What You Need to Know About Upgrading to a Tankless Water Heater
Did you know that a tankless water heater can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient than your old storage tank water heater if you use about 41 gallons of water a day? (That’s about two ten-minute showers worth of water, by the way.)
Double your water usage to four showers a day and the numbers go up by 8% to 14% when you replace your water heater with a tankless water heater installation. If you set up tankless water heaters for multiple appliances you can get up to 50% more efficiency from your water heater!
That’s a big drop in your utility bill! But it has to be done right. So how do you make sure to get the right tankless water heater for your home specifically? And how do you install and maintain it properly?
Your plumbing professional can guide you, do the installation and come up with a maintenance plan, but it’s helpful to be informed so you can work with the professional in making choices to ensure the most efficiency and cost savings from your “on-demand” water heater.
To help you get the gist of what’s involved, we’ve put together a list of tankless water heater installation and upgrade basics.
1. The Right Tankless Water Heater for Your Home
A tankless water heater heats the water as you go.
Energy is saved and you don’t run out of hot water for that nice, relaxing hot shower or when the whole fam is racing out the door in the morning. That is, unless you have multiple showers, faucets and/or appliances going all at once and your little tankless water heater that could can’t keep up.
That’s why you need to look at your household water use and talk to your professional to pick the right model. Gas-fueled models, for example, can heat more water faster than electric models.
But even the ones with the biggest output sometimes fall short. That’s when you might put two tankless water heaters next to each other or dedicate a tankless water heater to the big-use appliances, like dishwashers, that hog the hot water.
You might also consider an additional tankless water heater if you have a remote bathroom in a guest house, for example, or as a booster to a solar-powered water heater.
Speaking of alternate energy sources, you will need to choose a tankless water heater that works with the type of energy you want to use and that you have available. Tankless water heaters work for gas, natural gas, and electricity.
As mentioned, the gas-fueled models can push through more water, but some of them have a standing pilot light, which means it’s on all the time and uses more energy. Some do have intermittent ignition device (IID) that spark on the gas flow as needed.
Local Building Code Requirements and Permits
Be sure to check local building codes to make sure you get a model that will work for your home and location. Your plumbing professional should know these codes from experience and be able to advise you.
Sometimes you’ll need a permit. If so, your professional should get it for you.
2. Tankless Water Heater Installation
Tankless water heaters are much more aesthetically pleasing than their behemoth counterparts. You know, because you want your garage or storage area to look nice and organized, right? And did we mention space yet?
No giant tank means a small box that you can put on the wall in your closet, garage, or utility room. And in warmer climate areas like Arizona, you can hang it on the wall outside!
Ventilation is also important. Your installer will advise you on that as well as on the best location with regards to the piping. The closer to the appliance, the faster the hot water arrives.
The Right Fit
Sometimes when going from the big tank water heater to a tankless version, you will need to alter some basic components for compatibility. For example, if your tankless water heater uses gas and burns it faster than your old water heater, you may need to install a larger gas line to bring in more gas faster.
Exhaust is another consideration. You may need a new “chimney” or system for exhaust, as well as ventilation, depending on the location.
The water supply in Arizona is primarily considered “hard water.” And hard water can cause scaling in the tankless water heater which can cause problems for the heat exchanger.
The solution is to soften the water before it goes into the water heater. Be sure to have your installer address tankless water heater plumbing and set up a system or talk to you about regular maintenance service to descale the water heater.
You can set the thermostat lower to increase energy savings. A good typical temperature is 120 F. If it’s higher, like 140 F, it can cause scalding. Set it high and it can cost you up to $400 a year.
Sometimes you can save energy if pipes are insulated. This may require additional work if your new water heater is in a new location and you can’t use the old pipes.
3. Options for Combined Energy Efficiency Savings
It’s easy to boost your tankless water heater energy savings. Here are a few tips:
- Be sure to fix any leaks as soon as they start. A small drip will cost you about $1 a month.
- Use energy-saving appliances.
- Set your temp at the right level.
- Use low-flow faucets and shower heads. Ask your professional for advice on the best quality flow system so clogs don’t happen to slow down water pressure.
- Use cold water when you’re doing the laundry.
4. Maintenance Plan
Your tankless water heater should last about 20-plus years and that can be easily and significantly extended with regular maintenance. Keep up with service to keep efficiency high.
Take a look at the manual for specific recommendations for your model and talk your plumbing professional to set up a plan. Remember to discuss cleaning and descaling if that’s an issue.
Lastly, replace parts as needed to further extend the life of your unit. The good news? The parts for tankless water heaters are easy to replace.
The Little Water Heater With the Power Punch: You’re Ready to Go
Now that you know what’s involved with an upgrade and tankless water heater installation, you’re ready to contact a professional to find the right model for your Arizona home and get started. While you’re at it, find out if there are any local tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient water heaters. Please contact us for questions or a consultation.
Do you need to replace your broken or under-performing water heater? Would you like to save money on energy bills? We specialize in energy-efficient traditional and tankless water heater installations. Our trusted Scottsdale water heater replacement professionals work hard to provide you with competitive pricing and unparalleled service.
Read Related Articles:
- Which is better: Traditional Hot Water Heater vs Tankless
- When Do You Need a New Water Heater Installation in Phoenix?
- A Homeowner’s Guide to the 5 Most Common Types of Water Heaters
About the Author
Chris and Stacia Hays, are the founders of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing; a family operated HVAC company in Phoenix founded in 2001 that services both commercial and residential customers. Chris leads a team of certified technicians who have over 45 years of combined experience and has earned and A+ rating with the BBB and a strong five star rating online. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on providing support to their customers every step of the way, with exceptional service and competitive prices. If you are looking for top-notch air conditioning and heating service, contact Hays today.