03 Sep How to Care for Your Instantaneous Hot Water Heater
A lot of homes today use an instant hot water system instead of a conventional water heater with a storage tank. Although a traditional water heater is a tried and tested technology, there are several good reasons why an instantaneous hot water heater gained much popularity in recent years.
Advantages of an instantaneous hot water unit
One of the main challenges with a hot water tank is the limited supply. After exhausting the stored hot water, you need to wait a certain amount of time before water is heated to the right temperature comfortable enough for a shower. Unfortunately, on a busy morning on your way to work, waiting is not an option. Just as the name suggests, an instantaneous hot water heater heats water on demand, which means you don’t have to wait or rely on a limited supply. You can have hot water at any time of the day whenever you need it.
Aside from a consistent supply of hot water, the following are additional benefits of a tankless water heater:
• Cleaner water. A common problem encountered by homeowners with conventional hot water tanks is rust and dirt build-up. A tankless water heater guarantees that your supply of hot water is always clean and fresh.
• Requires less space. Most instantaneous hot water heater systems are about the size of a large briefcase. You save so much on space compared with a large hot water tank. A tankless water heater is perfect for small homes, apartments, and condominium units.
• Better energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. The energy efficiency of a heater will still depend on the fuel type you choose. For example, instant water heaters powered by natural gas produce fewer emissions. Instantaneous water heaters can be around 24% to 34% more efficient than water heaters with tanks.
• Better temperature control. A lot of the new models come with remote controls. It offers added convenience in setting the right temperature especially if there are children or older adults in your home.
Another main advantage of instant water heaters is a longer lifespan and durability. An instantaneous hot water heater can last up to twenty years of consistent use. Although instant water heaters cost more to buy and install, you will save more on your utility bills in the long run.
Selecting an instantaneous hot water system
Although an instantaneous hot water system is considered an excellent choice for modern homes, it is important to set proper expectations and learn if there are any possible pitfalls to choosing one. Perhaps the primary consideration before buying an on-demand water heater is the price. Besides this, it all boils down to the following factors:
• Fuel type
• Energy efficiency rating
Size is vital because you need to make sure that the heater is capable of heating a sufficient amount of water according to the temperature setting. Water pressure may also suffer if the heater size is not enough for the demand. One solution to increasing water pressure is installing multiple heaters at different points of use.
Another vital consideration in selecting an instantaneous hot water heater is fuel type and availability in your area. Electricity is the most convenient choice around the country because it is readily available. However, you won’t have a back-up in case of a power interruption. Electric-fired instant water heaters also have lower water pressure than gas-fired on-demand water heaters.
Lastly, energy efficiency rating is also crucial if you want to save on your utility bills as well as produce fewer greenhouse emissions.
If you choose a water heater with Energy Star rating, it is estimated that you’ll save approximately $100 per year.
How to care and maintain an instantaneous hot water unit
If you want your instant water heater to last long, you need to care for it properly through preventive methods and routine maintenance. A significant cause of most tankless water heaters is hard water. Hard water contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. When these minerals start building up inside the heating unit, your instantaneous hot water heater may overheat and shut down the entire system.
If you want to avoid costly repairs or replacement, the following preventive steps may help:
• Consider installing a water-softening system directly to your water source. A water-softener system not only lessens calcium and magnesium concentration passing through your water heater, but also in other points of use such as sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines.
• Do routine flushing of your water heater every six months or at least once a year. You can hire a professional service technician to flush your instantaneous hot water heater, or you can do it yourself. As a precaution, check the manufacturer’s manual before doing DIY flushing.
Aside from these preventive measures, you also need to make sure that your tankless water heater is operating according to safety requirements recommended by the manufacturer.
• Temperature setting. The safe temperature setting recommended is 122 degrees. Anything more than this is too hot and can be a scalding hazard. It is better if your water heater has a digital thermostat which guarantees a consistent, safe temperature setting.
• Venting. Another safety feature of a tankless water heater is a built-in venting system which removes harmful fumes produced by the equipment. You need to make sure that the venting system is fully operational every time the heater is in use.
• Built-in monitoring system. Newer instantaneous hot water heater units have sophisticated computer monitoring systems for controlling and monitoring the heater operation. It is helpful for checking temperature setting, flow rates, and a lot more.
In general, instant water heaters are a safer option for homes. To guarantee that your heater is installed correctly, trust only a licensed and fully-registered installation company so that your heater maintains optimum performance for years to come.
Instantaneous hot water service and repair – when is it necessary?
While routine water heater maintenance is recommended, there are issues which you can quickly diagnose and fix yourself. However, it is essential to recognize the symptoms of more severe problems that require the services of a professional technician.
• Dealing with mineral build-up. We have discussed earlier that mineral build-up is the most common problem experienced with tankless water heaters. Homeowners can flush the system themselves by following the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, depending on your water heater model, you may need to hire a professional to flush the system for you.
• Corrosion. This is less likely to happen if you have an instantaneous hot water heater. Nonetheless, if this occurs and remains unchecked, more severe problems may arise. Have a technician check if the heat exchanger is properly installed. Poorly installed heat exchangers may be damaged by corrosion and will be costly if replaced.
• Demand overload. Water heaters may not meet simultaneous hot water demand coming from different points of use. For example, if you are taking a shower and someone is running the dishwasher at the same time, the unit may suffer from overload and shut down completely. Ask your service technician for options to resolve this problem. Most likely, the technician will recommend upgrading your gas line or consider multiple heaters for each point of use.
• Combustion shut-down. Proper venting is crucial in preventing computer shut-downs. Hot exhaust fumes coming from the heater must escape efficiently through the vents; otherwise, the system may shut-down.
Taking care of your instant water heater according to manufacturer’s instruction as well as routine maintenance ensures years of use. If you need an HVAC contractor within the Seattle area, trust only Fisher Heating. They are experts in the field of water heater maintenance and repair. Call them today and schedule your next heater maintenance appointment.
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