Choosing a Tankless Water Heater
LESLIE: Bob listens in on WABC in Fairfield, New Jersey. How can we help you today?
BOB: Well, I am considering putting in a tankless water heater.
BOB: And I’ve looked into it and I’ve gotten some negative feedback from the plumber. He said he wouldn’t trust it. He would think that a lot of problems. An architect told me that they’re subject to breakdown. But I don’t know, you know, if it’s when they first came out or if they’ve improved them. And they say that they don’t give you enough demand water. But from what I could read from the manufacturers there’s different models that are rated for different BTU and different BT uses.
TOM: You know, with all due respect to your plumber, sometimes it takes a while for old dogs to learn new tricks. And tankless water heaters are really the wave of the future. They work extremely well. They’re extremely energy efficient. But they have to be properly installed. I’ll give you a very common example of a place where plumbers improperly install tankless water heaters. First of all, do you have gas in your house?
BOB: Yes, I do.
TOM: Alright, because they don’t run well on electric. If you have gas in your house, the way that plumbers have been hooking up gas water heaters since the beginning of time of gas water heaters is to use one size of gas heating pipe. Now, with a tankless water heater you need a larger gas pipe. You don’t use more gas but you use a larger volume of gas for a shorter period of time. And if they take the existing gas line and don’t make it bigger what happens is the tankless water heater is starved for gas …
LESLIE: So it’s not properly heating the water.
TOM: So as long as the gas line is correctly sized and the water heater’s correctly installed, I think a tankless water heater is a great idea.
BOB: Does that mean they have to repipe the whole gas line or just from where it connects to the …
TOM: Usually they have to repipe it from where it connects to the next intersection with your main gas line. So it’s not running new pipeline throughout the whole house but generally just a section of pipe that has to be upgraded so that you’re getting the right volume of gas in there. There is a website called ForeverHotWater.com.
BOB: Yeah, I checked that. Rinnai.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a good one. The Rinnai company does a good job there and there’s some sizing guides there that will tell you what size you need for your particular needs. But I do think that a water heater – a tankless water heater’s a really good idea. It’s a very green idea, too. It’s a very energy efficient idea and it gives you a lot of flexibility. I mean one of the things that I really liked about some of these tankless water heaters, I have children and you can actually have a remote control panel for your water heater. So you can dial down the temperature of the water. Say if the small kids go up to take a bath you don’t have to worry about them scalding themselves. There’s just a lot of flexibility with tankless water heaters that you get besides being very energy efficient.
So go forward with that project and maybe you can suggest that your plumber just gets a little more education on it because they do work well if they are correctly installed.
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