Before Buying A Tankless Water Heater
Buying a Tankless Water Heater and overwhelmed by the choices?
Why choose a new water heat from EZTankless? Simply put, Direct Vent tankless water heaters are a major leap forward in technology and efficient living.
There are a huge number of water heaters on the market today, and it is easy to become confused by the promises of each type and supplier. Here we want to show you on no uncertain terms why your choice should be limited to just one, direct vent.
Modern power-vent and direct-vent tankless water heaters make on-demand hot water. To do this they require more combustion air as these models utilize an electric fan to feed the flame. This lets us achieve a significantly higher BTU rate than a traditional tank type heater. Direct-vent models from EZtankess are the latest in a line of such tankless heaters and state of the art design and innovation. An EZTankless direct vent hot water heater takes full advantage of this technology, and is called BEST(Balanced Exhaust System Technology)
A tankless hot water heater needs a copious supply of clean air for combustion. If you want to make use of this reliable high technology, or in other words the very best, you need to look at a direct-vent model that draws the intake air from outside. The main advantage of drawing the intake air from the outside is that your tankless water heater cannot disrupt the interior atmosphere of your home, even in the room where it is positioned. That’s right, a direct vent tankless heater does not extract air from the home!
Put another way, regardless of how efficient your choice in tankless heater, if it is not a direct-vent model, it must be taken for given that you are going to suffer heat (or air conditioning) losses with any tankless model that uses room air for combustion. If your current water tank type heater is kept within your home, it also extracts heat from the home. Just take a look at the top of your tank type heater, and you will not fail to notice an air gap between the heater body and the vent hood that leads into the exhaust tubing. This is not poor installation…it is deliberately done this way as a means to assist the natural updraft for the exhaust to function efficiently. We all know that warm air rises, so on a cold day when you are heating your home this opening will always be letting some of that nice warm air you are paying for escape. At EZTankless when designing and perfecting the direct-vent models with BEST exhaust technology we took these inefficiencies into consideration, and deemed such losses as unacceptable, and intolerable. We are delighted to inform you that now, as we are not extracting heated (or cooled) air from your home, or leaving any holes for such air to escape, the efficiency of our Direct Vent heaters is by design noticeably superior. We made our Direct Vent heaters to be mounted (in the majority of cases) on an exterior wall to have easy direct access to outside air for combustion, and an easy and direct exhaust outlet. In fact the intake/exhaust plumbing is catered for in a single orifice which can be totally sealed to the outside environment, and thus will suffer no heat or air-conditioning losses.
Location within the home:
Once you have decided to go with an EZTankess hot water system using BEST technology, you will need to determine where to place it within your home. No longer tied to the traditional needs for complicated exhaust plumbing and the significant space a tank type heater uses, you can choose to place our Direct Vent water heater on just about any outside wall, unobtrusively, opening endless possibilities. Our Tankess water heaters vent horizontally, using a single exhaust/intake, again taking up even less space within your home. One of the great advantages of such a design is that the exhaust is kept cool where it passes through the wall, and thus can be entirely sealed, eliminating any heat or cooling losses from within your home.
Conversion from water tank to tankless technology:
Anybody who is considering converting an existing tank type to tankless hot water system needs to decide where to locate the new tankless water tank. As stated above you may entirely forget where the water tank is located! As there is no need for complicated exhaust vents, and the consideration of the large space needed for a tank, a tankless water heater from EZTankess can be mounted quite conveniently is places that could never be considered using the old and dated water tank technology. Remembering the need for clean fresh air for combustion, and a suitable place to exhaust in a single vent tube, thus the need for an outside wall location, the possibilities are endless. This is not to say the current tank location cannot be used, just that you have opened lots of new possible locations. Perhaps the best way is to pretend the home is new, and you can mount the water heater on just about any outside wall location. (This is not to say that your new tankless heater may be easily located where the old tank type heater was in the past. In fact one of our videos shows a utility/laundry room installation in a one bathroom home in the same location as the original tank type heater.)
Could the space currently used for a water tank be transformed into a space for other uses, or just open up a little more space? Could another location actually improve on the current plumbing in your home? This could be a perfect opportunity to make a few little improvements! Naturally, you need to remain practical, and it is generally much easier to reposition the existing water lines than trying to make a long tubing run, which if not done correctly could actually hinder the efficient operation of your new water heater. Remember, or Direct Vent Models only vent horizontally, which means the exhaust and air intake pipe is exiting the home horizontally through a side wall. This of course simplifies installation considerably.
