Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters became largely popular these past years because of their compact design and energy efficiency. They are commonly called instantaneous water heaters or on-demand water heaters.

Its ability to produce hot water on demand despite the size is what makes them famous for a lot of homeowners. Just like the traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters can deliver a steady stream of water minus the bulky and space-consuming body. It effectively heats the water when the water tap is turned on. As the tap water flows through the unit, a gas burner or electric heating element (depending on your tankless water heater) turns one and heats the water. When the water gets to you, it will be hot and ready to use.

When the tap is turned off, the heating element is also off as well as the entering pathway of your unit. There is no energy consumed or used when it is on stand-by, waiting to be turned on.

Pros & Cons of Tankless water heater

Are you still wondering if a tankless water heater is for you? Here are some advantages and disadvantages of tankless water heaters to help you decide.

Pros

  • \Space saving
If the space in your home is limited, having a tankless water heater is your best option if you want hot water. The unit is usually mounted on a wall, consuming less leg room and space.

The main difference between your tank-style and tankless water heaters is the installation and sixe. Hot water tank installation usually happens in the basement. Your typical 40 to 50 gallon tank is about 54” to 60” tall. While the tankless water heaters are mounted on a wall like your circuit breakers with a small and compact size of 20” diameter.

To get a rough idea about how much wall space the unit needs, I highly suggest checking the unit first. Always make sure there is enough wall space in the room you want your unit to be installed. This way you won’t have to rearrange or redecorate that room.

  • \Lower energy consumption
The amount of energy you save depends on how often you turn the unit on and the amount of hot water you use.

Because of the unit being tankless, it doesn’t need to maintain a steady source of water supply. The heating source is not consistently turned on. Usually a tank-style water heater constantly heats the water inside the tank. Unlike a tankless unit, the heater only consumes energy when it is turned on. Lowering your energy cost.

In addition, tankless water heaters don’t experience any heat loss unlike your tank-style where heat escapes the tank and the heater needs to reheat the water to maintain the temperature.

Remember, when heat escapes from your tank, the heater will need to work over time hence, consuming more energy.

  • \Unlimited & endless hot water supply
Tankless water heaters usually have a maximum flow rate. Meaning, the unit can also be able to heat a certain amount of water at a given or same time. For example, if 5 family members simultaneously take a shower and use the tankless water heater, it won’t be able to keep up and produce enough hot water for all 5 family members.

As long as the water you used at the same or given time is under the maximum flow rate of the unit, you are good.

Check your tankless water heater’s specifications and features to check what is the maximum flow rate of your unit.

  • \Reduced environment impact
Unlike your traditional tank-style water heaters that need to be replaced entirely when it is broken, tankless water heaters have replaceable components and parts on them. You won’t have to replace the whole unit, the parts can be easily replaced by experts helping you save more money.

When the unit breaks down or you feel like it is not heating the water like it used to, contact us and we will help you out.

  • \Gas, electric, and even solar-powered models are available
Typically, tankless water heaters are powered by gas, but with the growing demand, there are other options like electric and solar-powered models gaining popularity these days. Depending on your home’s design and electrical circuitry, an electric or solar-powered unit might be good for you.

However, keep in mind, these 3 power sources have different installation and tools needed. Plus, they have different pros and cons as well.

  • \Lower risks of water leaks and damages
One of the main concerns with tank-style water heaters are water leaks and damages. Minerals tend to build-up inside the tank causing corrosion leading to water leaks. But because tankless water heaters don’t have tanks, you won’t have this problem.
  • \Last WAY longer
The average life expectancy of tankless water heaters is over 20 years. It lasts way longer compared to your tank-style water heaters which last for about 8 to 12 years. However, the lifespan of your water heaters will vary depending on the maintenance.

If your units are properly maintained, you can have a tankless water heater that can last for a very very long time.

Cons

  • \High upfront cost and installation
Let’s face it, any type of appliance might make a dent to your savings. Tankless water heaters are pricier compared to your tank-style water heaters, primarily because of the installation.

Depending on the model you chose, some units might need special wiring or rerouting your gas lines. If you choose a gas unit, the installer or contractor might need to reroute your gas line or add a new venting. With electric units, the installer might need to do some special wiring so there won’t be any overloading on your electrical circuitry. With solar-powered units, you won’t need any rerouting or special wiring, just sunlight.

