Whole House Tankless Water Heaters Guide

Are you considering upgrading your home’s water heating system and wondering about tankless water heaters? Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, offer numerous advantages over traditional tank-based systems. This guide will explore how tankless water heaters work, their benefits, and what to consider when choosing one for your entire house.

 

What is a Tankless Heater?

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, heat water only when you need it, eliminating the need for a bulky storage tank. This innovative technology provides numerous benefits and can be a game-changer for homeowners looking to improve energy efficiency and save on utility bills.

 

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Tankless water heaters operate by heating water directly without the use of a storage tank. When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. 

A gas burner or an electric element heats the water, delivering a constant supply of hot water. As a result, you don’t have to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water, making these systems more efficient and convenient.

 

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency

Are you tired of high energy bills due to your traditional water heater? Tankless water heaters are known for their energy efficiency. Since they only heat water on demand, they eliminate the energy losses associated with maintaining a tank full of hot water. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily can achieve 24%–34% more energy efficiency with a tankless water heater.

 

Cost Savings

Investing in a tankless water heater can lead to significant cost savings over time. Although the initial installation cost might be higher compared to traditional water heaters, the lower operating costs and longer lifespan make them a financially sound choice. 

You can expect to save on your energy bills and reduce your overall water heating expenses.

 

Continuous Hot Water Supply

Say goodbye to running out of hot water in the middle of a shower! One of the major benefits of tankless water heaters is their ability to provide an endless supply of hot water. This is particularly advantageous for large families or households with high hot water demands, ensuring that everyone gets a comfortable shower experience.

 

Space-Saving Design

Traditional water heaters with large storage tanks can take up a significant amount of space in your home. 

In contrast, tankless water heaters are compact and can be mounted on walls, freeing up valuable floor space. This space-saving design is perfect for smaller homes or apartments where every square foot counts.

 

Types of Tankless Water Heaters

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Electric tankless water heaters use electric elements to heat water on demand. These units are typically easier to install and maintain compared to their gas counterparts. They are ideal for homes with lower hot water needs or for point-of-use applications, such as providing hot water to a single bathroom or kitchen.

 

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Gas tankless water heaters, on the other hand, use a gas burner to heat the water. They are more powerful than electric models and can provide a higher flow rate. This makes them suitable for larger households or homes with higher hot water demands. However, they may require more complex installation, including proper ventilation and gas line connections.

 

Choosing the Right Tankless Water Heater for Your Home

Factors to Consider

When selecting a tankless water heater, it’s essential to consider various factors to ensure you choose the right model for your home. These factors include:

  • Flow Rate: Determine the maximum flow rate you need by adding up the flow rates of all fixtures you expect to use simultaneously.
  • Fuel Type: Decide between electric and gas models based on your home’s infrastructure and your specific needs.
  • Energy Efficiency: Look for models with high energy efficiency ratings to maximize cost savings.

 

Sizing Your Tankless Water Heater

Proper sizing of your tankless water heater is crucial to ensure it meets your household’s hot water demands. Consider the following:

  • Peak Usage: Calculate the peak hot water usage in gallons per minute (GPM) during the busiest times of the day.
  • Temperature Rise: Determine the temperature rise needed by subtracting the incoming water temperature from the desired output temperature.

 

Installation of Tankless Water Heaters

Professional Installation vs. DIY

Deciding whether to hire a professional or tackle the installation of your tankless water heater yourself is an important consideration. While DIY installation can save money upfront, it requires a certain level of expertise and understanding of plumbing and electrical systems. 

Improper installation can lead to inefficiency, safety hazards, and potential damage to the unit. Professional installation, on the other hand, ensures that your tankless water heater is installed correctly and in compliance with local building codes. 

Professionals can also provide valuable advice on the best location for your unit and ensure all necessary connections are properly made. This can prevent future problems and extend the lifespan of your water heater.

 

Installation Costs and Considerations

The cost of installing a tankless water heater can vary widely based on several factors, including the type of unit, the complexity of the installation, and your location. On average, professional installation can range from $1,000 to $3,000. Here are some key considerations that can affect the installation cost:

  • Unit Type: Gas units typically cost more to install due to the need for venting and gas line connections.
  • Location: Installing the unit close to existing plumbing and electrical or gas lines can reduce costs.
  • Upgrades: In some cases, your home’s electrical system or gas line may need upgrades to support the new tankless water heater.

