Is the basement the best place for your water heater?
Sometimes, you do things because that's just the way they've always been done. When it comes to taking care of your home, this definitely rings true. You might want some fancy wallpaper, but you actually go with a safer, plainer option. You might even want to install your washer and dryer in the kitchen to consolidate appliances, but because it's not traditional, you nix the whole idea.
While some things in homeownership are tried-and-true methods, that can't be said for installing your water heater in a corner of your basement. In fact, if you struggle to get enough hot water in an upstairs bathroom or even the kitchen sink, it might be due to the fact that the water takes so long to traverse the distance that it cools down by the time you get it. However, putting your old, clunky water heater in the living room closet for all to see doesn't make sense either, which is why tankless water heaters might just be the solution to all your hot water problems.
Going the distance
Most homeowners give little, if any, thought to where they install hot water heaters and wonder why that second-floor shower never gets enough hot water. While shelling out more money for a more powerful pump and tank could help, this trouble really rests in the piping your water has to travel through before it gets to the intended destination.
Green Building Advisor explained how faucet or showerhead flow-rates go hand in hand with the diameter of plumbing pipes in your home. With a destination that delivers 0.5 gallons per minute and a house that has 3/4-inch pipes, as little as 50 feet of plumbing can mean that the hot water that initially leaves the heater won't get to its destination for another three minutes.
If your pipes aren't insulated properly or are made from cheap materials, you're essentially bleeding heat through the walls of your home and losing money in the process. Of course, if you have larger pipes or bathrooms and sinks that are further away than just 50 feet, you're losing even more hot water and money in the process.
"There's an easy fix to guarantee hot water to the farthest faucets: point-of-use tankless water heaters."
While letting precious heat from hot water leak into the walls of your house isn't the best case scenario by any means, relocating your old, beat-up heater from the basement to the second floor doesn't really solve your problems, either. Fortunately, there's an easy fix that every homeowner can do to practically guarantee hot water to even the farthest faucets: point-of-use tankless water heaters.
Instead of buying a more powerful and exorbitantly expensive traditional heater, installing a point-of-use tankless model in-line with your existing plumbing can help supercharge incoming water meant for second- and third-floor faucets and showers. With an extra zap from quick-charging heating elements, water that lost most of its heat getting from the basement to the top floors gets bumped back up to comfortable temperatures. This way, you'll never have to deal with the nasty surprise of a shower that goes from lukewarm one minute to icy cold the next.