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Reviews Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Vs Tank Water Heater Reviews and Buying Guide

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When looking for a new water heater or a replacement for your current system, you need to assess your needs and decide whether to go for a tankless or tank water heater. The two types of heaters provide hot water but have differences in the way they work, cost, and other issues that you need to understand before making your decision. Ideally, you need to check the different systems and decide on whether a tankless or tank water heater is the right option to meet your family’s hot water needs.

The tank heaters usually heat and store the hot water in advance, even when no one is using it at that time. These are ideal for large families or spaces with high hot water demand. On the other hand, the tankless water heater is a compact, smaller capacity unit that heats water on demand. These are suitable for low-demand applications and small households.

Whether looking for a tankless or tank water heater, below are the main factors to consider.

  • Hot water demand/ capacity
  • Purchase price
  • Installation requirements and cost
  • Performance
  • Operating Costs 
  • Energy efficiency
  • Equipment service life

Tankless water heaters

The electric and gas tankless water heaters deliver hot water on demand and do not have a storage tank. These heaters have a wide range of sizes and different features but have limited capacities compared to storage-based systems. As such, the installation procedures and costs vary across different brands, models, energy source, size, outdoor or indoor, etc. For example, the installation of a gas tankless water heater differs from that of an electric model. 

Generally, the tankless water heaters are smaller in size than the tank systems and require less space inside or outside the house, depending on the model. Unlike the tank systems, the tankless water heaters have longer lifespans of over 20 years.

How a tankless water heater works

The tankless unit uses gas or electricity to heat the water instantly when there is a demand. Once a user opens a hot water outlet, the cold input flows through the electric heating element or gas heat exchanger pipes before reaching the sink, shower, or another faucet. However, since it heats the water as it passes through the system, the tankless water heaters have limited capacities. As such, unlike tank-based systems, the tankless supports only a few simultaneous outlets. If the demand for hot water is high, the system may not reach the preferred temperature. And the system will not provide a lot of hot water, fast enough, for everyone to enjoy. 

As the flow rate increase, the temperatures may reduce drastically; hence most models are unsuitable for large households or families. The capacity of a tankless is usually in terms of flow rate, which refers to the number of hot water gallons per minute that it produces.

A gas tankless water heater uses a flame to heat the water flowing through a heat exchanger unit, while an electric system uses a heating element. In practice, the gas tankless water heaters are faster and more energy-efficient. Also, they can work at any time, even when there is no electricity.

Benefits of tankless water heater

  • Higher energy efficiency since it does not need to maintain hot water in storage
  • Has a longer service life
  • Small physical size hence space saving
  • Most manufacturers offer longer warranties for the tankless water heaters

Disadvantages of the tankless water heaters

  • Costly to purchase and install
  • Some models require major changes to your home’s electrical or gas lines and components to support the systems.
  • Savings from higher energy efficiency may not be large enough to balance out the high purchase and installation cost.  
  • Limited capacity and unable to support large families unless you install multiple units.

Is a tankless water heater a good investment?

While tankless water heaters are not ideal for every application, they are good choices in various conditions. For instance, if you have a gas line in your home and can install the tankless with little effort and minimal changes, then a gas-powered tankless heater could be a good choice. Because of the high efficiency, the gas water heater will enable you to save money in the long term.

If you are looking for a hot water solution for low-demand applications such as a sink, or hand washing, you could go for a point of use tankless water heater. These are not only low capacity systems but also very small. The POUs can easily fit in small spaces such as under a sink and similar locations.

Further, you could also install the point of use (POU) water heater near the washing areas, a shower, or another applications area, hence reducing additional piping or modifications. Most often, the small tankless water heaters plugs in to the standard outlets. However, the larger systems may require dedicated gas lines or electrical circuits. Some tankless heaters are even portable, and you can use them in mobile homes, RVs, tiny homes, and similar spaces.

Best Tankless water heaters

The best tankless water heater may depend on your needs. For example, there is the best tankless water heater for RVs, the best electric tankless water heatersthe best gas tankless water heater, the best point of use tankless water heaters for low demand applications, etc. That said, below are some of the best tankless water heaters that we recommend.

EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric tankless water heater

EcoSmart ECO 27 is a compact, energy-efficient, and visually appealing tankless water heater suitable for households with limited utility space. Despite its small physical size, the tankless water heater provides 6 gallons per minute in warm weather and 4 GPM during winter.

The powerful water heater can support multiple showers or applications hence suitable for medium and large households. A digital control allows you to adjust the temperature of the hot water in one-degree steps. 

Rheem RTGH-95DVLN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

The Rheem RTGH 95DLN is a high-efficiency, indoor-only natural gas tankless water heater. It is a compact, 9.5 GPM, which is easy to install and maintain.

Rheem RTGH-95DVLN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

The tankless heater has inbuilt electronic controls that enable you to adjust the temperature, thus improving comfort, energy efficiency, and safety. Also, the low NOx emissions, condensing heater has a stainless steel heat exchanger and an energy efficiency of 94%. 

GASLAND BE158 Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater

GASLAND BE158 is a portable and energy-efficient propane-powered outdoor tankless water heater. The compact and fast 1.58GPM heater is also lightweight hence easy to carry and install a wide range of outdoor spaces. 

Since it uses gas, you can install it anywhere, even in locations without electricity. Typical application areas include RVs, mobile homes, camping, and other outdoor places where there is a need for hot water.

Tank water heaters

The storage tank systems are the most common water heaters in many households and commercial spaces. A typical unit consists of an insulated tank that stores hot water and makes it available on demand. The heaters use electricity or gas to heat the water which they then store in the tank for immediate or later use. 

Installation procedures and costs of the tank water heaters vary according to size and other factors. However, they are usually easy to install equipment that can also fit is a wide range of indoor spaces including but not limited to a garage, a closet, and other free spaces.

Usually, the tank water heaters have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years

How do the tank water heaters work

The storage-based water heaters have large hot water tanks with capacities that range between 20 to 80 gallons. In normal operations, the water heaters heat the water in the tanks, either using gas or electricity and then maintain the water at about 120 degrees F. 

When a user opens a tap or shower or any other hot water outlet, the water comes out of the tank. As the volume of hot water decreases, the heater will require some time to heat additional cold water. In this case, you need to wait for some time for the water to get hot.

On energy use, the natural gas tank water heaters are more efficient, hence cheaper to run than the electric counterparts, but are expensive to purchase. If you can get a cheap source for gas, a gas-powered model may be good for you. Additionally, the gas models will also work when there is no electricity.

Due to their large size, the tank water heaters require bigger indoor spaces, as they cannot withstand outdoor environments. 

Benefits of tank water heater

  • They are cheap to purchase and install
  • Easy installation procedure
  • You do not need to modify your electrical system nor add more components to install an electric water heater
  • It is a tried and proven technology

Disadvantages of tank water heater

The tank water heater has a lower energy efficiency because of the standby losses. The stored hot water often loses some heat, and the heater must keep on reheating the water to maintain it at a set temperature. Drawbacks of a tank water heater include

  • It has a short lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.
  • They have a long waiting time for the hot water. For example, if the tank is empty, it will take quite some time to heat the water and make it available.
  • High risk in case there is a malfunction such as a leakage which could result in spillage and damage to your house
  • The standby losses increase with the age of the water heater and are higher for older systems. Consequently, this increases the running heating energy costs.

Is a tank water heater good for you?

Since they are cheaper than other models, they could be a good choice when you have a small budget. Generally, tank systems are less costly than tankless or hybrid water heaters.

If your home does not have gas and runts entirely on electricity, a tank water heater may be the best option. For instance, if you have a standard electric service of about 200A and do not want to upgrade to accommodate an electric tankless water heater which requires more energy and a dedicated circuit. Despite the lower efficiency, the tank water heaters use the standard electrical circuits. 

Even if your home has a gas line, you need to consider the cost of additional plumbing and venting to support a tankless gas water heater. If the potential energy savings from a tankless are insignificant based on your needs, then you may need to go with a tank system.

Our choice for the best storage tank water heaters 

Below are two of the best tank water heaters. One of the heaters is electric while the second one is gas-powered.

A.O Smith Signature 50-gallon gas tank water heater

The A.O Smith Signature 50-gallon system is a tall, reliable, and efficient natural gas tank water heater. It is a 50,000 BTUs heater suitable for households with five or more people. The low NOx tank water heater has an inbuilt electronic gas valve that allows you to control the water temperature even without an external electricity source.

It has a ceramic fused tank that is corrosive resistant and a self-cleaning dip tube to prevent or minimize sediment build-up hence providing you with long service life. Additionally, it has a status LED status indicator for easy diagnostics. 

A.O Smith gas tank water heater

Rheem performance Standard 40 Gallon Electric Water

The Rheem performance water heater is an energy-efficient electric tank water heater with a 6-year limited warranty. The 40-gallon tank water heater with an energy factor EF or 0.96 has an isolated tank design that minimizes heat losses. Rheem Performance is a 240VAC, with a dual 4.5KW copper heating element and a hot water temperature range of 120-160 degrees F   

It has a premium grade anode rod to reduce deterioration and corrosion hence ensures longer service life. The water heater has over-temperature protection that disconnects the electrical power when the temperature exceeds the set threshold.

Conclusion

When looking at the tankless vs. tank water heaters comparison, the tankless seems more attractive. It has benefits such as compact sizes, better energy efficiency, and low operational costs. However, it is more costly to purchase and install than a storage-tank-based system. Unfortunately, the tankless may not be for you if you have a large household with high hot water demands. 

If you have a medium or a situation where there is a regular or high demand for hot water simultaneously, you may consider installing multiple tankless water heaters. However, as the demand increases, you need to determine if the cost of purchasing and running a higher-capacity tank water heater is more cost-effective. If you settle for the tank system, make sure you understand its lifespan and the maintenance costs, such as replacing the anode rods and other parts.

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Tankless Water Heaters

Hybrid Vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for which I earn a commission.

Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

When looking for a new water heater for your home or business, you have several options to consider. Amongst the most common types is the traditional tank water heater, a tankless or a hybrid system. Each of these has different features that make them ideal for some applications. As such, knowing how each type works, benefits, drawbacks, and differences enable you to make a more informed decision. As the heating technologies continue to evolve, hybrid and tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than the older traditional storage-based models.

Biselong Tankless water heater

In this article, we will only focus on the hybrid and tankless water heaters, see how each type work, the differences between the two, as well as the advantages and disadvantages. We will first look at each of the water heaters and then compare the two. Finally, we will try to see the ideal environment and application for each of the water heaters.

