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Tankless Water Heaters: Good for Houses With a Lot of People?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Harry in Arkansas on the line who wants to talk about water heating. What can we do for you today?

    HARRY: So I heard you talking about the tankless water heater the other day and I was curious. Suppose (inaudible at 0:02:54) I understand the principle of it. But I’ve got a family of about six or seven, eight and they’re packed in and – plus visiting plus the home folks. And I’m wondering about the recovery on those. How rapid is – can they recover to take care of, for example, everybody taking a bath in the morning before running off to school?

    TOM: Yeah, tankless water heaters actually recover quicker than a tanked water heater. And there’s no problem with using them for a big family. I mean heck, they’re used for hotels all the time. And the nice thing about tankless water heaters is that they’re essentially,on demand. So as long as you’ve got water flow, you’re going to have hot-water flow.

    And you just want to make sure that a tankless heater is sized correctly, because they’re like any type of water heater. They’re purchased based on how many bathrooms that you have and how many other points of plumbing in the house that are going to need it, whether you have one kitchen, you have a tub and a slop sink, perhaps, in your laundry room, that kind of thing. So as long as it’s sized properly and installed properly, you won’t have any problem.

    Now, do you have natural gas on this home?

    HARRY: No, no. We are in an electric home.

    TOM: Ah, OK. That changes the answer. So, electric tankless water heaters are not going to deliver nearly the efficiency that a gas-fired tankless water heater would. So I would not recommend an electric tankless water heater.

    In that case, what I would suggest you take a look at is a fairly new technology called a “heat-pump water heater.” Now, a heat-pump water heater uses the same heating/cooling technology in traditional heat pumps but they use it to cool – excuse me, to heat – the water in a water heater. So that can give you a pretty healthy supply of water – that hot water that can stand up to – that could serve all of those bathrooms in your home. But it will keep the cost down.

    HARRY: Mm-hmm. OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate your answer.

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