Water Heater Buyers Guide

    tankless water heater

    Our water heater buyers guide will help you make an informed decision when it's time to choose a water heater. There are multiple types of water heaters available, each with their own set of pros and cons.  

    While most people are familiar with traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters have recently gained in popularity. This guide will cover the basics of buying a water heater and give you the information you need to make an informed decision. 


    Man pointing to Save Energy

    Energy Ratings

    When selecting a water heater, an important factor to consider is how energy efficiently it performs. So before we dive into the different types of water heaters, let's first take a look at how water heaters are rated from an energy use standpoint.

    Each water heater model is reviewed and rated with an Energy Factor Rating (EF) which measures the appliances overall efficiency.

    There are 3 factors considered in an EF Rating: Stand-by Losses (the amount of heat lost per hour); Recovery Efficiency (A measurement of how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water); and Cycling Losses.

    Since the EF rating measures the efficiency of an individual unit, you'll be able to easily compare the efficiency of one model over another. Here's a few things you should know:

    • The EF rating is the measurement of a water heater's overall efficiency.
    • The useful energy that is coming from the water heater determines the EF rating.
    • The amount of useful energy is divided by the amount of gas or electricity that went into the appliance to heat the water.
    • The EF rating is based on the amount of hot water produced by a single unit of fuel consumed.
    • Look for water heaters with a high EF rating. The higher the EF rating, the more efficient the appliance.

    Energy Star

    When a water heater earns an ENERGY STAR rating the initial price is often more expensive. However, since the unit will operate more energy efficiently there will be larger savings in fuel costs over the life of the unit.

    More information can be found at: energystar.gov.

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    Water Heater Regulation Changes

    The federal energy efficiency standards saw major changes in 2015, which forced manufacturers to make changes and increase the prices of tank-style water heaters in order to comply.

    As manufacturers needed to increase the size and price of their new units to comply to the minimum energy-efficiency standards, tankless water heaters became even more desirable for homeowners. 

    This video will give you a quick overview of the NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) changes and how these changes may affect you. 

    Watch the Video

    Rubber duck in a bath tub

    Tank-Style Water Heaters

    Traditional water heaters (also known as storage water heaters) are the most common type of water heater in North America. Traditional water heaters are most commonly powered with either electricity or gas, however, there are other options such as the hybrid heat pump and even solar powered variations.

    Chalkboard with man drawing gears

    How a Tank-Style Water Heater Works

    A traditional water heater works when the incoming water supply is diverted into an insulated cylindrical tank through the heater’s dip tube. The dip tube "delivers" the incoming cold water near the bottom of the tank where it'll be heated.

    The water is heated by either a gas burner or an electric heating element until it reaches the temperature set at the thermostat.​ Through a process called convection, hotter water rises to the top of the tank where it can be drawn when needed thru the hot water outlet.

    The water being drawn from the top of the tank is always the hottest. The cooler water remains lower in the tank until its sufficiently heated, unless the demand exceeds what the tank is capable of producing. When hot water leaves the tank, more cold water enters, and the heating cycle begins again.

    When the water near the thermostat’s sensor at the bottom of the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater powers down automatically. When the water temperature drops below a set level, it fires up again. With a properly sized and functioning traditional heater, you’ll always have continuously heated water available.

    Advantages of a Tank-Style Water Heater

    • Price - A tank-style water heater can cost a third of the price of a tankless water heater. Even with installation expenses.
    • Energy Consumption - Because it stores the hot water until it's ready for use, a tank-style water heater consumes its fuel source (gas or electricity) at a relatively slow consistent rate.

    Disadvantages of a Tank-Style Water Heater

    • Operating Cost - Tank-style water heaters typically use more energy to operate than tankless models. Therefore, they are more expensive to operate.
    • Standby Heat Loss - Since the entire tank of water is kept hot while it is waiting to be used, over time the water inside will cool. This is called standby heat loss and it happens even with well-insulated tanks. As the water temperature cools, the thermostat will activate to heat the water back to temperature. Even without hot water running from a tap.
    • Recovery Time - When the tank's supply of hot water is exhausted, a significant delay occurs before sufficiently heated water is available for use.
    Hand drawn light bulb on a blue background

    Electric Tank-Style Water Heaters

    Electric water heaters are the least expensive water heaters on the market. They're also the most popular. And since there isn't a pilot light, and combustion doesn't occur, there aren't as many safety precautions to be concerned about.