What is a hybrid water heater? 

A hybrid is a combination of some of the features we find in the traditional storage-based heater, heat pump heaters, and tankless water heater. To understand how the hybrid is a mix of features from the other three systems, below is a brief overview of how each of them works.

Tankless water heaters

A tankless water heater does not store hot water. Instead, it heats it on demand. The tankless heaters have higher energy efficiencies, are smaller and cost-effective. However, most of them have limited capacities.

Tank water heaters

The tank type usually heats and keeps hot water in a storage tank. They have bigger capacities and able to serve larger families and businesses. However, since they need to heat and keep hot water all the time, they consume more energy and are thus not as efficient as the tankless.

Heat pump water heaters

Unlike the tank or tankless water heaters, the heat pump type does not heat the water directly from electricity. The electricity is simply for the pump. Instead of warming water using a heating element, the process involves drawing heat from the surrounding air and then using this to heat the water. The heat pump units have a working principle similar to the refrigerator or air conditioner but in reverse. Generally, the heat pump heater has a very high efficiency under ideal conditions. However, they cannot heat water during cold weather.

Hybrid water heaters

The hybrid derives the best features from the above three types.

  1. It should ideally operate as a heat pump heater that has the highest efficiency. However, during cold weather, it will not heat the water. 
  2. At this time, it should start operating as tankless by heating the water directly using the electrical heating element.
  3. Since it heats the water in a tank, the hot water will remain in storage. When users want hot water, it will be available much quicker than from a tankless.

How do hybrid water heaters work?

A hybrid water heater uses a heat pump to move the heat from one place to another. In practice, they use the same principle as a refrigerator, but in reverse. That is, they will draw the warm air from the surroundings, such as from the room they are installed in, and then pump it into the tank. Consequently, the hot air will heat the water. Generally, these are more energy efficient by about two or three times compared to the traditional storage-based electric water heaters.

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Unlike other forms of water heaters such as storage-based and tankless, the hybrid does not use electrical resistance heating, natural gas, or propane to heat water in the tank. Its operation is usually different in that it uses electrical energy to power the systems that draw heat from the air in the room, or from outside.

Benefits of hybrid water heaters

More efficient: The hybrid water heaters are probably the most efficient. Ideally, they are two to three times more efficient than most electric water heaters. Despite being more costly to purchase, install and maintain, the significant reduction in energy bills results in greater savings and a shorter payback time. 

Safer: Unlike gas-powered systems with higher risks of health hazards from toxic exhaust, the hybrid, which uses a moderate amount of electricity, is safer.

Environmentally friendly: In addition to using less energy to heat the water, the heater emits only small amounts of greenhouse gases.

They use waste energy during winter: People often heat their homes or spaces, during the cold seasons. However, some of the extra energy released into the room often goes into waste. But a hybrid can draw this heat and use it for water heating, hence reducing the energy use and conserving more energy.

Cools the rooms during hot weather: The hybrid water heaters work as air conditioners by sucking the heat from the air during the hot weather. This results in cooler rooms and hence reduces the demand for the actual air conditioner. As such, it helps to reduce the air conditioning energy bills during hot weather such as summer.

Electrolux Hybrid Water Heater

Disadvantages of hybrid water heaters

  • The hybrids are usually more costly to purchase and install than the tankless models.
  • They require more space and not suitable for outdoor installation. Ideally, the hybrid requires spaces with at least 1000 cubic feet of air. As such, you cannot install it in confined spaces such as inside a closet. In that case, if you have an existing water heater, you may need to do some modifications to accommodate a hybrid. Additionally, due to the heat pump at the top of the heater, the unit requires a room where the ceiling is higher. 
  • Require condensate drains to remove the moisture that the heater collects as it heats the water. 
  • Hybrids are uneconomical in cold weather since they rely more on supplementary electrical heating. The hybrid systems are only suitable for locations where temperatures remain within the 400 – 900 F range throughout the year. Also, if you leave it on during the cold weather, it will draw all the heat from the room hence making or colder and forcing you to increase the heating energy and bills. 
  • Requires regular air filter replacement: The hybrid water heater has an air filter when cleans the air that it draws into the system. With time, the filter gets dirty, and this results in inefficiencies. 

Tankless water heaters

The tankless water heaters provide instant hot water on demand. Unlike traditional tank heaters, they do not heat and store hot water for later use. As such, they use less energy since the stored hot water may lose some warmth before use. The tankless systems are usually available in a wide range of sizes and capacities, thus allowing users to choose what works best for them. However, some of them have limited capacity and may not be suitable for large families or applications with high demand for hot water.

Benefits of tankless water heaters

  • Tankless water heaters are long-lasting with a service of over 20 years. On the other hand, tank water heaters usually last 8 -12 years and hybrids 13-15 years.
  • It does not require a lot of space, and you can install some models outdoors, or in mobile homes as well as camping vans (RVs) and other temporary structures. Ideally, some tankless models are portable and especially gas-powered heaters. 
  • The tankless provide hot water instantly when a user opens a tap, sink, or shower. Although the capacity per minute may not be very high, proper sizing ensures that you can find the right model that meets your household’s hot water requirements.
  • Provides unlimited hot water on demand: There are no risks of running out of hot water since it heats.
  • More energy efficient than tank heaters but less than hybrid  

Disadvantages of tankless water heater

  • Higher initial costs: Can cost twice as much as a traditional hot water system. Compared to a hybrid, the tankless may be cheaper.
  • Since the tankless water heaters have limited capacity. You may require several units to adequately provide hot water to the entire household if you have a large family. And this may drive up the costs.
  • Some models, such as the gas-powered water heaters, may have complicated installation procedures.

Comparing the hybrid and tankless water heaters

Generally, there are four issues that you need to consider when deciding on which type will work better for you. These include energy efficiency, performance, installation, and operational costs.

Heater’s energy efficiency

Generally, both the hybrids and tankless units are more energy-efficient compared to the traditional storage-based heaters. A hybrid water heater extracts the ambient heat from the air and then uses it to heat the water. It does not generate its heat using an electrical heating element compared to the other electric-based systems. Ideally, this is very energy efficient. However, it might not generate enough heat to warm the water to the desired temperatures during cold weather. As such, it will require supplementing with the electrical element – which may increase the operating costs. On the other hand, the tankless only heats water when someone wants to use it. Therefore, it does not need to use more energy to maintain hot water in the storage tank.

Water heater performance

While the tankless water heaters provide you with instant hot water on demand, most models have limited capacity and only serve one to four outlets for most models. In most cases, you may not use two or more showers simultaneously. As such, some tankless water heaters cannot serve large households unless you use several units. The hybrids are usually large and have enough capacity to serve large families since they have a tank. However, it may not perform well during cold weather. Other than increasing the energy bills, the water may take longer to reach the desired temperature. 

 Installation costs

The installation costs for a tankless water heater vary according to the fuel, capacity, household or facility where to install the unit, and other conditions. For a large gas tankless water heater that needs to serve many users, the installation costs may be higher since it may require upgrading the gas line and plumbing. Similarly, large electric tankless or hybrid water heaters will require dedicated electrical circuits and breakers. Generally, the installation costs for the hybrid and tankless are almost the same. However, it can be higher if you need to modify a room to accommodate the hybrid heater. 

Operating costs

A gas-powered tankless water heater has fewer operational costs compared to the electric model. Generally, gas is usually cheaper than electricity, and its heaters have higher energy efficacy than the electric counterparts. In warm climates, the operating costs of a hybrid may be lower than a gas or electric tankless heater. However, the operating costs for the hybrid could go higher in cold weather but still slightly lower than, or almost the same as gas tankless. 

Is a hybrid or tankless water heater good for me?

Hybrids and tankless are cost-effective and energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly water heaters. If you enjoy warm climates throughout the year, you have a spacious room, and access to electricity, the hybrid may be good for you. On the other hand, if you have a smaller space and have access to cheap gas, the tankless water heater is the ideal choice, which is also the case if you live in colder areas.

Conclusion

While the hybrid heater delivers high energy savings and has other benefits, it may not be the best tank for every household, business, or application. You may need to consult widely to see if it will indeed meet your hot water needs. If not, you still have many other options, if you want a smaller unit, tankless water heaters have a wide selection to meet almost any need.

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Tankless Water Heaters

Condensing vs Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heaters

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for which I earn a commission.

Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

Tankless water heaters have several benefits, including providing hot water on demand, high energy efficiency, small space requirements, and more. However, there are different systems in the market, and these differ in terms of operation, capacity, efficiency, and other features. In particular, for gas-powered systems, there are condensing and non-condensing tankless water heaters. And these have some differences as well as similarities. As such, to make the right choice, you need to understand how each type works, benefits, cost, and other issues. 

Before we look at each of them, let us first see how a gas-powered water heater works. 

How gas tankless water heaters work

When a user opens a tap or shower on a gas-powered water heater system, the cold water flows through a heat exchanger system, after which it comes out at a higher temperature. The exchanger system, which uses gas combustion, heats the water as it flows through the stainless steel pipes before going to the shower, sink, or other faucets. 

Other than the energy that heats the water, the tankless gas-powered water heaters produce hot vapor as a byproduct of the natural gas fuel. That is, during combustion, natural gas gives a certain amount of energy. However, some of this does not heat the water and exits as hot exhaust gases. The difference in how the heater handles the hot exhaust gases determines if the system is condensing, or non-condensing as explained below.

The non-condensing models usually release the hot exhaust gases to the outside. However, the condensing units recycle and utilize the thermal energy before releasing it as condensate water.

To help you understand the different types of water heaters, here are the details. 

What is a condensing tankless water heater?

Condensing water heaters are systems that recycle the waste energy from exhaust gases. It then uses this energy to preheat the cold water. A condensing unit will first extract the heat from the exhaust gases before releasing them to the outside. First, the cold water passes through the exhaust system that preheats it before going to the main chamber. Afterward, the partly heated water passes through the primary heat exchanger that heats it to the desired temperature but using less energy. 

After recycling the extra heat in the exhaust gases, the condensing water heater vents out the vapor that is at a lower temperature. Since the vapor is cooler, at about 100 degrees F, it does not require the expensive stainless steel venting. In most cases, it only requires standard PVC pipes, such as 40PVC/CPVC, which can withstand the steam’s heat and corrosiveness. On the other hand, the non-condensing model has much higher temperatures and requires costly stainless steel for venting. 

In practice, the unit condenses the exhaust gases within the system. Afterward, the system neutralizes the condensation water by a dilution or filtration process before draining it to the outside.

