National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) effective April 16, 2015

National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) effective April 16, 2015

This act will change dramatically the simple act of replacing your water heater!

Energy efficiencies are being tightened, once again. Specifically as it applies to gas units. Everything over 55 gallons storage will go from an EF of from .53 to .56 to from .74 to .75!!! That will be a very costly changeover. The good news, for now, is that a 40 gallon will only increase from .59 to .62 and a 50 gallon from .58 to .60.

Anyone with large hot water issues will be forced to upgrade significantly in order to meet the demand. This may be easier said than done as physical size of heaters will also increase limiting the choices for a practical replacement.

Of course I see this as just one more nail in the tank style water heater coffin.

The obvious solution is a Rinnai tankless water heater.

The act will increase the tankless standard from .62 to .82. This will level the playing field and remove some of the obvious units from the market. Rinnai has met these standards and more!

Way back when I first heard Paul Harvey speak about Rinnai tankless water heaters I was able to see all these changes that would come to be. The HUGE cost differences have now been eroded and tankless technology can now stand on its own feet.

…Endless hot water will be enjoyed for up to 25 years from a purchase today.

…The small foot print permits the unit to be installed in the most practical spot within the house.

…Energy savings are in the bank. Hard to improve upon perfection.

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7 Considerations for Venting a Tankless Water Heater

water-heater-roof-ventIf your goal is to decrease energy use and lower your utility bills, opting for a tankless water heater is a great decision. After all, water heating accounts for about 18 percent of your energy use, the second highest contributor to your utility bill after space heating and cooling.
With a tankless water heater selected, choosing the right venting option is vital for your safety and proper equipment operation. Unlike storage water heaters, your venting options are far more flexible with a tankless unit.

In fact, combined with ease of installation, smaller square footage required and a more attractive appearance, the advances in tankless design are making it more appealing to a growing number of environmentally conscious homeowners.

When it comes time to have your tankless water heater installed, the technician will inspect your home to determine the best venting option possible. Become familiar with the following seven considerations so you have an idea where the best place is to mount your water heater and configure the venting.

Indoor tankless water heaters need access to outdoor air.

Not only do the water heaters vent to the outside, but they also draw in outdoor air for combustion purposes. You have two options: direct vent and power vent.

Direct-vent units have one intake vent and one exhaust vent. This option takes up very little space. Power-vent units use an exhaust fan to actively draw exhaust fumes to the outside. This option needs a larger area to ensure enough airflow for proper combustion.

Outdoor tankless water heaters free up indoor space.

Thanks to self-warming components, tankless units can withstand sub-freezing temperatures. This means they can be installed outside, freeing up valuable indoor space in smaller homes and condos. When installed outdoors, the water heater requires no additional venting.

Multiple venting options are available.

While the most obvious place to vent a tankless water heater is through the roof, it’s not your only option. You can also vent through an exterior side wall, opening up more possible installation locations. Unlike traditional tank water heaters, which must be vented through the roof, tankless units blow exhaust out horizontally so vents can terminate through a wall instead.

Condensing tankless water heaters cost less to install.

Condensing technology is found in tankless water heaters and furnaces. It involves using two heat exchangers to extract as much heat as possible from the fuel source. The result is a unit that performs far more efficiently and expels a much cooler exhaust gas. This means the exhaust vent can be made of less expensive polypropylene or PVC, effectively lowering the cost of installation. Of course, operational costs are lower when you choose a more efficient unit as well, resulting in double payback of your investment.

A concentric vent design increases safety.

With this type of design, a 5-inch concentric vent contains both intake and outtake pipes. That way, the concentric vent itself remains cool to the touch since the hot outgoing exhaust vent is insulated inside. Also, if the exhaust pipe develops a leak, the carbon monoxide-laden air remains in the concentric vent and does not leak into the air you breathe.

Recess boxes keep the tankless unit hidden from sight.

