Do you know your perfect tankless water heater size?
Gas or electric tankless water heaters give homeowners the option to kick their inefficient reservoir models to the curb and replace them with more cost effective versions. More homeowners than ever are jumping on the tankless heater bandwagon, but not as many know the ways to make their new units run even more efficiently than they ever thought possible.
Fluctuating water temperatures, a common criticism of tankless water heaters, is more a problem of sizing than anything else. In fact, the right tankless water heater can supply an entire home with enough hot water for everyone. It might take a bit of legwork, but determining the appropriately sized gas or electric tankless water heater for your house is the best way to lower your utility bill without sacrificing convenience.
Why worry about size?
Tankless water heaters are a revolutionary jump forward in home appliance technology. The drawback here, though, is that many homeowners have been using traditional heaters for so long that they are unaware of the how to make the most out of their new models.
The most important of those details is the size and power of a tankless water heater. Because these systems have no reservoir of water, they must heat and pump out enough water in a short amount of time. This is referred to as a tankless heater's flow rate and is usually measured in gallons per minute. Low-power heaters can power a kitchen sink or dishwasher at 1 gpm, while showers, laundry machines and spas require systems that can push out anywhere from 3 to 8 gpm.
The trick is determining how hard your new heater has to work to bring incoming water up to a comfortable temperature. Groundwater rests at different temperatures depending on location, and water in the northern states rests between 42 to 55 degrees. If a user wants to take a 90-degree shower, the heater must raise the groundwater by 48 to 35 degrees – a figure called the rise, TanklessWaterHeaterGuide.com explained.
Putting it all together
Once homeowners calculate the flow rate and temperature rise at which they want a gas or electric tankless heater to operate, the next step is to determine a configuration to take care of the entire house's hot water needs. Tankless water heaters come in full or point-of-use formats, and individual needs will dictate the decision.
Large houses with many sinks, showers and other sources of hot water use may be too much for a single unit to handle. To calculate a single home's flow rate and temperature rise, simply add up the combined flow rates for each site in the house and record the maximum temperature you want the system to reach. These two numbers will determine the size of the device.
Electric tankless water heaters offer many more options than traditional systems, which is why homeowners do not need to place their entire house's water usage onto one device. For large houses, it might even be better to purchase several smaller units to ensure enough hot water for everybody.
When people are running the shower, dishwasher and sinks at the same time, even the most advanced heater might not be able to keep up with the demand. However, installing a dedicated heater for your most frequently used shower or laundry machine establishes a direct line of hot water for that appliance any time.
Gas or electric tankless water heaters offer flexibility and luxury to homeowners while still performing more efficiently than traditional heating systems. Whether high utility bills or inconsistent water temperatures were the final straw, tankless heaters make uncomfortable, expensive homes the envy of the neighborhood.