Water heaters are responsible for storing and heating water supplies in residents and businesses. There are three types of water heaters: Conventional tank, tankless and hybrid. The conventional tank contains consistently heated water. These are the large cylindrical units seen in buildings. The tanks store water, which is constantly heated, and ready for use. The Tankless water heater heats up water using gas or electric power. Tankless units do not store water, and remain off until a flow sensor cues the unit to turn on. Thus, they only heat the water when it is necessary to do so. Hybrid uses an electrical heating element and heat pump. In order to choose what type of hot water unit to install in our new visitor center, we considered the pros and cons of tank versus tankless units, especially the fuel consumption (gas or electric), the size of unit required, available space, life span of the product as well as any future required maintenance.
It’s important to have a good grasp on the pros and cons of both tank and tankless units before you make that big decision to make that purchase. Since our visitor center is brand new, we were looking for a unit that would take up little space, and afford little maintenance, while providing efficient service.
For those who are looking to free up space, reduce energy consumption, and are in the market for a long lasting unit that never runs out of hot water, the tankless hot water heater could be the right choice. Tankless hot water heaters usually have a higher initial cost than the conventional hot water tank. However, they use approximately 30 to 50 percent less energy than the conventional tank, so they will save the consumer money in the long run. As it is recommended they be installed by a factory trained technician, that would also affect the initial cost of the purchase.
Tankless water heaters are also called the “on demand” unit, because they only begin the heating process when you run water. For anyone who has had the experience of having to wait until the tank filled up in order to take a shower, it’s good to know that the tankless unit never runs out of water. If there is a main disadvantage, it’s the higher initial investment, both for the installation as well as the cost of the unit.
Another advantage of the tankless unit over the conventional unit is the lifespan of the unit. As there is no water tank, so there are no corrosion of parts. Speaking of parts, tankless units are known for being easy to repair with parts readily available.
It’s also extremely important to consider the needs of your facility or household. Sizing a tankless water heater must be done properly, or your establishment will not have the hot water they need when they need it. If you have no idea how to tell the amount of water your establishment requires, there are many online calculators and info graphic charts that can assist you in this task. This is extremely important that tankless water heaters function within their capacity, so it’s vital you know your required flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM) and your temperature rise. The temperature rise is the difference between the incoming flow and the desired temperature, more on flow rate and temperature rise later.
Being environmentally friendly and safe was also a key component in our choice. As a visitor center, we are part of the community, so we felt that we had to consider how to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. Tankless heater units are ‘green’. They are eco-friendly to the environment. After going over all the considerations, we chose the tankless hot water heater unit.
Now that we had whittled down our choice from 3 types of hot water heaters, to just one, the tankless unit, we now had to choose the correct tankless hot water heater for our type of facility. There were several critical factors to consider in making the correct choice, such as how many appliances/fixtures we had at the visitor center that used hot water, how to calculate for the proper size of the unit, how much water we would use at any given time, and where we were located, as different areas of the country have different ground water temperatures.
The first step in choosing our tankless hot water unit, involved considering our facility and its needs and the requirements of our visitors. When choosing a tankless hot water heater for our visitor’s center, size and capacity needed to be the initial consideration.
The first thing we learned was that for tankless water units, the main factor is the hot water flow rate. Flow rates are very important. For example, if the unit is too small, and many visitors are using hot water at the same time, the stream of water would slow to a small trickle. Visitor centers see a lot of traffic, and workflow is continuous during working hours, so a dependable unit that could adequately heat the water of our establishment while multiple hot water appliances/fixtures ran simultaneously, was a number one priority. After all, no one wants to run out of hot water to rinse out a coffee pot, or wash their hands in the middle of the day.
The typical tankless unit provides hot water at about 2-5 gallons every minute. So we had to go through the center and and list any appliance/fixture that utilized hot water, such as faucets, shower heads, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. To give you some visual idea of what a flow rate is, below is an example of the flow rate of common every day fixtures you may find in your home:
Clothes Washer: 1.5 GPM
Dishwasher: 1.2-2.5 GPM
Shower: 1.0 – 2.0 GPM
Kitchen Faucet: 3.0-7.0 GPM
Bathroom Faucet: 0.5 – 1.5 GPM
The next factor we needed to consider in choosing the perfect tankless water heater, was the temperature rise. Ground water temperature varies throughout the country. The higher the temperature of the incoming water, the less energy is required to heat it. For example, say you live in an area where your ground water temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For a home water temperature of 120, you’d subtract 65 from 120. Your required temperature rise would be 55. if you are confused on how to find your ground water temperature, just do a web search and you will find numerous info graphics and charts that will give you the answer.
Another decision that needed to be made, was to choose how our unit was to be powered: gas or electric. While tankless units using gas as an energy source are touted as more efficient energy wise, as well as heating the water at a faster pace, they had a downside. The downside for units using gas heat, was that gas needed special venting, which meant that the cost of installation would increase. Needless to say, that did not set well. The electric tank, however, goes through an easier installation process, but might not be capable of heating the water we’d need to run the Center. Since the center sees a great many people go through it’s doors each day, the gas fired unit seemed the more logical choice.
Finally, after considering the many factors involved in choosing the proper tankless hot water heater, and armed with our GPM numbers and required temperature rise, we were ready to choose our tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters are relatively new on the scene but are gaining in popularity with the masses. They are environmentally friendly, take up little space, hold no water so there is no danger of flooding due to a tank rupture. For our visitor center facility, the choice to go ‘tankless’ was a positive and rewarding one. With the lifespan of such units going well beyond the standard hot water tanks, plus minimal maintenance, we look forward to a long and trouble free relationship with our new tankless hot water heater, which we wouldn’t have gotten if we didn’t visit this website which specializes in tankless heaters: tankless.reviews.