    Available Sizes

    Electric water heaters come in many different tank sizes. Whole house water heaters have a tank capacity ranging from 28 to over 100-gallons. So finding the right size for your household's hot water needs shouldn't be a problem.

    Service Life

    On average, a tank-style water heater will have a service life between 8 to 12 years. Performing maintenance on a regular basis can help prevent sediment build-up within your tank, which will extend the life of the lower heating element and reduce corrosion within the tank.

    Occasionally one of the two heating elements will need to be replaced. The elements themselves are inexpensive and the task is relatively easy for most homeowners to undertake.

    Energy Efficiency

    Hot water heaters measure their fuel efficiency with a universal measurement called Efficiency Factor (EF). The EF rating states the amount of energy that's used to heat the water. For example, if a water heater has an EF rating of .58, the amount of energy being converted to heat is 58%.

    A higher EF rating means that the water heater will be more energy efficient, it'll also save you more in fuel expenses. It's not uncommon to find electric tank-style water heaters with an EF rating between .90 and .95.

    Operational Costs

    Although electric water heaters are more energy efficient, they're also more expensive to operate. Electricity is currently more expensive than natural gas. But it should be noted that electricity is considered to be a more stable energy source with fewer price fluctuations than natural gas. 

    The average household will spend about $500 a year heating hot water with an electric water heater. Although this is double the amount spent for a gas water heater, the added expense has more to do with fuel costs than the efficiency of the unit. 

    How an Electric Water Heater Works

    • An electric water heater has two heating elements within the tank that are used to heat the water. There's one in the upper region of the tank and one in the lower. Each element has its own thermostat, and while they can be adjusted separately, they should be set to the same temperature.
    • Typically only one element will operate at a time. The bottom element is the most active of the two. It heats the cold water as it enters the tank and remains active during periods of minimal hot water use.
    • Through the process of convection, hotter water rises to the top of the tank. Since the upper heating element's thermostat isn't triggered because it is surrounded by hot water, the element remains dormant.
    • Hot water leaves the tank thru the hot water outlet which is located at the top of the tank. As the water is drawn, cold water enters the tank though the cold water inlet, and then flows to the bottom of the tank though the dip tube to be heated.
    • The upper heating element activates when large quanities of hot water is needed and the lower element is not able to keep up with the demand. If the water at the top of the tank is below the set temperature, the top heating element turns on and the bottom element turns off.
    • With the top element activated the water nearest the outlet will be hot and readily available when a tap is opened. But once the water at the top of the tank has reached the set temperature on the element's thermostat, the top element will shut down and the bottom element will turn back on.
    Pros 
    • Less Expensive - Electric water heaters are less expensive to purchase than gas fueled water heaters.
    • Doesn't Require Ventilation - No ventilation is needed since combustion gases are not produced. 
    • More Energy Efficient - Electric water heater are more energy efficient than gas water heaters.
    Cons 
    • Higher Operating Expenses - Electric water heaters cost more to operate than gas fueled units.
    • Will Not Operate During a Power Outage - This could be a serious inconvienence if you live in an area prone to power outages.
    Natural gas burners with blue flames

    Gas Tank-Style Water Heaters

    Gas fueled water heaters are either powered by natural gas or propane (LP). They are typically more expensive to purchase than electric water heaters, but they are less expensive to operate.

    Available Sizes

    Gas water heaters have many options regarding tank capacity. Tank sizes range from 30 to 100 gallons.

    Because of the criteria on energy efficiency, there are generally a larger selection of ENERGY STAR gas water heaters available than electric units. 

    Installation

    From a safety standpoint, gas fueled units have a few additional concerns. There must be adequate ventilation where the unit is installed and combustible materials should never be stored near the water heater.

    Energy Efficiency

    Gas fueled units are not as energy efficient as electric water heater and typically receive lower EF ratings. Many units receive an EF rating between .58 to .70.

    Operational Cost

    Gas fueled water heaters may be less expensive to operate over electric units, but this is because of the lower cost of natural gas. Keep in mind, that the lower operating expenses does not mean that they are more energy efficient.

    Many homeowners prefer a gas fueled water heater because of the lower operating costs. However, natural gas is not available in all areas, and even if you have the ability to change from electric to gas, it may not be cost effective to make the switch.

    Pilot Light

    A gas water heater heats the water with a gas burner located at the bottom of the tank. Each time the water temperature falls below a set level, the burner will ignite to bring the water back up to the desired temperature. 

    In order to ignite the gas for the burner, a pilot light is used. There are several different types of pilot lights available.

