Befor you replace your current water heater, learn four common myths associated with tankless units.
Tankless water heaters are all the rage. They appeal to everyone, from the home hunter, to the conservationist, to the comfort and convenience minded. It’s no wonder – you get better efficiency and endless hot water with a unit that doesn’t occupy much more space than a large suitcase.
These features and benefits are what most people think about when they consider exchanging their storage type water heater for a tankless. No brainer, right? After years of tankless water heater installs, we’ve found that some consumers have expectations, realistic or otherwise, that should be addressed before deciding to go tankless.
Below are four common myths that every homeowner considering a tankless water heater should be aware of.
1. Tankless water heaters are “plug & play.”
Tankless water heaters are not a simple “swap out.” Most conventional gas water heaters were not installed with a tankless retrofit in mind. In fact, your home’s gas piping, gas meter and gas line to the meter may not be sized appropriately to handle the high gas load that will be replacing the conventional storage gas water heater.
Most conventional natural-draft water heaters vent exhaust completely different than any tankless water heater, and though they are a fuel burning appliance, they do need power to operate.
When a homeowner is unhappy with a tankless water heater, it usually concerns the issues above, and managing expectations about how their tankless water heater should perform. Not all tankless water heaters are the same. An improperly installed unit may not only underperform, but be a safety hazard as well.
2. Tankless water heaters deliver hot water faster.
Somehow, “instant” has replaced the word “tankless” in the minds of many consumers. The fact is, when a tankless is taking the place of a conventional water heater in its existing location, it will not deliver hot water to your faucet any faster. If it took a long time before, it will still take a long time to get there unless that issue was specifically addressed.
Some brands will only fire up when they sense flow. In this case there can be an additional few seconds of wait time before hot water reaches a faucet. In some cases, a tankless water heater is located in a completely different location than the old water heater. The distance from the water heater to the faucet will determine the time it takes for hot water to reach the faucet.
If water does take a long time to get to a faucet, the real solution is to add a circulation system to your water’s heat source. Luckily, some tankless models are designed so that a circulation system can be added without reconfiguring piping or adding an additional buffer tank.
3. All tankless water heaters are pretty much the same.
Throughout the years,tankless water heatershave become more reliable, cost effective, and in some cases, an easier installation. Some brands are better than others for certain applications.
There are now models that offer more firepower, while keeping equipment and installation costs down. Other brands are less reliable and have very poor product support. Some will require more extensive maintenance than others, which should be considered when evaluating the cost of ownership.
From my experience, no matter the quality of the unit, if the quality of installation is poor, you will always get poor performance. So how do you find out which brands are best?
A great resource is a plumbing/HVAC company that has a good reputation and stands behind their work. Most likely, they’ll want to keep their customers happy with good service and superior products. The brands a company like this use are worth considering.
4. Replacing with a tankless water heater doesn’t require a permit or inspection.
I cannot speak for all jurisdictions, but here in the Puget Sound area they do. If you’re not sure it’s required, call up your local permitting office and ask them. They may require a mechanical permit, gas piping permit and electrical permit depending on the local jurisdiction and what was required to install the new appliance.
Remember, you are replacing a 40,000 BTU tank with something that uses up to 199,999 BTU’s of gas. It produces exhaust and carbon monoxide and vents completely different. For your safety and health it is best to follow the local authority’s requirements for permit and inspection.
Before you step up to tankless, make sure you understand the difference between fact and fiction. Seek out a reputable plumbing/HVAC company. With proper guidance you can make a well-informed decision that will hopefully meet your needs and your expectations.
By Bruce Davis Jr. of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating
Author:Les Smith Phone: 334-303-2024 Dated: April 25th 2017 Views: 218 About Les: ...
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