By preheating the water, the system will require less heat in the main chamber to reach the desired temperature. And this results in less energy use. That is, the heater will operate at a lower BTU while achieving energy efficiency of over 90%.

Benefits of condensing tankless water heaters

Generally, the condensing tankless water heaters are similar to the non-condensing models. Both of them usually release exhaust gases, but the condensing model usually captures them before exit. They then redirect the hot gases to a secondary heat exchanger that preheats cold water before it goes into the main chamber.

The above processes deliver various benefits, including but not limited to;

Environmentally friendly

Since a condensing unit uses less energy, it reduces gas usage, greenhouse emissions, and heating costs.

Low operation costs

The design of the condensing water heater ensures that you extract a significant amount of heat from the waste exhaust gases to preheat the water. Consequently, the operation results in reduced fuel, higher efficiency, and savings on heating costs.

Higher efficiency

Other than their lower cost, the condensing gas tankless water heaters have efficiencies of over 90%, while the non-condensing achieves about 80%.

Disadvantages of condensing water heaters

High initial cost

Purchasing a condensing water heater alone will you cost 2 to 3 times more compared to the traditional water heaters. Even with its lower installation costs, the total amount will still be higher than that of a conventional heater.

Requires more space

The condensing water heaters are usually high capacity with a typical 55 gallons or more. As such, they are suitable for high-demand applications and are therefore bulky sized such that you require much bigger space for the installation. 

May require reconfiguring existing plumbing

If you are replacing an existing non-condensing heater, the condensing models require quite some reconfiguration. You have to ensure that the existing systems such as the gas lines, ventilation alignment, and others will support the condensing water heater. As such, you may have to incur additional costs to ensure to upgrade the various components. 

Non –condensing gas tankless water heaters

The non-condensing models are the most basic gas tankless water heaters. Most of the installed tankless gas water heaters are non-condensing. They have one heat exchanger and usually release hot exhaust gases to the outside. In practice, the temperature of the exhaust gases can reach about 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C. At these temperatures, the gases have a very high corrosion potential. 

Usually, when the gases cool down and condense, they form acidic water that is corrosive on most metallic surfaces. As such, venting the host gases at such high temperatures requires the use of corrosion-resistant channels that can also withstand the excess heat. Typical non-condensing units use non-corrosive metals such as stainless steel for the venting system. 

As the water heater releases more hot exhaust gases, the heater loses more heat, hence lower energy efficiency. Most often, the energy efficiency of a typical non-condensing unit is around 80%. 

Benefits of non-condensing water heaters

Requires less space

Since it does not have a secondary exchanger, the non-condensing water heater requires less installation space unlike the condensing. As such, you can install it in tight spaces.

Less corrosion

Venting away the excess hot gases removes the excess heat from the heat exchanger, resulting in a lower rate of corrosion and deterioration, hence a longer service life.

Disadvantages of non-condensing water heaters

Expensive venting

The non-condensing water heater requires costly venting of stainless steel to withstand the high temperatures and corrosiveness of the exhaust gases.

Low efficiency

Usually, non-condensing has an energy efficiency of about 80%, which is lower than for the condensing systems. 

Condensing vs. non-condensing tankless water heater – which is better?

To determine what works best for you, here is a comparison of the main features of the two types of water heaters. Below are some areas where the two water heaters differ or have similarities.

Condensing vs non condensing water heater

Most energy-efficient water heater

If looking for the most efficient system that will help you save on energy bills, the condensing unit has 90% while the non-condensing has 80%. 

Which heater is cheaper?

The condensing water heater is more costly due to the extra heat exchanger. Additionally, the additional components and processes may result in higher maintenance costs. However, the savings in energy bills may balance out in the long term. Non-condemning is usually cheaper to purchase but wastes more energy and may turn out to be more costly in the long term.

More savings

The condensing tankless units deliver more energy savings compared to the non-condensing models.

Which heater provides a longer service life?

With proper maintenance, gas-powered tankless water heaters can provide you with a service life of more than 20 years. Each of the two water heaters requires maintenance and, over time, replacement of some parts that may wear out or degrade due to corrosion and other operational issues. In particular, the pipes for condensation in the condensing units may degrade over time. Similarly, materials in the vent and exhaust systems of the non-condensing are equally at risk.

Which is more environmentally friendly?

Each of the two types of gas tankless water heaters releases some toxic vapors into the air. Although the amount is negligible, it is still a drawback, of which it is normal for systems that use natural gas as fuel. That said, condensing units are more environmentally friendly since it releases less harmful vapor compared to non-condensing.  

Conclusion

The purchase price of a condensing unit is usually higher than an equivalent non-condensing model. The reason is partly due to the extra heat exchanger. However, the installation cost may be lower due to the use of cheaper venting. Additionally, the savings on the energy bills in the condensing unit makes them more cost-effective than the non-condensing water heaters in the long term.

Whether to choose a condensing or non-condensing water heater will depend on the preferences and needs that differ from one customer to another. While we cannot say which of the two types wins, we prefer the condensing models since they are using innovative technology and has the potential to improve further with time.

Categories
Bath Maintenance Tankless Water Heaters

Can I Install a Water Heater Myself?

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Today, there are many offline and online tutorials and videos that provide step-by-step guides on how to install water heaters. While the information makes it look like it is easy to do the installation, it might not be a good idea to do it yourself, especially if you have never done it before. 

Most often, the tutorials will give you step-by-step instructions based on an ideal situation. However, your environment and skills are also vital and will determine how you do the work. Moreover, it is not just the physical placement; there are various issues such as the electrical system, gas piping system, venting, access, and other factors that determine performance, reliability, and safety. 

Ideally, it is advisable to seek professional help, especially if you do not have the necessary technical skills. However, if you have these, you can do the installation as long as you ensure that you adhere to all the codes, regulations, and safety precautions. 

Generally, the installation process of a hot water system is a multi-disciplinary exercise that requires knowledge in plumbing, electrical, safety, and others. Additionally, in some countries, you need to comply with relevant codes and obtain permits to perform the work. That said, while you can install the small point-of-use tankless water heaters and especially the plug-in types, you need to consider engaging a professional installer when you have large multi-user water heaters.

Risks of installing a water heater incorrectly

While proper installation and regular maintenance ensure safe and reliable operations, the system will fail when it reaches its end of service life. However, a wrong installation is risky and more dangerous than a normal failure.

Hot water systems are dangerous

Usually, problems with the electrical or gas systems are dangerous and can lead to short circuits, explosions, fires, and other situations. If you are replacing an older system, you need to safely remove it and prepare the space for the new water heater. The heaters use an energy source. This could be gas, electricity, or both, and you must ensure the safe and reliable infrastructure to safely deliver these to the heater system. Incorrect wiring could cause electric shocks or fires. Also, if your heater is propane or natural gas-powered, you need proper piping and connections, otherwise, a minor leak from poor installation may lead to fire risks and explosions. 

Also, failure to install the water heater properly could lead to pressure build-up and tank explosion. 

Voiding warranty

Most manufacturers and even insurance policies will only honor claims for systems installed according to set requirements. In most cases, they require a professional and licensed plumber or installer. Failure to do this will void the warranty or insurance cover.

Time factor

Even when you have technical skills in other fields, installing some water heater models is quite involving and may take you longer than what you save by avoiding a professional. 

Generally, installing your water heater improperly and failing to comply with relevant plumbing, building, and electrical codes could expose yourself and your family to financial, safety, and legal risks. For the above and other reasons, you may need to think twice about installing a water heater by yourself. While you will save some money, the benefits may not warrant taking the risk.

To determine if you can install your water heater by yourself, below is a typical guide on how to perform the replacement or a new installation of an electric-powered model.

How to install a water heater 

If you decide to install the water heater, below are some of the basic steps. Please note that these may vary from one type and model of a water heater to another. Other factors that affect the installation procedure include the type of fuel, whether gas or electric, tank or tankless, capacity, outdoor or indoor, and other issues. While you can install some small models such as the point of use (POUs) and other low-demand models, the procedures may be complex for larger models.

Tools to install a water heater

Below is a list of tools to do the installation.

  • A set of screwdrivers
  • Wrench
  • Flexible hoses
  • Pipe cutter
  • Plumbers tape
  • Voltage detector
  • Soldering iron or torch
  • Solder wire
  • Solder flux
  • Sandpaper cloth, dielectric connectors, etc. (optional)

Step by step instructions on how to install an electric water heater

In our guide, we are assuming that you are replacing a defective system. You will, therefore, first remove the old one and then install the new heater.

Switch off the electrical supply to the water heater

Before working on the water heater, disconnect the power at the panel. Ideally, switch off the water heater’s circuit breaker. Use a voltage detector to ensure that the wires at the heater do not have any power. 

electric circuit breaker

Empty the tank 

If you are replacing a storage-based water heater, empty the tank by

  • Open one of the hot water outlets and letting the water run until it is cold.
  • Afterward, turn off the water heater cold water supply.
  • Use the drain valve to remove all the water from the tank. You may use a hosepipe to pour the water outside or into a sink.
  • To drain the tank faster and allow air to move in, open the hot water faucet and the T&P valve.

Physically disconnect the electrical wires

To avoid confusion, sketch the wiring diagram before removing the wires. If possible, take a photo of the wiring before disconnecting. 

Remove the electrical wires supplying the water heater. Before touching the cables, confirm again that the circuit breaker is off and that they are not carrying any current. As you remove each wire, ensure that you label or mark them appropriately.

Detach the water pipes 

Remove both the water input and output pipes. If the pipe is damaged, you may cut the pipe, but leave as much of the good part as possible. However, if the pipe is still in a good position, you can use it with the new unit, and you need to remove it carefully.

Replace the water heater

Remove the old empty water heater and move it out of the way.

Place the new heater and align it well so that electrical and plumbing connections will fit properly

Prepare the pipes

You need to prepare the old pipes by thoroughly cleaning them with sandpaper. Clean the ends that will connect to the new heater until they are shiny and free of rust and other debris.

Connect the electrical wires

Use the wiring diagram provided by the manufacturer to connect the electrical wires. Ensure that you have grounded the tank by connecting the green wire appropriately. Once done, cover the junction box securely.

install a water heater

Attach the water supply lines

  • With the unit aligned correctly, attach the cold and hot water pipes in their respective positions. 
  • If not already in place, a good practice is to use flexible hoses to attach the heater inlet and outlet and the cold and hot water copper pipes, respectively. The flexibility enhances safety and especially in case of an earthquake. When making connections use the plumber’s tape to line the threads and ensure tight bonding.
  • Open the nearest hot water faucet and turn on the cold water supply to the water heater.
  • Check for leakages, and if none, continue and fill the tank with water. 