    • Older style traditional pilot lights are typically used in lower-end heaters. These systems often require a match to relight the pilot if its extinguished.
    • Newer models often have an ignitor or electronic ignition instead of the traditional pilot ​​​​light. They are more efficient and can be lit by pushing a button.

    How a Gas Water Heater Works

    • Cold water enters the water heater tank and travels down the dip tube to the bottom of the tank.
    • As the water heats, it rises to the top thru the act of convection and eventually leaves the tank thru the hot water outlet.
    • The water is heated with a gas fueled burner located at the bottom of the water heater tank. Since combustion gases are produced from burning the fuel, a gas water heater must be vented.
    • Gases rise thru the flue tube during ventilation and make their way outside. The flue tube is a chimney-like structure in the center of the water heater.
    • The incoming gas line connects to a gas regulator which houses the thermostat that controls the ignition of the pilot light, as well as an on/off knob to cut the gas to your water heater.
    Advantages 
    • Lower Operating Expenses - Gas fueled tank-style water heaters are less expensive to operate than electric water heaters.
    • Not Impacted by a Power Outage - Gas water heaters will still heat water if the electrical power is out.
    Disadvantages 
    • Initial Price - Gas fueled tank-style water heaters are more expensive to purchase than electric heaters.
    • Installation - May be more expensive to install if venting is damaged or needs to be installed.
    • Location - There are fewer options regarding location of installation because of the need for venting.
    Small lit candles

    Heat Pump Water Heaters

    A heat pump is a totally different type of tank-style water heater. Where an electric water heater will use heating elements to heat water, and a gas heater will use a burner.

    A heat pump will actually extract the heat from the air. They are more expensive upfront, but they are extremely energy efficient.

    Available Sizes

    Heat pumps have a tank capacity that is a bit tighter than other water heaters, although not significantly. They range from 50 to 80 gallons.

    Energy Efficiency

    Although more expensive, a heat pump is able to provide significant savings in future utility bills. It's not uncommon for a heat pump to achieve an EF rating of 2.0!

    Because they're capable of achieving incredible energy efficiency, they are also the least expensive water heater to operate of all the tank-style units.

    Operational Cost

    Unlike a gas or electric water heater that generates heat for the sole purpose of heating water, a heat pump will use electricity to move heat from one place to another.

    Because of this, they are capable of achieving 2 to 3 times more energy efficiency. On average, a heat pump will cost $130 a year to operate.

    How a Heat Pump Works

    Heat pumps are designed to "pull" heat from the surrounding air, and then "drop" it into the tank to heat the water. They work like a refrigerator, only in reverse. With a refrigerator the heat is "pulled" from inside and then dropped into the surrounding air.

    A heat pump has two different modes:
    • Hybrid Mode - This is where the heating element will kick-in to help the unit quickly recover when a large amount of water was drawn from the tank.
    • Back-up Mode - This is when the unit uses only electricity as a fuel type and the heat pump functions as an electric water heater. This mode is used when there's limited ambient heat available.
    Installation Considerations

    There are several things you should consider when installing a heat pump:

    • Heat pumps do not operate efficiently in cold areas.
    • A heat pump will need to be installed in an area where the temperature range is between 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • To maximize their efficiency, it's best to install a heat pump in a room with excess heat. A furnace room is an excellent choice.
    • A heat pump is often larger than a gas or electric tank-style water heater.
    Setting temperature on a tankless water heater

    Tankless Water Heaters

    Tankless systems are also known also as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters because they're designed to deliver hot water only when needed, rather than holding the water inside a tank like a tank-style water heater.

    Tankless water heaters are also very energy efficient, and because of their compact design, they can fit into small spaces and don't require any floor space.

    They have many benefits over tank-style water heaters, however, there are drawbacks and limitations that you should to be aware of when you're deciding which is the type of water heater for your home.

    Blue and red boxing gloves

    Tankless vs. Tank-Style Water Heaters

    Both tankless and traditional water heaters deliver hot water, however, they look and operate completely differently. A tank-style water heater is only able to deliver the amount of hot water that's already stored within it's tank.

    If you need more hot water than the unit has available, the hot water flow will turn cold because the heater won't be able to heat the water fast enough to cover the household demand.

    A tankless water heater isn't limited by the size of the tank. So when hot water is needed, the cold incoming water will begin to flow through the tankless unit. Within seconds, the water is heated and is on the way to the open tap within your home. These units can deliver a seemingly endless stream of hot water!

    Differences Between a Tankless and Tank-Style Water Heater

    Let's take a closer look at the differences between each type of water heater.

