How to choose (and size) your tankless water heater

| by Jens Bolleyer
How to choose (and size) your tankless water heater

You have had it. You just ran out of hot water because your tank either ran out, or you had to disconnect it because it started leaking. You do all your research, you have decided to go tankless. Your next step will be not only pick the right brand, but also – and maybe even more importantly – to size the heater right for your needs. Endless hot water. Sounds great, right? But what does it mean? Simple! It means that because the water is heated as you need it, you will not run out of hot water stored anywhere. So after your kids and spouse take a shower, you’ll still be able to enjoy your own hot shower. It does not mean that you can turn on as many faucets as you want and get hot water out of every one of them – unless your heater is sized for that amount of flow.

Here are my steps to a good experience with an electric tankless water heater:

1. Choose the Right One

There are many different options to choose from on the market and it is important for consumers to make educated decisions on which brand is best for them. You will find electric tankless heaters on various websites, like Amazon, Home Depot, and the likes, or you can find them at your local hardware store.

Know what features you should be looking for that set them apart from each other. For example, the ability to modulate the amount of energy used based on the amount of hot eater that is needed. Some heaters know only on or off, and others are simple smarter, maybe I should say eco-smart(er).

Another key difference is in warranties vary from 1 year to lifetime, so make sure your heater is protected by it – it is a product that should be with you for up to 20 years.

2. Size It Right

In order to find the right size heater, all you need to know is your location and how many hot water outlets you have.

Location – Your location determines your inlet water temperature. Knowing your inlet water temperature is essential in deciding what you want your outlet temperature to be. If you live in the north you may need a stronger heater with a higher kW to achieve your desired outlet temperature where as in the south you can use a lower kW heater to reach the same outlet temperature.

Flow Requirements – In order to size the correct heater you need to know the gallons per minute or gpm that you want. In general, you should add the faucets and showers you’re going to operate at the same time. Faucets are usually 0.5gpm, shower heads have a flow rate of 1.5 or greater.

Now all you have to do is check the Electrical Requirements of your heater. How many Amps will it pull? How many and what size breakers do you need? What wire gauge is recommended?

Once that’s all done, installation is a breeze. I recommend using a licensed contractor for installation, even though a seasoned DIYer can certainly handle it.


Topics: Heating & Cooling, Water Heaters

Companies: EcoSmart Green Energy Products


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