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All About Tankless Water Heaters: What is a tankless water heater? What are the advantages of a tankless water heater? Why is a tankless water heater filter essential?
Most homes have traditionally had a hot water tank or boiler as a water heating system, but installing a tankless water heater has become increasingly popular as of late. You may recognize (or even own a tankless water heater from) such manufacturers as Rinnai, Rheem, Noritz, Navien, or Bosch already. So what is a tankless water heater? What are the advantages of a tankless water heater? And why is a tankless water heater filter essential? We will answer these questions and more in the following article about tankless water heaters and the need for having a tankless water heater filter.
There are plenty of reasons to choose a tankless water heater. In fact, as electricity and gas bills steadily rise, more and more people are making the switch to tankless water heaters.
The difference between tankless water heaters and their traditional counterparts is really simple. Traditional water heaters use a fair amount of electricity or gas to preheat the water stored in their tanks. Traditional water heaters also use a rather large amount of energy in keeping that water warm until it is used.
Tankless water heaters on the other hand use a lot less energy because they heat your water on-demand. In fact, making the switch to a tankless water heater can save you between 21% and 43% on your water heating costs for the year! Talk about some savings.
That’s just the briefest of overviews, of course. In this article, we’ll take you through what are the advantages of a tankless water heater, as well as explore the inner workings of a tankless water heater in greater detail. We’ll also be answering the quintessential question: do I need a filter for tankless water heater? Spoiler alert – you most certainly do! We’ll explain why it is hugely important to have a tankless water filter.
- What is a tankless water heater and how does a tankless water heater work?
- Advantages of a tankless water heater
- Disadvantages of tankless water heaters
- Why you need a tankless water heater filter for your tankless water heater
- How a tankless water heater filter works
What is a tankless water heater and how does a tankless water heater work?
Tankless water heaters use a powerful heat exchanger in order to raise the water temperature. Heat exchangers transfer heat from one source to another, and can be found in air conditioners, refrigerators, and car radiators.
In the case of tankless water heaters, electric coils or a gas-fired burner is activated by an incoming flow of water, and transfers the heat to your water. The incoming water circulates through the tankless water heater when you turn your hot water tap on, activating the exchanger and heating your cold water to a preset temperature.
There are two types of tankless water heaters: point of use tankless water heaters and whole house tankless water heaters. Point of use tankless water heaters are much smaller, and are used to heat water for one – sometimes two – outlets. Their size allows you to fit them conveniently in a kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Point of use tankless water heaters allow you to install the system closer to the faucet, avoiding what is known as the lag time. Lag time is described as the amount of time it takes for the heated water to reach your faucet, and is a very important consideration to bear in mind if you’re thinking of installing a tankless water heater.
While whole house tankless water heaters are able to heat water for multiple outlets simultaneously, they’re also much bigger and more expensive. These aren’t real negatives in the long run, but their longer lag time can be. That’s because, in larger houses especially, the lag time for whole house tankless water heaters can be rather significant – even several minutes long.
As a result, your water consumption may increase when compared to using a traditional hot water heater, even if your water heating expenses are going down. This is one of the reasons tankless water heaters are so popular in Japan, where many residents pay power bills but have free access to water. From Japan, the popularity of tankless water heaters spread through Europe, before catching on in America.
A final means of distinguishing between tankless water heaters is in their power source. As mentioned earlier, there are electric as well as gas models on the market, with the latter running off either propane or natural gas.
Point of use tankless water heaters are usually electric, while whole house tankless water heaters are generally gas-powered.
Pros and Cons on Tankless Water Heaters: What are the advantages of a tankless water heater?
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Long-term Energy Savings
The long-term energy savings are one of the major benefits of tankless water heaters. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons many people are making the switch! Even though they may cost more initially because of the installation costs involved, the operation costs are much lower because you aren’t spending money on power to heat up a geyser tank full of water – never mind keeping that water warm. According to the US Department of Energy, in the average household, hot water typically makes up about 20% of your annual energy bill. As we mentioned earlier, switching from a traditional boiler to a tankless water heater can save you between 21% and 43% of these costs in a year! Energy.gov puts the figure at around 24% to 34% improved energy efficiency. Even homes with a high hot water consumption rate will benefit from these savings.
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Longer Lifespan
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Water Savings
This varies from household to household of course, as well as on whether you’ve got a point of use tankless water heater or whole house tankless water heater. Specifically in the case of point of use tankless water heater systems, users in remote parts of the house won’t have to wait as long for hot water to arrive at the faucet compared to a traditional geyser. In this way, you stand to save on your water bill at the end of the month too, because you aren’t shrinking into the corner of the shower while waiting for your hot water to heat up!
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Unlimited Hot Water On Demand
Using the example of the shower once more, you very likely know the pains of having to settle for a cold one because the rest of your family beat you to the bathroom. But because tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand, you no longer have to worry about waiting for the hot water to get hot again! As we explained in our previous section, tankless water heaters work on your water flow rate – which means you can generally expect to have an indefinite source of hot water provided your flow isn’t interrupted. Most tankless water heaters boast a rate of two to three, or even five, gallons a minute – which means you can shower while your washing machine is doing a load at the same time.