    Tankless Water Heater
    • A tankless water heater will heat the water only when there's a demand
    • A large up-front investment is necessary to purchase and install a tankless unit.
    • Frequent modifications are often necessary for installation.
    • Tankless units are designed to be repaired and often see service lives of 20+ years if properly maintained.
    • Proper sizing is critical for a tankless water heater to meet the household hot water demands.
    • Very eco-friendly because the save water, energy and money.
    • Tankless units have a compact design and therefore, do not require floor space.
    Tank-Style Water Heater
    • A tank-style water heater stores hot water within it's tank.
    • They are economical to purchase and install.
    • Tank storage capacities range between 20 to 80+ gallons.
    • The average service life of a tank-style water heater is between 8 to 12 years.
    • Needs to be installed in a relatively large area, and often requires floor space.
    • Often the first sign that the unit needs to be replaced or repaired is when it begins to leak.

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    Is the Future Tankless?

    It's not uncommon for homeowners to ask if tankless water heaters will eventually replace tank-style water heaters. Tankless units are actually much more common in Europe and Japan.

    With the rising costs of fuel and the efficiency these units can deliver, there's been an increase of interest in transitioning to a tankless water heater system in the United States.

    So, can one argue that they're the future of water heating? The answer is yes and no. Tankless water heaters are not without their limitations, and they're not for all households. At bare minimum, there are several factors that will slow their expansion into more households.

    Tankless Cost and Installation

    One of the main limitations is the initial purchase price of a quality tankless water heater, as well as the installation costs can be significant.

    In addition, many homes are simply not designed to provide the amount of power needed to operate a tankless. When this is the situation, the homeowner needs to make costly upgrades to their energy source, which only drives the installation costs higher.

    Other Considerations

    As technology improves, one can expect the price to drop and some of today's hurdles will easily be overcome. One can also anticipate that the demand for tankless units will only increase as more and more homeowners want to take advantage of the environmental, economical, and convenience of an on-demand tankless  water heating system.

    New home construction is already adapting to the demand as they build homes with the electrical requirements necessary to operate a tankless water heater. Even if an on-demand unit isn't installed when a home is built, it'll be much easier for the homeowner to add later.

    Pros and Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

    Tankless water heaters have a lot going for them, but there are some disadvantages too. 

    The Pros of Going Tankless

    • Endless Supply of Hot Water - When sized correctly, a tankless water heater is capable of delivering an unlimited supply of hot water.
    • Fresh Water - If a tank-style water heater isn't properly flushed, your hot water will likely be sitting in a tank with rust and mineral scale. A tankless unit will heat the incoming water on-the-spot and send it to your shower immediately!
    • Operating Costs - A tankless water heater can deliver exceptional savings on your utility bills because the unit is only operating when hot water is needed. Standby heat loss is eliminated since the unit doesn't hold the hot water within a tank like a tank-style heater.
    • Service Life - If properly maintained, a tankless water heater can operate for 20+ years!
    • Replaceable Parts - Tankless water heaters are designed so that the parts can be replaced. If a part wears out, a replacement part can be installed.
    • Compact Design - On-demand systems are designed to be mounted on a wall and require far less space than tank-style units. Many models are even designed to be installed outside.
    • Peace of Mind - When a tank-style water heater ages, the tank will rust from the inside out. Frequently, your first clue will be a puddle of water surrounding your water heater. 

    The Cons of Going Tankless

    • Capacity - There won't be a tank to draw from, so if your tankless water heater isn't able to meet the household hot water demand, the "hot water" won't be hot. In some cases, homes may need to have 2 large units installed to meet the demand. Other times, homeowners choose to install a small point-of-use unit to service a bathroom. Proper sizing is a must with tankless water heaters.
    • Initial Cost - A quality tankless unit could cost as much as 3x's more than a tank-style water heater when you add in the installation expenses.
    • Expensive Venting - Expensive special venting material is required for gas fueled tankless units.
    • Power Upgrade - Many homes aren't able to meet the electrical requirements necessary to operate a tankless water heater unless the power source is upgraded.
    • Output Limitations - This can't be stressed enough. A tankless water heater must be sized correctly or it won't be able to meet the household's hot water demands. The unit will only be able to deliver as much hot water as it can heat on-the-spot . . . it doesn't have the benefit to draw on a storage tank for reserves.

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    How to Buy a Tankless Water Heater

    There are a number of things to consider when shopping for a tankless water heater. Here are a few of the most important:

    Energy Efficiency and Savings

    Saving money is often a top motivation for transitioning to a tankless system. However, be aware that the more hot water you need, the less savings the system can deliver.

