How to Install a Tankless Water Heater


Instant-on, or tankless, water heaters have gained a lot of ground in popularity the past few years. People know that the traditional water heater lacked efficiency and often times would run out of water in the middle of a shower. Therefore, the tankless water heater came into prominence as a way to solve both the inefficiency issue and the running out of hot water issue.

There are two basic kinds of tankless water heaters: Whole-house and point-of-use. If you want to learn how to how to install a tankless water heater that saves you money and that (nearly) never runs out of hot water, then read on.

How to install a tankless water heater system

First off, you can install a tankless water heater yourself. The point-of-use variety is the easiest to install; the whole-house unit will require a qualified electrician and plumber at the very least. You may wish to consider a certified technician to do the entire installation for you. Doing so eliminates a lot of the hassle and potential for error. Don?t forget that you will most likely need a permit to perform the installation.

If you go with a qualified contractor, you will still play an important role in the sizing and design of the system. You may find that it?s best to incorporate a mixed system of whole-house and point-of-use. For example, for your washing machine, shower and tub, and dishwasher, a whole-house unit is really the only way to go. However, you may get better results if you add point-of-use units under your kitchen sink, in your bathrooms, and in your mud rooms.

You may also find that you are in need of upgrades to your plumbing fixtures. Your entire design, from sizing to number of units is dependent on flow rates of your various fixtures, your lifestyle, and the number of units that may be called onto work simultaneously. For example, if you often run your dishwasher and washing machines while you are taking a shower, you will need a pretty substantial system.

How to install a point-of-use tankless water heater

Now, if you want to install a basic electric point-of-use water heating unit under your kitchen sink for instant hot water (for coffee or tea, for example), you can most certainly do most?if not all?of the installation yourself. Buy a unit from a reputable manufacturer that requires no hard wiring. That is to say, buy one with a plug. Then simply make the water connections and plug into an existing outlet.

While these units aren?t nearly as powerful as a whole-house or wired point-of-use tankless water heater, they may not need to be. Heating a 6-ounce cup of hot cocoa is far different than heating a washer full of dishes.
For the big installations, however, seek out a qualified and experienced contractor. It is your best bet for getting the right capacity and number of units (i.e., the right design) for the best price possible with minimal installation issues for years and years of hassle-free hot water.

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