 

Tankless Water Heater Maintenance and Repair Services by Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Prescott, AZ.
Photo from iStock – Credit: turk_stock_photographer

Maintenance and Care for Tankless Water Heaters

Regular Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your tankless water heater is essential to ensure its longevity and efficient performance. Regular maintenance tasks include:

  • Descaling: Hard water can cause mineral buildup in your tankless water heater, reducing efficiency and lifespan. Descale your unit annually or as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent scaling.
  • Cleaning the Air Filter: Ensure the air filter is clean and free of dust and debris. This can be done by removing the filter and rinsing it with water.
  • Inspecting the Vents: Check the venting system for any blockages or damage. Proper ventilation is crucial for gas models to prevent dangerous gas buildup.

 

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with regular maintenance, you may encounter some common issues with your tankless water heater. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • No Hot Water: If you’re not getting hot water, check for power supply issues, ensure the gas valve is open (for gas models), and verify that the water inlet filter is clean.
  • Fluctuating Water Temperature: Inconsistent water temperature can result from multiple fixtures being used simultaneously. Installing a flow regulator can help manage water usage more effectively.
  • Error Codes: Modern tankless water heaters often display error codes to indicate specific problems. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for guidance on interpreting and resolving these codes.

 

Tankless Water Heaters in Prescott, AZ

Local Climate Considerations

The climate in Prescott, AZ, can impact the performance and efficiency of your tankless water heater. With its cold winters and hot summers, it’s essential to consider how temperature fluctuations will affect your hot water supply. 

Ensuring your tankless water heater is properly insulated and protected from freezing temperatures is crucial. Additionally, selecting a unit with a high enough flow rate to meet wintertime hot water needs can prevent performance issues during colder months.

 

Rinnai RUR199iN Tankless Water Heaters.

 

Popular Brands and Models

In Prescott, AZ, several popular brands and models of tankless water heaters have proven to be reliable and efficient. Some of the top choices among homeowners include:

  • Rinnai RUR199iN: Known for its high efficiency and recirculation technology, this gas-powered unit is perfect for larger households.
  • EcoSmart ECO 27: An electric model that offers a compact design and advanced self-modulating technology, making it ideal for smaller homes or point-of-use applications.
  • Noritz NRC66DV: A versatile gas unit with excellent performance in various climate conditions, providing consistent hot water even in colder environments.

These models are recognized for their durability, efficiency, and advanced features, making them suitable for the specific needs of Prescott residents.

 

Tankless Water Heaters in Sedona, AZ

Water Quality and Its Impact

In Sedona, AZ, the quality of your water can significantly impact the performance and lifespan of your tankless water heater. Sedona’s water often has a high mineral content, leading to hard water issues. 

Hard water can cause mineral buildup, reducing the efficiency of your tankless water heater and potentially leading to damage over time. To mitigate these effects, consider installing a water softener system to reduce mineral deposits and prolong the life of your tankless water heater.

 

Common Myths About Tankless Water Heaters

Debunking Misconceptions

There are several myths surrounding tankless water heaters that may deter homeowners from considering this efficient option. Here are some common misconceptions debunked:

Myth 1: Tankless water heaters can’t provide enough hot water.

Fact: Tankless water heaters are capable of providing an endless supply of hot water. By choosing the correct size and model for your household needs, you can ensure that there is always enough hot water, even during peak usage times.

Myth 2: Tankless water heaters are too expensive.

Fact: While the upfront cost can be higher, the long-term savings on energy bills and the extended lifespan of tankless water heaters can make them more cost-effective than traditional models.

Myth 3: Tankless water heaters require constant maintenance.

Fact: Like any appliance, tankless water heaters do require some maintenance, but it is generally minimal. Regular descaling and periodic checks are usually sufficient to keep the unit running efficiently.

 

Incentives and Rebates for Tankless Water Heaters

Federal and State Programs

Investing in a tankless water heater can be even more appealing when you take advantage of available incentives and rebates. Both federal and state programs offer various incentives to encourage homeowners to switch to more energy-efficient appliances.

For instance, the federal government provides tax credits for the installation of qualifying energy-efficient home improvements, including tankless water heaters. This can help offset the initial cost of the unit and installation.