If you want an exterior installation, keep in mind that certain newer homes are often built with recess boxes for non-condensing tankless water heaters. The box allows the unit to fit within the home’s framing instead of hanging off the side of an exterior wall. Look into whether your home has this feature so you can take advantage of it if you want.

Aesthetically pleasing venting options are available.

Look into pipe covers and creative termination points to obscure the vents and enjoy a more aesthetically pleasing finished product.

With these considerations in mind, be sure to work closely with a tankless water heater dealer to plan your purchase and installation.

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Tankless Water Heater FAQs

RL94eIf you’re considering a tankless water heater upgrade, you may have some questions you want answered before taking the plunge. Here are six frequently asked questions about tankless water heaters to set the record straight.

How does a tankless water heater work?

Also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, tankless units heat water only as it’s needed. Instead of storing hot water 24/7, tankless heaters sense when you call for hot water and instantly heat the cold water as it is traveling through the unit. This reduces standby heat loss and can greatly reduce your water heating bills.

It works like this: when you open a hot water faucet, gas passes to a stainless steel burner, mixing with air and distributing the flame over a copper heat exchanger. As incoming cold water flows over the heat exchanger, it absorbs heat. The water exits the unit and makes its way through the plumbing to the faucet. When you stop the water, the tankless unit goes into standby mode and only turns back on when you call for hot water again.

Can it be installed where my old tank water heater used to be?

Tankless water heaters are small, wall-mounted units that can go in the same place as your old tank provided there’s access to proper ventilation. Ideal installation spots include the utility room, garage, basement, attic or on an exterior wall. Wherever you install it, the unit must be direlyct vented to the exterior through the roof or a wall.

Do tankless water heaters qualify for tax credits?

You may have heard that tax credits were available for energy-efficient installations, including tankless water heaters. Unfortunately, these tax credits expired at the end of 2013, but you may still be eligible for local utility rebates.

Why do tankless units cost more than storage tanks?

Newer, more advanced technology tends to cost more. When it comes to heating water, you really get what you pay for. Tankless units are made of quality stainless steel and copper. They are built to last, providing a 15- to 20-year lifespan where storage tanks typically last only 8 to 10 years.

The advanced technology also makes tankless water heating a less expensive endeavor. Once you purchase the unit, your investment starts paying you back immediately. Because of its energy efficiency, long life and low maintenance requirements, you can expect a tankless water heater to pay for itself more than once during its lifespan.

Can I use a tankless water heater with hard water?

As is the case with storage tanks, tankless water heaters tend to experience lime scale buildup when used in places with hard water. Over time, this decreases the system’s efficiency. To slow the buildup, consider installing a water softener. Then, when the scaling gets to be too much, clean the tankless water heater with vinegar. This maintenance step is like changing the oil in your car. It helps keep the unit running efficiently and may prevent problems in the future.

Can I expect instant hot water at every faucet and shower after installing a tankless water heater?

While it’s true that tankless water heaters provide hot water right when you need it, it still takes time for the water to make its way to your plumbing fixtures. In fact, because of a short delay between calling for hot water and the tankless water heater turning on, it may actually take a few extra seconds for the water to heat up at the tap.

If this is a problem, consider installing a point-of-use tankless water heater in the kitchen or master bathroom. With its close proximity to the faucets, you can expect nearly instant hot water with this type of installation.

Still have questions about how a tankless water heater works and if it is the right solution for your home? Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any remaining questions you have!

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Troubleshooting Tips for a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless hot water heaters are much different than standard tanks. Anything you know about troubleshooting your old storage water heater likely doesn’t apply here. Consider these tips for troubleshooting your tankless water heater if you’re experiencing any of the following problems.

No Hot Water

  • Check for power: Take a close look at the tank. Is the standby light on? If not, the unit is not receiving power. Check the circuit breaker and reset any tripped breakers to restore power.
  • Verify the voltage: If the standby light is on but no additional lights illuminate when you call for hot water, verify the proper voltage. You should have 220+ volts at the junction box. If everything looks good and you still don’t get any hot water, the heater could be dead. This will vary with manufacturers and models. Call a professional to come take a look.

