Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stiebel Eltron Tempra Tankless Water Heaters

Stiebel Eltron is a manufacturer of several popular tankless hot water heater models. While some manufactures focus on just whole house water heaters, Stiebel Eltron makes a full line of models that can find several uses in your home.

Stiebel Eltron has several makes and models, all under the Tempra series name. Since Stiebel Eltron doesn't really roll of the tongue, its probably a good idea that they market tankless water heaters under the Tempra name. All of these models are controlled with a thermostat, and they certainly can be described as advanced machinery in the world of tankless water heaters.

One nice feature with the Stiebel Eltron tankless water heater is that the heater is designed to monitory the temperature of the water that is coming in to the unit. The customers requested flow rate is then converted by the heating element built in on the water heater to heat the water to whatever temperature you request. This temperature setting can always be changed by the user to meet their own specific needs.

Some of the other advantages of a Stiebel Eltron Tempra model include on-demand hot water, it will never run out, no matter how many people need to use the bath or shower. Since there is not the need to constantly reheat water in a tank, your water heating costs are reduced by as much as 50%. The Tempra's sleek and compact design saves space over a tank heater. Tankless heaters are also less likely to leak, crack, or rupture. Because the maximum temperature can be regulated, the risk of scalding injuries to children can also be reduced substantially.

Stiebel Tempra tankless heaters also maintain their efficiency throughout the service life of the heater, while tank heaters continue to lose efficiency as the years go by. Tempra water heaters are also more resistant do different water problems like sediment, mineral, and hard water issues. Finally, tankless heaters like these have a longer service life, often between 15 and 20 years.

As mention, several Tempra models are available to fill almost any need. Both of point-of-use and complete home residential tankless heaters are available. Heaters designed for commercial use are also available. Top of the line, heavy duty Tempra series water heaters can put out quite a bit of hot water. According to the company, these units can produce up to 7 gallons per minute (GPM) of hot water, depending on the incoming water temperature. Warm climates have an advantage over colder areas of the country, as the water is much warmer as it enters the house.

Even in cold climates, you should be able to get 3-4 gallons per minute of hot water during the winter. Stiebel Eltron Tempra heaters thus provide hot water on-demand, and also offer energy savings of between 30 to 50% when compared side-by-side with a regular tank water heaters.

If your worried about the company's reputation, don't be. These are recognized as superior electric tankless water heaters. Stiebel Eltron tankless water heaters have a full warranty as well at technical support. The company has been in business since 1924 and has more than 2,200 employees worldwide.

One additional point is that the company only makes electrical tankless water heaters, no natural gas or propane models here. While the monthly operating cost may be more with an electrical model, they generally cost less up front, and installation is easier to accomplish. No special venting requirements exist with a Stiebel Eltron tankless water heater.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Takagi Tankless Water Heaters

Takagi USA has been manufacturing tankless water heaters heaters here in the States for more than 10 years. While that isn't very long, Takagi has been in the business for more than 50 years in Japan.

What sort of features and benefits can a Takagi tankless water heater offer you? Like other tankless models, the main selling point is the endless supply of hot water that is offered through the heater.

Takagi tankless heaters are also highly efficient. In fact, one tankless water heater from Takagi boasts and efficiency rating of 92% for the natural gas model, and 95% for the propane (LP) model. Compare that to the average rating in the 50-60 range for a standard water heater, or 82% for some of the Bosch water heaters, and you can see the difference.

Takagi heaters only operate when you ask for hot water. When the hot water tap is turned on, water begins to enter the heater, which then is detected by a flow sensor. This in turn activates the burner, and water begins to circulate through heat coil, or exchanger as it is also known. The heat exchanger then heats the water to the preset temperature in less than 7 seconds. This can continue on for an indefinite period of time, so no more worrying about running out of hot water. When the hot water tap is turned off, the heating unit stops as well.

Takagi tankless heaters are also more compact than a regular water heater. They range in weight from 30 pounds to 90 pounds, and are generally about the size of a medium to large suitcase. Most of the units are designed to be placed inside, and can be mounted on a wall. This frees up floor space in your home that can be used for other things. Because Tagaki water heaters are natural gas and/or propane powered, they require proper venting, thus a professional installer is your best bet. Category 3 stainless steel vented pipe is recommended by the manufacturer, and the tankless heater cannot share venting with any other appliances.

One thing that confuses some consumers is that they expect instant hot water when they put in a tankless hot water heater. While a Takagi heater can provide unlimited hot water, it is not instantaneous. It still takes time for the water to reach each faucet or shower head, so if you want immediate hot water, an alternative would be a recirculation pump.

