You’re interested in a tankless water heater, but you’re taking the time to look around. You want to make sure you’ll get the most out of your purchase. Fair enough. Most homeowners who buy tankless water heaters do so because they want more — more energy efficiency, more savings on electricity, and a more reliable source of hot water.
Be an informed consumer and get more from your new appliance. Read our guide to help you select the best tankless water heater in Ontario.
How Does A Tankless Water Heater Work?
A tankless water heater looks very different from the traditional hot water tank we’re all used to. Instead of a large cylindrical tank, you’ll see a compact box, usually mounted on the wall, with a network of pipes and valves attached. Here’s a quick look at how a tankless heater works:
1. Turning on a fixture (shower or hot water faucet) activates water flow into the heater.
2. This activates the flow sensor, which in turn triggers the control panel.
3. The control panel switches on the fan.
4. The fan has several essential functions: drawing in air from outside, opening the gas valve, and igniting the gas burner.
5. Exhaust gases from the combustion are vented outdoors, through either an exterior wall or the roof.
6. The gas burner produces heat, which the heat exchanger transfers to the incoming water.
7. The mixing valve tempers the water — which is now superheated — to avoid scalding.
8. The water is piped to your shower or faucet.
9. You enjoy a continuous flow of hot water for as long as you like.
10. When the fixture is turned off, the flow of hot water ends and the gas burner shuts down.
Why Install A Tankless Water Heater?
Glad you asked! There are tons of benefits to installing a tankless water heater.
Energy efficiency is what frequently motivates people to switch to a tankless water heater. Conventional tank water heaters are one of the highest residential energy sources, second only to heating and cooling systems. That’s because they waste an awful lot of energy keeping a huge tankful of water hot 24/7, whether it’s needed or not.
Tankless water heaters, by contrast, heat only as much water as you need when you need it. They do not store hot water for future use. The happy result? Throughout its lifetime, a tankless water heater can save you thousands of dollars on your natural gas or electricity bills.
A great choice for energy savings: Water heaters that have earned certification by the Energy Star energy-efficient appliance program.
More Hot Water
Imagine never again being stuck with a cold shower because your kids have used up all the hot water! That’s what you can expect when you switch to a tankless water heater. Aptly described as providing “hot water on demand,” this appliance will continue heating water as long as you need it.
Approximately the size of a suitcase, tankless water heaters have a trim profile and fit easily into a small space such as a closet, as long as they’re properly vented. This frees up floor space — especially important when you live in a small house, a townhome, or a condo.
Longer Life Span
Tankless water heaters last longer since they don’t experience all the wear and tear that results from storing a large volume of heated water. Typically, the life span of a tankless water heater will be 20 years or more, compared to an average of 8-12 years for a hot water tank.
Less Chance of Flooding
Your risk of catastrophic water heater flooding and water damage to your basement is greatly reduced. Tankless heaters don’t store large quantities of water (hot water tanks hold about 150-300 litres!). So even if they develop a leak — usually when they reach an advanced age and are due for replacement — it will be a much smaller volume. Adding a drain pan to your tankless water heater installation will fully contain any future leakage.
Gas Vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Natural gas and electricity are the two main power sources for tankless water heaters, with pros and cons to each. Let’s see how they compare in several essential categories.
Purchase price. Electric tankless water heaters are less expensive to buy than gas.
Installation. Installation is simpler for electric tankless heaters, making it less pricey. Gas tankless water heaters require venting (to allow proper airflow and prevent dangerous carbon monoxide buildup inside your home), which adds hassle and expense to the procedure. In either case, you may need to make some upgrades — either having a new gas line put in or updating your electrical panel to accommodate the tankless heater’s requirements.
Flow rate. Natural gas-powered tankless water heaters tend to have a better flow rate than their electric counterparts. This is handy if you want to multitask — perhaps doing laundry while someone is running a bath — and need a large volume of hot water.
Operating cost. The cost to operate either system depends on: A) its efficiency (how well it uses fuel) and B) the price of the fuel it requires. Electric tankless heaters are, on average, 98 percent efficient, while gas is up to 80-85 percent efficient. Still, natural gas is currently cheaper than electricity in Ontario, making the operating costs more or less equal.
Condensing Vs. Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heaters
Condensing tankless water heaters are a version of this appliance that is exceptionally good at energy-saving; in fact, they’re approximately 25 percent more efficient than non-condensing units. They capture and “recycle” the leftover heat in exhaust gases to help warm the incoming cold water. The main disadvantage of condensing heaters is their higher initial price tag and their need for annual maintenance.
What Are Some Trusted Tankless Water Heater Brands?
We recommend 2 manufacturers, Navien and Rinnai. Both of these brands are available for purchase and installation through Dr HVAC.
Navien has the honour of producing the bestselling high efficiency condensing tankless water heater in North America, their NPE (Navien Premium Efficiency) line. They also offer a non-condensing tankless water heater, notable for its durable stainless steel burner and heat exchanger.
Rinnai is a trusted name in the tankless water heater field, and with good reason. Their products are well-made and efficient, manufactured in the USA at the company’s plant in Georgia. Energy Star certified condensing water heaters from Rinnai’s SE+ series are outstanding for their water output options, as well as their innovative design and features.
Do I Need To Worry About Sizing?
Yes and no. You will need to choose a size. But you won’t need to worry about making the right choice, with the help of Dr HVAC’s friendly expert team.
A brief overview of tankless water heater sizing: Tankless water heaters come in a variety of sizes. However, unlike hot water tanks sized in litres or gallons according to their holding capacity, tankless heater size is calculated using your desired temperature and flow rate. These figures will depend on your family’s preferences and habits.
Let’s say you have 6 teenagers, all of whom love very, very hot water, and you’d like to be able to have 2 showers (or 1 shower plus your dishwasher or washing machine) going at the same time. You’ll be looking for a high temperature and flow rate. A single or couple, on the other hand, will have very different hot water needs.
Choose The Best With Dr HVAC
Count on Dr HVAC to help you select the best tankless water heater for your home. Our technicians are friendly, professional, and full of excellent advice. We will expertly install the tankless water heater of your choice to ensure you get maximum performance and satisfaction.