An Extreme Climate
Alaska is the
state known for its extreme climate so it is not surprising that many things
that work anywhere else in USA, simply do not work in Alaska. The question we
deal with in this article is whether tankless water heaters work in Anchorage
or any other Alaskan cities. To find the answer, I will review the major issues
a tankless water heater could suffer in Alaska and suggest remedies for them.
As you should have guessed most of the issues are related to freezing in some
Issue 1: Cold
The colder the
city water, the bigger your tankless water needs to be. As the water temperature
in Alaska is expected to be just above freezing level, you would be
well-advised to get the largest tankless model with the highest heat energy
output. Do not worry. There are residential tankless units powerful enough to
heat even Alaska water.
Issue 2: Heat
In addition to
the water coming to the water heater being cold, another problem is with hot water
cooling down until it gets to where it will be used. All water pipes must be
well-insulated to reduce heat loss and to prevent freezing.
Issue 3: Freezing
This is pretty
obvious. Freezing kills tankless water heaters by making the internal pipes
burst. The first measure to take against this is to get a good tankless water
heater from a reliable manufacturer and with good freeze protection. High-quality
tankless models can survive at -30 °F thanks to the freeze protection systems
that run on electric and are on a standby mode even when the unit has not been
heating any water for weeks. However, this is Alaska and noone can say the
outside temperature will not fall below -30 °F. This is why you must locate
your tankless water heater in a well-insulated and heated room in your house.
Making the water heater part of the family is the only way to keep it alive in
Issue 4: Power
In a power
outage, your tankless water heater will lose power and it will be prone to
freezing easily. If something like this happens when you are not around you
will come back to find 100 lbs of useless stainless steel with burst pipes
hanging on your wall. To prevent that from happening, get a generator that will
feed electric power to your water heater even during an outage and do not
install a tankless water heater if you are not confident that you will be able
to provide it with electric at all times.