According to Takagi, their tankless heaters have an average life span of 15 to 20 years, which is about 5 to 10 years longer than the average standard water heater. Takagi tankless heaters have a 10 year warranty on the heat exchanger, and 5 years on all other components on the units. Tankless units cost more up front, but generally make up the difference in lower operating costs and longer lifespans.

Based on the model you select, a Takagi tankless water heater can provide you with between three and five gallons (GPM) of hot water per minute.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rheem Tankless Water Heaters

Rheem tankless water heaters may be the answer for you if you have a natural gas or propane power source, and you are looking to upgrade from that old tank style water heater.

While Rheem is mainly known for their heating and air conditioning units, they have been in the water heater business for many years. Their tankless line is based on gas power, and they make units that are both natural gas and propane powered. According to Rheem, these units will save homeowners 40% less than an electrical tankless water heater, and about 30% less than a standard natural gas water heating unit. References and sources for those numbers were not provided on the Rheem website.

Rheem tankless heaters can usually be installed wherever your old water heater was, provided there is enough combustion air flow available. So there generally won't be any problem placing a Rheem water heater in your basement, attic, garage, or even a utility closet or room. These units are smaller than regular water heaters, so you will realize some space savings as well.

Rheem tankless heaters are more efficient because they do not have to operate all the time in order to keep the water warm. Consider how your current water heater always has to turn on to keep the water warm, it doesn't matter if your at work, gone for the day, or even away from the house on vacation, the water heater still keeps working. On the other hand, a Rheem tankless heater only turns on when you ask for hot water via your shower, dishwasher, or sink.

The energy efficiency rating on Rheem tankless hot water heaters is also very good. Energy Factor, or EF as it is called, measures how efficient different appliances are. The full line of Rheem heaters sport EF ratings over .80. In contrast, the average EF rating on a standard tank water heater is .62, quite a difference. Rheem heaters also have no pilot light, which cost money to operate, and also do not have any stand by loss.

The Rheem series of water heaters are labeled the RTG-42, RTG-74, RTG-53, and the 199 series. How do you figure out which one fits with what you have in your home?

Rheem makes it fairly simple, in that they advise based on the number of bathrooms you have in your house. While fairly simplistic, it does give you a general idea of which to choose.

If you have one bathroom in your house, the Rheem tankless RTG-42 is recommended. Next if you have 1-1/2 to 2 bathrooms Rheem recommends the RTG-53 series tankless model. Finally, if you have 3 or more bathrooms at home, the heavy duty RTG-74 series water heater is the one to look at seriously.

Now if you have special circumstances that demand even more hot water, Rheem or hot water circulating systems, you should get in touch with a contractor or dealer who is familiar with Rheem tankless systems for help in getting something a little more customized.

As with all natural gas or propane tankless water heaters, professional installation is recommended. Obviously its going to cost more, but you certainly want your tankless water heater set up right in all cases.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Point of Use Tankless Water Heaters

What are point of use tankless hot water heaters, and why would you consider installing one in your house?

A point-of-use tankless water heater is a small unit that can be installed right next a sink where you need hot water. They can also be used for hot water in a shower or bath, though the flow rate may not be sufficient for a bathtub depending on the power of the unit.

So what is the purpose of using a tankless water heater like this? One situation where this might be a good idea is when you are in a part of the house that is extremely far away from the main water heater. If it is taking 45 seconds to a minute for you to get hot water, it is often because of the “run” of the plumbing. When the run is extremely long, you wait and wait for the hot water, meanwhile you're wasting water down the drain. Install a point of use water heater under the sink and your good to go. Now of course your going to pay more for electricity, but you will save on your water bill.

These point of use heaters can truly be called instantaneous or demand water heaters as it is usually just a few seconds before you have hot water. These point of use heaters thus eliminate what is referred to as standby loss.

Another application could be in the kitchen, but with a word of warning. A demand hot water heater can be installed under your sink and thus provide very hot water when needed for cooking or for making hot beverages. The problem here is the risk of scalding, as these heaters can pump out extremely hot water. Check the temperature settings on these heaters, because they can produce water with temperatures between 170-180 degrees. Many manufactures have built in anti-scalding control systems, so that the water will not exceed 125 degrees. Obviously this is a must have if you have children in the house. In fact, the electronic control systems are generally standard on these point of use devices, so if you want something that does produce extremely hot water, you may have to do a little shopping.

There are several manufacturers of these mini tankless water heaters, there shouldn't be much difficulty in finding something for $200 dollars or less.