    This is because, as your household's hot water needs increase, the efficiency and savings of a tankless system decrease. Still, when it comes to saving energy, a tankless unit should easily out-perform a tank-style water heater.

    Energy Factor (EF) Ratings

    As we discussed above, a water heater's energy efficiency is measured in terms of Energy Factor (EF) ratings. The EF rating allows you to easily compare one unit to another.

    Electric tankless systems have a higher EF rating than gas fueled systems. This is because the cost of gas is less expensive than electricity. An electric system may be more energy efficient, but a gas unit will deliver lower fuel bills.

    Warranty

    As with most appliances, warranties vary from manufacturer-to-manufacturer. In addition, there are also different requirements necessary to activate your warranty coverage, so reading the fine print is critical.

    It's not uncommon for manufacturers to require a tankless unit to be registered and in addition, be professionally installed for the warranty to be eligible.

    When you compare warranties, it's a good idea to look for companies that stand behind their product thru the coverage they provide.

    Although each manufacturer is different, some common coverage ranges include: 10 to 15-years of coverage for the heat exchanger; 2 to 5-years for parts; and 1-year of labor.

    Capacity

    Selecting the right size tankless water heater (known as sizing) for your household's hot water needs is a critical step when purchasing a tankless. At first, it may seem like an overwhelming and difficult task, but actually it's relatively easy.

    There's two calculations you'll need to size a tankless water heater. But once you've made your calculations, you'll be able to determine the right size unit to meet your family's hot water needs.

    Temperature Rise

    The temperature rise is simply the difference between the incoming ground water temperature and the heated output temperature.

    Flow Rate

    This is the amount of water a tankless water heater is capable of heating at any give time. The flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM).

    The US Department of Energy states: "Tankless or demand-type water heaters are rated by the maximum temperature rise possible at a given flow rate. Therefore, to size a demand water heater, you need to determine the flow rate and the temperature rise you'll need for its application (whole house or a remote application, such as just a bathroom) in your home."

    There's many unsatisfied tankless water heater owners who failed to properly size their new unit. A tankless that is too small will not be able to meet your hot water needs. Taking a little time now, before you purchase your unit will save you time, frustration, and money in the future. We'll go into detail on how to size a tankless below.

    Fuel Type: Gas or Electric

    If you are building a new home, you'll want to take a close look at the pros and cons of each choice. The fuel you choose will play a major role in the size and energy efficiency of your unit. Ultimately, it'll determine your annual operating expenses.

    However, if you're replacing a tank-style or tankless water heater, it's generally best to stay with your current fuel source since switching can be a major expense. Natural gas, propane and electricity are the most common choices. 

    There are often tax credits and rebates available when you install a tankless water heater. Check to see if there are any incentives in your area.


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    Gas Tankless Water Heaters

    Gas fueled units are more complex than electric fueled tankless units. Therefore, there are more things you need to consider. Here are the most critical: 

    Installation

    • Fuel Supply Line - Tankless water heaters generally require a larger gas fuel line than tank-style heaters. If your fuel supply line capable of handling a tankless that demands up to 200,000 Btu/h?
    • Venting - Gas fueled tankless systems require expensive Category III venting. This is because condensation develops inside the vents and can be very corrosive. Venting can be easily added, but it does add to the installation costs.

    Ignition System

    There are three types of ignition systems available for tankless water heaters. Although, not always the case, you can generally expect that the more expensive units have a more complex the ignition system.

    • Standing Pilot Light - Burns constantly.
    • Direct Ignition - Delivers a spark when water flow is detected.
    • Hydro-Power Ignition - When water flows into the tankless water heater it activates a small turbine which ignites the burner.

    Non-Condensing Combustion

    There are two types of non-condensing tankless water heaters. Keep in mind, that both types require category III venting.

    • Direct Vent - Draws air from outside into the unit for combustion.
    • Power Vent - Draws air from inside the house into the unit for combustion.

    Condensing Combustion

    A condensing tankless water heater extracts the heat from the exhaust and does not require venting.

    Outdoor Tankless Water Heaters

    An outdoor gas tankless water heater is an excellent choice for warmer climates. They do not require venting and are frequently less expensive to install.


    Read our full buyers guide on Gas Tankless Water Heaters. 

    Electric Tankless Water Heaters

    Electric Fueled Tankless Water Heaters

    Electric on-demand systems are more simplistic than gas units. Because of their less complex design, when there are problems they are easier to diagnose and repair.

