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Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters:
What you need to know

Traditional water heaters have a tank holding between 20 and 80 gallons of water. Some are electric, others natural gas or propane, and still others are heating oil-fueled. There are heating elements inside the tank that keep the contents at a constant pre-set temperature. Cold water is added as the hot water inside is used.

Tankless water heaters are wall-mounted and do not have a hot water holding tank. Water is not being kept hot at times when it is not needed. So, you’re not paying to heat water until you need to use it! Tankless water heaters can be gas fueled or electric.

The major contributing factor to the usefulness of a tankless unit is the flow rate. That is, how much hot water the heater can produce in a certain amount of time. Typically, the flow rate in a house is about 2 to 5 gallons per minute, but some units can heat up to 8 gallons in the same amount of time. A large home with multiple users may need a large tankless unit with a high flow rate, while a smaller home with only a couple of people can use a smaller unit with a lower flow rate. Installing a unit too small for your family’s needs will cause you to be disappointed with the heater.

Tankless on-demand water heaters are from 15% – 30% more energy efficient than standard tank-style heaters. They are relatively small and wall-mounted, so they don’t use up valuable floor space.

Tankless water heaters never run out of water, but they do have a limited flow rate based on the size and efficiency of the unit.  A large home might call for more than one unit to keep up with your family’s call for hot water.

Figure out how many fixtures you want to be able to use hot water at the same time. Here are some common flow rates for your consideration:

• Kitchen Sink – 1.5 GPM                        • Bathtub – 4.0 GPM

• Dishwasher – 1.5 GPM                         • Washing Machine – 2.0 GPM

• Shower – 3.0 GPM

Electric tankless water heaters are not difficult to install and maintain, but can usually serve only one outlet at a time. A large home or large family may need more than one electric unit. All things considered, electric tankless heaters are more efficient than comparable gas-fueled units. However, gas tankless heaters are preferred by most homeowners because they produce more hot water than electric units.

Tips for Purchasing a Tankless Water Heater:

• Buy a unit with the highest energy rating for the highest efficiency.

• Electric tankless water heaters require a lot of electricity and might require a dedicated circuit.

• Many on-demand water heaters qualify for government tax credits, especially ENERGY STAR® units.

• Tankless water heaters can start as low as $500 and can go as high as $3000, and on top of that, installation can run an additional $2000 depending on fuel type, electrical needs, etc.

• Long-term savings can cover the cost of the heater purchase and installation over the course of the unit’s life, which is approximately 20 years – with annual service to flush the equipment. So, you could make all your money back and then some.

• Finally, work with a pro, so you are ensured of getting the proper size and maximum efficiency out of your heater and have professional installation that you can depend on.

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