Tankless Water Heaters: Constant Hot Water Supply and Money Savers

Today most homes are heating the water supplied to their homes by the use of a storage water heater. Storage water heaters are constantly heating the water that is in the tank. As water is used cold water filled the bottom of the tank and will be heated in order to keep a desired temperature. Since the water is being heated 24/7 energy is being used all the time in order for the hot water to be supplied to your home. Even when you are not using hot water your storage tank is using energy in order for it to be hot if and when you need.

If it is time to replace your storage tank water heater or you just bought a new home and have to have a hot water heater installed, you should reconsider spending your money on a storage tank water heater and consider the option of purchasing a tankless water heater.

Tankless water heaters work as a supply and demand system. In this system water is not heated in a storage tank. As you turn on your faucet/shower cold water travels through a pipe into the unity and a gas or electrical element heats the water. Since water is not being stored in a tank and it is not constantly being heated 24/7 the system is already saving you energy and money. As long as the demand is there the tankless water heater will supply you with hot water when needed.

Advantages

1. Depending on how much hot water your home needs will depend on how much you save on your energy bill. You can save anywhere from 24-50% on your bill.

2. Tankless water heaters are designed and manufactured to last longer (20+ years)

3. Parts are easily replaceable and inexpensive.

4. Maintenance goes a long way. Making sure your system is running efficiently will not only save you money on your energy bill but it can also increase the life of your system.

5. Standby heat losses are avoided because water is not constantly being heated and staying in the tank

Disadvantages

1. The initial cost of the system is greater than the cost of a storage tank; but it will offset your energy costs

2. If you are running your tankless water heater off of a gas element, the burning pilot light (the ignition source that heats the water) is constantly burning causing energy to be wasted. Although this is inevitable, what you can do is shop around and look for a more energy efficient pilot light, or you can turn it off when you are not using it.

3. Depending on how much hot water you use a day, and how many people you have in your home, you may need more than one tankless water heater so that you can shower and run the dishwasher at the same time this way you will not push the heater to its limit. (This can also be an advantage because having more than one heater will save you more money)

Selecting a Tankless Water Heater:

There are 3 categories to keep in mind when you are choosing the best tankless water heater for your home.

1. Size– You want to make sure that the tankless water heater will meet your household needs while still operating at its maximum efficiency. The flow rate of your appliances (faucet/shower head) and desired temperature must be determined before picking a system.

The best way to figure out what size, or how many tankless water heaters you need would be to write a list of all the devices in your home that use hot water. By determining the flow rate (gallons per minute) of each device you will then be able to add up the totals and figure out how many gallons per minute your tankless water heater will need to be able to handle. Keep in consideration when determining the number of people in your house and the peak hour of maximum usage of hot water. If you have a family of 4 and they all take showers in the morning, one tankless water heater may be a problem so you might have to consider having more than one.

2. Fuel Type – The energy source that you use to heat the water will affect operation costs as well as efficiency of the tankless water heater. When determining which fuel to use you need to take into consideration the fuel that is available to you in your area as well as the cost of operation.

a. Electricity – Available all over the United States

b. Fuel Oil – Available in most parts of the United States; Prices for fuel oil continue to rise since 2010

c. Geothermal Energy – Only available to those who already have an existing

geothermal heat pump system in their home for heating/cooling purposes. If this seems like something that you may be interested in do some research!

d. Natural Gas – Readily available to most areas in the United States; Prices vary depending on demand

e. Propane – Available to most areas in the United States; all depends on where you live which will also determine prices

f. Solar Energy – Available everywhere in the United States except in those areas that go through periods of living in the dark. Solar energy relies solely on the sun for its power.

**Our advice is to check which fuel type is readily available to you and to compare costs in order to determine which one will benefit your home and not put a huge dent in your pocket every month**

3. Costs – When purchasing a water heating system or anything in general, everyone looks at prices. Not only do they want to make sure they are saving money in the long run but they also want to make sure if they are spending a significant amount of money that they are getting what they paid for.

If your fuel bill is high you may want to consider your other options and switch your fuel source. You can also combine your tankless water heater with other systems (like a heat pump) in order to maximize efficiency and lifetime of your system.

Do not go for the highest priced tankless water heater. Do some research! Just because you are spending a lot of money does not mean that it is the best one for your home. You want to make sure that you are choosing the best possible tankless water heater for your home. It is like buying a pair of shoes; you don’t just buy a pair and hope they match with every outfit. You make sure you buy a pair of shoes that can be worn with every outfit because if you don’t chances are you will never wear those shoes and your shoes are sitting in your closet until you get more money to buy an outfit that will match.

Installation/Maintenance

Once you have found a tankless water heater that fits you and your homes needs, you want to make sure that it is installed properly. We would not recommend installing the system in by yourself, unless you have experience. Having a qualified and certified installer is your best option. When looking for companies make sure that you:

a. Ask for references

b. Don’t just stick with one company because they had a great deal; find a bunch of companies and compare costs. You can also look online for reviews of each company.

c. Check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for any reviews of the company

d. Make sure the company will obtain permits if needed; this way if a permit is needed they will be on top of it so that you will not have to worry

e. DO YOUR RESEARCH and do not settle

Like any system, whether it be a computer or a water heater, you want to make sure that maintenance is done. Just like you need to run an anti-virus protector on your computer every few months, you need to check or have it checked by a technician to make sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently. Although the system is advanced it does not mean that nothing will ever go wrong. If you are proactive and make sure that your system is operating properly every few months, especially in the months that you use it the most, your system could over work. Ever hear of the domino effect? Once something goes wrong and it is not taken care of, the whole system could shut down. Be proactive so that you will not have to spend more money!

Energy Saving Tips:

1. Use less hot water

2. Install low flow faucets/showerheads. They could cost you anywhere from $10-20 but they could save you anywhere from 25-60% on your energy bill.

3. Purchase ENERGYStar appliances (dishwashers/washing machines, etc. )

**ENERGYStar products are backed by the government in order to make sure that each appliance is working efficiently by reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants and will save you money on your bills without sacrificing comfort and performance.

4. Wash clothes in cold water, even your whites

5. Make sure you fix all leaks immediately! Even a little leak can waste you gallons of water in a short period of time.

6. Turn down your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees

7. If you are running off an old system, consider updating

8. Consider updating all of your appliances in your homes and making sure they have an ENERGYStar label

9. Insulate your water heater tank and pipes. If you are doing this yourself, make sure you pay close attention to manufactures instructions so that you do not cause any problems to occur after insulation

10. Drain a quart of water from the tank every 3 months so that sediment is removed. This will increase energy efficiency and will also encourage heat transfer.

11. Forget storage tank heaters, go tankless!!!


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