How to Buy a Tankless Water Heater

How to Buy a Tankless Water Heater

tankless water heaterIn our previous post, Tankless Water Heaters: The Energy Efficient Option, we discussed tankless water heaters and just how they can cut down our monthly energy costs – up to 50%, if installed at each of our hot water outlets (bathroom, shower, kitchen sink, etc.).

According to the US Department of Energy:

Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a tankless water heater’s output limits the flow rate.

So, how do you buy a tankless water heater? There are many different factors that you should consider, but the factors below should play a large role in the buying process, including:

  1. Determine your hot water needs. Quite typically, the flow rate of a small tankless water heater could support a bathroom and a kitchen with a dishwasher. However, you will need to consider how many faucets you will be using at the same time? If you’re unsure of what we mean, contact your local plumber or our sales associates as they can help you choose a size that will fit your individualized needs.
  2. Understand your washing machine and dishwasher.
    Not one appliance is like another so it’s best for you to learn how your appliances need hot water to be dispersed. Some appliances heater water internally while other might need it from your new tankless water heater. I personally made the mistake of not paying attention to this aspect–I bought a tankless water heater only to find that my dishwasher heats the water internally with only a cold connection!
  3. Renovating? Don’t be surprised when your contractor tries to give you the big “no-no”. Regardless of whether or not you’re renovating or working on a new construction, you will find that contractors are often stuck in their ways. It’s not because they are trying to be difficult, it’s more about time and liability. If your contractor isn’t familiar with tankless water heaters it is likely that they will try to steer you away. Don’t let this happen, instead, request a contractor who is familiar with installing tankless water heaters.
  4. Plan the location of your tankless water heater carefully. Because tankless water heaters use an intense flame to heat the water on demand, it’s important that you install them in the appropriate place – they require more air for combustion and vent more exhaust than traditional water heaters. You will need to consider the venting aspect and combustion air before installing, which is also why you should consult with a plumber and/or a contractor before installation.
  5. Check your water and gas supplies. Tankless water heaters can produce three to four times the BTUs than a conventional heater, which means your plumber will need to verify that your current gas line size, length and gas meter can provide sufficient flow to the unit. This is imperative and also goes hand in hand with number four.
  6. Ensure that you meet the building code. If you don’t do this before installing your tankless water heater you could potentially find yourself in an annoying, yet very costly situation in the future.

All in all, the tips above should help make the buying process for your tankless water heater go much more smoothly. It’s always better to be prepared 500% before installing a product and being sorry later. Remember, while the up front cost of a tankless water heater (combined with installation costs) can be pricier than conventional heaters, you will save even more money in the long run, providing a return on your investment. Depending on how you decide to install your heater you could even cut your utility bills in half.

If after consulting with your local plumber you’re ready to purchase a tankless water heater, Westside Wholesale has a diverse selection on sale at low affordable rates. All of our tankless water heaters come with free shipping in addition to a manufacturer’s warranty.