Tankless Hot Water Heater Hype

August 4, 2009

Do you ever feel that you just can’t seem to get enough hot water out of your hot water tank?  Are you ever stuck with a cold shower in the morning?  Or do you have a luxury shower with body sprays and you find your luxury only lasts for about 5 minutes?  Are you thinking that a larger hot water tank is the only answer?

Tankless hot water heaters have been very popular in Asia and Europe for many years and they are finally catching on in America.  The idea is that you only heat the water that you use as you are using it and with that theory you could have an endless supply of hot water.  Never run out of hot water again.

The number of fixtures/appliances that can operate on a tankless hot water heater varies from region to region.  In warmer climates, the cold water coming into a home isn’t as cold as it is in cold climates.  The colder the water, the more work the tankless has to do within the same period of time… the outcome, the hot water available to meet the demand is at a lower temperature.  This means, provided they have the same tankless brand and model, a home in Florida may be able to heat 5 showers at once,  while a home in Illinois may only be able to heat 2.5 showers.

Tankless hot water heaters are fueled by electric or gas.  Units that feed hot water to the whole house are typically gas.  If you are considering a tankless, be aware that depending on your average gas consumption during the coldest time if the year, you may need to increase the size of your gas meter.  Not everyone needs a tankless.  And you won’t necessarily save money with a tankless, though you may be able to take advantage of an energy tax credit (talk to your accountant).  The main reason to go tankless is to achieve comfort, if your current tank heater isn’t working for your household.

If you decide that tankless is right for you, use a certified installer  to ensure that the unit is installed correctly to keep your warrantee valid.

Written by Imperial Kitchens and Baths Designer, Stephanie Bullwinkel (CBD).  Previously published in Imperial Kitchens and Baths Newsletter Issue 1.

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