Like most things in life, weighing the pros and cons before making a buying decision is a step toward making an informed decision. Doing a little bit of homework will also save you time and money down the road to ensure you’re buying a product suited to your home and your style of living.
In this blog, we talk about 3 tankless water heater myths, explore a few important advantages of buying a tankless water heater, and help you understand how to choose the right type of tankless unit for your home on the Outer Banks.
3 Myths of Tankless Water Heaters
Before you settle on tankless, it’s good to explore the pros and cons. We should mention the fact that we highly recommend tankless, install them often (even in our own homes), so we’re definitely proponents of tankless. That said, it’s good to have the facts up front:
Myth 1: Anyone Can Install One
Even if you fancy yourself a handy person and may have even installed a traditional water heater with a knowledgeable friend or two, a tankless unit is not necessarily a DIY project. There are two primary reasons why it’s better to enlist the help of a trained professional:
- Proper handling of the gas line
- Proper management of the water line
Although it may seem like a plug-n-play situation when going from a conventional system to tankless, they are two very different animals, with tankless often requiring more BTU’s (a measurement of thermal energy). Venting is also another important aspect that often requires an experienced plumbing professional to determine what’s right for your situation.
Myth 2: Instant Hot Water
As the water comes in, it’s instantly converted to hot, vs. a conventional unit which takes time to heat up. However, you may not have instant hot water at your kitchen sink. You need to turn on the tap and get the cold water out before hot water makes its way in. In order to get truly ‘instant’ hot water, you’ll need a circulation pump installed.
Myth 3: Zero Maintenance
Tankless units are not necessarily maintenance free, but with care and attention, you’ll likely get many more years out of it than a conventional water heater. For optimum performance, a tankless unit requires an annual or bi-annual flush (which can be performed by a professional or on your own with a tutorial). Areas with soft water don’t have to worry about flushing the tank as often as a home with hard water. Hard water systems need to be flushed at least annually to rid the unit of mineral deposits.
Compelling Reasons Why Tankless Water Heaters are Preferred
Okay, so we’ve opened the kimono and showed you some truths about ownership of a tankless. We happen to think they are a solid choice and excellent value from several angles. Here are our top three:
You get limitless hot water – yes, we said limitless! With a conventional water heater, you can easily run out of hot water after just a few showers. It’s a luxury of limitless hot water and we’re thrilled to be able to take advantage of it!
Tankless water heaters are a life saver and space saver! Particularly here in the Outer Banks where basements don’t exist. Having a unit that’s small and easy to conceal is a huge advantage. In year-round warm climates it’s even possible to install an outdoor unit – but for our area we typically recommend
Tankless technology has been around for decades, and they have proven their reliability. With a tankless water heater, you can probably count on quality performance for twice as long as a conventional unit.
- Endless hot water is fantastic; it’s a huge improvement from the tank version.
- Tankless does require maintenance if you have hard water – need to flush once a year.
- Tankless only heats water as needed.
Selecting the Right Model
One other bit of information you’ll want to calculate is the flow rate you’ll need for your home. To determine flow rate in gallons-per-minute (GPM), you’ll have to add up the flow rates of your plumbing appliances to determine the flow rate of your tankless water heater. Example:
- Hot water faucet flow rate is 1 GPM
- Rate of two shower heads is 2.5 GPM each (5 GPM)
Based on simultaneous use of these appliances, you’ll need to order a tankless unit that offers a flow rate of 6 GPM. Note: Natural gas tankless waters can produce a larger temperature rise per GPM than electric models.
The next specification you’ll need to determine is temperature rise. Simply put, the temperature rise is calculated by subtracting incoming water temperature from desired output temperature:
Incoming Water Temperature (average in North Carolina is 52-61° F)
Desired Output Temperature (average is 110° F)
Calculate Desired Temperature Rise: 110°F – 52°F = 58°F
This means the unit you select should have a desired temperature rise of about 58°F.
There’s a lot to learn and we’ve got the experience you can rely on – – count on us to help you factor in all the considerations in order to get you the tankless water heater that will work best in your home.