  • \It takes a little longer to get hot water
Because tankless water heaters don’t store ready-to-be-used hot water, it will take time to produce hot water.

When you turn on your tap, the cool or room temperature water flows through the water heater. The heater inside the unit will then heat the water which can take a few seconds.

  • \Inconsistent water temperature
Tankless water heaters come in different sizes and capacities. If you have a small family, you can choose a unit that can handle the demand for hot water in your household. On the other hand, if you have a big family, you need to check the maximum water flow (GPM) of your unit.
  • \No hot water during power outage
When there is a power outage in your area, your tankless water heaters will also not work. Yes, even your gas units! Gas tankless water heaters still rely on electric control panels to operate.
  • \Usually need water softener

Water softeners act as a filter system to remove all impurities on your water. It is usually needed so your tankless water heater works smoothly. Water softeners come in various sizes and sometimes they are even bigger than the tankless water heater which negates the space-saving aspect of the unit.

Non-condensing Tankless Water Heaters

This is the most popular type of tankless water tank when you are just converting from the traditional tank-style water heaters. Why? Because non-condensing tankless water heaters can use the already existing ventilation you used for your tank-style. Less installation cost to worry about.

This type is usually gas powered and can produce too much heat.

Non-condensing tankless water heaters vents out steam in order to release excess heat which helps stabilize the temperature of the heater. It only has one heat exchanger. The steam, actually exhaust gases, produced is way hotter when they are vented from the unit. So, make sure not to put your face into the steam. 

This type of tankless water heater is cheaper compared to condensing units. They are very energy-efficient, around 80%, and can be used indoors or outdoors. In addition, non-condensing tankless water heaters only need minimal to no professional maintenance. However, the ventilation system you use for these units should be very sturdy and durable. Remember, the exhaust gases are extremely hot, around 302°F. The usual material used for venting is stainless steel which is a bit expensive. If your current tank-style heater’s flue is a bit old or made from materials other than stainless steel, you will still need a new one.

Condensing Tankless Water Heaters

Condensing tankless water heaters recycle the heat produced instead of venting it. But, they also vent exhaust gases, when they don’t need it or if it is no longer useful. A very wise and highly efficient compared to non-condensing units. 

The main difference between a non-condensing and the condensing is the second heat exchanger on the condensing tankless water heaters. It is designed to loop the exhaust back into the unit’s heating system before releasing it. The exhausted gases are not that hot compared to the ones produced by non-condensing units. It is just around 100°F because the heat is already absorbed by the cold water.

Reusing the heat produced is very economical. You can save a lot on fuel and heating costs. In addition, because the exhaust gases produced using condensing units are not that high. Meaning the flue system doesn’t require expensive materials like stainless steel. 

Condensing tankless water heaters are more efficient than non-condensing, around 90%. The only disadvantage about this type is it needs annual maintenance because they are prone to corrosion. When condensation happens inside the unit, moist and vapor forms which can cause corrosion. It is best to have your condensing units checked at least once a year.

FortisBC rebates

FortisBC offers up to $1000 worth of rebates if you replace your current water heater with a more efficient and energy-saving ENERGY STAR® natural gas water heater, both tank-style and tankless are accepted.

Here are the available rebates:

Water heaters

ENERGY STAR® Condensing Tankless

ENERGY STAR® Condensing Storage Tank

Efficiency

Ultimate

Ultimate

Life expectancy

About 20 years

12 – 15 years

Rebates

$1000

$1000

Eligibility requirements:

  • \MUST be a FortisBC customer or have a FortisBC natural gas account.
  • \Must be a year-round primary residence of the home, for at least 12 month old.
  • \Electricity, oil, natural gas, or propane should be the primary heating fuel used for your home. If the primary heating source in your home is wood or solid fossil fuels, you won’t be eligible for the rebates.
  • \Within 6 months after paying the invoice, the applications should be submitted.
  • \ONLY one rebate per home.

How to apply for rebates:

  • \Purchase a qualified water heater.
  • \Have it installed by a professional and licensed gas contractor.
  • \Apply online. Include the copy of the paid invoice with all the following details:
  • \Date purchased
  • \Make and model of the water heater
  • \Installation permit number
  • \The licensed gas contractor’s Technical Safety BC license number
  • \The application process may take up to 90 days.