Connect the temperature and pressure discharge pipe

  • Use the appropriate fitting to attach the discharge pipe to the T&P valve.
  • Ensure that the pipes’ ends and fittings are clean before attaching them.
  • You may use the solder to make the connections. 

Reconnect the electrical power supply 

Once you fill the tank with cold water, switch on the circuit breaker at the service. If all is well and the connections are correct, the power should reach the water heater. If there is no electrical power on the water heater, turn off the breaker before checking the wiring.

NB: Do not apply the power when the tank does not have enough water since this will cause the heating elements to dry fire and burn if not fully submerged. 

Supply all the hot water lines

Open each hot water outlet and let the water run for some time until it stops sputtering. Doing this removes the air from the tank and pipes.

Set the temperature at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit let the water heat for some time. The process may take a few hours to heat and reach the set temperature. While in the process, monitor the discharge pipe. If it starts dripping, know that the pressure could be too high and make the necessary adjustments.

While this guide assumes that you are replacing an old water heater, it is also applicable if you have a new unit. If installing the new system, skip the first five steps and start at step 6.

Common mistakes to avoid when installing a water heater

While the installation may vary depending on the type of water heater, energy source, environment, and other factors, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid. These include;

Incorrect water heater sizing

It is vital to ensure that the water heating system is the right size. Otherwise, a small unit will need to run for a much longer time, hence wear out much faster. 

install water heater

Similarly, a much larger system will cost more in terms of purchase and running costs. Additionally, it will take up more space and more costly accessories.

Placing the gas or electrical power shut-offs out of site

These controls must be in easy to access and visible locations for normal operations and handling emergencies. They allow you to cut off the electrical supply or flow of the gas into the tanks.  

In practice, you should never heat an empty tank. However, if the shut-off is inaccessible, it means that you must leave it on, even before you complete the installation and added water to the tanks. Consequently, immersion heating elements, which must work when in water, will overheat and burn out. Similarly, if you apply a flame to an empty tank, it will overheat and crack the tank.

Installing the water heater in a difficult location

A difficult-to-access location can be a challenge when installing and maintaining the water heater. Additionally, it may be risky to work in such as place and could also pose other hazards. Usually, the building codes recommend the minimum dimensions you require to access the water heater. They also specify the minimum floor space required to install the heater. Failure to adhere to the building codes results in difficulty installation and challenges in putting the units and tank in and out of the tight spaces.

Loose gas supply pipes and electrical wires

Ideally, you need to secure the electrical power and gas supply lines to the walls and floors to minimize vibrations, loose connections, movements, and associated risks. Also, ensure that they are out of the way from other objects to prevent damage. Where necessary, protect the lines, such as using the appropriate conduit or trunking for the electrical wires.

Other errors include

  • Mixing different metals: – increases the risk of galvanic corrosion. In case there is a need to use two types of metals. Separate them with a dielectric connector to avoid direct contact.
  • Ineffective venting of the exhaust gases in gas-powered based water heaters
  • Replacing a good and serviceable water heater
  • Poor soldering
  • Installing the wrongly sized water heater, etc

Conclusion

While, in most cases, nothing prevents you from installing your water heater, you need to understand what is involved, the risks and impact of your actions. What you need to know is that installing the water heater is not an average DIY project, and could lead to serious performance and safety issues. The installation requires a broad set of skills, including plumbing, electrical, ventilation, carpentry, and more, depending on the environment and where you are installing the system.

Categories
Reviews Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heater Reviews and Shopping Guide

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for which I earn a commission.

Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

A tankless water heater provides unlimited hot water while consuming less energy than a storage-based system. The heater, which delivers hot water on demand, enhances your comfort and convenience at lower costs. And there are even compact or portable models for outdoor applications such as RVs, mobile homes, and other temporary spaces.

As the tankless water heaters market continues to grow, so are the manufacturers, types and models. Today, there is a wide variety of water heaters in the market. These often differ in capacity, physical size, energy usage, efficiency, cost, and other features. 

Ideally, when looking for a water heater, you need to ensure that you purchase an energy-efficient, cost-effective, and long-lasting heater. Usually, the three common types of tankless water heaters, based on energy source are; gas-powered, electric, and hybrid that uses surrounding air to heat the water. When looking for a water heater, there are factors such as indoor or outdoor placement, propane or natural gas energy source, remote control, and others that you need to consider. 

Generally, there are also three types of tankless water heaters based on capacity and application. These include 

Each of these could be propane or natural gas-powered, electric or hybrid. That said, we have compiled a list of the best tankless water heater reviews to help you narrow down on the right product. 

Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

Best tankless water heater reviews

Below are some of the best tankless water heaters that we would recommend. The list includes reviews for the electric, propane, and natural gas water heaters we recommend. Some are for indoor spaces, while others are for outdoor installation. 

Ecosmart ECO 11 

Ecosmart ECO 11
Ecosmart ECO 11 

EcoSmart ECO 11 is a lightweight and reliable tankless electric water heater with great space, energy, and water savings. The 2 gallons per minute tankless heater is ideal for smaller homes or installations with lower demand for hot water. It can support multiple applications such as two sinks and a shower in warm climates. 

Generally, the heater, with a compact, visually appealing, and easy to install design, is attractive due to its cost and space-saving features. However, the Ecosmart ECO 11 is only suitable for light applications that do not require a high flow rate. 

Besides cost and space, the 13 KW, 240 V tankless water heaters use a self-modulating technology that optimizes the heating performance, resulting in energy savings. 

Other features include a digital control that you can use to adjust the hot water temperature in one-degree steps. Finally, the Eco 11 has a durable structure of stainless steel and copper materials, hence no risk of corrosion.  

Prices start from $277

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Rinnai V65eN Natural gas tankless water heater

Rinnai V465eN is a compact and easy-to-install, outdoor-only, natural gas water heater that allows you to free up or save space in your house. Generally, the reliable Rinnai tankless water heater combines comfort, efficiency, and great value for money. The low-cost, energy-efficient water heater helps you to save space and heating costs.

Rinnai V65eN Natural gas tankless water heater

With a 6.6 GPM, Rinnai V465eN is suitable for small and medium homes or structures with one or two showers. With an electronic ignition, the heater does not have a pilot light – enabling you to save energy.

It has a 150,000 BTU maximum power output and an impressive energy factor of 0.82. Further, the heater has an adjustable temperature range of 98°F to 140°F. 

Besides the above, it has safety features such as enhanced scale detection that minimize buildup, deterioration, and damage. Also, it has a temperature lock that prevents unauthorized adjustments to settings that would result in more energy usage or safety issues such as scalding.

Finally, the manufacturer provides a 10-year warranty on the heat exchanger for residential applications, 5-years on parts, and 1-year on labor.

SIO Green IR-30 Electric tankless water heater

The SIOGreen IR-30 is a compact, infrared-based POU water heater. It uses Quartz infrared heating elements to provide continuous hot water on demand. The easy-to-install, low-maintenance point-of-use tankless water heater has superior energy efficiency. In particular, its low power consumption allows you to save up to 65% on water heating costs and is suitable for various applications. Additionally, it is a long-lasting heater that can reliably give you service for over ten years.

The infrared heating can safely break down the hard water deposits; hence minimize the risks of scale buildup, bacteria, and algae growth. Consequently, it is suitable for hard water and other types that are challenging to heat on other systems.

The Sio Green IR30 is a 3.4KW, 110 volts point-of-use water heater that you can hardwire or plug into a standard outlet.

Unfortunately, the flow rate on the quartz tubes based heater is slower compared to the systems with metallic heating chambers. In particular, when there is a big difference between the cold inlet water and the hot outlet, the flow rate is usually low. 

GASLAND BE158 Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater

GASLAND BE158 is a fast and energy-efficient outdoor tankless propane gas water heater. The 1.58GPM heater is a compact, lightweight, and portable water heater that you can carry and install in various outdoor locations, including camping, RVs, and other places where you need hot water.

lightweight portable tankless water heater

Further, it has enhanced safety features such as anti-freezing, flame failure, and overheating protection. Other great features include a low water pressure startup. A 41,000BTU/hr. power output ensures unlimited hot water almost instantly after turning on the tap. You can also adjust the water flow and temperature to suit your preferences. 

Generally, the energy-efficient water heat allows you to save on heating costs. In particular, the main burner and heat exchanger employs advanced combustion technology that results in less burning noise and gas consumption, hence improving comfort while saving you money.

Takagi T-H3-DV-N Natural gas water heater

Takagi T-H3-DV-N is one of the most energy-efficient condensing indoor natural gas tankless water heaters. Suitable for residential and small commercial environments, the heater can support up to four showers in warmer climates and three in cold places.

Major benefits include a decent design, ultra-low NOx emissions, and enhanced safety features such as overheat, surge, and freeze protection. Also, it has inbuilt computerized features to optimize the healing process and efficiency and control the water temperature, hence deliver significant energy savings. It also has troubleshooting diagnostic codes for easy and faster maintenance.

Also, it supports demanding applications such as domestic recirculation or space heating systems. It also has a long-lasting, commercial-grade copper alloy heat exchanger for efficient heat transfer and long service life. Further, you can link the compact, lightweight heater to other heaters to increase capacity and convenience. 

With this model, you can link up to four devices using the Easy Link feature without requiring a Multi-unit controller. If you want to link more units, you can use the Multi-Link option and add up to 20 heaters using a multi-unit controller. As such, Takagi is a highly scalable heater ideal for all sizes of residential and commercial applications.

Finally, you will enjoy a 15-year limited warranty on the heat exchanger for residential installation and 5ys on the parts. For commercial, there is a 5-year limited warranty of the exchanger and 5-year for parts.

One drawback of the Takagi is its challenging installation process. In most cases, you may require a professional installer. But once the system is in place, Takagi is among the best indoor gas water heaters. 

Rheem RTEX-18 electric tankless water heater

The Rheem RTEX-18 is a lightweight, powerful and easy-to-install, electric tankless water heater. Besides its aesthetically pleasing appearance, you can easily mount the compact unit on a small area on the wall. 

Further, it allows has a 360 installation capability that enables you to mount almost anywhere in the house. Moreover, it is a slim heater that you can slide and fit in confined and small spaces hence providing you with a wide selection of installation options. However, the 4.4 GPM, 18 KW requires a 240 Volts supply and two 40 amps circuit breakers. 

