Tankless Water Heaters are Problem Solvers for Homes With Limited Space
There’s no better way to learn about tankless water heaters than from the experts themselves. Scott Ambrosio, owner of Rebmann Plumbing, discusses everything you need to know about these systems – from installation, to different models, to the benefits you and your family will see by having one!
We are going to discuss tankless water heaters today, but first tell me about Rebmann Plumbing.
Rebmann Plumbing is a 75 year old company that specializes in plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems both residentially and commercially. We are owned and operated out of Albertson, NY. We own our own building, our own trucks, and everything is radio dispatched. We are fully computerized in the office to track our customer’s history as well as administer service agreements.
Switching back to tankless, which tankless model do you prefer to install and why?
We prefer the Rheem RTG H95 unit primarily because it’s an American company and Rheem has always been known for quality products. They offer a 12 year warranty on the heat exchanger, five years on parts, and one year on labor. They have a network of support locally to us and they have an inventory that’s readily available to us in any case of need.
If I’m a homeowner, why would I want to choose tankless over a conventional water heater?
A tankless water heater has no standby laws – or very little standby laws – and what I mean by that is it’s an on demand product. Unlike a conventional hot water heater which has a storage of anywhere from 40 to 100 gallons and a center flue where the heat is transmitted to all day long and it goes up the chimney and it has to go up the chimney to refire the temperature, a tankless water heater fires on demand immediately with a very, very small amount of volume passing through. Thereby, there is no standby energy loss costing the homeowner a lot less money to operate.
Because of the energy that you’re saving, you will end up saving money having a tankless in the long run?
Yes, that’s one of the primary reasons. The other reason is traditional hot water heaters degrade over time – they scale up and transfer energy at a much slower rate after the first year. A tankless will produce conceivably unlimited amounts of hot water for its rated energy output over the life of its service. There is no loss of energy output.
In comparison to the conventional water heater, how long would you say a tankless one lasts?
I would say it’s probably on par with a conventional heater – it will last somewhere between 10 and 15 years.
Can you tell me a little bit about the installation process?
One of the things we need to do is what we call a direct vent product. It’s 95% efficient, meaning that unlike a conventional heater, 95% of its energy is utilized in producing hot water where a conventional water heater can be anywhere from 70-75%. So, we have to run PVC piping outside of the house. Now, the heater is normally hung on the walls somewhere, whether it’s in the basement or the first floor and the piping is brought up about 30 inches above grade and terminated. There’s both an air and lead pipe and an exhaust pipe. The space is takes is very small, so it could be the size of a suitcase that you could hang on the wall. And then we have some condensate piping which takes the liquid that is produced because of the efficiency of the unit and it has to be pumped out of the house or sent through a drain with an acid neutralizer because they are slightly acidic.
What type of hookups would I need to have in my home in order to install a tankless.
We need natural gas for sure or propane. Those are the options.
Going off of common objections that I’ve heard about tankless water heaters , one of them is that they sometimes are inconsistent or that I will experience cold showers. How has the technology changed in recent years to allow that to not happen anymore?
They have redesigned some of the heat exchangers and also the way the water mixes out of the heat exchanger to stop that cold sandwich effect so that there is a consistent flow of hot water out of the unit.
Have you heard any questions or objections from your customers about tankless?
Not really, but the only thing you have to be careful of – and what we are always very cautious of – is the actual usage in the home because like any other product it has a rated use and we have to make sure we don’t exceed that in an individual’s home.
As a homeowner, you want to make sure that you have this tankless water heater for as long as possible. So, how can I maintain that to make sure that I can have it for all those years?
One of the things you definitely have to do is change the acid neutralizer medium, which is basically a limestone or a gypsum rock. That has to be changed regularly. Any water inlet filters should be changed and cleaned. And occasionally there is a recommendation to take some vinegar and clean the heat exchanger and wash it out in case any scaling might occur. But, beyond that there’s not much else you have to do.
Does Rebmann Plumbing offer a maintenance program?
We do. We service our customers on a yearly basis and they can check into the website to get some more details about that (www.rebmannplumbing.com) or they can call the office. We’d be happy to send somebody to over to review your individual situation.
Besides the benefits that you’ve already mentioned, are there any others that you’d like to discuss?
Space is a big thing for most people. You have that room where you don’t really have a chimney – a tankless is a problem solver when you have no chimney available or the existing chimney is overloaded. That is a big benefit.
If I’m interested in getting a tankless water heater, or just learning more about Rebmann Plumbing, how do I contact you?
We have our phone number on our website. You can certainly contact us via email or through our website phone number. Call and schedule an appointment to have someone come out and take a look at your needs.