What’s New with Tankless Water Heaters?

2020-05-07 11:47:23

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless technology is constantly improving. Here are some of the latest refinements:

Higher Efficiency

Condensing gas heaters can extract up to 96 percent of a fuel’s heat—a 17 percent improvement over first-generation tankless units—thanks to a second heat exchanger that captures much of the exhaust heat before it goes out the vent.

They’re about 25 percent more expensive than noncondensing heaters, and they create an acidic condensate that has to be neutralized. If a heater isn’t equipped with a built-in neutralizing cartridge, the installer has to add one.

Instant Hot Water

Tankless units take about 15 seconds to bring water up to temperature, but you still have to wait for that hot water to arrive at your shower head or faucet, just as you do with a tank-type heater.

When the distance between heater and fixture exceeds 50 feet, look for units with a built-in recirculation pump, which saves water and reduces waiting time. The pump, which can be turned on by a timer, a push button, a motion sensor, a smart speaker, or a smartphone (above), pushes the cold water in the pipes back through the heater.

After about a minute, the pump shuts off and you get hot water seconds after opening the tap.

Wi-Fi Compatible

Tankless units with digital connectivity let you adjust the temperature and monitor gas and hot-water usage on your phone.

More important, the unit can identify the source of a problem. Relay that information to your plumber and he or she can show up knowing exactly what needs to be done. That feature also eliminates any guesswork about when it’s time to descale.

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