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Instant Water Heaters

Unlike conventional hot water heaters, instantaneous water heaters have no tank. Rather than warming water and holding it for later use, an instant water heater produces hot water on demand by quickly super-heating the water as it flows past the heater. That means you pay only for the hot water you use, and you can get as much hot water as you need when you need it. And by positioning the unit close to where the water is used, there is no waiting for hot water to work its way up through the pipes from the basement.

When considering an instantaneous hot water heater, look for:

  • Type of heater: electric, natural gas, or propane powered units. Electric units tend to be smaller and suitable for single faucets; gas units tend to be larger, up to the size required for a whole house. For any choice, check that you have adequate connections. Large electric units may be particularly demanding on your house wiring.
  • High energy efficiency - electric units can achieve 98% energy efficiency. Gas units with electric ignition instead of a pilot light can cut your use of energy significantly.
  • Appropriate size - many on demand water heaters are small and designed to fit right under the cabinet or on the wall where the faucet is, whereas whole house water heaters can be located anywhere. The capacity of on demand hot water units is measured in gallons per minute (gpm) of water flow. A bathroom sink uses about 1/2 a gallon per minute. Kitchen and laundry sinks use 1 or 2 gpm, while a shower and bathtub may use up to 3 or 4 gpm. A whole house instant water heater only needs to be large enough to handle the likely demand, that is, one or two large demands for hot water at the same time, not the unlikely load of every faucet in the house running hot water.

You might consider using an instantaneous heater in combination with a conventional water heater in a two-stage heating system or if you have some long runs to a remote laundry or bathrooms.

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