If your old water heater has rusted out or stopped working, you may want to upgrade to a tankless model when you get a new heater. A tankless water heater costs more, but it's more energy-efficient. Tankless heaters also look different, and they're installed a little differently, although you can choose an electric or gas model. Here's are a few details to know about the tankless water heater installation process.
A Tankless Model Mounts On The Wall
One big difference is that a tankless heater mounts on the wall rather than rest on the floor. It's smaller than a tank model too, so you can probably put a new tankless model in the same space as your old heater. However, you may not want to.
It helps to understand how a tankless water heater works. It heats water on demand, but that doesn't mean the hot water is instant. The hot water has to travel from the heater to the faucet, and that means you might have to drain out cold water before the hot water reaches the faucet. The farther away the heater, the more cold water you have to drain.
This is called a cold water sandwich, and it may not be that big of an issue with you. A way to avoid it is to put the heater on a wall closer to your bathroom, or the plumber can add a valve or recirculating system to the unit.
A New Gas Heater Might Need A New Gas Line
A tankless water heater that runs on gas needs the same things as a tank model. The unit has to be hooked up to gas and connected to a vent to the outside. A tankless model needs to use more gas since it heats cold water on demand, rather than keeping a tank of water hot. To supply the needs of a heater, your plumber may need to install larger gas lines. Your old system probably has smaller lines, since the gas requirements are lower.
When you're choosing a location for your water heater, consider how you'll install the vent to the outside. If you can install the heater on an exterior wall, installing the vent will be easier. However, you also have to consider access to gas lines and plumbing lines too. You can always have new lines added, but that increases the cost of the installation.
A Pressure Relief Valve And Expansion Tank Could Be Needed
Other than needing larger gas lines, a tankless water heater installation is much like hooking up a tank model. The water heater needs a pressure relief valve, and it will probably need an expansion tank, but your plumber will know for sure.
Another way your tankless heater is like a traditional water heater is that it needs regular maintenance that includes flushing sediment out of the water lines. For that reason, the heater should be easy to access, so repairs and maintenance can be done easily.