How Tankless Water Heaters Function
Tankless water heater designs are able to heat water without water storage tanks. When people turn their hot water faucets on, cold water moves into their unit via supply pipes. It is then heated by either an electric element or a gas burner. This allows tankless water heaters to provide a continuous supply of hot water. It isn’t necessary to wait for a storage tank to fill with a sufficient amount of hot water before you can use it. This process does, however, limit the overall flow rate of a Kelowna tankless water heater.
Capacity Varies Depending on Model
In most instances, a tankless water heater can supply two to five gallons of hot water each minute. Tankless water heaters that are gas-fired tend to have a higher flow than electric water heaters. There are times, however, when the flow of hot water from even the biggest gas-fired unit will not be sufficient for a variety of simultaneous uses in a large-sized household. As an example, running the dishwasher while you take a shower will push the water heater to its limits.
To avoid problems like these, it is possible to install several tankless water heaters that are connected in parallel for multiple demands for hot water at one time. It is additionally possible to install separate water heaters at each major appliance like dishwashers or washing machines, that are responsible for a considerable amount of hot water use within the home.
Other ways in which on demand hot water heaters can be used include:
- Hot tubs or remote bathrooms
- Boosters for major appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers
- To complement a solar water heating setup
In homes that use less than 41 gallons of water per day, on demand, tankless water heaters are between 24% and 34% more efficient than conventional hot water heaters with storage tanks. These units are 8% to 14% more efficient in homes that use a considerable amount of hot water or approximately 86 gallons each day. If you opt to install on demand units at every water outlet, you can achieve energy savings ranging between 27% and 50%. According to ENERGY STAR estimates, an average family will be able to save as much as $100 annually with a tankless water heater that is ENERGY STAR qualified.
Installation Costs VS Savings
Tankless water heaters have higher upfront costs than conventional water heaters, but these units tend to last a lot longer and their operating costs are lower as well, which ensures a good return on these investments over time. Many water heaters are expected to last 20 years or more. Their parts are also easy to replace, which could extend their lifetime an additional ten to 15 years.
Tankless water heaters do not have the heat losses that occur during standby in water heaters with storage tanks. It is vital to note, however, that while gas-fired tankless water heaters enjoy a higher flow rate than water heaters that are powered by electricity, they do waste energy if the pilot is constantly burning. This could offset any gains that are made by doing away with losses related to standby. With storage water heaters that are gas-fired, the water is heated by the in-tank pilot light to prevent energy waste.
Gas Fired VS Intermittent
The costs of having a pilot light in water heaters that are tankless vary from one unit to the next. Talk with the product manufacturer about how much gas is used by the pilot light in the unit that you’re considering. If you opt to buy a unit that has a standing pilot light, it is always possible to turn it off when the unit is not being used in order to cut energy costs. You should also consider units that have IID technology or intermittent ignition devices rather than standing pilots. This technology is not unlike the spark ignition devices that are present on gas ovens and kitchen ranges.
There are a number of factors that affect proper installation. Among these are climate, fuel type, building codes for the location and safety issues, particularly as these pertain to combustion of water heaters that are gas-fired. Thus, it is important to have these units installed by reputable plumbing and heating professionals.
When choosing a contractor for the installation of your on demand heater, you should always:
- Request written estimates
- Check references
- Check the database of your local Better Business Bureau
- Make sure the the company will get a local permit when required and that local building codes are understood
Routine maintenance of your on demand heater will ensure optimal efficiency and extend its lifetime. Check out your owner’s manual to get in-depth recommendations for the ongoing maintenance of your unit.
Popular Tankless Brands
- Stiebel Eltron