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.