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How to compare electric tankless water heaters

Updated February 21, 2017

Also known as demand water heaters or instantaneous water heaters, tankless water heaters provide you with the water you need only when you need it. A storage hot water heater, which is the most common type, stores hot water in a tank until you need it, but tankless water heaters heat only the water you need and you can use it right away. To find the electric tankless water heater that’s best for you, compare water heaters based on your budget and the needs of your family.

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  1. Calculate the flow rate required for electric water heaters. List all of the appliances you use the require hot water, and then add up their gallons of water used per minute. That number determines the flow rate, which you’ll need when you shop for demand water heaters. Compare the flow rate among different tankless water heaters to determine which one works best for you.

  2. Decide how many appliances will operate off a tankless water heater. If you only want to operate one sink or appliance, compare single point application tankless water heaters. If you want to operate an entire bathroom, compare multipoint applications. If you want your entire house to operate off one tankless water heater, compare whole house applications.

  3. Compare the energy factor on each tankless water heater to find one that’s efficient enough to pay for itself over the lifespan of the water heater. A higher energy factor means it runs more efficiently than electric water heaters with a lower energy factor rating. Energy efficient models can quickly offset the high price tag because of the amount of money you save on your utility bills.

  4. Look at the temperature rise on each tankless water heater to make sure it will accommodate your needs. Figure out your incoming water temperature, which is colder in cool climates and warmer in warm climates. Next, determine how hot you want the water to be when you use your appliance. Subtract the difference and that’s the temperature rise required. For example, if your incoming water temperature is 15.6 degrees Celsius and you prefer a shower at 43.3 degrees Celsius, you need a tankless water heater with a 50-degree temperature rise.

  5. Measure the location where you will install en electric tankless water heater. Installing it near your appliance will help ensure the hot water arrives at its destination quickly, so look for space to install a demand water heater in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room where you use most of your hot water. When you shop for demand water heaters, check the dimensions of the unit to make sure it fits in your space.

  6. Warning

    If you use a lot of water, or if you need hot water in two places at the same time, you’ll likely need multiple tankless water heaters to provide you with that much hot water.

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About the Author

Kristan Hart

Kristan Hart is an award-winning journalist in Springfield, Mo., who provides SEO web copy as a freelance writer/editor. She has a decade of experience and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.

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