 

Local Incentives in Arizona

In Arizona, several local incentives can further reduce the cost of installing a tankless water heater. Utility companies often provide rebates for upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. 

For example, APS (Arizona Public Service) and SRP (Salt River Project) offer rebates for installing ENERGY STAR® certified tankless water heaters. These rebates can significantly lower the upfront cost and make the transition to a tankless system more affordable.

 

Top Brands and Models of Tankless Water Heaters

Overview of Leading Manufacturers

When choosing a tankless water heater, it’s essential to consider the top brands known for their reliability and performance. Some of the leading manufacturers include:

  • Rinnai: Known for their high-quality gas tankless water heaters, Rinnai offers models that are efficient and durable.
  • Navien: Navien is renowned for its innovative technology and high-efficiency condensing tankless water heaters.
  • Stiebel Eltron: This brand is famous for its electric tankless water heaters, which are compact and highly efficient.

 

Features and Specifications Comparison

Here is a quick comparison of some popular models from these leading brands:

Rinnai RUR199iN

The Rinnai RUR199iN is a gas-powered tankless water heater that offers a substantial flow rate of up to 11 gallons per minute (GPM) and boasts an efficiency rating of 95%. It is equipped with recirculation technology and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing for enhanced energy savings and convenient remote adjustments.

Navien NPE-240A

Navien NPE-240A is another gas-operated model featuring a slightly higher flow rate of up to 11.2 GPM and an impressive efficiency of 98%. This unit incorporates advanced condensing technology and a built-in recirculation pump, optimizing hot water delivery and minimizing waste.

Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus

Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus stands out with its 99% efficiency rating. It offers a flow rate of up to 4.68 GPM and features self-modulating technology, which adjusts power consumption based on demand, and digital temperature control, ensuring precise hot water temperatures and further energy savings. These features make it an ideal choice for those seeking an efficient, electric tankless water heater.

 

Comparing Tankless Water Heaters to Traditional Water Heaters

Efficiency and Performance

When comparing tankless water heaters to traditional tank water heaters, one of the most significant differences is efficiency. Tankless water heaters only heat water as needed, which can lead to substantial energy savings. 

Traditional water heaters continuously heat and reheat water in a storage tank, leading to higher energy consumption. Tankless models can achieve energy efficiency ratings of up to 98%, making them a more eco-friendly option.

 

Cost Analysis Over Time

While the initial cost of a tankless water heater can be higher than that of a traditional tank heater, the long-term savings can offset the upfront investment. 

Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan, often lasting 20 years or more, compared to the 10-15 years of traditional units. Additionally, the reduced energy consumption translates to lower utility bills, providing significant cost savings over time.

 

Environmental Impact of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are more environmentally friendly than traditional models. Their higher efficiency means less energy is used, reducing your carbon footprint. Additionally, the longer lifespan of tankless water heaters means fewer units end up in landfills. By choosing a tankless water heater, you can contribute to a more sustainable future while enjoying the benefits of modern technology.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long do tankless water heaters last?

    Tankless water heaters typically last 20 years or more, which is almost double the lifespan of traditional tank water heaters. Regular maintenance can help extend their life even further.

 

  1. Can a tankless water heater supply enough hot water for my entire home?

    Yes, as long as the unit is properly sized for your household’s hot water needs. It’s essential to consider the peak hot water demand and choose a model with an adequate flow rate.

 

  1. Are tankless water heaters difficult to install?

    While installation can be more complex than traditional water heaters, professional installation ensures the unit is set up correctly. DIY installation is possible but may require expertise in plumbing and electrical systems.

 

  1. Do tankless water heaters work in cold climates?

    Yes, tankless water heaters work in cold climates. However, it’s important to choose a model with the appropriate flow rate and temperature rise capabilities to handle colder incoming water temperatures.

 

  1. How much can I save on energy bills with a tankless water heater?

    On average, tankless water heaters can reduce energy costs by 24-34% for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily. Larger households with higher hot water usage can still see significant savings.

 

Switching to a tankless water heater can provide numerous benefits, from energy savings and cost efficiency to continuous hot water supply and a more compact design. With the right model and professional installation, you can enjoy these advantages while contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly home. 

If you’re considering a tankless water heater for your home in Prescott, AZ, or surrounding areas, consult with a trusted local provider to find the best option for your needs.