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Hunter Miller
Hunter Miller

Which Tankless Water Heater To Buy

We developed our list of the best tankless water heaters by first identifying competitors that met basic criteria, then reviewing the 27 most widely available water heaters from that list and scoring them all based on 19 different attributes. We further pared our list down to the top 10 tankless water heaters. Our ratings take into consideration factors like pricing at the time of scoring, customer rating, max GPM, heating capacity (BTUs), ETL certified and Energy Star certified. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

which tankless water heater to buy

First up is the EcoSmart ECO 27 tankless water heater. It makes the top of our list for its $437price tag and 92,128 BTUs of heating capacity at 99% efficiency. EcoSmart is a trusted name for pool heaters, so they know how to heat water. This heater supplies up to 6.5 gallons of hot water per minute using 27kW of electricity. Although, if the inlet water is very cool, the hot water output can go down to about 2.7 gallons.

The Eemax 27kW Electric Tankless water heater easily makes our list with its whole-house water heater for a family of four or five for $479. Hot water production ranges from 3 to 7 gallons per minute with adjustable, single-degree accuracy from 80 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Electrical use is kept in check by adjusting power demands based on water flow.

The Tempra Plus Whole House Electric Tankless Water Heater lineup from Stiebel Eltron is next on the list. Priced a little higher than its closest competitors, at $649for a 24kW water heater, it still makes a good impression. It produces up to 5 gallons of hot water per minute with 22,500 BTUs with an efficiency rating of 99%.

For locations that are a little cooler, the N-120 can serve as a powerful, wall mounted, point-of-use water heater with digital display and easy controls. Titan provides a warranty of 10 years on water components and one year on parts.

Being just barely beaten back from ninth place to tenth is the Noritz EZ111 Series tankless water heater. $1,665gets your home a 199,900 BTU, propane-burning monster that can heat up to 11.1 gallons of water per minute.

It carries an Energy Star certification and runs at 97% efficiency. Noritz has been a pioneer in providing electronically controlled water heaters since 1981. Their 25-year heating component warranty, along with five years parts and one year labor, is the best of our review.

Most importantly, you may be limited by what type of power is available to your location. Always check the details before purchasing your water heater: If only electricity is available to you, for example, you will have to buy an electrically powered water heater.

Depending on where you live, the temperature of the groundwater can vary significantly. Predictably, warmer regions have higher groundwater temperatures. Similarly, you also have some control over this factor depending on your hot water settings. An energy-efficient tankless water heater should be able to handle temperature rise with the least amount of energy possible.

Tankless water heaters are also known as instantaneous water heaters, and for good reason: They are able to supply hot water on-demand, whenever you need it. Gone are the days of running out of cold water in the middle of your shower, or waiting a few hours for your tank to refill and reheat before running the dishwasher: hot water is available to you at any time.

An ETL certification officiates proof of compliance, which means the water heater is safe and healthy to use in your home. Whether or not a tankless water heater is ETL-certified caused it to lose or gain points totaling 5% of the total ranking.

Tankless water heaters come with some downsides. A unit can have high upfront costs for installation and purchase. They also may cease to work during a power outage, and they can have difficulty heating enough water for multiple outlets (for example, if you have the dishwasher, shower and laundry machine running simultaneously).

Yes, you can take a shower with a tankless water heater as long as you are not simultaneously running another appliance that uses a lot of hot water. If you have, for example, the dishwasher running at the same time, you may experience unpleasant temperature fluctuations during your shower as your water heater tries to meet the high demand. Modern plumbing may, but not always, include specialized valves to control these fluctuations. If you live in an older house without updated plumbing, expect the discomfort.

Yes, a tankless water heater can easily work for an entire house as long as it is not overwhelmed by simultaneous demands for hot water in multiple areas. If this occurs, you are likely to receive lukewarm water at all locations. Otherwise, though, a tankless water heater will likely function without issue.

