If you are in the market to buy, install or are just shopping around for a new tankless water heater or what is also called an on-demand water heater, there are certain things that you must know before you buy one as its a totally different animal than the traditional tank water heater. Make sure you know and educate yourself before you go into installing a tankless water heater.  You do not want to find out later that you have insufficient hot water for use in your home or in your building as it is not matched to certain plumbing systems.  On the other hand, there are certain locations and buildings where it is a smart to switch from a traditional tank water heater to a tankless water heater and will save you also on your monthly water and utility bills.  But first things first:

1. There is No Storage of Hot Water in a Tankless Water Heater

  • Remember a tankless water heater has no tank, so that means no available storage of hot water at any time when someone uses the dishwasher, shower etc..
  • Hot water needs should be calculated based on needs of the home or commercial space.
  • Tankless hot water heaters are designed mainly to save energy as the on demand water is off all the time and turns on to heat the water only when usage of water running into a pipe is detected.
  • There are three types of hot water heaters: electric tankless water heater, gas tank water heater and propane tank water heater.
  • You have to choose between energy savings and hot water usage when you use more than one source at a time like a dishwasher that is running at the same time as the laundry machine while someone is taking a shower.

2.  Estimating the Average Usage of Hot Water

  • The first and the most important step is to know how much hot water you consume, mainly gallons per minute, which you can find on your water bill.
  • Another an important point is how many applications or appliances use the hot water at the same time.  Combine the 2 together and you get to know your usage so you can choose the right tankless water heater or call us and we will advise you regarding how to do that.
  • Some numbers to consider:  a shower is about 3 gallons per minute and a washing machine is about 1 gallon per minute.
  • Calculating your energy usage with a new tankless water heater will determine the size, the usage, the size of usage of the unit, the cost, the maintenance, and your monthly bill.
  • There are cases where we installed a tankless hot water heater for a specific area in different sizes, for instance a sink has different usage than a shower so two different units will get you what you need without buying a costly and larger unit.

3.  Tankless Water Heater Installation

  • You cannot always install a tankless on demand water heater.  Sometimes the area needs to be re-modified for safety purposes, same as a water pipe may need to be repaired and modified to fit the new unit and a chimney.
  • A licensed plumber needs to install a new tankless water heater or replace and convert a conventional tank water heater to tankless while applying for a permit. Inspection by the town is part of the process.
  • If you use an electric water heater you don’t need to have an exhaust vented to the outdoors as the water is heated by electric coil.
  • Electric tankless water heaters are more expensive on an ongoing basis in terms of your monthly bill because electricity costs more than gas and it takes more energy to heat water with a coil then by gas powered flame.  However, tankless water heater installation will usually be at a lower cost that traditional tank water heater installation.
  • Gas water heaters need to have a gas supply to the unit, a chimney and fresh air around the unit with open ventilation, so you should consider this when choosing the takless water heater.

 We would highly advise you not to convert to a tankless water heater on your own without consulting a licensed TX plumber first.  Give us a call and we would be happy to give you a free opinion and any help we can.

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