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Tankless Water Heater Shopping Guide
Water heaters have been around for a long time, giving people instant access to the hot water they need for their household uses. But tankless water heaters are a newer product, and some would say they improve upon the old way of doing things.
The best tankless water heaters crank out hot water while helping people save on energy costs. Instead of continually heating water so you always have hot water on hand, this type only heats the water as you need it. You’ll only heat what you need.
Want to know how to choose the right tankless water heater for your household? Here are some things to consider:
Whether you need to use it with propane, electric, or natural gas
If you want external digital thermostat control
The flow rate
How energy efficient it is
If you want a mobile app for operating it
Will Your House Need A Natural Gas, Electric, or Propane Tankless Water Heater?
This is a basic question, but it’s one you need to ask because you’ll have to know when you are tankless water heater shopping. Some tankless water heaters are compatible with propane, while others only work with electric or natural gas.
If you’re not sure which you need, look at the current water heater you have. If you have electric, you should see a cable attached to the top of it. If you have gas, you’ll see that telltale gas pipe attached to the bottom of the unit, about a foot from the ground.
Another way to tell is by taking the access panel off the side. Do you see a pilot flame that’s lit? If so, you use gas – an electric unit won’t use a pilot flame. If it uses gas, it may say NAT or PRO somewhere on the outside of the unit. PRO stands for propane, while NAT stands for natural gas. If you’re not sure, call a professional to stop by and take a look. They’ll be able to tell.
Do You Want External Digital Thermostat Control?
This is an add-on feature some of the best tankless water heaters include in their models. This digital feature makes it a cinch to make adjustments and will allow you to check and adjust the temperature of the water quickly. If it’s not as warm as you’d like it, turn it up a degree or two and see if it’s more to your liking.
Many tanks will have a digital display feature, but some won’t. If this feature is important to you, you should double check that it’s included in the water heaters you’re considering since it’s not a standard feature.
What Is The Flow Rate?
Determine how many water-using appliances might be running at one time in your house. Do you have two bathrooms, each with their own shower, that people might be using at the same time? Do you do a lot of laundry or constantly seem to be running the dishwasher?
If your water needs are high, you might want to consider a tankless water heater with a higher flow rate. Flow rates are gauged by how many gallons of water per minute your water heater could supply when factoring in how much it has to heat the water. The best tankless water heaters will generally have flow rates that run from 4 gallons to 8 gallons per minute.
Even if you think you might only need one at the lower end of that flow rate, it would be a good idea to bump that up some. Then you don’t have to worry about whether you can take a shower at the same time as you run the dishwasher. Plus, even if a tank with a lower flow rate is suitable for you now, you never know when your usage might grow.
Even with the biggest tankless water heater, you might not have enough hot water for a large family’s needs. But that’s no problem as you can install two or more of them to supply enough water for your household.
How Energy Efficient Is The Water Heater?
Why should you care about the energy efficiency of your water heater? For one, a more energy efficient water heater will save you money on energy costs, and two, it is more environmentally friendly.
By the nature of how they operate, tankless water heaters are automatically more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts. Still, there is a good deal of variety in efficiency from one tankless heater to another. You should expect to see energy efficiencies anywhere from approximately 80 percent to 99 percent.
Do You Want To Control Your Water Heater With An App?
We live in the age of technology and that perk can extend to your tankless water heater. Having an app can let you do things like put your water heater into vacation mode when you’re traveling or use voice command to adjust the temperature.
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
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