Major manufacturers include:


Steibel Eltron

Bosch Ariston


Bosch Aquastar

Bosch Powerstream

Eltron DHC

Overall, a point of use tankless water heater can certainly make life easier when installed in the right situation.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Titan Tankless Water Heaters

Titan tankless water heaters are designed to offer an unlimited and continuous flow of hot water. What can Titan hot water heaters provide that you won't find with a traditional water heater?

Titan was founded in 1986, and has been building quality tankless water heaters since then. Water heaters built by the company can be found in homes, hotels, and apartments across the country. Titan is an American business, and they manufacture and sell their units in the United States.

According to the company, Titan tankless water heater systems can save your family up to 60% on your monthly water heating cost. That’s because the unit only operates when hot water is needed. These demand or instant hot water systems are gaining popularity because they can provide and endless supply of hot water. Conversely, traditional tank-based water systems continually have to operate in order to keep the water hot.

Titan makes electrical tankless water heaters. Installation of a Titan system is fairly simple, and you do not have to worry about venting issues, as with a natural gas tankless heater. However, a professional installation is still recommended by the manufacturer, as then there will not be any issues to worry about down the line.

Titan has a full line-up of tankless water heater models. What they don’t make on their own they resell from other manufacturers. Their higher end models come from the Stiebel Eltron Tempra series. The Stiebel-Eltron Tempra series has numbers titling the tankless heaters, starting at 36 and going down to 12. For example, the Tempra 36 is the high end model, providing the most juice. It can power between 2-3 hot water applications in your house at the same time.

Titan’s own series of tankless water heaters start with the SCR4 at the high end, then move down to the SRC3 and SRC2 series. These affordable heaters start at $250 and go up to the high $400 range. These work well in warm climates, where the water doesn’t have to be heated up from a very cold temperature, and where the end-user can get by with just 1 or 2 hot water applications being used at the same time. Best of all, the cost about the same as a traditional water heater and take up less space.

Finally, Titan makes a Mini Series of tankless water heaters. These are designed to be used right at the source, just install in-line near a sink or shower for use at that location only. Priced in the mid $100 range, these do the trick in those special situations. Overall, I recommend Titan as one of the top tankless water heater manufacturers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Home Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Are you considering a home tankless hot water heater? Today there are many choices and options if you want to make this type of upgrade in your home.

While a business definitely has to consider usage factors, home users may have a little more flexibility. If you have only one or two home users, smaller point of use or an electric tankless home heater may do the trick for you. With three or more users, a little additional research should be done up front to make sure your new tankless water heater has enough juice to keep up with family demands.

So how do you go about sizing a home tankless water heater. Well to do that we have to get into BTU and GPM discussions. Yes I know you don’t really want to get into the math, but a little math now makes the family happy later. BTU or British thermal unit has to do with power inputs and energy efficiency. These combine to hopefully give you the proper flow rate information.

Flow rate is what you really need, and is expressed at gallons per minute, or GPM. Home tankless hot water heaters will usually deliver between 1.2 and 6 gallons per minute of hot water. How much water is that?

Small point of use water heaters are used for just a bathroom sink or maybe two are in the low range here. Typically, you won’t need more that 2 gallons of hot water at a time so that is where something that is rated 1.2 GPM will work out okay.

Mid-range home tankless hot water heaters are in the 2.6 to 4 gallons per minute range. This range is probably where 75 percent of US homes will be able to find an acceptable tankless water heater option. At the low end, you can usually run one application at a time, such as a shower or a dish washer. At the 4 GPM rate, you will generally be able to use two hot water applications at the same time.

Finally, we come to the Big Boys when we are talking home tankless water heaters. Those rated in the 6 gallons or per minute range fall into this category. A six gallon heater can handle two showers at a time, while something in the area of 8-9 gallons per minute can handle three hot water applications at the same time.

So think about how your family uses the various applications, then check with a local dealer to find the best
home tankless hot water heater for you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

Rinnai is one of the major tankless hot water manufacturers in today’s market. Rinnai focuses on the gas tankless water heater market, making both LP (propane), and natural gas fired heaters.

So obviously the first thing you should check before you look at a Rinnai tankless water heater is whether you have either a natural gas or propane connection. If your not sure, you can check with your local utility company and they can help you.

Rinnai became fairly well know in the last few years after adverting extensively on the Rush Limbaugh show. Rinnai mainly designs tankless hot water heaters for whole house applications. Their top of the line model can deliver 9.5 gallons of hot water per minute, so obviously it is a powerful unit. Thats enough water to take a shower, run a dishwasher, and wash a load of clothes all at the same time. And even when your done with that, the hot water will still keep coming.