Rheem tankless water heater

Ideally, the tankless heater is suitable for multiple applications and can deliver hot water to two showers or faucets simultaneously. It has a self-modulating technology that improves energy efficacy by adjusting the power output depending on the water flow – enabling you to save on electricity bills.

Other than the sleek and aesthetically pleasing design, the Rheem model is reliable, durable, and easy to maintain the tankless water heater. 

Bosch US4 Tronic 3000

Bosch US4 Tronic 3000 is a compact, lightweight, and easy to install mini tank electric water heater. However, the point-of-use electric water heater has a small 4-gallon mini tank, and therefore not purely tankless. In most cases, people refer to it as a semi-tankless or mini-tank water heater. 

It provides unlimited hot water on demand and is ideal for low-demand applications such as sinks, hand washing. The compact, energy-efficient, and easy to install unit can fit in many spaces, including under a bathroom or kitchen sink. In practice, the system supports up to 2 sinks simultaneously. An easy-to-use thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature to suit your preferences.

Usually, the Bosch US4 is a reliable, easy to maintain, and long-lasting water heater that provides unlimited hot water on demand. Its water tank has a glass-lined interior hence no risk of corrosion and deterioration by mineral deposits. You can use the heater as a standalone or in-line with another central hot water source located far away from the application area.

Categories
Reviews Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless gas water heater reviews and buying guide

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Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

A gas tankless water heater uses the same heating process as the traditional tank-based gas systems. However, it does not have a storage tank, and will only heat the water when a user needs it, hence significant energy savings. 

In the storage-based systems, the hot water losses some energy during the standby period, and this does not happen in the tankless hence more on savings heating costs.

The heaters require less space while lasting much longer and providing you with unlimited hot water at any time. However, the systems are more costly than the storage-based, and some models may require an expensive vent system and an upgrade of the natural gas line. That said, the savings in energy, operational, and maintenance costs make the tankless system more cost-effective in the long term. 

How a tankless gas water heater works

Once you turn on a hot water tap, the tankless hearer draws the cold water. A flow sensor detects the water and activates the gas burner that then heats the heat exchanger.

The natural or propane gas, depending on the model, flows into the burner upon which a flame or electrical spark ignites it. The heat from the burner heats the heat exchanger, which, in turn, heats the incoming water to the desired or set temperature. Consequently, the system delivers hot water almost instantly. A vent pipe then safely exhausts the combustion gases to the outside.

Turning off the shower, sink, or another faucet, will stop the flow and the gas flame will go off, hence shutting down the heating process. As such, the heater will only operate when there is a need for hot water, and this delivers significant energy savings since there are no losses when on standby.

Benefits of tankless gas water heaters

Tankless gas heaters provide a wide range of operational, financial, and environmental benefits. These include but not limited to;

  • Provides endless hot water on demand
  • Durable with a long service life of about 20 years 
  • Higher energy efficiency and saving on heating costs
  • Less risk of water leaks since there is no storage task
  • Easy and inexpensive maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Uses less expensive natural gas or propane for energy 
  • Flexible indoor or outdoor installation options

Disadvantages of tankless gas water heater

Despite the many benefits, the tankless systems have drawbacks such as;

  • Requires expensive stainless steel tubes for venting 
  • Requires annual servicing hence increasing operational costs
  • High up-front costs which could be almost three times that of a storage tank based heater
  • Requires good plumbing work to ensure that the water has enough pressure
  • When there are multiple uses, the budget systems will split the available hot water among the fixtures. in turn, this leads to fluctuating temperatures, inconsistent flows, and some discomfort.

Factors to consider when looking for a tankless gas water heater

There are various issues to factor in when looking for an on-demand gas water heater. Paying attention to these ensures that you acquire a system that best matches your requirements. 

While you may not get the exact features and performance per your expectations, you can settle on a product that ticks most of the boxes. The main things to look for include;

Physical dimensions or size

Space, where you want to install the system, influences the size of the gas heater that you purchase. Ideally, you should get a heater that will fit comfortably in your available or the preferred location. Generally, most gas tankless water heaters are larger than the electric models. The heaters often have an exhaust system that takes up some extra space.

Tankless gas water heater reviews

Type of fuel the heater uses

You have a choice between propane and natural gas. However, propane provides more benefits, including higher efficiency hence low fuel usage. Compared to the natural gas and electric models, propane has fewer emissions and therefore environmentally friendly.

Energy factor

A water heater with a higher energy factor (EF) is more efficient, hence delivers more cost savings. As such, a tankless gas water heater with a high EF value results in lower energy bills.

Venting

The type of venting for the tankless gas water heater is another consideration since these also differ from one model to the other. Also, the design, appearance, indoor or outdoor installation, and other factors influence the venting system.

Generally, there are two main types of venting; direct-vent and power-vent. Each of these exhausts to the outside. However, for combustion, the direct pull air from outside and will require two pipes intake and one for exhaust. On the other hand, the power vent uses the indoor air and only requires one exhaust pipe.

This brings about placement issues since a power vent requires larger rooms to provide adequate gas for combustion. Alternatively, a room with vents and an opening to bring in fresh air for combustion is also suitable.

The direct vent types do not require a large room and can be placed in a wide range of smaller spaces. 

Safety

To ensure the safety of users and the heater, it is important lookout for a model that has protection against various conditions. That said, this may also vary depending on your location, For example, anti-freeze protection is critical in areas that suffer from freezing but may not be necessary for warmer climates. Other safety features include overheating protection, surge protection, low water flow protection, high water pressure protection, etc. 

Capacity in gallons per minute 

The capacity of the hot water unit depends on your requirements. For single and low-demand applications for small families, you may consider 2-5 gallons per minute. However, if you need more hot water, you need to look for a heater that provides at least 8 gallons per minute.

The warranty period and terms

A longer warranty ensures that the manufacturer has great confidence in the product, and in case anything goes wrong, they will address the issue. Some manufactures may have some conditions to honor the warranty. For example, they insist that you must use a licensed installer. So, even if you have the skills to install the tankless gas heater, doing it by yourself will void the warranty.

Choosing the best tankless gas water heater

Other than the above features, you need to carry out proper research on the models you narrow down on. In particular, you have to pay attention to ease of assembly, mounting, and installation procedures, especially if purchasing online. Although you may have some technical skills to mount the compact heaters, some procedures, such as venting could be beyond your ability and may require professional assistance.

Another thing you need to find out is about the brand, warranty, cost, certifications maintenance, and customer support. For example, the availability of replacement parts as well as the procedure of fixing them yourself. You can check reviews from a wide range of places, including social media, YouTube, shopping websites, and other areas.

Today, there are several reliable brands in the market. However, these differ in the type of gas, size, capacity, and other features. That said, you can get a reliable water heater from established brands such as Camplux, Takagi, Rinnai. Paloma., Noritz, Eccotemp and Gasland.

Best tankless gas water heaters 

Here are some of the best gas tankless water heaters that we recommend. However, the list is not exhaustive.

Rinnai RUC98iN

The Rinnai RUC98iN is a powerful and efficient condensing gas tankless water heater. The 9.8 GPM indoor-only heater has a sleek design and easy access and uses digital control and display. It also emits very little nitrogen oxide (NOx) and therefore environmentally friendly. Additionally, the Rinnai water heater has a high Energy Factor of 0.92, hence reducing heating costs. It is also recirculation pump ready, meaning that if you enable the feature, the heater will provide hot water instantly while allowing you to save on water. An electric ignition system further reduces gas consumption compared to using a pilot light.

Another good feature of the Rinnai is the Wi-Fi capability which allows users to remotely turn the heater on or off, control the output temperature, etc. Additionally, you can use the feature to lock the temperature to ensure that other users do not change to a higher level with energy wastage.

Additionally, the Wi-Fi connectivity allows technicians to access the heater remotely, monitor performance, and carry out diagnostics. As such, a technician can identify the problem remotely and therefore come for the physical repair when prepared, hence saving your time and maintenance costs.

Rinnai RUC98iN gas tankless water heater
Rinnai RUC98iN

NORITZ NR50OD

The NORITZ NR50OD is a lightweight indoor natural gas-based tankless water heater that delivers endless hot water on demand. Suitable for outdoor applications, the water heater has high energy efficiency with an energy factor of 0.91, hence savings on heating costs. The 120000 BTU, 5 GPM water heaters provide superior hot water delivery and energy savings. 

Further, the NORITZ water heater has very low emissions and is a good choice for indoor applications. It uses advanced carbon reduction technology to ensure the lowest NOx emission compared to other gas heaters.

It comes with a 5-years warranty on internal components, 12 years for the heater, and 1-year labor.

One of the drawbacks is the high purchase cost. 

Takagi T-H3-DV-N indoor natural gas tankless water heater

Takagi T-H3-DV-N indoor natural gas tankless water heater
Takagi T-H3-DV-N indoor natural gas tankless water heater

Takagi T-H3-DV-N is a compact, natural gas tankless water heater that delivers unlimited hot water on demand. You can install the energy-efficient and space-saving heater in various places in your house. The 199,000 BTU, 10GPM heater has several advanced digital features.

Benefits include modern design, being environmentally-friendly, and enhanced safety. Computerized features enable easy temperature control, optimized heating process, significant energy savings, and more. In safety, Takagi includes overheat, surge and freeze protection. It also has diagnostic codes that ease the maintenance procedures. 

However, it is a bit difficult to install and may require a professional installer. But once installed, the Takagi is one of the best gas water heaters. 

The ultra-low NOx emissions heater has a commercial-grade copper alloy heat exchanger, which provides superior heat transfer in addition to being long-lasting. Finally, you get a 15-year warranty in a domestic installation.

Suitable for both residential and commercial applications and can support up to three showers in warm climates.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Rheem RTGH-95DVLN Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater

Rheem RTGH 95DLN is a high-efficiency, direct vent natural gas tankless water heater. The 9.5 GPM, indoor-only, water heater is small and easy to install with a 12-year limited warranty. It has inbuilt electronic controls that enhance its safety and energy efficiency. The 199, 900 BTU, low NOx device has a stainless steel condensing heat exchanger, a 94% energy efficiency, and an energy factor (UEF) of 0.93. 

 

Other features include an inbuilt condensate neutralizer and enhanced water savings. Its low flow activation ensures hot water is available whenever required including times of low demand. Also, it has a hot start programming that reduces the cold water busts while a recirculation pump kit-ready improves water savings.