Advantages of a tankless water heater: No Leaks or Bursts
You’ve probably experienced water damage from a burst geyser before. It’s an expensive, destructive occurrence that we can all do without! With a tankless water heater, there’s very little risk of a leak because there’s no water being stored by your heating system. Of course, you might still get a burst pipe, but that’s a different subject altogether.
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Less Space
Let’s be honest – geysers are huge, often storing around 50 gallons of water at a time. That takes up a lot of space, and while most geysers are stored in your attic or basement, some smaller houses – and apartments especially – have the geyser openly stored in the bathroom. Tankless water heaters are far smaller, and you can easily fit them into the cabinet below your kitchen sink – or the bathroom cabinet above. Less water heater storage space means more space for your own items, which is always a huge plus.
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Temperature Settings
We mentioned earlier that you’re able to preset the temperature you want your tankless water heater to produce. Many are even remote-controlled, and have up to four different settings! But another great benefit in terms of your temperature control is that tankless water heaters use a bypass valve and a mixing valve. These provide temperature compensation, which eliminates the age-old issue of having your water pressure and temperature negatively affected with continuous use over time.
Advantages of a tankless water heater: Federal Tax Rebates
That’s right – a tankless water heater won’t only save you energy and water costs, they chip away at your tax too! Most tankless water heating systems enjoy a $300 federal tax rebate.
Okay, So What Are the Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters?
It’s sad to say, but there’s no such thing as the perfect solution. As great as the pros of tankless water heaters are, there are a few disadvantages too.
Cons of tankless water heater: Higher Initial Costs
Although tankless water heaters will help you save money in the long run, they are typically more expensive initially. Depending on your model and who installs the unit for you, you’re looking at spending between $2800 and $4500 for the installation alone. You’ll also need to have some retrofitting work done, because homes typically aren’t built with tankless water heaters in mind. That adds to the initial cost too. All-in-all, you could be looking at spending up to thrice the amount you would on a traditional water heating system.
Cons of tankless water heater: Water Flow
Although having a tankless water heater means you can enjoy unlimited hot water on demand, they do typically require a minimum flow rate of about 0.5 gallons per minute to be activated. This is where that lag time we mentioned earlier comes into play, even with point of tankless water heaters.
Cons of tankless water heater: Power Outage
If you’re thinking long-term, then the initial cost won’t be much of a con for you – especially if you save up while waiting for your boiler to reach the end of its lifespan. But one major disadvantage to tankless water heaters is that if there’s a power outage, then you’re out of hot water too. Boilers typically store about 50 gallons of hot water at a time (depending on size and how much you’ve already used, of course). But with a tankless water heating system, you don’t have that fallback in the event of a power outage.
Scale is a consideration for all water heating systems.
Scale is also known as a mineral build-up, and is a consideration for all water heating systems. Scale is not a disadvantage of tankless water heaters (as opposed to traditional boilers) per se, but it does havoc on tankless water heaters especially. Be mindful that scale is a consideration for heating water whether it’s a tankless water heater or not. We’ll be taking a look at scale and how to deal with it in the next section on tankless water heater filters.
Scale is a very common problem in both traditional geyser systems and tankless water heaters. It can lead to decreased efficiency, premature damage, or even break your water heating system over time.
The hard water that leads to scale presents some issues of its own, although there aren’t any known health risks at present. Scale itself is unlikely to cause any real health issues, but it can cause damage to your water heating system, pipes, shower heads, and faucets. That’s why you most certainly want to make use of a tankless water heater filter with scale protection.
Right in the beginning, we promised that we’d explain exactly why you need a scale filter for tankless water heater. That time has come.
Do I Need a Tankless Water Heater Filter For My Tankless Water Heater? Yes.
Plain and simple: if you have a tankless water heater, you should use a tankless water heater filter. A tankless water heater filter ensures the water entering your tankless water heater system is filtered and does not have the minerals that cause scale. Scale can adversely impact the functioning, and life span of your tankless water heater so therefore it is important to use filtered water. It is also very important you change your tankless water heater filter regularly (for example, see our AMF-SDR20 tankless water heater filter replacement cartridge with scale inhibitor).
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Filter Work?
At Premiere Sales, our tankless water heater filters provide filtered water for your tankless water heater. Our tankless water heater filter replacement cartridges use the Siliphos scale inhibitor, which acts as a “threshold inhibitor” to stabilize your water and prevent scale from forming. It should be mentioned that Siliphos does not act as a fact descaler, which is why we recommend you install a tankless water heater filter as soon as possible.
Siliphos is first and foremost a scale inhibitor, which is why Premiere Sales is able to provide tankless water heater filter with scale protection. The molecular structure of Siliphos prevents scale from forming, and will also loosen any existing deposits so that they may be flushed away by the water flow over time. It should be noted that brown scale (formed by iron oxide and hydroxide) can be totally removed over a period of 4 days to 6 months plus. White scale, on the other hand, which is caused by calcium (carbonate and/or silicate) is less affected, but is effectively prevented from building up any longer.
Final Words on Having a Tankless Water Heater Filter
If you have a tankless water heating system installed, or you’re seriously considering making the switch, then you would be well-advised to add a tankless water heater filter to your shopping cart! Many of our tankless water heater systems come with a tankless water heater filter with scale inhibitor.
We have a wide range of scale filter for tankless water heater available, suitable for both point-of-use and whole-house systems.
Why not make the smart choice? Your satisfaction is guaranteed!