Water is Cooler than Usual

  • Increase the temperature: If you get warm water instead of hot, check the temperature setting on the water heater. During the winter, you may need to increase the output temperature to counter the colder groundwater entering the unit.
  • Decrease the flow rate: Tankless water heaters have a lower flow rate capacity than storage tanks. Try to limit yourself to one hot water activity at a time if you are only using a single tankless heater, such as running the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry or taking a shower. (This advice can be ignored with Rinnai).By keeping the total hot water demand less than the unit’s output limit, you’ll enjoy endless hot water.

Lights Flicker When Water Heater Runs (Electric tankless)

  • Check for sufficient amp capacity: Flickering lights are most likely to occur in homes with small or old electric panels. Check whether your panel has an amp capacity of 100 AMP for C85 circuit breakers or 125 AMP for C120 circuit breakers. You may need an electrician to make modifications to stop the lights from flickering.

Water Heater Leak

  • Check where the leak is coming from: A leaky valve or fitting may simply need to be tightened. If a seam is leaking, call the contractor who installed the unit and go over warranty information to see if you qualify for a free replacement.

Water Heater Comes on When Calling for Cold Water

  • Have a professional come make an adjustment: In some cases, cold water pressure behind the flow switch holds the switch in place. When someone flushes a toilet or calls for cold water, some of the pressure subsides and the lights on the unit activate for just a moment. The heater doesn’t actually come on; it’s just a little confused about the pressure reduction. A quick visit from a technician should set the problem right.

“Cold Water Sandwich”

  • Keep the water running: Unlike storage water heaters, tankless systems don’t keep hot water waiting for you. That means if you turn a faucet on and off frequently, you might experience hot water for a few seconds, then a burst of cool water, then hot water again. This is normal for tankless water heaters. It takes a moment for it to switch back on after being off for a few minutes, so you get the cold water sandwich. To counter this, keep a small stream of water flowing at a minimum flow rate of 0.4 gallons per minute to prevent the water heater from shutting off.
  • Choose a Rinnai tankless water heater: This high-tech brand remains in a ready-to-fire state for one minute after hot water flow ceases. This minimizes the cold water sandwich effect that is highly prominent with less innovative tankless systems. See Rinnai water heaters now.

Sometimes, troubleshooting your tankless water heater simply involves getting to know how the system works. It’s very different from a storage tank, and those differences save you 24 to 34 percent on your water heating bills. For most people, it’s worth getting over the learning curve to enjoy endless hot water for far less money per month.

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Comparing Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters

You may have heard about the benefits of tankless water heaters, but how different are they from traditional tank water heaters? By understanding how they compare, you can make an educated decision when the time comes to make a replacement.

Physical Size

The “size” of a water heater usually refers to the hot water output. What we’re comparing here are the physical dimensions of a storage tank vs. a tankless unit:

  • Tank: A traditional tank is a cylinder measuring about 5 feet tall with a diameter of 2 feet. This means the tank takes up about 15.7 square feet.
  • Tankless: They come in different dimensions, but tankless water heaters typically measure about 20 inches wide by 28 inches tall by 10 inches deep. This comes to 3.2 square feet of space.
  • Tankless is the winner: In condos and apartments where space is limited, tankless units are the clear winner. By converting to this option, you clear up space in the utility closet for extra storage that the old tank once commandeered.

Hot Water Supply

What good is a water heater if it can’t produce the hot water you need? See how hot water supply compares:

  • Tank: With a maximum flow rate of between 7.5 to 9.5 gallons per minute, you can probably take a shower and run the dishwasher at the same time without too much trouble. When the hot water is gone you will need to water for an hour or so for more.
  • Tankless: Flow rates average between 2.5 and 5 gallons per minute. It’s harder to push out a flow rate any higher than this when the tankless unit creates hot water on demand. What is important to consider is that this supply of hot water will last FOREVER.
  • Tank is the winner for the first hour, Tankless is the winner every hour after that: If multitasking is your thing, a tank is better equipped for the job. Of course, installing two tankless units counters this problem.