Please also note that as we vent horizontally, and take our combustible air from the outside it is imperative if you live in an area that has snow accumulations you install the pipe exiting the home at a height above that of the maximum snow depth.
Some notes and tips on venting:
Vertical ventilation - As we supply high technology water heaters, we do not sell tankless water heaters that vent vertically through the roof for reasons covered earlier in this article. All our water heaters vent horizontally.
No need for a condensation trap - With a horizontally vented heater you do not need a condensation trap and condensation drain apparatus as the intake/exhaust pipe exits the heater and slopes slightly downhill which will prevent naturally occurring condensation from entering the heater. There is no need for any precautions!
No leaks in your roof – As our water heaters vent horizontally and though a side wall, there is no need to touch or make openings in the roof of your home. We don’t have to supply or sell as an “option”, a rain cover.
The bottom line – If you are looking at the options available, you will see that old tech, vertically venting tankless heaters sell for considerably more, above $1000 in most cases, certainly all at a considerably higher price than EZTankless.
“Options” – just like accessory rain caps, venting pipes etc are often not included in the price of some of these other tankless water heaters. Naturally, in trying to bring the most up to date and efficient tankless water heaters we supply intake and exhaust hardware at no extra cost.
We are EZ Tankless because we offer the most economical and easiest to install systems on the market and we include the standard intake/exhaust components at no additional charge.
Some useful notes on contractors and plumbers
Not since indoor plumbing replaced the outhouse and electric refrigeration replaced the icebox has such a widespread change come to American households. You may have already heard negative comments about tankless heaters. Sadly it is human nature to be reluctant to change old habits, or old thinking. Once upon a time you faced the death penalty for thinking the world was spherical, rather than flat! Please don’t be fooled by a contractor’s reluctance to accept inevitable change as a negative opinion directed at tankless water heater technology in general. What you interpret as negativity may simply be inexperience. Again, it is simple human nature that few professionals in any trade will readily admit that they have no experience in an item related to their field of expertise. For these reasons, don’t be surprised that you may find initial negativity as you try to locate an installer. Don’t be discouraged, in any trade there are those who recognize opportunities and immediately jump on board. A good tankless installer is out there and as time goes by they will be more easily found. Every day, more and more contractors are becoming aware of the rapidly expanding tankless installation business. At this time, any plumber who does not seize the opportunity to learn this technology will soon find himself and his company is behind the times.
There are basically three reasons why a contractor would try to convince the homeowner to change their mind about a tankless heater purchase.
(1)They are not familiar with the product and wish to use a conventional tank type heater – typical installation is harder to perform, and thus they can earn much more money for installation.
(2) They want to sell you the brand that they prefer and possibly make some profit from that as well – most all contactors get discounts on purchases which they do not entirely pass on to the customer.
(3) They feel that your selection does not fit your needs or is not within your local or state code limitations. In fact this may be true and is a valid point to consider when you consult a professional – we supply a whole range of tankless water heaters, for a variety of situation and hot water needs.
Plumbers and Contractors charge by the hour and in general, when presented with a new technology which they are unfamiliar with, they may have to learn as they work. In fact they can make crucial mistakes that require all or part of the work to be redone. If you are the customer who is the first tankless installation for your selected contractor, you may actually be paying for the time spent learning about and experimenting with the installation of your tankless water heater, even if the installation is significantly easier than the old water tank method. Because of this, we think it would be better for you to consult your contractor or plumber to verify that they are indeed familiar with tankless technology. If they are not, it may be in your best interests to look elsewhere. Maybe your favorite plumber or contractor wants to learn the technology and will work with you on an agreed price to install the heater while acknowledging that you are not responsible for the extra time spent on the “learning curve”? Any contractor or plumber needs to come to grips with new technology all the time, and this could well be an opportunity for a win win situation, you getting a reasonably priced installation, and he/she can learn to understand the necessary procedures.
CAUTION: A TANKLESS WATER HEATER MUST NEVER BE MOUNTED DIRECTLY TO A FLAMMABLE SURFACE! (Wood, plywood, composite wood, plastic or vinyl covered surfaces etc.)
