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Tankless Water Heater Q & A with Stiebel Eltron 1

Tankless Water Heater Q & A with Stiebel Eltron 1

1. How long have tankless water heaters existed and when did they begin to rise in popularity?

Stiebel Eltron pioneered the development of tankless water heaters in Germany during the 1950s and is now the largest supplier of tankless electric water heaters in the world. Stiebel Eltron has a long track record of reliable performance and superior technical design and innovation. In the US tankless water heaters have only become popular during the last decade. Tankless is here to stay. Homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of tankless water heating as cited below.

2. What are the three biggest benefits to tankless water heaters?

Energy Saving – In comparison to electric tank style heaters the homeowner will save 15-20% on the water heating portion of their electric bills. As you know, tank-style heaters are continually having to heat and reheat water throughout the day to higher than necessary temperatures, due to heat dissipation through the wall of the tank. This results in stand-by losses of 15-20% of the kWH used.

Space saving – our largest Tempra 36 model is only about 22 inches wide, the Tempra™ 24 about 15 inches wide, both about 15 inches high and 5 inches deep. Compared with the bulky traditional tanks, this can provide a great deal of space saving and present various mounting alternatives. Point-of-use units are even smaller, with our Mini™ measuring 6.5” high x 7.5” wide and 3.5” deep.

Unlimited supply of hot water – the Stiebel Eltron tankless, electric hot water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water – on demand – only the amount you require, when you require it, for as long as you need. There will be no more waiting for the tank water to reheat once depleted. You simply set the temperature of the water you want on the front dial. Several sensors and microprocessor ensure that the temperature of the water does not deviate from the set-point dial selection.

Seismic proof construction – the SE tankless electric water heaters are not subject to seismic code. There is no need for preventative construction, as is required with tank-type heaters.

3. Do you have any statistics on the amount of energy savings a homeowner can expect?

See “Energy Saving” above. The average home uses about 5,000kwh for water heating if an electric water heater is being used. 20% of that would be 1,000kwh that is saved every year by using a Stiebel Eltron tankless electric water heater. These savings can be achieved with small additional initial investment. The additional incremental installed cost of a tankless system versus tank type is small.

4. How specialized is installation? Are there programs to teach remodelers about installation?

The installation of a tankless water heater is not difficult but should be carried out by licensed plumbers and electricians. If locating the unit where the tank-type unit once stood, all that is necessary is to bring the cold and hot connections to the inlet and outlet points on the tankless unit and utilize the existing household pipe runs. We recommend the use of braided steel flexible connectors, but other familiar means of connecting the unit are acceptable. The existing wiring and breakers for the tank-type will have to be replaced which is an easy job for the electrician. If relocating, the compact size of the tankless unit gives the homeowner many options for hanging on a wall or placing the unit out of sight in a cabinet.

If the plumber or remodeler opts for hard piping of the unit, caution needs to be used when sweating pipes close to the heater that the casing is not damaged in the process. After the installation, the filter should be checked for any debris caught in the line from solder or teflon tape, etc. which can often obstruct the water flow and affect minimum water flow activation rates.

Unfortunately, there is no installation program currently available. We are working on a troubleshooting program which we hope to have up on our website soon.

5. Is there anything a remodeler should keep in mind before installing or recommending tankless?

Correct sizing of the tankless heater is key. Please use the TEMPRA sizing chart that is on our web site and in the TEMPRA literature. Once you know which model you need then check with your electrician to make sure the size of the electric service is sufficient. In some cases, the size of the electrical service has to be increased to accommodate the additional load that is created by the electric tankless unit. We have a lot of helpful sizing and technical information on our website at www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.

Further, the homeowner / remodeler can actually tailor the usage points to maximize the output of hot water. This can be done by using newer, low flow shower heads (1.5 – 2.0 gpm) and aerators on all the faucets. These can still provide the homeowner with acceptable flow rates. There really is no need to have a 2.2 gpm aerator on the kitchen sink. This can easily be less, and the difference can be made up elsewhere with additional hot water flow.

6. What are some common FAQs you hear from contractors?

What is the best way to correctly size a Stiebel Eltron tankless, electric water heater? (Correct sizing of the tankless heater is key. Contractors should use the TEMPRA sizing chart that is on our web site and in the TEMPRA literature. Once you know which model you need then check with your electrician to make sure the size of the electric service is sufficient. In some cases, the size of the electrical service has to be increased to accommodate the additional load that is created by the electric tankless unit. We have a lot of helpful sizing and technical information on our website at www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.)

What type of water heater is best as a backup to the solar thermal system? (The Tempra™ whole house tankless, electric water heater provides and ideal backup for a solar thermal system when the sun needs a little help.)

What is the best location for a tankless, electric water heater? (If you are building a new house or apartment make sure that you place the tankless unit in a location that minimizes the pipe runs to the hot water draw off points. This way you can make sure that as little water as possible is wasted. When someone turns on the hot water, less water has to be flushed before the hot water gets to the faucet.)

What is the best means for making the plumbing connections to the SE tankless water heater? (We recommend the use of braided steel flexible connectors, but other familiar means of connecting the unit are acceptable.)

What is the most common plumbing problem after an installation? (The inlet water filter screen should be checked for any debris caught in the line from solder or teflon tape, etc. which can often obstruct the water flow and affect minimum water flow activation rates.)

What is the most common electrical problem after an installation? (The electrical technical data regarding wiring and breaker sizes must be adhered to, in order to guarantee a successful installation.)

How can you get the most out of a tankless hot water system? (Contractors can actually tailor the usage points to maximize the output of hot water. This can be done by using newer, low flow shower heads (1.5 – 2.0 gpm) and aerators on all the faucets. These can still provide the homeowner with acceptable flow rates.)

Part 2

Submitted by Stiebel Eltron USA. Stiebel Eltron produces some of the highest quality electric tankless water heaters, thermal solar products, automatic hand dryers, and space heaters. For more information you can visit their website at www.stiebel-eltron-USA.com or call (800)582-8423.



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11 Comments For This Post

  1. R. Woods Says:

    My unit is one week old and already does not work. I need to reset the thermal cutoff switch, but can’t seem to do that. Any info on this? I’m tired of taking cold showers!

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