Energy Consumption

Perhaps the main reason you’re researching tankless water heaters is because of the potential for big energy savings, which equates to lower utility bills. Let’s run the numbers:

  • Tank: You’re used to a water heater that stores and preheats 30 to 50 gallons of water so it’s ready when you need it 24 hours a day. Water heating typically accounts for 18 percent of your total utility bills when a tank is doing the work.
  • Tankless: Water is heated on demand. There is no storage tank and therefore no standby heat loss to counter. If you consume 40 gallons of hot water or less every day, you could save 24 to 34 percent compared to a conventional tank.
  • Tankless is the winner: If energy savings is your goal, you’ll certainly find it by upgrading to a tankless water heater.

Purchase Cost

The price of the upgrade itself is a very important consideration:

  • Tank: A traditional tank water heater is a relatively affordable purchase, typically costing somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 to $2,200 depending on fuel type, size and other features.
  • Tankless: Get ready to pay more for your tankless water heater. Negotiate installation cost up front.
  • Tank is the winner: When it comes to the upfront cost, there’s no arguing that the tank water heater wins.


How often can you expect to replace your tank or tankless water heater? Let’s find out:

  • Tank: Most storage tanks last no more than 10 to 15 years, and that’s assuming you maintain the water heater properly and take good care of it.
  • Tankless: Because it doesn’t work as hard and doesn’t hold water 24/7, tankless units have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. That means, even though it costs more to purchase initially, the longer life and guaranteed energy savings every month help you recoup your investment over the unit’s lifespan.
  • Tankless is the winner: It’s hard to argue the twice-as-long life expectancy of tankless water heaters. It certainly makes up for the higher initial price!
    Want to know more? Just give us a call and our staff will be happy to talk about some of the other benefits of moving to a tankless water heater.
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Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

Even though storage water heaters are the norm, they are one of the most wasteful appliances in your home. Perhaps that’s a major reason you’re considering switching to a tankless water heater. You’ve heard the upgrade will result in energy savings and add value to your home, but is a tankless water heater really the right choice for you? We have compiled a list of pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

No Standby Heat Loss

This is where the energy efficiency of tankless water heaters comes into play. With no tank to store hot water in, tankless units only heat water when you need it. Electric or gas-powered heating elements kick on when you turn the faucet to call for hot water. Only then does the tankless water heater use energy.

This improved type of operation can increase efficiency by 24 to 34 percent if you consume 40 gallons of hot water or less per day. Even if you consume twice this much, you can still enjoy 8 to 14 percent energy savings.

Endless Hot Water

With a storage water heater, you may have to wait 20 to 60 minutes for the hot water supply to replenish if it is fully used, and you can kiss that long, hot shower good-bye if your tank is undersized. You may also have to wait between activities such as running the dishwashing or doing a load of laundry because these chores use up a lot of hot water and drain the tank significantly.

On the other hand, on-demand tankless water heaters require no wait time between hot water activities. You literally have an endless supply of hot water. In fact, you could hop in the shower at 7:00 am and stay in there until 7:00 pm and still not run out of hot water.

Long Life

Storage water heaters are lucky if they last a decade. After that, you have to start thinking about replacement options. However, tankless systems often come with a 12-year warranty and easily last 20 years or more. This long life saves you even more by avoiding replacement costs in the coming years.

Small Size

Traditional water heaters are usually 5 feet tall with a 2-foot diameter. They take up precious storage space, especially if you live in a small condo. While they vary in size, tankless units are usually about 20 inches by 28 inches by 10 inches. That means, instead of taking up 15.7 square feet like a storage tank, the tankless unit only takes up 3.2 square feet.

Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Lower Flow Rate

If you choose a tankless water heater, be aware that the flow rate is lower. Compared to the 7.5 to 9.5 gallons per minute a storage tank can pump out, tankless units average flow rates between 2.5 and 5 gallons per minute. This reduces the number of hot water activities you can do simultaneously, generally limiting you to two activities at a time.

Fortunately, it’s easy to counter this disadvantage. First, look for a higher-output unit. These are becoming increasingly available as they rise in popularity. Another option is to install multiple units throughout your home. You can install a smaller dedicated water heater in the kitchen for instant hot water at the sink and for the dishwasher.

Higher Initial Cost

It’s true that tankless water heaters cost more upfront than their storage counterparts. However, because of the energy savings that you enjoy every year, you can expect to recuperate the difference over the lifespan of the water heater. Plus, since the lifespan is more than twice as long, you save even more than you bargained for by avoiding replacement costs.

For me, it’s a no-brainer: tankless water heaters offer endless hot water and substantial energy savings to boot? Sounds good to me!

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How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Tankless water heaters, also known as demand or instantaneous water heaters could be just what you’re looking for as you shop for a replacement water heater. They are 8 to 34 percent more energy efficient, provide an endless supply of hot water, have double the lifespan, and take up one-fifth of the physical space in your utility closet compared to traditional storage water heaters. But how do tankless water heaters work? What makes them so energy efficient?

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

It all has to do with the way the water is heated. Unlike storage water heaters, tankless units don’t store hot water 24/7. Instead, it heats water on demand when you need it, and only when you need it.

The way it works is fairly simple. First you turn on a faucet and call for hot water. Then cold water travels down a pipe and into the tankless water heater. An electric element or gas burner turns on when it senses you want hot water. This heating component heats the water instantly as it passes through on its way to the faucet.

Flow Rate and Efficiency Facts

In general, tankless water heaters can provide two to five gallons of hot water per minute. As you shop for the perfect replacement water heater, keep in mind that gas-burning units tend to have a higher flow rate than electric units.

While gas-fired water heaters have higher flow rates, they waste energy if the pilot light is constantly burning. Sometimes, this can counteract the energy savings you want with a tankless water heater.

To overcome this drawback, you should choose a tankless water heater with an intermittent ignition device, or IID, which only turns on the pilot light when hot water is needed.

Remember, because of the relatively limited flow rate of tankless units, even the largest gas-fired water heaters may not be able to supply enough hot water for multiple hot water activities occurring simultaneously throughout the home. For example, a hot shower and the dishwasher running at the same time may push your tankless water heater to its limit.

You can overcome the flow rate restrictions of demand water heaters by installing two or three in your home. You can install dedicated tankless units right where you need hot water the most, such as in the kitchen, next to the laundry room or near the master bathroom. With a separate dedicated unit for each individual function, you don’t have to worry about flow rate restrictions.

In addition to providing whole-house water heating, tankless water heaters also are ideal for heating hot tubs, boosting appliance efficiency or supplementing a solar water heater.

If you consume less than 41 gallons of hot water a day in your home, switching to a tankless water heater could provide a 24 to 34 percent increase in water heating efficiency. Even if you consume a lot of water – say, around 86 gallons of hot water per day – you can still appreciate 8 to 14 percent energy savings. You can appreciate the highest performance if you install multiple tankless units near specific hot water outlets. This tactic grants you up to 50 percent energy savings (source).

Installation and Maintenance

In order to function properly and provide the efficiency you want, you need to have your tankless unit installed properly. Leave this task to a professional who knows how to factor in fuel type, climate, safety issues, local building code requirements and more when performing the installation.
Then, you should perform periodic maintenance to extend the life of your water heater and improve day-to-day efficiency. The owner’s manual should come with specific maintenance recommendations, but the basics may include cleaning the inside with vinegar and flushing out the system.

With proper installation and maintenance, you can expect your tankless water heater to last 20 years or more! It’s a highly functional, incredibly efficient alternative to the traditional storage water heater.

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