The installation of a tankless water heater is a good option if you want to lower energy costs and create more space in your basement or garage. The function of a tankless water heater means that water is heated when it needs to be used, which is different from conventional water heaters that keep water constantly heated inside a tank. These on-demand water heaters can help to provide a great upgrade to your house, but setting up and selecting the right one can be difficult, so we created this series of tips to help you through the process.
Installing one of these units is not difficult but you will need the assistance of a plumber most likely and if there are modifications that need to be made to the utility room, you may need to find a home remodeling contractor to help fit the unit.
Updating to a tankless water heater should be done before your existing water heater fails. You want to have sufficient time to explore the options available for your home. If your existing tank fails, then the time to find a sufficient tankless water heater is limited, as time is needed to determine the costs of a new water installation and how practical it is to install one in your home.
Many types of tankless water heaters are available for residential installation. The best models for your home will have an Energy Star label. Make sure you are purchasing a qualified model by reviewing all the models that are available. You can do this by viewing an Energy Start product list.
The size of water heaters you need is based on a factor called gallons per minute. This is also known as the flow rate. You will need a tankless water heater that can supply hot water to appliances including a washing machine and dishwasher, while still being able to power a faucet and a shower. The best way to think about this is to take a week and look at what items in your house your family tends to use at the same time. If you feel like two showers and a washing machine are often on at once then a high gallon per minute flow rate may be needed.
Comparing the efficiency of a tankless water heater is done by checking the Energy Factor for a unit. This is the measure of heat transfer efficiency and heat loss. A unit that has a high Energy Factor will be more efficient than units with a lower Energy Factor and will help you save money on your electricity.
Do the Math
Talk to an experienced plumber to determine the proper size of unit for your home. If you are unable to meet with a plumber, then compare a few figures. A shower and bath will normally require 2.5 gallons per minute, a washing machine normally requires 3.3 gallons per minute, and a dishwasher normally requires 1.3 gallons per minute. If you know your incoming water temperature (which is most areas is around 50 degrees) then you can easily calculate what type of temperature increase you will get with different applications in your house needing hot water at different GPM’s.
The installation of a tankless water heater in your home may qualify for an tax rebate. You will want to check to see if any rebates or offers are available in your area from Energy Star Partners; however, there are not always rebates available in different areas or for different products.
Review the various brands of tankless water heaters available on the market to find the best one for your home such as Rheem, Eemax, Chronomite and Bosch. There are also a lot of great online resources for more information on tankless water heaters as well.