed per application?
- Faucets: 75 gallons to 2.5 gallons per minute
- Low Flow Showerhead: 1.2 gallons to 2 gallons per minute
- Older Standard Showerhead:5 gallons to 3.5 gallons per minute
- Clothes washer and dishwashers: 1 gallon to 2 gallons per minute
Things to consider Selecting The Right Size Tankless Water Heater:
You can discuss the following aspect of selecting the right size tankless unit for you.
- Size of the household
- How many bathrooms, tubs, dishwasher, and washers are going to be used?
- Are you planning any additions in the future?
- What is the pattern of usage?
- Quantity and type of fixtures
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance:
Many believe that a tankless water heater needs annual maintenance. But it is not valid. There is no set time frame to service a tankless water heater. Over time, a tankless water heater system collects minerals. It can erode the inside walls of the heating chambers. As a result, regular maintenance of 6-24 months is necessary. Here I would like to mention a few steps of tankless water heater maintenance.
- Turn off the energy source:
Each tankless water heater has a power source. A tankless gas unit uses kerosene or propane to run. An electric group needs electricity. Before start maintenance, you need to cut the main gas supply or turn off the power source.
- Close the water valves attached to the tankless water heater:
There are three water valves in a tankless unit. The blue valve controls the cold water movement. The red one controls hot water movement. The third one regulates water movement from the mains supply to your home. Turning off the valves helps to prevent water from trickling into the heater. It helps to stop the heated pool from coming out during the cleaning process.
- Disengage the purge port valve caps from their respective purge valves:
Each purge valve has a small handle that resembles the letter T. Removing the caps helps to relieve any pressure. That is created in the purge valves. It can prevent hot water from gushing out and burning your skin. So you need to ensure that the hot water valves are securely shut off.
- Attach a hosting line to each valve:
You need a hosting line that is long enough to connect the water heater to the flushing bucket. Connect the hoses to a sump pump that will flush and discharge water using hot and cold water valves.
- Open the port valves: You need to twist the port valves so that they are perpendicular to the hot and cold water valves.
- Add vinegar: It is safe to use organic cleaners. Use 9.46 liters of undiluted white vinegar. Then-
- Flush and drain the unit for about 45 minutes
- After the flash and drain process close the port valves
- Disconnect each hosing line from the water valves
- Seal the purge valves using the port caps.
- Consult the unit manual for the instruction of safe ways to restart:
You need to rotate both hot and cold water valves. They are positioned parallel to the main valve. Allow air to pass through the water pipe by turning on the hot water tap in the sink or shower. Allow the water to run for about 2-3 minutes until no more air bubbles are coming out of the valve.
Here I mention the top 5 models name. They are top-rated and available. They come in a range of price and reputations. Here I include both electric and gas-powered models. It can be helpful to you to choose the best unit for you.
- Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus Electric:
It is an electric tankless water heater that comes with important customer feedback. It is considered the most advanced systems on the market today.
- Electric tankless water heater rated for 240 Volt at 24 KW
- 4 gallons per minute of water flow
- Advanced flow control technology
- Robust and dependable
- Slimline design
- Digital temperature controls
- Three warranty
- Rinnai RUC98iN GAS:
Rinnai is a gas-powered water heater. It features the highest energy efficiency rating we have seen. It has a thermal efficiency of 95%. So it is an energy star certificate. The Rinnai has an energy factor rating up to 0.96. They are the highest ratings available in a home water heater.
- Rating: 4.6
- Energy Star Certificate
- Amazing energy efficiency
- 6 gallon per minute water flow rate
- Min/Max BTUs: 15,200-199,000
- Warranty: 5-years parts, 12-years on the heat exchanger
- Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG GAS:
It is an excellent efficiency and value model. Takagi is the most common names in the tankless water heater world. It is a unit of some pedigree. It has an attractive price for a unit that packs so many impressive features.
- Gas-powered tankless water heater
- 6 gallon per minute water flow rate
- Energy star certificate
- Great value
- Warranty: 5-years on parts, 10-years on the heat exchanger
- EcoSmart ECO11 Electric:
This unit is best for cold climates. It has an intuitive digital interface. This gives the user complete control over the hot water operations. This unit is suitable for small homes. It has a low water output rate of 2 GPM. EcoSmart has the advantage of having a lifetime warranty.
- Sio Green IR260 POU:
This model is best for your budget. On a tight budget, this unit can be the best choice. The SioGreen IR260 POU is an inexpensive pick. But its five-star functionality places it high up with the best of them. The infrared heating technology combined with no maintenance design. It makes this the best-in-class tankless heater.
- Space-saving design
- Durable unit
- 6-gallon water flow rate
- Saves more water
Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heater:
Tankless water heaters have many advantages. There are some drawbacks, also. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of a tankless water heater.
- Great for the environment
- Longer lifespan than storage water heaters
- Lower operating costs than storage water heaters
- More energy efficient
- Need less space
- Reduce the risk of water damage
- Little bit expensive unit
- Difficult to install by self
- Take longer to deliver hot water
- Hard water problem
- Repairing cost is higher
The tankless water heater has a high demand today. Different types and models are available in the market. To find out the best one is quite tricky. This buying guide can be the right solution for you. You need to set up your demand. Then you need to consider the best features you wish to have. Depending on the appliances to be used with the water heater, you need to purchase an adequate size. The primary factor to keep in mind is the incoming water temperature and the flow rate. Considering the entire main feature, you can make the right decision. The above reviews can also be helpful to you.