A tankless water heater can be a great investment in your home life, comfort, or even your home's value. But it's not as simple as going out and buying the first tankless heater you see. You'll have dozens of models to choose between, with different prices and sizes and so on. Here are some basics on choosing your tankless water heater.
Sizing Your Heater
Choosing a tankless water heater size is different from a typical water heater because you can't simply choose a tank that will provide the amount of hot water you need in a given period of time. Instead, you have to consider how much hot water you need the element to heat at one time during a high water usage time in your household.
For instance, if you need the water heater to handle multiple showers at once, or a washing machine and dishwasher simultaneously, you'll need to know how many gallons per minute is the total and size your water heater accordingly. You also need to consider how cold the water is before heating, since this can affect your water heater's capacity.
Choosing a Fuel Source
Many tankless water heaters run on electricity, which is convenient for a typical homeowner because once the heater is wired into the electrical system, it never needs a fuel refill.
However, if you're looking for a more eco-friendly or portable power source, you can also find tankless water heaters that run on natural gas or propane. These alternate energy sources can also be helpful if you need hot water at an off-grid cabin or home.
Understanding Efficiency Ratings
While tankless water heaters are considered more efficient in general than tank storage water heaters, that doesn't mean they're all created with an equal level of efficiency. A higher-end tankless water heater may have a higher efficiency rating than a more affordable model, for instance.
A model that has an Energy Star certification is a good bet, since the certification means that it meets the stringent efficiency requirements required by the Energy Star program. You should also check the EF (energy factor) rating. A higher rating indicates a higher efficiency level.
These are just some of the basics to help you get an idea of which tankless water heater you're looking for. You can also consult with your water heater repair and installation professionals to learn more about which tankless water heater is likely to work best for your home and your family's needs.