Choosing the right size for your tankless water heater depends on multiple factors, mainly temperature rise and peak hot water demand. Once you have determined these two things, you can check with water heater manufacturers in order to find a model that matches your needs.

Gas-burning tankless water heaters should operate for 20 years or more, two or three times longer than tank-type heaters. Tankless electric units have shorter life spans, on the order of 7 to 10 years.

Owners of vacation homes know well how long it takes to drain a water-heater tank before closing up a house for the winter. With a compressor, you can drain a tankless heater in a few seconds; then you just unplug it.

When the distance between heater and fixture exceeds 50 feet, look for units with a built-in recirculation pump, which saves water and reduces waiting time. The pump, which can be turned on by a timer, a push button, a motion sensor, a smart speaker, or a smartphone (above), pushes the cold water in the pipes back through the heater.

Noncondensing tankless gas heaters use stainless-steel vents that can withstand high exhaust heat. Condensing units have a cooler exhaust, and use less expensive PVC pipes. A concentric vent, which has an exhaust pipe inside a larger air-intake pipe, simplifies installation because only one hole needs to be cut in the wall.

Whether you're buying your first tankless water heater or replacing an older one, there's a lot to consider. You'll need to know if a gas or electric fueled system is best for your home; the amount of hot water you'll need during your peak hour; and whether your house can even accommodate a tankless water heater. Plus, you'll need to figure out how to get it installed.

Don't be overwhelmed. These are only a few of the questions we'll help you answer in our tankless water heater buyers guide. Doing the proper research goes beyond which make and model to purchase, and our tankless water heater buyers guide will help you gain the information you need to select the right appliance for your home. By the end, you may even know more than the salesman!

Tankless water heaters have become increasingly popular largely due to their energy efficiency and compact design. And since they heat and deliver hot water only when it's needed, you may hear them referred to as on-demand water heaters.

Tankless water heaters run on either natural gas, propane, or electricity. For this article, we won't differentiate between natural gas and propane fuel sources, as they are basically the same. In fact, most manufacturers offer the same model in both a natural gas and propane version.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to spend more money for a high-quality gas tankless water heater. Quality gas tankless systems start at around $800 to $1,000 and can run significantly higher if you want all the bells-and-whistles.

Keep in mind that because electric tankless water heaters require a great deal of energy to operate, older homes may need to upgrade their household's electrical system. Which can increase the installation cost significantly.

One of the main benefits of installing a tankless water heater is the energy savings they offer. However, it's important to note that the efficiency and savings of a tankless water heater decrease as the household's hot water demands increase.

Electric tankless water heaters have a higher EF rating than gas systems, but because gas is currently a less expensive fuel source than electricity, gas tankless heaters tend to deliver a lower annual operating cost.

Gas and electric tankless water heaters both heat and deliver hot water. But that's where the similarities end. Since they each use a different fuel source to operate, it makes sense that they operate and perform entirely differently.

As we discussed above, a gas tankless water heater is less energy efficient, but are more economical to operate due to the current cost of fuel. But you can also expect a higher output of hot water, which is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) from gas tankless systems.

In a head-to-head comparison, where both a gas and electric tankless water heater heats the water 70F (temperature rise), a gas system can deliver roughly 5 gallons of hot water each minute (GPM). Where an electric tankless heater will deliver about 2 GPM.

As a general rule, you can expect a gas tankless system to deliver over 2x's the amount of hot water, making them an excellent choice for large family's and households with a high demand for hot water.

So, if you live in an area with hard water, you should flush your tankless heater more frequently. Your owner's manual is always your best resource for maintenance requirements for your specific tankless model.

In addition to regular flushing of scale build-up, a gas fueled tankless water heater should be inspected annually by a trained professional to verify safe fuel combustion and to ensure the system is performing as it should.

It goes without saying that a gas fueled tankless water heater requires gas in order to heat water. But the fuel line that supplies the gas must be large enough to provide a sufficient amount of fuel for the larger burners necessary to deliver instantaneous hot water. 041b061a72


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