Instant Hot Water Heaters

Rheem RET 13 Tankless Water Heater.jpg
What Is The Best Value For Instant Hot Water Heaters?
Tankless hot water heaters are viewed as expensive investments. However, with the energy tax credit offered by the federal government, getting and installing one is quite an energy saver. Even an expensive gas instant water heater model is competitive provided the incentives. But tax credits’ aside, finding an overall functionally adequate instant water heater should come first, or your worthwhile investment can become a liability.

Before you run around buying instant hot water heaters, here are three items of many that you must consider:

temperature of the incoming water to be heated volume of water the unit can heat instantly – measured by GPM or gallons per minute desired output water temperature



Ground Water Temperature and Energy Savings
Considering the temperature of your region’s ground water before buying a tankless hot water heater is vital! In the United States, northern regions like Minnesota, North Dakota, and Michigan have considerably colder ground water while southern states like Florida and Texas have warmer ground water. (It is not uncommon for ground water temperature in the northern tier of states to be between 37 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter while ground water temperature in Texas and Florida can range from 75 – 80 degrees.)

This is significant because the efficiency of instant hot water heaters is affected by the temperature of the ground water in your location. Principally, the colder the temperature, the slower warm or hot water is produced by the water heater. This is because instant water heaters need more time to heat colder ground water.

Now, you must calculate the volume of water the unit can heat instantly and efficiently. This can be done by subtracting the temperature of the output hot water from the temperature of the ground water.
For example, if you want hot water up to 1100F and your ground water is 700F, you need a 400F temperature rise. Since electric instant hot water heaters can heat water depending on flow rate, a unit rated with a 330F temperature rise for 2.0GPM can also provide 650F temperature rise for 1.0GPM. This means the slower the flow of water inside the unit, the more the water is heated efficiently.

Point of use and whole house water heaters
Depending on the type of electric instant hot water heaters, it can either provide instant hot water for a cup of tea (point of use) or heat two showers or faucets at a time (whole house). The point of use water heaters are compact and are dedicated water heaters, which mean these units are able to heat a single shower or faucet at a time. Whole house water heaters are more of high demand heaters as a single unit is able to heat two or more showers and faucets at the same time.

Depending on your lifestyle and your daily water consumption, you can either choose whole house or point of use. Whole house electric instant hot water heaters are more expensive than point of use water heaters, ranging from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Whole house tankless heaters share a real problem with tank type heaters – the hot water has to travel through longer pipes to reach some faucets.

Remember to put your best-value question into applicable time-frames. A tank type hot water heater will usually last 10 – 15 years. Many tankless hot water heaters will last for 20 years. An important consideration – think long-term not short-term when considering tankless heaters!

For best value on tankless water heaters, a gas heat exchanger is less expensive compared to electrically powered water heaters. This is because natural gas, currently in most areas and is expected to cost less in the near future, due to the booming success finding additional natural gas fields. However, over the long term alternative energy sources such as solar and wind energy and an increase in the use of natural gas at electrical generating plants (replacing coal) will very likely make the electric the preferred type
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