Tankless Water Heaters

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Tankless water heaters are a modern alternative to traditional storage-tank units. A tankless water heater, as the name suggests, does not have a storage tank of hot water waiting to be distributed throughout the home. Instead, it heats only the water that is requested from a faucet or other appliance.

One main advantage of a tankless water heater is the continuous flow of hot water it can produce. Tankless water heaters can heat water within seconds and continue for as long as needed. If the tankless unit is sized correctly to meet the demands of the home, hot water will continue to flow without interruption.

Another benefit of tankless hot water heaters is their compact build. Instead of using obtrusive storage tanks, they simply mount on a wall, thus requiring very little space for installation.

Tankless water heaters are also popular due to their superior levels of efficiency. These units only heat water when it's needed, whereas tank models keep the stored water heated throughout the day and waste energy.

Choosing a Tankless Water Heater

To figure out which tankless water heater best suits a home, it's important to choose the right fuel type, vent type, flow rate (GPM), temperature rise, and uniform energy factor (UEF).

Fuel Type
Tankless water heaters are available in three fuel types: natural gas, liquid propane, and electric.

Vent Type
For indoor-installed tankless units, there are three vent types: power vent, direct vent, and concentric vent. Power venting uses a motor to force exhaust gases outside while pulling in fresh air from the surrounding space. Direct venting uses two separate pipes that run outside for direct intake and exhaust. Concentric venting uses a single, concentric pipe for both intake and exhaust. For outdoor tankless water heaters, no venting is required as the unit vents naturally in the open air.

Flow Rate & Temperature Rise
Flow rate determines how much hot water is needed to serve the targeted fixtures and faucets, which is a number calculated in gallons per minute (GPM). Temperature rise is also a number, which is calculated by subtracting the groundwater temperature from the desired outlet temperature. This difference is how many degrees the water must heat up to reach the desired temperature.

Uniform Energy Factor
A tankless water heater's uniform energy factor (UEF) describes its efficiency. Simply put, the higher the number, the more efficient the model is.