How to Find a Tankless Hot Water Heater That’s Best For You

Do your homework and you’ll see that the energy efficiency factor makes finding the best tankless hot water heater worth the effort. Energy efficiency is just one way to look at this. Important points given here will guide you in choosing the best tankless hot water heater to fit your needs.

The measure of efficiency

The DOE uses EnergyStar ratings to help consumers find the best tankless hot water heater, or other appliance that will save them money. Electric tankless hot water heaters are rated .99 energy efficient, while tankless gas heaters are rated at .80. The difference comes from the loss of heat in the combustion process of gas burners. Tank water heaters have an even lower efficiency rating.

If the cost of electricity is competitive in your area, factor in the long-term cost when making your decision. Even so, gas may still be your best choice for a tankless hot water heater. Only gas can produce enough hot water for a large home.

Here are some numbers to give you a rough idea: Electric tankless models produce a flow of only 2-5 gallons per minute of hot water, while gas models can produce 9-13 gallons of hot water per minute. Using multiple units is a way to custom fit tankless models to fit your needs and reduce wasted energy.

For your reference, a shower, with a water saver nozzle uses 1-¼ to 1-½ gallons per minute. A tub or clothes washer uses about 2 to 2-½ gallons per minute.

Energy prices

It was once understood that natural gas was the better value, but times change. Don’t assume, compare utility rates for your area. A lot has changed in recent years. The cheap price of gas that once made a 65 percent efficiency rating for home heating needs a bargain has changed.

Now with competitive electric power in some areas a 99 percent efficient tankless electric could really be your best tankless hot water heater.

Tankless Hot Water Heaters – What to Look For

Electric tankless hot water heaters come in very useful sizes – from something that looks like a loaf of bread to some the size of a PC. All have the capability of providing instant hot water on demand.

Installing a tankless hot water heater while a new home is under construction makes good sense, especially for gas units that require more to make them operational. Some require a larger gas line as well as category III venting materials. Some have exhaust and fresh air as a combined system.

Tankless hot water heaters are also a good choice for most retro projects, and should be considered a good choice for second homes and weekend retreats where the percentage of standing hot water is wasted.

Tankless hot water heater models offer great savings in in a variety of ways. For instance, the compact size means less natural resources are needed for manufacturing. Parts are replaceable, opening the possibility that the tankless hot water heater you buy today may be the last one you will ever need. And probably one that you can repair yourself, with mail order parts, if you choose.

Here are a few other advantages:

  • No wasted energy
  • Longer life
  • Smaller models for single source use
  • Less corrosion and deposits
  • A way to avoid peak energy charges
  • Less is more
  • Even shipping translates into an advantage. Because of their size and weight, tankless units are not as affected by factors such as rising transportation costs. An electric whole house tankless hot water heater can be shipped to your home, and be operational the same day.

Tankless Hot Water Heaters – The Advantages

Whether you choose gas or electric, there are many ways to get savings out of a tankless hot water heater. For instance, less natural resources go into the manufacturing of these compact size heaters. Another plus, parts are replaceable, leading to the possibility that the tankless hot water heaters you buy today may last well beyond its projected life. And perhaps one that you can repair yourself with on-call parts.

  • Here are a few advantages to remember:
  • No wasted energy.
  • Larger models for bigger homes.
  • Smaller models for single source use.
  • Less corrosion and deposits for longer life.

It is estimated that 5-10 million hot water tanks go to the landfill each year. This is where tankless hot water heaters can have a deep impact. Tankless hot water heaters are a completely different breed. Because there is no standing water there is less corrosion and oxidation. Lifespan is predicted to be 20 years or more. Heaters are designed with easy to replace parts and when they do go to the landfill it’s an easy salvage of metals that will find there way back into the manufacturing system, a payback that spells a win for the environment.

Compared to tank water heaters there are savings that come from efficiency, size, service and convenience.

Efficiency – Here in descending order are the most efficient:

  • Electric tankless
  • Electric tank
  • Natural gas tankless
  • Natural gas tank
  • Propane tank

Size – Both gas and electric tankless hot water heaters are wall mounted. The largest being about the size of a suitcase – size and weight make transportation and delivery costs less.

Service – Warranty period is, for most models, 10 years. Parts are easy to access and replace.

Convenience – On demand hot water says it all.