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Tankless Water Heaters  

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Frequently Asked Questions 

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*How do Tankless Water Heaters work?
*How can a Tankless Water heater heat water instantly?
*How much money can I save?

*What size do the tankless water heaters come in?
What is a point of use tankless water heater?
*Where is the best place to install a Tankless?
*Are there any special plumbing or electrical installation requirements?
*Will one unit be sufficient for my home?
*How do I tell what the ambient water is? (incoming water to my home)
*How many units will I need for my home?
*We have "Hard Water", will that corrode the unit like it does the tank types?
*Which is better, electric or gas tankless water heaters?


How do Tankless Water Heaters work?

When the hot water faucet is opened, the water will flow directly in the heater's water activated control assembly.  ENDLESS HOT WATER FOR AS LONG AS YOU WANT IT! Then simply by turning the faucet to the off position, the flow will stop and the burners will immediately shut down. This process of supplying hot water as needed, results in dramatic energy savings. Energy usually lost in the conventional tank water heater where water is heated only to cool. A process that continues day and night unless the water is drawn. Of course, if it is drawn, there is usually a long wait while the tank of cold water is heated.

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How can a Tankless Water heater heat water instantly?

When you open a faucet, the flow of the water triggers the heater to turn on. Whether you use gas or electricity, the powerful gas burners or electrical elements will turn on, rapidly heating the water as it passes through the unit. The water is heated instantly, and the time it takes to obtain hot water is directly related to the distance the hot water has to travel from the water heater to where hot water is being used. The burners or elements then shut down when you shut off the hot water. The energy that is consumed is only for the hot water that is being used.

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What size is the tankless water heaters?

Most of our units are the size of a briefcase.  The tankless water heaters take up considerably less space than conventional tank type water tanks and saves valuable living space.

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How much money can I save?

Depending on which model of tankless water heater you purchase, and what size storage tank you have now, and if it runs on gas or electricity, you could save anywhere from 5% to 69% off your hot water heating bill. 

How? Most homes use hot water for a cumulative total of about one hour per day, yet they typically keep 40 or 50 gallons (oftentimes more) of water hot 24 hours a day. Having a system that eliminates the storage and heats water only as you use it can dramatically reduce your energy consumption.

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What is a point of use tankless water heater?

Point-of-use water heaters are usually used for one of two reasons. One is to supply hot water to a remote location that is not served by a larger water heater. The other is to eliminate the wait time for hot water you may have at a particular faucet. Both offer the advantage of not having to wait for hot water. 

You can install a point-of-use water heater right at the source, e.g., under a sink. Therefore, when you turn on the faucet you have hot water instantly available to you. This both eliminates your wait for the hot water and saves water, our most valuable resource, from being wasted down the drain as you wait for hot water to arrive.

Where is the best place to install a Tankless?

The possibilities are many. Most any place that can be vented and otherwise meet the local code requirements. On the wall in the laundry area, in second floor area near the bathrooms, or the kitchen wall, or a multitude of approved areas where you could never put a tank with all that space guzzling bulk and weight. 

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Are there any special plumbing or electrical installation requirements?

See installation guide:  Stiebel Eltron

(pdf file)  Adobe Acrobat required. 

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Will one unit be sufficient for my home?

If you will expect 2 or 3 possible faucets to operate simultaneously ( a shower, load of dishes, and hands being washed) then you must select a unit that provides a flow of three or more gallons of 140 degree water per minute (assuming 60% hot water mixed with cold).  One is usually efficient enough for a average size home.  Its not unusual for two people to be showering at the same time, or the clothes or dish-washer to be in operation while someone is in the shower. If your incoming water temperature is warmer than in most areas, typically you would not be able to run two showers at the same time in a colder climate.

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How do I tell what the ambient water is? (incoming water to my home)

You will need a meat thermometer or candy thermometer or any thermometer that will measure down to zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Make sure you are not running any appliances such as dishwasher or clothes washer.  Go to your kitchen sink and turn on the the cold water and let it run about a minute. Hold the end of the thermometer into the cold water for another minute.  This will tell you what the ambient temperature of the water coming into your house is.  In the northern climates of the US, it is normal for the ambient temperature of the water to be between 42 and 54 degrees all year long.  A larger unit or more than one unit may need to be installed in your home.  In the lower southern states or coastal states it can be as much as 70 degrees. So a smaller unit might do the job for you.

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How many units will I need for my home?

Depends on whether you want the whole house or just a sink at a time and how you will be using the units.

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We have "Hard Water," will that corrode the unit like it does the tank types?

Since there is no standing water from which the dissolved solids can precipitate and the water is only being heated while its moving rapidly through the unit, the corrosion factor is significantly reduced. But, here's the good news; when a conventional tank water heater becomes corroded and eventually begins to leak, it is discarded and contributes to the area landfills. However, if a tankless does scale to the point of affecting its operating efficiency' it is a simple procedure to de-lime the unit and return it to full service.

Of course, you can prevent any problems with scale by having a water softener on the unit. This also prevents your household pipes and any other appliances from getting clogged with scale.

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Which is better, electric or gas tankless water heaters?

Electric or gas? Which is better? In reality, there is no single answer to this question. What is better for one household, might not be the best for another. The decision to select an electric or gas tankless water heater should be made with the homeowner's or business' individual circumstances in mind. The following factors all play a role in choosing what type of tankless water heater is best for your needs:

  • the availability of a convenient source of natural gas or propane and/or an adequate electrical supply to support another high-output appliance.
  • The relative cost of installation
  • The difference in cost between an appropriately-sized electric and gas tankless water heater
  • Water usage habits and needs
  • Homeowner/ user preference
  • The differential between electric costs and gas costs in your area, and your personal outlook for changes in such costs in the future.
  • Desired installation location

Efficiency / Cost:

While gas tankless water heaters are certainly more efficient than their tank cousins, their efficiency usually peaks at 80-85%. Even though natural gas is generally a cheaper input fuel than electricity per BTU of output power, this benefit is generally outweighed by the higher efficiency of the electric unit, longer service life, and cheaper installation. On top of that, electric tankless water heaters cost less than most tankless gas models. Moreover, gas prices tend to fluctuate more dramatically then electricity prices and most economists agree that in general, gas prices are expected to rise significantly in coming years whereas in most areas, electricity prices should be relatively stable.


Tankless gas water heaters have complex venting and combustion air supply requirements, especially when installed in a confined space. When side wall venting is required, it can get even more complex. Due to their high gas consumption, existing ventilation systems are rarely adequate. The bottom line, is that these requirements can make installation very expensive. Electric tankless water heaters, on the other hand, are not only smaller and more suited to installation in confined spaces, but they do not require any venting and minimal installation clearances. They can be installed in a closet, under a sink, in a crawl space, or a wide range of other areas where a traditional tank or gas tankless cannot.

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