If you decide your tankless water heater is to be mounted to a wall of potentially flammable material, a barrier of non-flammable material must be installed between the heater and the wall. For example, “Dura-Rock”.
Every state and most municipalities have code applications that must be adhered to. It is not possible for any water heater company to track every code, its applications and periodic revisions. For this reason, the first thing a homeowner should do is verify the local and state codes applicable to the installation of the device. This may be easy as the vast majority of plumbers and contractors are familiar with local and state codes as they work within these rules every day.
This is the reason that no tankless water heater company endorses installation by anyone other than a licensed professional.
WARNING: For the safety of the homeowner and occupants of the dwelling, it is imperative that any gas-fired device including a tankless heater be properly installed.
Footnote about "code":
To understand how "code" applies to a tankless heater, one must know the differences in technology and how these differences are applicable to these rules (Codes).
Generally speaking in relation to code application: From oldest to newest technology, there are three basic types of tankless gas-fired hot water heaters.
(1) Natural-Draft in which the exhaust rises through a flue pipe similar to the way in which almost all tank-type heaters are vented. These devices take their combustion air supply from the room in which they are mounted and must adhere to strict code rules.
(2) Power-Vent which will have an electric fan motor that induces forced-air into the combustion process to raise the Btu rating of the heater but also takes the combustion air supply from the room in which it is mounted and must also adhere to strict code rules. (These units typically require even more room air as they usually have much higher Btu ratings.)
MODERN "OUTDOOR" tankless heaters are designed for NO-FREEZE ZONES and they typically are power vent models as obviously it is not necessary for them to meet room combustion air supply rules.
(3) Direct-Vent which also has a fan motor to increase the efficiency of combustion and raise BTUs but has one very important difference. A Direct-vent model takes its combustion air from outside the building which does not disrupt the interior atmosphere as well as having no effect on other gas-fired appliances and vice-versa. Almost all experts agree that Direct Vent is the type of system that is best.
(The other two technologies are now considered obsolete for whole home use but still do have suitable applications for outdoor use, and in large outbuildings and workshops. Especially where there is not a supply of electricity to power a fan motor.)
We do know that direct-vent models are compliant in more areas as they do not use room air for combustion. (For example, our EZ-Deluxe model)
All Natural-draft and Power-Vent models must adhere to strict available air supply regulations. (The higher the BTUs of the natural draft device, the bigger the room combustion-air supply requirements.)(Total room space in cubic feet vs. the total combined BTU rating of the heater and all other "fired" devices in the same space.)
As Direct-Vent models do not use room air for combustion, the BTU-Square feet of room space formulas usually do not apply. Our direct-vent models featuring intake/exhaust BEST systems such as our EZ-Deluxe may be more adaptable to your local code and the user has the additional bonus of receiving more hot water within a more accurately controlled temperature range.
Most contractors are concerned about liability and rightfully so. Tankless water heaters are reliable and proven machines that have been in operation worldwide for decades. Because of their proven energy saving concept and operation and compact design, they are now becoming very popular in the USA. They are not something to fear and in fact have some points that may actually be safer than traditional water heaters. For example, most tankless water heaters on the market today do not have a standing pilot light. It is well known that pilot lights and flammable liquids have been the cause of countless fires and explosions worldwide. In the USA, one of the most common fire occurrences is caused by the tank type water heater, especially those that are installed in the garage as they have the highest likelihood of coming into contact with flammable liquids. Typically, this type of fire results when gasoline or another flammable liquid is spilled or a container or a vehicle fuel system unexpectedly begins to leak. These liquid and/or related flammable vapors are ignited by the constant flame (pilot light) that is on the bottom of a typical tank-type hot water heater.
(For this reason, for quite some time, nationwide, it's required that tank-type gas-fired heaters must be mounted on a pedestal to keep the burner at least 18 inches off the floor. In addition, a manufacturing construction standard went into effect requiring a baffled combustion chamber that is designed to resolve that problem.)
With a tankless heater, they mount on the wall at eye level and as previously mentioned most have no standing pilot light. The reason we are called “EZ tankless” is because we have chosen to represent the latest in tankless water heater technology with “easy” to install design.