Rinnai tankless water heaters are also more efficient than traditional water heaters because of their design. A traditional water heater continually eats up energy, as the water in the storage tank must constantly be reheated. With a Rinnai heater energy is used only when you use hot water. Thus depending on the cost of energy in your area, you may save up to 50 percent off your traditional water heating cost by upgrading to a Rinnai tankless heater.

Another nice thing about Rinnai tank is that it is much smaller than a traditional water heater that has a large 40-50 gallon tank. Rinnai tankless heaters are about the size of a suitcase, and can be mounted either inside or outside your house. This can save you floor space in your basement or attic where a regular water heater would regularly sit.

So how does the Rinnai tankless water heater work? As mentioned, there is no tank, thus the smaller size. The Rinnai system is attached in-line with the current plumbing system, generally somewhere near where the main water line enters the house. When a tap is turned on asking for hot water, the Rinnai system kicks on and water flows through a heat exchanger. While it takes a little bit longer to actually get hot water to the tap when comparing to a traditional water heater, the difference is usually negligible.

So if its time to replace your old system, definitely check into a Rinnai tankless water heater.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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Bosch Tankless Water Heater

When it comes to tankless water heaters, Bosch is one of the most respected manufacturers. What kind of tankless hot water applications can Bosch help your family with?

Bosch tankless water heaters can be placed in three specific groups: Gas, Electric, and point-of-use. With Bosch, you have a variety of choices, and you can always find something very specific to apply to your situation. Bosch is undoubtedly a leader in the tankless water heater field, producing over one and half million units every year.

Bosch gas tankless water heaters come in a variety of sizes. The largest capacity heater is the new 2700ES. This mother of all tankless water heaters can supply hot water for three major applications at the same time, such as a washer, shower and dishwasher. Better yet, you will still have hot water after using all three at the same time. The first step down is the Bosch Aquastar 2400ES. This model will allow use of two major hot water applications at the same time, and has an expected 20 year life.

Next is the Bosch 1600P and 1600PS. These heaters will provide up to 4.3 gallons of hot water per minute. They are also compact, small enough to hang on a wall. The Bosch 1000P is the smallest tankless gas water heater available from Bosch. It is designed mainly for small homes, such as cabins or cottages that may be natural gas (NG) or liquid propane (LP) powered.

What if your home is not propane or natural gas powered? Bosch electric tankless water heaters may be your best choice. Bosch makes two electric tankless water heaters, and they are classified under the PowerStar brand name. First is the Powerstar AE125, an electric tankless heater that can provide 3.7 gallons per minute. That should be enough for one bathtub or shower, or two sinks at the same time. Available at a lower price is the Power Star AE115, which provides up to 2.3 gallons per minute. The AE 125 is recommended in colder climates, while those in warmer states should be able to use the AE 115.

What about point-of-use water heater? Bosch distributes two different lines in this area. First, the Ariston GL line has three different models. The three models here offer either two and a half, four, and six gallon capacity heaters. Designed for use with either one or two sinks, these point of use heaters offer immediate hot water when installed in these locations.

The other point-of-use line offered by Bosch is the PowerStar AE series. Four different models are available in this line, the AE 3.4, AE 7.2, AE 9.5 and AE12. The nice thing about these Bosch Power Star models is that they are so compact, they fit right underneath the sink and can be mounted in almost any direction.

So as you can see, Bosch tankless water heaters can really simplify your life, as they offer unlimited hot water in easy to use applications.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

When considering a tankless hot water heater, one of the first things to decide is whether you want to go with an electric or a gas mode. Read up on electric tankless heaters in our previous article, and keep on reading if you are looking into a tankless gas water heater.

Tankless gas hot water heaters are designed to be used in whole-house applications. Special circumstances must be met for these gas heaters, which are discussed here. So why replace that old gas water heater with a new tankless model?

A tankless gas hot water heater will provide your house with an unlimited supply of hot water. So you can run multiple showers, then still have the water available to run the dishwasher or the clothes washer. Depending on the capacity of the tankless gas heater you buy, multiple appliances can also be run at the same time. Most models are smaller than a regular water heater, so you may also have some space savings as well.

Costs are certainly a consideration. While a regular water heater is usually about $500, a tankless gas water heater will cost at least double that amount. Paloma, Takagi,and Rinnai are three well known manufactures of gas powered water heaters. Consulting with one or more local dealers is usually the best way to price tankless water heater manufacturers and models.

While natural gas powered heaters will work in most situations, some homes are fueled by propane. Check with your local utility company if your not sure if you have natural gas or propane. Several manufactures including Bosch and Stieble Eltron offer propane powered tankless water heaters.

