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Blue Conservation - Tankless Solutions


Tankless Water Heater - FAQ

General:


What is the difference between “Tank” and “Tankless” Water Heaters?

As the name states, a Tankless Water Heater does not include a tank.  This means there is no water being constantly heated and stored.  When there is demand for hot water, the Tankless System heats the water instantly.  When sized properly, a Tankless System can provide a constant flow of hot water for a whole house including simultaneous usage.

Can a Tankless Water Heater replace my boiler?

Absolutely!  Not only can you install a Tankless ASME Boiler, but with a Combi System the same unit can be used for domestic hot water as well.  Not all Tankless Units are considered boilers, so make sure to look for a unit with an ASME.  These units are usually capable of higher water temperatures than standard Tankless Water Heaters.  They can heat water up to 180 degrees which is great for Radiant Heating, for in floor radiant heat as well as Cast Iron Radiators.

Can a Tankless Water Heater provide hot water for my whole house?

Yes, there are many Tankless Water Heaters that are ideal for “Whole House” use.  These units have higher BTU’s and can handle the demands of multiple usage points. Blue Conservation services Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs of PA, NJ and De.  We are happy to provide an onsite assessment and proposal for a system that will be properly sized to meet your needs.

How is a Tankless Water Heater Sized?

There are many variables to consider when selecting a Tankless System, but ultimately its best to let a professional inspect your current hot water heater and recommend the appropriate Tankless System.  Here is a list of a few of the variables considered.

    • Do you have Natural gas, Liquid Propane Gas, or Electricity
    • If Natural Gas, what is the distance from the meter and what is the line size?
    • If Electric, what is the available voltage/amp service?
    • How many showers, sinks, washers, tubs that draw hot water. Are any more than 25 feet from the heater?
    • How will the unit be vented, outside wall?
    • What is the local climate and average groundwater temperature.

What does water temperature rise mean in reference to flow rate when considering a Tankless Heater size. 

Tankless units heat water as it flows through, and depending on the capacity of the unit, they are only capable of heating water to a certain level depending on the starting temperature of the water and the demanded flow rate.  The capacity to take the water from the starting temperature to the desired temperature is the rise.  So if the water starts at 65 degrees and the hot water is set for 120 degrees, the unit needs to be capable of a 55 degree rise. If  only a shower is being used, the typical flow rate will be 3.5 gallons per minute, however if a washer is added as well as another shower, the demand can easily reach 9+ gallons per minute. So the unit will need to be capable of a 55 degree rise at 9+ gallons per minute.

I was told that I needed to upgrade my gas line to a larger diameter.  Does this mean the unit uses more gas?

No, Tankless Units require more BTU’s in highfire situations, so they start off with high demand, but the demand evens off and unlike tank type units, they don’t use any gas when not in use.

Can a Tankless Water Heaters be used in commercial applications?

Yes, a Tankless Unit can be use inplace of just about any traditional tank type unit.  Typical applications which are ideal for Tankless are Hotels, Apartments, Dorms, and anywhere high levels of hot water demand are required.

Maintenance and Support:

Who do I call if my Tankless Water Heater stops working?

Like any high tech appliance, Tankless heaters need regular maintenance, but occasionally they may stop functioning.  Tankless heaters have sophisticated electronics so it’s best to contact the manufacturer or an authorized contractor to service the unit. Blue Conservation is an authorized Support and Service representative of Navien and provides service throughout the Philadelphia region. 

What are some common causes for problems with Tankless Heaters?

We specialize in Tankless Solutions, so rather than providing a broad range of Plumbing or HVAC services, Blue Conservation maintains a focus on Tankless.  All of our installation and service technicians are trained and certified by the manufacturers we represent to install and service these units. In our experience, the following are some common causes for potential issues.  Improper installation, System Configuration, Gas line sizing, Tankless Unit sizing, Improper Maintenance can all be attributed to problems.

Typical Maintenance for a Tankless Water Heater?

In general Tankless Heaters require very little maintenance, however since they last almost three times as long as traditional tank water heaters, a few maintenance items should be addressed.  The main maintenance item is cleaning the water intake screen. Occasionally sediment or debris can enter the water lines and gets caught in the screen so it should be cleaned and flushed annually.

 

Value:

Why are Tankless Water heaters more expensive?

In general Tankless Water heaters are more expensive because they are high-tech electronics with high-end parts, built to last 20+ years. When considering the ongoing savings, the extended lifespan of the system, and the predicted rise in utility costs, Tankless has proven to be a less expensive alternative than the traditional tank type water heater.

Will a Tankless Heater lower my utility costs?

With an Energy Factor greater than 0.90, Tankless Water heaters can return significant savings over traditional tank type water heaters that on average have an energy Factor of 0.65.  This is the primary reason you will see a decrease in utility costs, but Tankless heaters only heat water when it is needed, so there is no stand-by heat loss.

What is the typical lifespan of a Tankless Unit?

Tankless units are manufactured with high quality stainless steel burners and heat exchangers to last 20+ years. This lifespan varies depending on usage, installation, and water quality, but Tankless Heaters are serviceable and most carry a 5 year warranty on all parts and 10 to 15 year warranties on the heat exchangers.

Installation:

Can a Tankless Heater be installed in the same location as my old tank type water heater?

Yes, but part of the benefits of “Going Tankless” is the space savings. The units mount on the wall and have a very small footprint.  We can install your Tankless Heater in a utility closet, attic, basement, or even on an outside wall. The water temperature can be controlled directly at the unit, or from a remote mounted in the next room. For the Combi units that also provide home heating, we can connect them to a wifi capable thermostat so you can adjust the temperature form your smart phone or web enabled device.

Can a Tankless Water Heater be vented to an existing chimney?

There are many variables to consider when installing a Tankless System.  The units are high-tech and all manufacturer specifications and guidelines should be followed closely.  Most newer units have very low temperature exhaust which products heavy amounts of condensation.  This condensation can be high in acidity which could affect the chimney venting material.  We recommend venting directly to the outside for both the exhaust and intake, but please consult the manufacturer directly for you specific situation.

Can I set-up a Battery Back-up for my Tankless System?

Yes, since the units operate on natural and liquid propane gas, they use very little electricity.  The electric is only used for ignition and to operate the onboard computer that manages the whole system.  We recommend using a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) found in most computer supply or electronics retailers.

Should I use a surge protector with my Tankless Heater?

Yes, as with any sensitive electric unit, a surge protector should be used to prevent damage to the Tankless Unit from sudden power surges.



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Tankless Heating and Hot Water Systems 

Blue Conservation has a dedicated team of trained specialists who can specify, install, and service your Tankless System.  Since we only do Tankless, we are the Tankless Specialists!
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