Rheem RTGH-95DVLN Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Camplux Pro 26L

Camplux Pro 26L Gas Tankless Water Heater

The Camplux pro 26L is a high-capacity natural gas tankless water heater. With an impressive 6.86 GPM, the large outdoor heater is ideal for high demanding applications. The heater can meet the hot water needs of a large house while supporting up to three showers and a kitchen simultaneously. Its 180000btu/hour output power ensures that water is hot quickly almost at the instant you turn on the tap or faucet.

The easy to install with ultra-low NOx emission includes several safety features such as overheating and freezing protection, flame failure device, low water flow protection, etc. Additionally, it has a simple and aesthetically pleasing design, so you can install it anywhere. The Camplux has a 99 F to 140 F (37-60 C) adjustable temperature range.

The outdoor installation does not require venting hence fewer installation costs in pipes, accessories, and labor. It also has a detached digital control panel which you can install 3.3 feet away from the heater using the provided cable. The remote control allows you to manage the outdoor heater from inside the house.

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Conclusion

Tankless gas water heaters are more efficient since, unlike storage-based systems; they do not continuously heat and store hot water. Additionally, tankless systems have longer lifespans. With regular maintenance, it can serve you for between 15 and 20 years while delivering significant savings on energy, water, and overall operational costs.

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Shower Sink Tankless Water Heaters

Point of Use Water Heater Review and Best Products

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A point of use (POU) water heater is a smaller and low capacity system designed to work and provide instant hot water nearer the application area. As such, hot water does not have to travel far from the heating source to the sink, shower, or other faucet.

The POU water heater helps to save space, waiting time, energy, and water. In practice, customers do not install the POUs in a central place like the storage-based or larger tankless systems. Instead, they locate the devices where they need hot water, such as near the shower, bath, or sink.

 Other than this, some people use the POUs to boost the temperature of the water coming from another heater located a long way such that it will have lost some significant amount of heat by the time it reaches the user. Rather than increasing the temperature of the storage or tankless heater, the POU provides a more energy-efficient option since it will only boost the temperature of water in demand at that particular time.

Generally, POUs are suitable for single applications that do not require large volumes of hot water. Each of the units is installed near the low-volume fixture such as sinks, hand washing, and others in small apartments, single-family households, RVs, small apartments, etc. Generally, you can install them as new or individual units or retrofit them into an existing system.

Types of POU water heaters

Generally, the point of use water heaters falls into two categories; 

  • The mini-tank water heater can store between 2 and 30 gallons.  
  • A tankless water heater that does not have any storage and provides a continuous supply of hot water but at a low flow rate.

A tank-based heater is rated in terms of tank capacity and the tankless POU by the number of gallons per minute.

Is a POU water heater good for you?

When thinking about the decentralized point of use water heater system, you should first assess the cost and benefits. Typically, if you have a situation or application meeting the conditions below, decentralized water heating could be a good choice that would also help you save energy, water, and costs.

  • Low daily hot water requirements of something like 30 gallons or less per day. 
  • You have a fixture that is far away from the others
  • You want hot water in remote hot tubs and bathrooms

In these cases, connecting the fixtures to the central system may be too costly or impractical. It is also good to note that the point of use heater not suitable for applications that require large volumes of hot water.

For booster or inline applications, the POUs work fine with grid-powered water heaters; otherwise, they cannot heat a lot of water to support an entire household when solar or other renewable energy is unavailable.

Best point of use water heaters

Today, there are many types and models of point-of-use water heaters. These vary in performance, capacity, energy efficiency, and other features. As such, it is a challenge to find a suitable device without some professional guidance. For this reason, we have below, a list best POUs in the market. 

Ecosmart POU 6 tankless water heater

The Ecosmart POU 6 is a compact and lightweight tankless water heater that is easy to install and use. It has a digital temperature display. The affordable heater, which is suitable for cold climates too, works comfortably with cold water of as low as 42 degrees F. It helps you to save water, energy, and time to wait for hot water. It also reduces the materials and installation costs associated with large storage-based systems.

Usually, the Ecosmart POU 6 output temperature depends on the flow rate of the incoming water. The 6KW, 240V water heater has stainless steel heat exchanger and brass and copper heating elements – that are resistant to corrosion hence long-lasting. 

In practice, the Ecosmart POU will provide endless hot water for low-demanding applications such as hand washing, a single sink, bathrooms, recreation vehicles, etc. However, its 1.0 max GPM might not support some more demanding applications, such as sustaining a shower. 

One drawback is that the installation requires some technical skills and could be a challenge to some people. As such, you should engage a licensed installer; otherwise, you will void the warranty.

Stiebel Eltron 233219 SHC 2.5 mini tank POU water heater

Stiebel Eltron SHC 2.5 is a reliable and efficient 1.3KW, 120V point of use water heater that mounts easily on the wall and comes with an electrical plug, so you do not need to hardwire. The POU is a water heater.

With a compact, lightweight, and sleek design, the 2.65-gallon mini-tank heater will fit in a wide range of spaces. It saves you the piping costs while the glass-lined standby tank minimizes heater losses. The heater also has a T&P valve to enhance safety and convenience. 

Point of use water heater
Stiebel Eltron SHC 2.5 pount of use water heater

You can install the SHC 2.5 as a point of use system to supply hot water to a sink or other application. Alternatively, you can use it as a booster in line with another central system.

A thermostat allows you to adjust the water temperature of the Stiebel SHC 2.5 heater from 86 to 140 degrees F. Also, the tank has polystyrene insulation to minimize heat losses hence improving the heating efficiency and performance. 

Ecosmart ECO 2.5 Mini Tank Water Heater

The Ecosmart Eco mini 2.5 is a lightweight, sleek and compact 1.44KW, 120v water heater with a digital temperature display. It has high energy efficiency, of 99.8%, hence providing savings on your energy bills.

This is an easy-to-install device that does not require venting, a pump, or a lot of plumbing. It has an easy-to-adjust temperature range of 50-140F hence suitable for various applications that require different settings.

It comes with a power cable that plugs into a standard 120 Volts and does not require hand wiring. The mini-tank heater is suitable for homes, businesses, and RVs for either booster or POU applications. 

It is a compact heater hence possible to install in tight places. It has a field replaceable heating element, and a glass-lined tank ensures a longer service life.

Its main drawback is that the water becomes cold faster.

Rheem RTEX-13

Rheem RTEX 13 is a rugged, efficient, and compact tankless point of use water heater for commercial and residential applications. The RTEX 13 is an easy-to-install heater with user-friendly digital control. It also has a thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature of the hot water.

Generally, the Rheem RTEX 13 can support a shower, dishwashing, or kitchen sink, but in some cases, only one at a time. However, the RTEX 13 is suitable for less demanding applications and works best as a point of use installed near the fixture.  

Point of use water heater

Most often, the affordable, 13 KW, 240V 4GPM heater is suitable for one shower at a time. However, it will support dual showers or faucets provided they have low flow fixtures such as those with a maximum of 1.5 GPM. 

Since it is ultra-compact, you can install it practically anywhere. Besides small size, the heater is also energy saving. It uses a self-modulating power control and other advanced heating technologies to achieve high (99.8%) energy efficiency.

Bosch ES8 Tronic 3000 T Electric water heater

The Bosch ES8 mini tank electric water heater is a compact and powerful POU unit suitable for a wide range of applications. It has a sleek and attractive design that blends well with most interiors. Additionally, the Bosch ES8 easily fits in small spaces, and you can install it under a kitchen sink or any suitable location so that it supplies hot water to your shower, dishwasher, or anywhere else you want it. 

The energy-efficient, 7-gallon point of use electric heater with a 1.44KW element requires hand wiring to a 120 V AC supply. An external dial control allows you to adjust the water temperature to your preferred setting. The glass-lined interior ensures excellent insulation, corrosion resistance, and long service life.

However, it has a short 1-year warranty for the element, which might make maintenance expensive, especially if there’s heavy usage.

Conclusion

The point-of-use water heater is a compact device you install directly at the sink, shower, or another application area. It provides you with hot water the instant you need it – with only a few seconds of wait. In turn, you will save water since you do not have to wait for the cold water to run out first as you wait for it to get hot. 

Customers should first identify their needs, such as where to install the POU water heaters, the amount of hot water they require at these points, and more. 

Although some of these are DIY devices, it is best practice to engage professionals such as plumbers and electricians to ensure safety and optimal performance.

Categories
Tankless Water Heaters

Best Electric Tankless Water Heater

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Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

An electric tankless water heater is an energy and space-saving system that provides your home or other environments with hot water on demand. Unlike traditional heaters, it does not have a storage tank and will only heat the water on demand.

Today, the market has a wide range of tankless water heaters that vary in physical size, energy consumption, capacity, and other features. Whether you want hot water for a single sink, a shower, or multiple applications, there is the right system for you in the market. 

7 best electric tankless water heaters

With so many options, most customers have a challenge making the right purchase decision. To make it easier for you and ensure that you choose a system that meets your requirements, here is a list of the best electric tankless water heaters.

iheat AHS27D tankless water heater 

The iHeat AHS-27D is a heavy-duty 27KW electric tankless water heater that can serve a whole house while providing several outlets simultaneously. Employing an advanced water heating self-modulating technology, the space-saving heater achieves 99% energy efficiency. Its 3/4 inlet and outlets support high water flow rates hence ensuring the right amount of hot water at the faucets. For example, it can supports 2 to 4 showers simultaneously in warm climates. 

Ideally, the iHeat AHS-27D is suitable for high demanding applications such as multi-family dwellings, hospitals, commercial installations, apartments, etc. It has advanced electronic controls for high comfort, safety, and energy efficiency. 

Additionally, the iHeat enclosure and heat exchanger are built with an ASTM 304 stainless steel, hence suitable for normal as well tough and rugged applications. Consequently, this ensures longer service life without the risk of corrosion or sedimentation.   

Proprietary inbuilt iHeat software and the high-speed USB ports allow the maintenance personnel to easily monitor the system and run full diagnostics without disassembling or opening up the heater.

Click here to buy it on Amazon. 

Ecosmart ECO 27 electric tankless water heater

Ecosmart ECO 27 electric tankless water heater
Ecosmart ECO 27 electric tankless water heater

Ecosmart ECO 27 is a compact and visually appealing tankless heater that can fit in a wide range of spaces. It has a self-modulating control technology that adjusts the pressure and energy usage to maintain a safe and consistent supply of hot water regardless of the input. Consequently, this increases the heating efficiency and energy savings. 

The heater has digital temperature control and a display while the hot water can reach a maximum of 140 degrees. Also, the Ecosmart tankless heater has a large capacity to supply multiple fixtures simultaneously, hence suitable for medium-sized homes and other demanding applications in both cold and warm climates. 

