Tankless Buyers Guide
A Quick Study For The Inquiring Tankless Home Owner
Tankless water heaters have been incredibly popular throughout Asia and Europe for decades now. As energy prices continue to rise in North American markets it makes sense that home owners and commercial businesses are moving to tankless water heaters.
If you’re interested in a tankless then this is the right place; this tankless buyer’s guide strives to help you make the right decision.
Tankless systems can be natural gas, propane, and electric. For the Toronto and Ontario region we don’t often recommend the electric tankless systems. Gas and propane are the most efficient and capable units in Ontario, an electric system doesn’t have the power to heat water fast enough during our cold winters.
Our Tankless Buying Guide Can Answer These Questions
- Tankless efficiency
- Sizing a tankless
- Tankless Venting needs
- Installation concerns
- Maintenance planning
Your conventional tank type water heater starts life around 60% efficient and degrades ever year by about 2% due to scale and lime build-up. A non-condensing tankless is between 80% and 84% efficient and a condensing unit is between 94% and 98% depending on brand. Both types of tankless systems are similarly affected by scale and lime build-up with a generalized 2% efficiency decrease every year. Although, the engineers of tankless water heater systems took this design flaw and fixed it. A tankless is designed to be cleaned, through normal operation scale builds up in the heat exchanger effectively insulating the heat from the water. This scale is easily removed with vinegar, and the heat exchanger can be isolated and flushed with this common household solution. This cleaning brings the efficiency of a tankless back up to its manufactured specification. A conventional tank cannot be cleaned or flushed and continually degrades in efficiency.
Sizing A Tankless Water Heater For Your Home Or Cottage
This can be tricky but if you follow a few rules it is easy to narrow down which system will suit your home and your needs.
First choice you need to make is whether you want a condensing or non-condensing tankless (remember condensing is about 10% to 15% more efficient and about 750$ to $1000 more).
Secondly when deciding which tankless to go with we should look at our geographical location. Since we live in Toronto, the GTA, Barrie, Newmarket, Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and all cities in between; thus we know that winters are cold. Our cold winters adversely affect our incoming water temperatures and to compensate we need all but the most powerful tankless systems. Tankless systems are rated on how much heat they can produce, as a general recommendation for home based systems I wouldn’t go anything less than 140,000 BTU’s.
Thirdly, you need to assess your own needs, if you always have a lot of guests or plan to have a large family you will have a higher hot water demand and this necessitates a larger tankless. If you have 5 or more bathrooms and a large house with many faucets you will need the largest tankless (do remember that these systems can be joined together easily, it may be useful in some situations to join two smaller units to increase output).
Tankless Venting needs
Tankless systems have specific venting requirements and this prevents them from using existing conventional tank vent pipes. In most situations the same exhaust hole or holes can be modified and used but each brand have its own specific guidelines.
Condensing tankless systems have much cooler exhaust gas temperatures (a condensing system uses the exhaust to preheat incoming water) allowing a variety of venting materials to be used. The benefit of cooler exhaust gases also allows for longer runs and more flexibility with installation locations.
Non-condensing tankless systems have hotter exhaust gases and thus must use stainless or certified piping to meet requirements. This also reduces the flexibility on where a tankless can be installed.
It should be noted that a tankless has two pipes out the top if it, one is fresh incoming and the other is exhaust. A conventional 40 or 50 gallon tank uses your home’s interior air for combustion, this creates a negative pressure within your home and draws in unconditioned air though your homes cracks and holes. This is not an ideal situation as you now need to either heat or cool this air costing you money. Since a tankless draws its combustion air from outside there is no net positive or negative draw within your home ensuring you’re not wasting energy and money.
Tankless Concerns and Benefits
A tankless only runs when you need it to, if you go on vacation or sleeping don’t worry you’re not heating water the entire time you’re gone. This instant on simplicity can save you 40% of your homes water heating bill.
A tankless can provide an endless supply of hot water, so filling your Jacuzzi tub doesn’t drain your water tank anymore, and that full body shower will last more than a few minutes.
Tankless systems are designed for a lifespan of 20 years or more, in some situations this is double that of a conventional tank.
A traditional tank can use upwards of 16 square feet of floor space whereas a tankless consumes just a fraction of that and can be hung on virtually any wall.
Tankless systems are more expensive, yes this is true, but there are a number of benefits that help to outweigh the added cost.
As mentioned before a tankless should be flushed once in a while, this schedule depends on the hardness of your water. If you have hard water once a year would be ideal, if you run a water softener or live in an area with soft water than once aver 2 or 3 years should be sufficient.
When the technician comes in for a tankless flush the unit should be generally inspected, the igniters, fan, exhaust vent, and electrical connections. Most common problems occur in these areas.
Free Tankless Quotes
After reading this info are you interested in a tankless for your home or cottage? We can supply simply the unit or a turnkey solution with the unit and installation. You can fill out our form here or visit GoTankless.ca for a local supplier and installer within the Toronto, Barrie, GTA and Southern Ontario area.