In the effort to conserve energy, many people are installing a tankless water heater in their homes to take care of their hot water needs. These water heaters are different from regular water heaters in that they only provide hot water on demand. This means the appliance consumes a lot less energy and your utilities bills are lower.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
A tankless water heater heats the water directly without storing it in a tank. Traditional water heaters waste tremendous amounts of energy as they have to continually heat the water sitting in their tanks.
There are two types of tankless water heaters, but they work on the same principle: gas-powered and electric. When the hot water tap is turned on in the house, cold water goes into the heating unit. Once the water starts, the heating element heats the water as it passes through.
Larger Houses Call for Higher Performance
A smaller tankless water heater can deliver approximately 5 gallons per minute (GPM). Gas-fired tankless heaters can heat more water than an electric heater.
However, if you have multiple draws on the water at the same time, your small tankless water heater will not be able to keep up with the demand. To get a better performance, you can install a "whole house" tankless water heater, or install separate heaters for different tasks.
Proper Installation Optimizes Performance
Of course, a properly installed water heater works best. However, some parts of installation can be overlooked. For example, it is extremely important to make sure the unit is level. A slight misalignment can cause the heater to work harder, and even deliver water that is not heated as it should be.
Slow the Rate of Flow
Most people think that they need to have a large flow of water to meet their needs. A tankless water heater can deliver up to 5 gallons of water per minute, but you really may not need that much. One way to optimize the performance of your heater is to slow the rate of water flow.
Bring Fixtures Up to Date
If you have older fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom, it can have a direct effect on the performance of the tankless water heater. Low-flow fixtures will slow the rate of water coming through. Because of this, water will stay in the supply pipe longer. Your water will then be much warmer, but the heater will use less energy.
Periodic Cleaning and Maintenance
The best way to extend the life of your tankless water heater is to keep it clean and maintained. Use a cleaning kit that allows you to run vinegar through the heater and supply lines. Flush out the system at least every 6 months to keep the system free of any mineral and calcium deposits.