Tankless Water Heater Reviews: Unbiased Consumer Ratings 2024

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand without a tank, offering space efficiency and potentially lower energy costs.

Understanding Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters represent a significant shift in home water heating technology, offering a compact and energy-efficient solution.

The following subsections outline critical aspects of tankless water heaters for homeowners considering an upgrade.

What Is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater, quickly heats water as it flows through the device without the need for a storage tank.

When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, and either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water.

Electric vs. Gas Tankless Water Heaters

There are main two types of on-demand water heaters: electric and gas.

Electric tankless water heaters are typically more compact and easier to install but may require significant electric infrastructure upgrades.

Gas tankless water heaters, which can utilize either propane or natural gas, usually offer higher flow rates than electric models.

Sizing Your Tankless Water Heater

When considering a tankless water heater for their home, individuals should focus on the flow rate and temperature rise they’ll require.

Calculating the number of devices to be used simultaneously and their total flow rate can guide the decision towards the right unit size.

The Science of Heating Water

Tankless water heaters either use a gas burner or an electrical resistance heating element to produce hot water on demand.

They activate in response to water flow, meaning they only heat water when needed, thus potentially saving energy compared to traditional tank water heaters.

Benefits of High-Efficiency Models

High-efficiency tankless water heaters often offer better performance with reduced energy usage.

For example, condensing water heaters can capture additional heat before it escapes through the vent, delivering higher energy efficiency than non-condensing models.

Additionally, they are eco-friendly, saving homeowners on energy costs and contributing less to carbon footprints due to less fuel consumption.

Each of these factors contributes to a well-informed decision when homeowners are considering the suitability and benefits of tankless water heaters for their specific needs.

Choosing and Using Your Tankless Water Heater

A person selecting a tankless water heater from a variety of options, reading reviews, and installing it in a home

In selecting a tankless water heater, homeowners should focus on finding a model that aligns with their specific needs, taking into account factors like size, energy efficiency, and the anticipated demand for hot water within the household.

Selecting the Right Model for Your Home

Selecting the right tankless water heater is crucial and depends on various factors including the size of your home, the number of fixtures, and local groundwater temperatures.

For example, a smaller home may find the EcoSmart ECO 11 sufficient, while larger homes might require a more robust model such as the Rinnai RU199IN, which offers a higher flow rate.

  • Performance: Prioritize units with a high first-hour rating and advanced flow control for consistent temperature.
  • Dimensions: Measure your space to ensure a good fit; some units are particularly space-saving.

Installation and Maintenance Best Practices

Proper installation impacts performance and lifespan.

Professional installation might be necessary to handle the complexities of models like the Stiebel Eltron Tempra 36 Plus.

Routine maintenance such as descaling is vital, especially in areas with hard water.

  • Venting: Ensure correct venting for gas models to avoid safety hazards.
  • Recirculation: Some models include external pumps for faster hot water delivery.

Energy Savings and Environmental Impact

Tankless water heaters are energy-efficient, reducing utility bills and environmental impact.

Electric heaters, for example, often consume less power than their gas counterparts.

The EcoSmart ECO 27 is known for self-modulating technology that adjusts energy usage to demands.

  • Energy Usage: Assess the watts and BTUs to gauge efficiency.
  • Insulation: Look for units with quality insulation to prevent heat loss.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Common issues with tankless water heaters include the ‘cold water sandwich’ effect and inconsistent temperatures.

Brands like Rheem and Rinnai have models with built-in technology to mitigate these issues.

  • Flow Sensor: Check this component if you’re experiencing temperature fluctuations.
  • Burner: A problematic burner can affect performance; regular checks help prevent this issue.

Tankless Water Heater Brands and Reviews

Different brands offer unique features tailored to diverse needs.

Renowned brands like Rheem, Rinnai, Stiebel Eltron, and EcoSmart are often mentioned in the best tankless water heater reviews.

  • Rheem RTEX-13: Ideal for smaller homes or point-of-use applications.
  • Stiebel Eltron Tempra 36 Plus: Offers full-house coverage with precise temperature control.