Its flow rate ranges between 2.7 and 6.5 GPM depending on the temperature of the incoming water. For example, it comfortably delivers 3GPM in cold climates inlet water at 37 degrees F. For warmer climates, it does 6GPM.

Generally, the 27 KW heater comes with three 9KW heating elements, each of which require a separate 40 A circuit and electrical service of about 200A for the entire system. 

The durable copper and stainless steel building materials ensure durability, reliability, and longer service life. Additionally, the parts are easily replaceable, and the system comes with a lifetime warranty. 

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Rheem RTEX-18 electric tankless water heater

Rheem RTEX-18 is a powerful, yet one of the easiest to install residential tankless water heaters. With a 240 v supply, the 18 KW, 4.4 GPM heaters are suitable for households with multiple applications since they can support at least two showers or faucets simultaneously.

The heater supports 360-installation hence allowing you to place it anywhere you want within the house. Further, its thin exterior dimensions allow you to slide and fit it anywhere, including small or confined spaces, so you do not have to worry about lack of space. 

Besides aesthetically appealing exterior and sleek design, the Rheem RTEX-18 is a durable tankless water heater with a strong mechanism that uses long-lasting copper and brass metals. 

Additionally, the readily available and easy to replace parts make it easy to maintain. Moreover, even replacing the threaded metal parts of the mechanism is also easy, so you do not have to worry about complicated and expensive maintenance.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus is a reliable, 24 K, 240V tankless water heater with advanced flow control (AFC) to manage the hot water output. Usually, the AFC automatically adjusts the heater to main a consistent temperature and pressure hence enhancing comfort.

Additionally, the heater has a compact and sleek space-saving design that is easy to install. An easy-to-use dial and digital display allow you to adjust and monitor the temperature. 

Suitable for residential and commercial use, the Tempra 24 is a compact system that takes less space while delivering endless hot water and energy savings. Additionally, the heater is made of corrosion-resistant material hence more reliability and longer service life. 

As a 24 KW system, it requires about 150A electric service. The long-lasting energy-saving heater, with an output temperature range of 68-140o F, comes with 3-year parts and 7-year leakage warranties.

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Ecosmart ECO 18 tankless water heater

The Ecosmart ECO 18 is a compact, easy to install, and durable tankless water heater. It has a self-modulating technology that helps to optimize energy use and efficiency. Additionally, it has a temperature control knob to help you adjust the water to your liking. 

Ecosmart ECO 18 tankless water heater

The 2.5 GPM budget tankless water heaters support up to two simultaneous showers in warmer climates. Generally, the ECO 18 is suitable for condominiums, entire homes, apartments, and other installations that require hot water for multiple applications.

The Eco 18 has three electric heating elements, each of which requires its separate electrical circuit. However, you do not have to use all of them every time unless you want a lot of hot water quickly. Although the extra heating element enables the unit to provide more hot water quickly, it will increase energy consumption.

 One of the drawbacks of the Ecossmart ECO 18 is that the heating elements corrode faster when working with hard water, – and this results in higher maintenance costs. 

Sio Green 18 infrared tankless water heater

Sio Green 18 v2 is a powerful and efficient 240V, infrared tankless electric water heater. The low-cost, 18 KW environmentally friendly water heater uses patented infrared heating technology, unlike other systems that rely on conduction from the elements.

Sio Green 18 infrared electric tankless water heater

Suitable for both residential and commercial installations, the 0.5-5.0 GPM rate heater is adequate to provide hot water to a large family home as well as a medium and large business environment. Additionally, it has a user-friendly and comfortable temperature range and control. The infrared technology provides superior heating and a 98% energy efficiency that allows you to reduce the electricity bills by up to 65% compared to other electric tankless heaters.

Also, the SIO 18 does not suffer from corrosion and calcium build-up since it does not have exposed metallic components. Finally, compact design and self-cleaning technology help to ease the installation and maintenance tasks.

Rheem RTEX-24

Rheem RTEX-24
Rheem RTEX-24

Rheem RTEX-24 is a powerful and reliable residential electric tankless water heater. The 94% energy-efficient heater, with a simple, user-friendly design and decent appearance for households, provides a consistent supply of hot water. 

Generally, the Rheem RTEX 24 is an easy-to-install tankless water heater that takes only a small space, hence suitable for a wide range of locations. Additionally, it is built with high-quality materials and technology, including a durable copper heating element that guarantees efficiency, reliability, and longer service life. 

Other feature includes a dial adjustment, a digital temperature display, and a self-modulating technology. The heater, with a 5.9GPM, provides consistent hot water on demand. 

What to consider when looking for an electric tankless water heater?

When looking for a tankless electric water heater, here are some of the considerations. 

Energy efficiency

An efficient tankless water heater uses less energy hence lower electricity bills and impacts on the environment. However, do not forget to check performance, capacity, and other features as you look for an efficient system. 

Available space

The model you settle on must have a physical size that fits well in your available space, otherwise, if it is too big, you may need to do some modifications or install it in an inconvenient location.  

Ideally, a model that is compact or smaller than your available spaces gives you some flexibility. However, it is vital to strike a balance between the requirements, size, and cost of the water heater.

Installation process

While some models are easy to install and you can do it by yourself, others require more technical skills and special tools that you might not have. As such, you need to ensure that for models that require professionals, you can get them in your location at reasonable costs; otherwise, you may have to forfeit the warranty or pay more for the installation.

Capacity

The tankless water heater should have a reasonable hot water capacity to meet your intended use.  

Water flow rate

The water heater’s flow rate should be enough to support your applications. Choose a model with an adequate flow rate depending on your intended usage. If you want to use the hot water for just a sink or single shower, you may go for a smaller rate. Also, note that installing low-flow fixtures allows you to increase the number of hot water points that can run simultaneously even when you have a lower flow rate.

The warranty period and terms

Most often, the warranty period and terms vary from one manufacturer and water heater model to another. Ideally, go for a model with a longer warranty period. Some models come with a lifetime warranty, and these could be the ideal choices if they meet other criteria such as size, efficiency, capacity, and most of your entire budget.

Finally, some manufacturers often give conditions, such as using a qualified installer, accessories, and procedures. Failure to comply with these conditions will void the warranty. 

Categories
Campervan RV Tankless Water Heaters

Best electric tankless water heater for RV

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Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

Installing a tankless water heater in your RV gives you the comfort and convenience of hot water for your showering, dishwashing, and laundry while you are camping away from home. It provides you with a better alternative compared to the bulky traditional tank-based water heaters. Usually, the tankless systems have designs optimized for small spaces and will, therefore, fit perfectly in a wide range of locations in your RV.  

That said, a high-quality RV electric tankless water heater ensures good value for money, comfort, reliability, and long service life.

Before buying a tankless water heater system for an RV, you need to understand your vehicle’s electrical system. Most RVs have the DC voltage for the vehicle electrical and electronics, and an additional 120Volts supply for larger equipment such as the water heaters. Fortunately, even for models without the 120V AC, you may consider using an inverter. However, it is important to confirm if your vehicle can support this since the use of some inverters result in significant energy losses and may deplete your RVs battery.

Generally, the portable heating system provides you with hot water for showering, washing dishes, and other uses on-demand. Other than space-saving, it also means that you will use less energy and carry less weight on your RV.

Gas vs. electric RV tankless water heater 

You have the choice of using a gas or electric-powered water heater. However, the electric model, though more costly than the gas-based type, offers more flexibility and peace of mind. With electric models, you only need to hook it up to your RV electric plug, and you are good to go. On the other hand, you may need to stop midway or go out looking for propane refill for the gas models. Generally, the gas heaters are cheaper and easy to install, have a higher flow rate, and do not require an electrical power source such as a battery.

Some models have the option to use either electricity or gas hence offering more value flexibility and continuity.

By giving you hot water, the instant heater makes your life comfortable when showering, doing dishes, laundry, and other activities. With so many products in the market, it can be a challenge to select the best. In particular, finding the best electric tankless water heater for an RV can be challenging, especially since most models in the market require a 240V supply while the RV has 120V. However, you need not worry because we have compiled for you not only the systems that work on the RVs, but simply the best tankless water heaters that will save you money, energy, and maintenance costs.

To guide you and ensure that you get value for money without sacrificing quality, we have compiled a list of the best tankless water heaters for RVs.

7 Best RV tankless electric water heaters

Below is a list of the best tankless electric water heater for your RV.

Chronomite SR-20L/120 tankless water heater 

The Chronomite SR-20L/120 is a compact, environmentally-friendly electric tankless water heater suitable for small spaces such as under the sink. With a temperature range of 90-120 degrees F, the tankless water heater is suitable for various applications. The easy to install tankless water heater is 99% energy efficient. As such, it has low installation and energy costs while it provides you with an unlimited amount of water. 

Chronomite SR-20L/120 tankless water heater 

It has a durable cast aluminum alloy housing that can withstand a wide range of environmental conditions. The environmentally friendly water heater has a microprocessor-based self-cleaning capability that prevents calcification and alkali buildup as well as reducing the risks of corrosion. Consequently, it has low operational and maintenance costs.

The highly efficient, low-flow tankless heater enables you to save space, water, and energy and is suitable for low-flow applications. It uses an inbuilt microprocessor technology to control and maintain a consistent water temperature while preventing thermal shocks, scalds, and burns. However, it is not plug-in equipment, and you need to hand wire the Chronomite tankless water heater to the 120V AC RV supply.

Unfortunately, it has a short warranty compared to other heaters for RVs.

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Suburban Water Heater SW6DEL (Direct Spark Ignition-Electric)

The Suburban water heater SW6DEL is a powerful and effective hybrid system that is easy to install and manage. It uses electricity, gas, or both, hence offering more flexibility on energy use. Generally, it combines the 12000 BTU gas heaters with a 1440 Watts electric heating element that runs from 120 Volt AC. Besides the 120 volt supply for the electric heating element, the tankless water heater incorporates a 12 V DC direct spark ignition system.

The high-quality Suburban SW6DEL electric and gas water heater design includes premium materials for enhanced durability. It has long-lasting Porcelain-lined steel tanks that also include a sacrificial anode rod, hence negligible, if any, corrosion or deterioration. 

