If you’re in the market for a tankless water heater, you’re probably aware of the two primary choices. Those choices being electric or gas tankless hot water heaters. We’ll take a look at gas tankless hot water heaters and their advantages.
The gas-fired variety of tankless water heaters run on your choice of either natural gas or propane. They’re activated by a water flow sensor, supplying a constant supply of hot water. The capacity of the gas tankless water heater determines the maximum flow rate of the tankless unit. Since gas units offer superior capacity and flow rates than electric tankless water heaters they are often more appropriate for whole-house applications. Moreover, with gas prices at lower rates than the cost of electricity, gas tankless water heaters can be the right choice when providing hot water for an entire house or large commercial application.
When it comes to installing a gas tankless water heater there are certain installation requirements that must be met. You’ll need to have the installer customize for a direct vent, combustion, and gas line requirements. This can make what seems like a simple installation, a complicated one. And, although, installation venting kits can be purchased from your tankless water heater manufacturer, it should be noted that there are often unique customization requirements. Large gas units should be located centrally, so that hot water runs are minimized. Electric tankless water heaters hold the location advantage, as they benefit from point-of-use heater location. For obvious reasons, it’s important to have a qualified professional handle your gas unit installation.
When it comes to selecting a gas-fired unit there are several factors you’ll need to consider. You’ll need to determine the volume of water that you’ll need to heat. This flow rate can be measured rather easily in gallons per minute (GPM). Your GPM can be measured by simply timing how long it takes your facet to fill a gallon of water. Other factors include how cold the water is when it enters the gas unit and how hot the water is as it exits the unit. Some gas-fired units operate via a pilot light, this can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to energy savings. To avoid these standby energy losses, you can go with a model that has an intermittent ignition device (IID). These IID’s operate via spark ignition, much like a kitchen range. The capacity and efficiency of the gas-fired model are important variables, as well. If your flow rate somehow exceeds that of your selected model, you can supplement with point-of-use electrical units, or even run gas units in parallel.
Selecting a tankless hot water heater is not a black and white issue. It’s more about what’s best for your particular application. Gas-fired tankless water heaters certainly come with their advantages (most notably whole house applications) but many electric units are more appropriate for certain applications. When selecting your tankless water heater, consider your needs first, and the choice of gas or electric accordingly.