    Electric tankless units are also more energy efficient, they require less maintenance, and generally have a longer service life than gas fueled units.

    However, many homes aren't equipped with the necessary power to operate the unit. In which case, expensive upgrades are required to the home's electrical supply.

    Since no exhaust gases are produced thru combustion, venting is not necessary. This also allows the homeowner more installation options since they can fit into a tighter space.

    Read our full buyers guide on Electric Tankless Water Heaters.

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    Pen and paper

    How to Size a Tankless Water Heater

    Determining the right sized tankless for your home can be done in three steps.

    Step 1: Peak Demand

    The first thing you need to calculate is your home's peak demand flow rate. This isn't as difficult as you might think. To begin with, determine when your household uses the most hot water. In most home's this is in the morning when your family is showering, shaving, and getting ready.

    Calculate the Gallons per minute (GPM) of each hot water device you'll use at any one time. Here are some general guidelines:

    Faucet

    Older Faucets

    1992 & Newer

    Kitchen 

    3.0 - 7.0 GPM

    2.2 GPM

    Bathroom 

    3.0 - 5.0 GPM

    2.2 GPM

    Shower

    4.0 - 8.0 GPM

    2.2 GPM

    *Consider any other appliances you many be using during peak times. Such as washing machines and dishwashers.

    Example: 1 shower (2.2 GPM) + 1 bathroom faucet (2.2 GPM)= peak demand: 4.4 GPM

    Step 2: Temperature Rise

    Your next step is to determine your home's temperature rise. To do this you'll subtract the ground water temperature (water entering your house) from the desired output temperature (hot water temperature).

    Here's an example of how to find your temperature rise: Ground water temperature 50 degrees <minus> output temperature 120 degrees <equals> a temperature rise of 70 degrees F. (120 - 50 = 70).

    In other words, your tankless water heater will need to heat the incoming water 70 degrees (temperature rise) in order to reach your desired hot water temperature of 120 degrees.

    There are, however, a few things you should take into consideration:

    • The temperature rise will change with the seasons. Incoming water during the winter will be colder than incoming water in the summer.
    • The speed and flow of a tankless unit is impacted by the temperature of the incoming water.

    Step 3: Buy Your Tankless

    Now that you know your required Flow Rate and your Temperature Rise, you can use this information to select the tankless model that best meets your needs.

    Manufacturers use the terms Flow Rate and Temperature Rise to properly size their models, so you'll be able to compare one model against another and know exactly how it'll perform in delivering hot water to your household.

    Here's a few things to consider as you begin shopping:

    • Gas fueled tankless water heaters tend to produce a higher flow rate than electric units.
    • As a general rule, the average tankless water heater can deliver between 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute (GPM).
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    Checklist with blue pen

    Tankless Water Heater Buyer's Checklist

    Purchasing a tankless water heater is an investment. If properly maintained, a tankless can have a service life over 20 years. So spending extra time upfront before  you select a model, is time well spent. Here are a few thought starters to consider:

    Fuel Checklist

    • Are you considering switching from a gas fueled water heater to an electric model? (or visa versa). Be sure to do your research as this could be a very expensive switch to make.
    • What type of fuel do you have access to? Natural gas, propane and electricity are the most common choices. 
    • If installing an electric tankless, will you have enough electrical power to operate the tankless? Or will you need to upgrade your electrical system?
    • If install a gas fueled unit, do you have the right size gas supply line? frequently it's necessary to upgrade the gas supply line during installation.
    • Unless you are purchasing a condensing gas fueled tankless or an electric unit, be prepared to install category III venting.
    • Electric fueled units don't emit green house gases. In addition, they are far more energy efficient that gas units.

    Climate Checklist

    • The temperature of the incoming water varies from geographical area to area. This will make a difference in the performance the unit can deliver (cooler water = lower GPM). Remember, the cooler the incoming water temperature, the higher the GPM rating you need to purchase.
    • Incoming water temperature is cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. When selecting your unit, you should purchase a more powerful water heater that can get results during the winter.
    • An outdoor unit may not be appropriate in your area, especially if you live in a cold climate.

    Safety Issues and Requirements

    • Many manufacturers require their tankless units to be professionally installed in order to validate the warranty.
    • Having your new tankless water heater professionally installed will ensure that it'll be eligible of the manufacturer warranty. Plus, you can rest at ease that all the necessary requirements and building codes were met.
    • Some manufacturers have detailed installation instructions. Still, we strongly recommend hiring a professional to install the new water heater.

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