The Bosch AquaStar line is a popular series, with several models offering between 3-6 gallons of hot water per minute. Higher capacity models will cost more, but are better for large families where several hot water applications are needed at once.

A nice feature with tankless gas water heaters is the constant availability of hot water. Unlike a traditional heater where the hot water may run out based on the capacity of the heater, the tankless heater will continue to pump piping hot water, whether you need it for five minutes or five hours.

Nice to have when someone just filled up the tub!

One final factor to consider is the installation cost that may be involved. A tankless gas hot water heater requires proper ventilation, so check the price and reputation of contractors in your area. In almost all cases, this means a professional installation to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

When considering a tankless water heater for your home, there are two specific choices: electric or gas. What can an electric tankless heater offer?

Electric tankless water heaters are generally cheaper than their gas counterparts. Whole house electric heaters can start as low as $500 and move up to the $1000 dollar range. This compares to gas heaters which generally start at $1,000 minimum and go up from there. So which is better for you?

The answer to that question really depends on several factors. Your hot water needs really are what determine what will work out best. While manufacturers of electrical hot water heaters claim their performance is fairly close to gas heaters, gas manufacturers have valid arguments for going down that path. A qualified dealer can run cost comparisons for you to determine if gas or electricity will work out best.

There are several advantages of an electric tankless water heater include the previously mentioned lower initial price tag. Saving $500 or more over a gas tankless heater is what most consumers consider first. Another advantage is the lower initial installation cost. Because electrical tankless water heaters are about one-third the size of a gas heater, there is often more flexibility on where it can be installed.

There are not any venting issues with an electric heater, thus they can be placed under sinks, in closets, or in crawl spaces where a full sized water heater could never be used. Of course they can also be placed wherever your old water heater was.

If you are considering a whole house electrical water heater, you may have to have an electrical upgrade wherever the heater is installed. This is because these are very high power electrical appliances, like your dryer. Thus a 200 AMP, 208 to 240 volt electrical service outlet is needed. If you live in a warm climate like Florida, you may be able to get away with a lower demand heater, and use a 100 or 125 AMP electrical service.

What will your monthly cost be with an electric water heater? While you will save over a traditional water heater, you probably won’t save as much as having a gas tankless water heater. Then again, natural gas and propane rates continue to rise, bringing the energy costs of electric and gas tankless heaters close together.

What about water use? Can a tankless electric keep up with its gas counterpart? In most cases, yes. Whole house heaters can produce between 3-8 gallons per minute of hot water. Why such a wide variance? It depends on the incoming water temperature. For example, the incoming water temperature in Arizona is much different than the incoming temperature in Minnesota during January. In cold climates it is going to be closer to three gallons a minute.

How about gas tankless water heaters? Next time we will consider the advantages of gas over electric tankless water heaters.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless hot water heaters are becoming popular as more people see the advantage of “going tankless.” So why consider a tankless water heater?

There are several advantages in using an on demand water heater. The main advantage is an increase in energy savings, and a corresponding reduction in your energy bill. This is because a regular water heater is constantly turning on in order to heat the water inside the storage tank, whether you are using it or not. As the water cools and energy is lost, the hot water heater has to work to heat it back up.

This is called standby loss, the energy lost from the water sitting there. Most people will save about 20 percent off their water heating bill by installing a tankless water heater. Estimates place the water heating portion of your energy budget at about 15 percent of your total energy cost, so you can see how this is a significant cost.

Another advantage of a tankless hot water system is the availability of unlimited hot water. The heating mechanism is activated by the flow of water, so when you or your family demand hot water, the system can produce it for as long as you need it. The only limitation is based on the size of the tankless heater you install. Whole house systems generally produce between 3-5 gallons of hot water per minute. Compare that to a 40-50 gallon standard heater that most houses have.

There are two types of tankless hot water systems, electric and gas. Electric tankless water heaters are generally smaller, and designed for a point of use application. This means is can be used for just one area in the house. Gas tankless water heaters can be used for the whole house provided a large enough heater is installed. Instantaneous water heaters like this are either natural gas or propane powered, and should be installed by a professional.

Costs are of course another consideration. Tankless water heaters generally cost 2-3 times as much as a traditional water heater. Add to that installation fees which are higher as well. The higher initial cost is offset by a lower energy bill. Dealers can do the math for you based on your current energy and water bills. They can also explain what the major manufacturers such as Rinnia, Titan, Bosch and Noritz have to offer. Expect to save in the area of $50-100 per year when using a whole house tankless water system.

Most tankless systems will last upwards of 20 years. Compare that to a traditional water heater which generally has a life span of 10-15 years. That is another factor to consider when looking into buying a tankless hot water heater.