Common Questions About Tankless Water Heaters

This section of the Tankless Guide answers some of the most frequently asked questions. If you should have a question that is not on our page please fill in the form below. We might be able to add it to this page! Names or emails are never shared.

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Tankless Heater FAQ’S

What types of safety features do tankless heaters have?
Tankless water heaters have many different types of safety protection. Auto shut off if water pressure drops, if the water temperature gets to high, if there is a power outage. These features do vary from unit to unit so make sure to read the MFG description .
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What about the Federal Tax credit?
UpdateAs of this week Dec. 2010 the federal tax credit has been extended. For more detailed information read more here
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Are tankless water heaters a new idea?
No the tankless water system has been around for decades in Europe, South America. Due to the fact they use so much less energy they have been sold to millions of users for over 50 years.
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Who makes tankless heaters?
Tankless water heaters are made by many well known manufacturers. Names like Titan, Rheem, Stiebel, Navien and many more. Both gas and electric models are available. Read reviews and learn as much as you can before you decide which model is best for you.
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What is the difference between flow rate and water pressure?
This is a question that confuses many folks. Water flow is gallons per minute. For example how long it takes to fill a pot with water is flow. Water pressure is PSI “pounds per square inch” This is the force by which the water hits the bottom of your pan.

Flow is the important number for tankless water heaters. The number of gallons that pass by the heating element per minute determines how large a unit and how fast the heater will produce hot water. The lower the flow the more time the heater has to raise the temperature.
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What is a digital control panel?
Digital Control PanelA digital control is a device that comes with some models. it is designed to give you exact water temperature. you set the display to the temperature you want and that is what you will get. Lets you want 120º set it on the display and all the water you get to the shower or tub or whatever you have it hooked to will give you 120º water. This is a great protection feature for homes that have children or elderly where scalding could be a risk. Not all models have this feature available so be sure to read our tankless reviews to learn more about what features different units offer.

Can a Tankless heater be installed outside?
Yes there are several models that are designed to be used outdoors. In some cases this might be used to heat an outdoor spa or it might be just easier to mount a household heater outside. One of the most popular outside units is Rinnai R94LSi just make sure to mention to your dealer that you wish to purchase the outside model because Rinnai does make both.

How do I determine what size heater I need?
Determining what size tankless water heater you need is a fairly simple formula of number of faucets x gallons per minute. It is often refered to as a usage audit. To make this even easier check out Consumer Reports great sizing calculator.

Can a tankless unit be installed in a crawl space?
Yes tankless water heaters can be installed in crawl spaces. Electric is easier due to the lack of venting requirements. Each manufacturer has its own guidelines such as clearance around the unit. Make sure to read your owners manual carefully and also it is strongly suggested you talk to a licensed plumber and electrician before attempting any install of a tankless water heater
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Does my outdoor unit need to be protected?
First most major manufacturers offer indoor and outdoor models of tankless heaters. The outdoor units are designed to withstand some of the elements. They may not however be dependable in Minnesota versus Arizona. A few units have built in heaters to protect against the northern winters. You may live in a warmer climate but have an unseasonably cold winter that the outdoor tankless unit may not be equipped to handle. In these cases, you can purchase insulation such as a jacket to protect it from the cold nights and lessen the likelihood of freezing. Additionally, there are water heater blankets that can help shield them from freezing. Beyond temperature you might want to consider wind as a concern. If your outdoor tankless unit is located where it is in line of your prevailing wind it is suggested you put a block up. a small fence, bush or even park you car if possible in the way to help reduce the wind from blowing across the unit.
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5 Responses to “Tankless FAQ”
  1. Beverly says:

    Unreliable and expensive to maintain

  2. We use propane gas. Would a Navien waterheater work with propane? We have a gas heater, dryer & stove hooked to the propane tank. Would I need anything different or additional?

    Thank you.

  3. says:

    great insight. Really enjoyed browsing this blog. Keep up the good
    work and to everyone keep on learning!

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  4. petron says:

    We have had this Titan SCR4 N-180 for almost a year. When it works it is great. Plenty of hot water for all our needs are multi-point usage. However like all good things when this unit is bad it is awful. The service department even though polite are very very slow in repairs. I have had to send the unit back twice and each time took me at least 10 days to fix. I wish they had an exchange program or something.

  5. Brian says:

    Looking for help with troubleshooting and trying to understand the Navien owners manuals,I found this resource online that was very helpful might be what some of you are looking for too!

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