Frequently Asked Questions

Are tankless water heaters more efficient?Are tankless water heaters more efficient?

Yes, a tankless water heater uses 24%-34% less energy if the average use is 41 gallons or less hot water per day. If your typical hot water needs exceed 41 gallons per day, the tankless hot water heater will be less efficient but still save energy. For example, it will use 8%- 14% less energy if average the hot water use exceeds 86 gallons per day. Of course, the greater energy efficiency of tankless systems also saves you money. This can translate into a significant reduction in your electricity bills over the course of a year making them an excellent long term investment.

Tankless water heater or tank, which is better?

That really depends on your need or preference. Tankless water heaters leave less of a footprint on the environment because they use less energy. In addition, this leads to smaller energy bills. They also take up significantly less space than traditional tanks and they generally last longer too. The predicted lifespan for a tankless water heater surpasses 20 years. Conversely, the lifespan of a traditional water heater is 10-15 years.. The initial installation and purchase, however, are more expensive than going the traditional route, so if the budget is stretched tight, that is something you should consider.

Are there any tankless water heater disadvantages?

Cost to purchase and install the unit is more expensive than the traditional model. Also, if you have a large family that uses the shower while running the dishwasher, or other multiple appliances, you will need to either purchase a more expensive whole house unit or even multiple units in order to generate sufficient hot water. Another disadvantage of tankless systems is that during a power outage there will be a complete lack of hot water unlike a traditional storage tank system which will still retain a limited supply of hot water.

Where to buy a tankless water heater?

They can be purchased at most national appliance stores. You can also make your purchase through local dealers or online at merchant websites.

Which tankless water heater is right for me?

The best tankless water heater is the one best suited to your particular needs. Choosing a correctly sized unit is the most critical factor in ensuring your system is fit for purpose. What size unit you require will vary, most importantly, on your household’s demand for hot water but also on your geographical location.Speaking to someone knowledgeable in the field prior to your purchase can help you decide which unit is going to be right for you.

Can tankless water heaters leak?

Yes, though it is rare. The most common reason for a leak to occur is a loose valve. If your tankless water heater leaks, contact a professional immediately to have it inspected and repaired.

Are tankless water heaters noisy?

There are so many variables with each person’s set-up, that there really isn’t a one size fits all answer. Depending on whether it is gas or electric, how far your living area is from the unit, and how thick or thin your walls are, it is possible you will never know it has even kicked on or is in use. With that said, many people report that when the initial firing up occurs, they do hear sounds that register between 75-90 decibels. A flushing toilet is 75 decibels of sound. The sound reportedly occurs when the unit first fires up.

Can tankless water heaters run out of hot water?

No, because water is heated on-demand, that is, continuously, as and when it is needed. Using too many hot water dependent appliances/showers at the same time, however, can overburden a unit and cause the water temperature to drop until demand falls sufficiently. Such problems are most often due to the installation of an incorrectly sized unit.

Do tankless water heaters use electricity?

Some do, while others use gas. However, even gas powered units do use small amounts of electricity to power the PC board and for ignition.

Are tankless water heaters safe?

Yes, and in some cases, safer than traditional tanks. If you purchase a gas-fired unit, the same concerns about carbon monoxide that accompany a gas-powered traditional unit apply. However, electric units to do not run the risk of getting a hot exterior the way traditional units do, nor is there an open flame as some traditional units have. This eliminates the concern of children or adults burning themselves on the unit. Overall, tankless systems are believed to be safer than traditional water heating systems.

Do tankless water heaters have pilot lights?

A small number of gas powered units feature standing pilot lights but the majority use electronic ignition systems.

Can tankless water heaters run on propane?

Yes, depending on the model, gas powered tankless water heaters either run on propane (LPG) or natural gas (methane). While most models are limited to one or other of the above power sources, some allow for both propane and methane to be used.

Can tankless water heaters freeze?

Yes, if exposed to low enough temperatures, although most modern units have built in freeze protection. Moreover, many tankless systems are installed indoors, especially in areas subject to extreme cold, mitigating, if not eliminating, any risk of freezing. Although the unit itself might be protected, water pipes can still freeze. If you plan on installing an outdoor mounted unit in a frost prone area you can prevent this by insulating the water pipes.

Tankless water heater cold water sandwich, what is it?

This happens when cold water is “sandwiched” between an initial supply of warm water and the steady flow of freshly heated water which follows. A quite common occurrence, it happens when the heater powers off and then on again in relatively quick succession.

The cold water sandwich phenomenon can be explained as follows: after the unit powers off, heated water remains in the pipes between the unit and point of use. When the unit powers on again, this previously heated water is released followed by a burst of cold water which exits the heat exchanger before it can be heated to the desired temperature. The cold water is then followed by freshly heated water which enters the system after it has reached full power.

This effect can be resolved by installing a recirculation loop. Or, because it only takes a minute or two to resolve itself, you might decide just to wait for the constant hot water. This phenomenon happens more often with electric units than with gas units because gas-firing tends to almost instantly cause water to reach the desired temperature.

Can a tankless water heater replace my boiler?

Yes! If your unit is designed for that purpose. Tankless water heaters that can replace a boiler will be marked with ASME.

Do tankless water heaters need to be serviced?

Though they are relatively low-maintenance, to prolong the life of your unit and to avoid maintenance issues it is recommended that you have it serviced regularly. How often will depend on the hardness of your water supply and involves cleaning out mineral deposits and checking all valves and fittings. You can either learn how to do it yourself, or hire a professional to service it for you.

What is a condensing tankless water heater?

A condensing tankless water heater uses spent combustion gases to heat water at the same time the unit is heating water. When your unit is being used, it produces combustible gases, which in a non-condensing unit, are vented to the outside of the unit, much like a clothes dryer is vented to the building’s exterior. When it is a condensing unit, those combustible gases are rerouted by the unit back to the system and used to make additional hot water.

What tankless water heater installation requirements are there?

Gas fired units installed indoors require venting and in some cases in may be necessary to install larger piping to accommodate the system.

As regards electric units, you will need to check the relevant electrical service requirements and make any necessary changes or upgrades as required.

How much do tankless water heaters cost to install?

Cost will vary depending on several factors. Do you have to have larger gas pipes installed? Do you need an old traditional water heater disconnected and hauled away? Do you need to upgrade your electrical service or have a 120V outlet installed near the unit’s placement? Each of these factors contribute to the final installation cost which can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $2,000 or more.

Where can you install a tankless water heater?

Tankless systems can be installed either inside or out. If installed outside, and depending on the climate in your area, you may need to take precautions to protect your unit during winter. The configuration of your current plumbing, gas and electrical system is probably the biggest consideration when deciding where to install your tankless water heater. For units that will be used for specific appliances, the unit should be placed as close to the appliance or shower/bath as possible.

If the tankless unit is replacing a storage tank, you can install it where the old tank has been removed if it is a minimum of three feet from all windows when a wall vent will be used. This is not a consideration if there is no wall vent. It may be possible to install the unit in a closet if the above requirements are met and there is sufficient space available for venting (if required).

Do tankless water heaters need venting?

Gas models require venting. They are designed to either be vented through a wall (horizontal vent) or through the ceiling and roof (vertical vent). Electric models do not require venting.

Can a tankless water heater be vented into a chimney?

This method is not recommended because the gases being vented can destroy the fireplace masonry, which makes it a fire hazard as sparks from a fire can now enter the home between cracks in the brick and start a house fire.