How to choose the right tankless water heater Home & Garden

How to choose the right tankless water heater

If you have been planning to purchase a tankless water heater for your home but have no idea where and how to begin, you are not alone. A tankless water heater comes with many benefits. For starters, it helps you save space and money. However, several factors need to be considered before making the purchase. So, if you have decided to bring home a tankless water heater and just want to make sure that you pick the right one, here are a few things to keep in mind.

How many appliances require hot water?
The first and most essential step is to determine the number of devices you need to send water to at a time – for example, two shower faucets, one washing machine, one dishwasher, and so on. The number can go up or down depending on how many family members at home will be using hot water. A family of eight to ten members will require more than one tankless water heater, but one unit should suffice for people living alone or a couple living together. Of course, this also depends on the power of the heater and how efficient it is.

What is the incoming water temperature?
Once you have determined the number of devices that require water, the next crucial step is to note how quickly the machine can heat the water. To understand this, you would need to know the temperature of the water coming into your home. We mainly use hot water for showering, and the temperature required for this is between 101°F and 105°F. So, if the incoming water temperature is just 40°F, the tankless water heater will have to raise it by about 60°F. There are several tools online which will help you determine the average temperature of the water.

What is the flow rate?
Next, you must know the water temperature your appliances require and how much water they use per minute (the flow rate). Here is the approximate flow rate and water temperature of the most commonly used home appliances:

  • Bathtub: four gallons per minute at 102°F
  • Shower: between 2.5 and three gallons per minute at 104°F
  • Washing machine: two gallons per minute at 120°F
  • Dishwasher: 1.5 gallons per minute at 110°F
  • Kitchen sink: 1.5 gallons per minute at 110°F

If you are using these appliances, you must know the flow rate to make the right decision. If the flow is too fast, you would need a more powerful tankless water heater. However, unique fixtures are available in the market to reduce the flow rate, but it is not a long-term solution.

How will you power your heater?
After understanding the number of devices that require water, the incoming water temperature, and flow rate, you will get an idea of how powerful a heater you need and, thus, the best power source. There are two primary options: electricity and gas. Electric options are better suited for point-of-use tankless water heaters and small households. Running a more powerful unit on electricity might put a strain on your home’s wiring and cause frequent breakdowns.

On the other hand, gas-powered heaters are more durable and work well for multiple appliances simultaneously. These units, however, are powered by liquid propane, which might sometimes be hard to get. Also, you would need a mechanism to deal with the exhaust gases that are released safely.

So, these are some crucial factors to consider before making that all-important purchase. Remember that although appliances like water heaters are a one-time investment, you will also incur maintenance charges over the years. Still, considering its many benefits, tankless water heaters are worth every penny spent.

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