Whether replacing an old tank-style water heater or building new construction, a tankless water heater is an excellent option. Its energy efficiency and space-saving benefits are a winning combination for any home. But it would help if you kept a few things in mind before installing a tankless system. Read on to learn more about this innovative option.
Tankless water heaters require some maintenance but are much less frequent than traditional units. It’s usually a simple process of flushing and draining the system for cleaning. You can find specific instructions in your unit’s manual. You want to flush the system because it’s an excellent way to eliminate mineral deposits that can damage the heat exchanger and cause costly repairs. The more frequently you flush your system, the less often it will have to deal with those deposits.
A professional can handle tankless water heater service San Ramon CA task, if you prefer, but it’s something you can do yourself as well. Just make sure that you follow the steps in your product’s manual carefully. Also, it’s critical that you shut off the gas and switch the circuit breaker to the off position. It will prevent any unintended consequences of your cleaning or maintenance procedures.
How They Work
Tankless water heaters provide significant long-term savings and a more efficient home. If you’re interested in this type of water heater, it’s important to understand how they work before investing in one. Unlike tanks, which store hot water until needed, tankless systems heat water on demand. When you turn on a hot water tap at your house, the flow sensor detects and signals the unit to heat it. Depending on the model, this may be done through a gas or electric heating element.
Once the water is heated, it passes through a mixing valve and enters your pipes at the desired temperature. If the demand for hot water is too great for the heater to keep up, the unit will shut off until the demand decreases. It is a much safer system than the potential of a tank-style water heater bursting and flooding your home.
How to Choose the Right Size
There are several tankless water heaters, and which one you choose will depend on how many people live in your home and your average hot water usage.
Count all the fixtures in your home that need hot water simultaneously. Then, look up the flow rate for each fixture (showers, dishwashers, washing machines) to see how many gallons per minute they use during peak demand times. You will also need to know the groundwater temperature in your area and the desired hot water temperature. Manufacturers provide a first-hour rating on their EnergyGuide labels or in their product literature, and you will need to find a model with a first-hour rating that matches your peak demand. For example, if you need to achieve a hot water temperature of 115 degrees, you will want to choose a tankless water heater with a first-hour rating that can provide a minimum of 6 gallons per minute at your home’s peak demand.
Before mounting the tankless unit, carefully remove any screws from the front cover and place them where you can find them later. If you damage the unit during this process, you will likely need to buy a new one, adding to your project costs. Next, install a venting system according to the manufacturer’s directions. A sealed vent carries exhaust gases from the heater away from your home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. If you use gas, use double-walled venting material that complies with local code requirements. Ensure your water heater is the right size to meet your household demands. It can be done by calculating the flow rates of your appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.) and adding them together. Also, consider insulating your pipes to reduce energy consumption. You’ll pay less for electricity, and your hot water will operate more effectively.