Tankless water heaters already exceed new energy standards

| by Kristen Metropoulos

As the NAECA 2015 rules change the water heater landscape by requiring higher efficiency, building professionals and consumers face new challenges when choosing a water heater.

Kristen Metropoulos, product manager with Bosch Thermotechnology, reviewed some of the benefits of tankless water heaters that make them a better choice than ever under the new standards.

The new regulations are actually for all water heaters, not just tankless, but almost all the tankless products currently on the market comply with the new requirements. The technology doesn’t need to change because the role that tankless water heaters play already complies.

However, a lot of units in the traditional tank industry need to make adjustments to the tank size and installation process in order to meet the higher regulations.

Benefits of using a tankless unit

There are a lot of benefits of going tankless, but one of the big benefits is the continuous hot water. If you have a standard tanked unit, whether its 30 gallons or 50 gallons, once the hot water is out, you’re out. With the tankless technology, you have continuous hot water. It can ideally go on forever. The only restriction is the BTU size of tankless water heater and the number of appliances you have running at the same time.

Tankless units also have a smaller footprint. The tanked units are actually expanding in footprint under the new regulations because of added insulation, whereas the tankless units are much smaller and consume less space. Under the newly increased U.S. regulations, the new style of tanked water heaters might not fit where you currently have your existing unit.

Tankless water heaters also have an increased energy efficiency, which equates to an increased energy savings. There are non-condensing and condensing products. The condensing units typically have about a .95 Energy Factor rating. The water can also be cleaner because the water isn’t sitting in a 50 gallon tank for an extended amount of time.

Finally, there are also replaceable parts in tankless units, so you don’t need to replace the entire water heater if something goes wrong. Today it’s very easy to replace the key parts of the tankless units.

Make the switch to tankless

It’s absolutely advisable to go from a tanked unit to a tankless water heater. With these new energy factor requirements and size requirements, we see this happening more and more in the market.

Some things to consider today is tank types and their connection type. Most traditional tanked units connect from the top, whereas tankless water heaters connect from the bottom. Also, are you installing a tankless unit in a typical residential home where you can easily configure and retrofit it in the basement?

Or is this commercial application with specific needs? For example, a commercial kitchen may need a very high pressure of hot water with quick cycles. Sometimes different technologies operate better in these environments. Also, consider the water hardness; some places in the US have very hard water, so you may need a water softener.

Topics: Water Heating Strategies

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