Buying Guide

What Are the Different Types of Tankless Water Heater?

Increasingly, people are leaning towards tankless water heaters rather than those which come with a tank. After all, the initial high investment gives way to rich results. This kind of water heaters doesn’t need a larger storage space. You will be able to install it outside the house as well. Tankless water heaters also give hot water instantly and are easy to maintain and use. Overall, it’s a great investment in the long run since it will help reduce your water heating bills as well.

But while looking through the best tankless water heaters to buy, you must have come across the fact that it seemingly comes in different varieties. Not knowing exactly how many varieties are there can confuse anyone. So to help you out, here’s a list of all the different kinds of tankless water heaters. But first, you need to know just how tankless heaters work:

How do tankless water heaters work?

This kind of water heaters works by making use of a gas burner or an electric unit that heats the water just as it goes through a short or long pipe right to the unit. As such this system can deliver a pretty much never-ending supply of warm to hot water instantly. So the convenience and comfort factor while using this kind of tankless heaters are high. After all, unlike all the traditional or storage water heaters, here the hot water doesn’t get stored inside a tank. This makes it a good cost-effective and conservation option.

Different kind of tankless water heaters

  • Electric Heaters:

Electric tankless heaters are rightly considered to be one of the very best energy efficient heaters present. It boasts of being able to save up to 99% of energy. If your house already has the wiring for an electric heater, then it will be cost-efficient if you just keep the original power source when it comes to the tankless unit. This will make it easier to install and put into use an electric water heater rather than going for another option like a gas-powered water heater. Otherwise, you will have to incur heavy costs for changing the entire wiring. With electric heaters, you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space. Moreover, you will always have a never-ending supply of heated up water.

  • Gas Heaters:

Tankless gas water heaters are more powerful than the heaters which are powered by electricity. So if you have a large family or have to set up a tankless heater for some kind of commercial consumption like a hotel then this is ideal for the job. Moreover, if your house hasn’t been wired up for water-based heating then gas is pretty much your best option. But one downside is that gas-powered heaters tend to more expensive when compared to the tankless heaters which are powered by electricity. Also, any condensing unit will be more energy-saving than the regular tankless heaters because to heat water it makes use of the heat right from the fumes coming from the exhausts. You will find that with the condensing units, installation is cheaper since you will be using much less expensive materials for eventually getting cooler or cold exhaust fumes.

  • Commercial Heaters:

Know that tankless heaters that are used for carrying out commercial applications have a very high flow rate and BTU. Due to this requirement, all the commercially used water heaters are gas-powered. It can be propane or natural gas-powered. There is a new kind of infrared electric system that can get the job done. This is because of the distance which is between the outlet and the heater. After all, there are a lot of commercial water heater units that come with a re-circulation process that helps in reducing wastage of water and getting rid of cold water present there. Many units are capable of tripling or at the least doubling up the capacity.

  • Hybrid Water Systems:

Hybrid systems are pretty new and they work by mixing up the tankless water heating systems with the traditional ones. This kind of water heaters is way more expensive when compared to the normal tankless heaters but they are very effective. If you decide to get a hybrid heater, then you must have a heating pump and an electrical system which will be able to use electricity to carry heat to different areas instead of creating it.

  • Small Heaters:

Not everyone has a huge budget when it comes to getting tankless water heaters. So if you are also working with a small budget and have a kind of off-the-grid requirement, then small heaters will be quite useful for you. These kinds of small water heaters are also useful for people who travel a lot or have to shift the use of heaters from one place to the other quickly. Small water heaters are pocket-sized dynamos and can pack quite a punch when it comes to power and savings. The biggest advantage of using small heaters is that they can be used for a variety of applications. For example, if you only want hot water through just one faucet or another outlet, then such small heaters will get the job done.

  • Portable And The RV Heaters:

The portable heating systems are quite useful in a lot of applications. Especially during winters when the temperatures drop. Portable water heaters are more lightweight than the smaller heaters so that you can carry it with ease. You will be able to use these in your RV, while you are camping, cleaning the garden, or washing your pet.

  • Water Heaters For The Whole House:

This product is for homeowners who are after a single tankless water heater that will be able to give hot water rights to the whole house. There are a lot of factors which have to be considered before buying a water heater, but the most important one is the total outlets from which you plan on drawing water. Along with this, the water’s flow rate is very important too. Take into account just where you are located as well. For example, if your house is in a cold region, then the heater must be powerful enough to heat water right from the cold temperatures all through the water. Of course, along with this are cost considerations as well.

Non-Condensing And The Condensing Tankless Heaters

Above there was mention of two terms- condensing and non-condensing tankless heaters. This refers to the two kinds of tankless water heaters. Let’s go into it in detail:

  • Non-condensing tankless water heaters:

These make use of heat exchangers to make hot water. Then it is used for venting out the exhaust outside the house. For this system to work there needs to be stainless steel pipes. This is because these pipes can fully withstand the blast of heat which comes from the exhaust. But know that these systems are more expensive when compared to the condensing heaters. But their installation cost is lesser. There is another advantage as well since it uses a simpler technology so there are fewer opportunities for it to malfunction and break down.

  • Condensing tankless water heaters:

These are a pretty recent development actually and they use a high temperature having exhaust. This is added there to help heat the cold water. This system tends to be more heat-saving than other kinds of water heaters. Moreover, it also uses inexpensive PVC for making the venting out pipes. But sadly, when compared to the overall cost, it stands to be much more expensive.

How to choose between gas and electric tankless heaters?

There are a lot of factors to be considered for sure, but you will have to identify just how you will like the cold water to get heated up. Tankless water heaters that use electricity make use of an electric system to get the water heated up. But gas-powered tankless water heaters make use of gas burners. Tankless heaters list out the maximum GPM rate of flow. Once you have determined the peak flow of water in gallons every minute, then you will be able to determine the needed temperature rise. After that choose whether gas-powered ones or electric powered ones will be better for you.

Now you have a list of the various kinds of tankless water heater models available. So take into consideration various factors like the number of outlets, whether you are getting one for the whole family or just yourself, whether you need a portable heater and more. Of course, you will have to consider the cost factor and this isn’t just the initial buying cost. You will also have to take into account the installation cost as well as the future maintenance cost. Take all this into account before settling on a tankless water heater type and model that will be the perfect fit for you.

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