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Stiebel Eltron 220816

Stiebel Eltron 220816
Stiebel Eltron 220816

Stiebel Eltron 220816 is a 110V 3KW energy-efficient tankless electric water heater suitable for RVs. The compact unit, which is just 65.x 7.5 inches, can fit in small places around the RV and provide you with hot water at any time. Installation is also simple, with flexible mounting options. For example, you can mount the unit with the outlets facing up or down without affecting the performance. Additionally, the compact and sleek design gives you the flexibility to install it anywhere, including confined spaces, and you do not have to worry about appearance. Since it is aesthetically pleasing, it blends well with most surfaces. Sleek design and easy to install a water heater that you can mount in plain sight

The Stiebel Eltron 220816 tankless electric water heater comes with a pigtail cable with clearly-marked wires – making it easy and fast to connect to electricity. Additionally, it has an inbuilt safety high limit switch that automatically disconnects electricity to the heater in case of an overload. 

One drawback is that the heater does not have temperature control options.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Atmor AT-900-03

The Atmor AT-900-03 is a powerful tankless water heater suitable for small spaces. It provides you with instant hot water on demand while allowing you to save energy, water, time, and money. The 3KW, 0.5 gallons per minute water heater requires hand wiring to connect to the 120V supply. 

Suitable for RVs, residential, and commercial applications, its compact size enables you to install it in tight spaces such as under the sink. Also, the low-cost tankless electric water heater is suitable for applications that do not require large amounts of hot water. It works in all environments, including those with cold climates.

The tankless water heater only activates when there is a water flow and provides a 50 % savings on your water heating costs. However, the heater has a maximum of 0.5GPM flow rate and is ideal for a single sink and similar low-demand applications. It is not a plug-in unit and requires hand wiring to a 30A dedicated circuit breaker using a 10 AWG wire.

Atmor AT-900-03 Tankless RV water heater

Additionally, the easy to maintain, the tankless electric heater includes a pressure relief device and an aerator for the sink faucet. In practice, the Atmor AT-900-03 will give you instant and unlimited hot water provided you install it according to instructions. 

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Eemax EX3512M RV Water Heaters

Eemax EX3512M is a compact and lightweight water heater that fits in many locations in your RV. The 3.5 kW, 120 Volt point of use heaters takes less space and fits perfectly under a sink or other unused space. It provides maximum temperatures of up to 140 F, and this depends on the flow rate. Usually, the easy-to-install tankless water heater has a flow switch that power on the heater only when there is demand for hot water. You can mount the compact tankless water heater in any orientation.

The Eemax EX3512M interior is glass-lined for longer service life, and its exterior has a strong impact and corrosion-resistant surface.

Also, it has self-diagnostics for easier troubleshooting and an On/Off switch that enhances safety and maintenance.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

EcoSmart 4T point of use water heater

The EcoSmart POU 4T is a compact and lightweight 3.5KW tankless water heater with an appealing design. It is an easy-to-install 0.6 GPM point of use heater that fits in small spaces and suitable for applications such as washing hands, kitchen sink, etc. Suitable for the sink, bathroom, office break room, and other low-flow or point-of-use or applications in your RV, the low-budget flow-controlled tankless water heater is a low energy consumption device that runs on 120 V. Basically, this means that it will only heat water only when there is a flow. As such, it allows you to save up to 60% on hot water energy costs. Generally, this heater helps you to reduce water and energy wastage.

One drawback is that it requires regular maintenance.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Sio Green IR-30 Infrared Heater 

The Siogreen IR 30 is an excellent, compact, and easy to install and maintain infrared-based instant water heater with an innovative and compact design that fits in a wide range of spaces in your RV kitchen, bathroom, etc. Powered by 110Volts AC, the energy-efficient tankless heater provides one of the highest flow rates. The environmentally friendly heater allows you to save up to 65% water heating costs. 

Generally, the SioGreen IR 30 is an energy-efficient heater that allows you to save space and energy. It can work in line with a larger system to ensure hot water reaches the dishwasher or shower. 

Unlike other heaters that use electric heating elements, the SIOGreen is infrared-based. It uses Quartz infrared heating elements to provide continuous hot water on demand. The infrared heating can safely break down the hard water deposits; hence minimize risks of bacteria and algae growth. Further, the nonmetallic tankless heater does not suffer from corrosion and thus has a longer service life. It has an easy-to-use water flow regulator that allows you to adjust the temperature to suit various applications.

What to look for in a water heater for your RV

Although the needs may vary from one user to the other, there are some features or considerations that influence the choice of the best electric tankless water heater. These include;

Type of power 

Water heaters for RVs are either electric or gas-powered. Each form of energy has its benefits and drawbacks. However, the electric model is generally more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, easy to install, use and maintain. 

Temperature control

If you want a heater that offers you the ability to adjust the temperature to your needs, look for a system with a thermostat. This will allow you to control the temperate of different applications or users.

Full system or portable

A full tankless water heater for an RV requires quite some installation work while a portable system does not. You can move the portable heater to any location and simply hook it anywhere.

Water heater capacity

Ideally, it is important to look for a heater that meets your hot water requirements in terms of temperature and volume. If you want a system to support showering and dishwashing, you need to purchase a large heater, while you can go for a smaller model if you only need a sink.

Which brand of tankless gas water heaters should you choose?

Rinnai

Categories
Maintenance Tankless Water Heaters Thermostat

How to Test Heating Elements with a Multimeter

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Note: Before starting, click here to open a new tab in Amazon to search for any tools or equipment that you might need.

Electric water heaters provide convenience and comfort around the house and other environments where they provide hot water for showering, dishwashing, and other applications. Today, more and more households are installing the systems due to the safety, low upfront, and maintenance costs. However, as it happens with many electrical systems, the heaters may fail due to various reasons. 

In most cases, a malfunctioning heating element, electrical system, or thermostat leads to the inability to heat water to the desired temperature. In particular, if one or more heating elements are faulty, you will notice that your water does not get hot as per the settings.

Electric water heating elements

The main work of the heating element is to convert electrical energy into heat. When electricity passes through, it will heat the surrounding water before it goes to the shower or another application area. 

Unfortunately, the electrical heating elements have limited lifespans. Most often, several conditions accelerate the deterioration hence reducing their service life. Some of the problems include mineral deposits in the water, air pockets, power surges, loose connections, faulty thermostats, and more. 

Common problems with the heating elements include burning up and breaking the continuity or short-circuiting and causing the heater to trip the circuit breaker or blow up the fuse. Also, the element material may deteriorate and increase the electrical resistance, resulting in the inability to heat the water to the set temperature.

Luckily, the elements are like consumables and, therefore, easily replaceable. That said, you need to test and ensure that the part is faulty before ordering a replacement. 

Rheem electric water heating element Image – Rheem

You have the option of calling a plumber or electrician when you cannot get hot water. However, before calling them or before ordering a replacement, you can do a few tests to determine if the elements are faulty. To do this, you need some basic technical skills and the following tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Non-contact voltage detector
  • Multimeter
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves

Step by step testing of electric water heater elements

In practice, the elements are usually inside the water heater system. As such, it is not possible to inspect them visually. Moreover, the actual heating element has a metallic enclosure, so you cannot determine if it is working or faulty using your eyes unless it has severe physical damage. The best and effective way to test it is by checking the electrical continuity using a millimeter. Because of the voltages involved and the risks of fire and electric shocks, you need to follow various safety precautions. A typical step by step testing of a heating element is as below;

  1. Disconnect the power before working on the electric water heater. To do this, locate the water heater circuit breaker at the service panel and switch it off. If not sure about the specific breaker, turn off the entire electrical supply, assuming it will not affect other critical areas. Alternatively, use a multimeter or non-contact voltage tester to ensure there is no power at the supply input terminals.  
  • Drain the hot water in the heater. Open the hot water faucet while allowing the cold water to flow inside. Ideally, test the unit with lukewarm and not hot water. The process depends on the type of water heater and may not be necessary for some models. 
  • Locate and remove the access panel that covers the heating element. Note down the wiring to the element contacts and, if possible, draw the diagram. Loosen the screws and remove the wires from the element’s electrical contact terminals.  
electric water heating element connections
  • Check the wattage and voltage of the element. The information is usually on the nameplate or base of the heating element. To determine the electrical resistance value of the element, divide the square of the voltage by the power (watts) rating. 

            That is R= VxV /P or V2/P.  

            Where

R is the resistance

V the voltage rating

P the power rating in watts

Supposing the wattage is (P) is 3000W and voltage (V) is 240v, the resistance will be 240×240/3000 = 19.2 ohms. A good element should therefore have resistance around 20 ohms.

  • Set your millimeter to the resistance measurement and appropriate range, preferably the lowest where the calculated or expected value falls within. Please note that even if you cannot read the rating, the resistance is usually in tens of ohms and mostly less than 100 ohms.
  • Place one of the meter probes on the terminal where you have removed the wire. Put the other probe on the remaining terminal and read the result on the dial or display. If the element is functional, the reading will be closer to the figure you calculated in (4) above. Even when you have not calculated the resistance, most will read between 10 and 30 ohms.

A significant deviation indicates a faulty heating element, hence the need for a replacement. For example, a zero reading indicates a short circuit and will burn the fuse or trip the breaker. On the other hand, an infinite or very high reading (over 1000 ohms) indicates an open circuit, – which is the most common problem.

  • You will also need to test if the element is short-circuiting to the ground. To do this, place the probe on one of the contacts on the heating element. Take the second probe and touch its metal base, a metallic or grounded part of the heater system. Repeat this with the other contact. If you notice a low resistance, know that there could be leakage, and you need to replace the element.

When testing for current leakage, it is best practice to disconnect the two wires supplying the heating element.

Precautions when testing heating element

To prevent electric shocks, burns, or fires, switch off the power at the service panel before opening the unit. 

If you find a faulty element, ensure that the replacement part has exact physical dimensions and rating in terms of voltage and wattage as the broken one. For example, if you have a 120 volts element, never replace it with 240 volts even if they have the same wattage. The best practice is to take the faulty part with you so that the suppliers can give you a replacement that matches yours.

Before disconnecting the heating element, thermostat, or any other electrical component, note down or draw the wiring diagram to refer to when installing the new part. 

Conclusion

The electric water heater is an essential system in the house. It enhances the quality of life and comfort. However, the unit comprises various components that deteriorate or fail with time. One of the most common malfunctions is the inability to heat water to the right temperate, and it happens when one or more elements have failed. 

Luckily, with some basic technical skills and tools, you can test, identify and replace a faulty electric heating element. To do the test, disconnect the power and open the cover to access the element’s terminals. Remove the wires and use the multimeter to measure the resistance between the two terminals of the element. The electrical resistance is usually in tens of ohms, and if zero, very high, or infinite, the heating element is faulty and will require a replacement.