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Tankless Water Heaters: An FAQ

Posted on: September 16, 2014

At Lighten Up, we want homeowners to know all of their options regarding home appliances.  If you’re remodeling your basement, replacing your water heater, or just looking to save money on your utility bill, listen up!  We had one of our technicians, Matt Walker, do an interview about tankless water heater that should answer some of the questions you may have.  Read on, and give us a call today!

Hello, this is Matt Mazzari from Service Inbound!  I’m here with Matt Walker from Lighten Up: he’s a technician and he’s going to tell us a little bit about tankless water heating.  Tankless is an alternative to conventional water heating, and we’re going to learn a little bit about how it works, what scenarios it might be good for, and why homeowners should consider an installment from Lighten up. 

But first, Matt, tell me a little bit about the company.

We are a locally owned company — not a huge one — and we really care about our employees.  We provide a great deal of customer service: we like to get to know our customers so we have a lot of repeat clients!  This has been my favorite place to work apart from the Marine Corps, which I was in for 5 years.  I really love Lighten Up because the owners look out for their employees and customers, and it’s just a great place to be.

That’s excellent to hear.  So let’s move right on to tankless: how does tankless water heating work?

Well, people think that the way tankless works is that you’ll instantly have hot water, but that might not necessarily be the case.  It could take a minute for the water to get to the fixture depending on how far it is.  The way it really works is that you turn on your water heater and there’s an instant flame that starts to heat your water — so it starts heating the water instantly, but it still has to get to its location. That’s basically how it works: it’s a continuous heat for as long as the water is on, so once it gets to your location it’s going to stay hot.  The more water that you use at once —say you’re in the shower and someone using the washing machine  — you might lose a little bit of pressure, but your won’t run out of hot water.  That’s how it works: it gives you endless hot water by reducing the pressure to each fixture.

Right…so why do they call it “tankless,” then?

As opposed to the conventional water heaters, these units have no storage tank.  Instead of storing water, they heat it on-demand.  This makes them very space-conservative; say you’ve got a little space and you want more hot water and you want to have the space your water heater takes up now for storage, you can use your crawlspace.  You’ll hardly know your tankless heater is there because it’s so small. With a standard, there’s a huge tank that you’re dealing with: they can be 4 feet tall by 2 feet across, and that just takes up a ton of room.  With a tankless you’ve got virtually nothing that takes up any space.

What are some other benefits of tankless?  What scenarios does it work best in?

If there’s a family that’s really conservative about their energy, that’s where it’s going to be best.  If you’ve got people who are running out of hot water because they have a large family and the normal tank water heater just can’t keep up, or if you have kids in high school — girls in high school, especially, tend to take rather long showers — then tankless can give you a huge benefit because the dad is never going to jump into the shower and find there’s no hot water.  You’ve always got hot water with tankless, and that’s a huge benefit for some people.

Also, you always have clean water.  Since there’s no tank, the water doesn’t get rusty.  If you have a standard water heater and — say, you’re on vacation for two weeks — usually there’s rust in your water because it’s been sitting, especially if you have an older tank.

So what tankless brands do you install and why?

We go with Rheem, Noritz, and Rinnai.  Those are basically the top three on the market.  Personally, I really like the Noritz because it’s got such a great name behind it, but all of them offer really great warranties. All three of them have slightly different dimensions, so it gives the customers options.  Rather than saying, “Look, this is your one option,” I can say, “Look, here are the differences in these three brands” and that just opens up a whole other area of options for them to choose from, and people like options.  It also gives another element to the service I can provide them, since I can help them choose the best fit for their home.

Does Lighten Up offer a maintenance program for tankless water heaters?

We do! If we put in a tankless water heater for your home, we’ll come to your home twice a year.  We go through the heater, make sure everything is operating properly.  A lot of times, with all of the building that they’re doing in our area, sometimes water pressures change; sometimes gas pressures are even subject to change!  So we like to check that to make sure the heater is operating properly.  We like to give it a good cleaning once or twice a year so that we know it’s good to go and that the customer knows it’s good to go.

Great, great.  Well, thank you so much for your time, Matt.  So if  somebody’s interested in learning more about tankless, where can they learn more?

They can learn more by calling us and having a technician come out.  We don’t mind just coming out and showing them what we’ve got to work with.  They can call the Lighten Up shop and we’ll send one of our top technicians out, a professional trained in water heater installation, and we’ll give them their options.  We’ll tell them just how tankless works and what it can do for them.

Awesome!  So give Lighten Up a call to have a technician give you a consultation.  You can go to lightenupelectricalservices.com to find the number for your area, and there’ll be more information on the site and blog as well.  Thanks so much, again, for your time, Matt, and thank you for listening.  This has been Lighten Up Electrical and Plumbing, and I’m Matt from Service Inbound.  Take care!

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