Keep Your Tankless Water Heater Close to You
Tankless water heaters work best when they are close
to where the hot water is being used and they start to be less and less
efficient and comfortable to use as the hot water outlet get farther. This is
because you need to keep the hot water flowing at a steady rate for the
tankless water heater to work properly and that requires quite some patience at
the bath on the farthest part of the house. If you run out of patience and
start playing the shower handle, the water heater can stop and you get a cold
water sandwich. This is much more likely to happen in large houses with remote
faucets and showers. Even when you are patient, waiting for hot water in a big
home is pain as you will be wasting both your time and your water. Here are
some things you can do to ameliorate these issues.
Measures to take
Check your Hot
Water Pipes for Redundant Parts
sometimes add extra pipes when repairing the system or installing a new water
heater. Over decades, this can lead your hot water lines to become much longer
than it should have been. A common example of such additions to hot water pipes
is when you change from an old-fashioned atmospheric hot water heater connected
to a chimney to a tankless water heater that needs horizontal power vent. The
installer lays pipes from where the old water heater had been to a new location
where the tankless unit will be placed. As a result, pipes are longer when the
tankless water heater starts running and the hot water delays are worse. People
often blame the delayed hot water on the new tankless water heater when that
happens but it is actually the extra pipes.
Change Pipes to PEX
PEX is some
sort of plastic but unlike many other types of plastic it does not leach
chemicals into hot water so you can use it for hot water pipes. PEX does not conduct
heat as much as copper so the hot water in the pipes will stay hot for longer.
This is great news because every time you open the hot water tap, you can get
the hot water left from the last time you used hot water.
Tankless Water Heater in a Better Location
This is pretty
straightforward. If you put the water heater close to your bath, you get hot
water fast. Another similar but much more interesting idea is to install
multiple tankless units in different locations instead of one large unit. This
way, you will have dedicated hot water stations for delivering hot water to
different parts of your home faster.
small electric hot water tanks that store a few gallons of hot water for
instant use. You link one of them to your hot water pipes next to a remote
faucet and it will give you hot water until the hot water from the main water
heater arrives. This is a cheap and permanent solution to the hot water delays
and inconsistent hot water.
recirculation pump sends the cold water in the pipes back to the water heater
through a second water line and keeps the pipes full of hot water. This is a
very expensive and hard to install system. You will need an extra line of
pipes going back to the water heater and not all of these pumps work properly
with tankless water heaters. In addition, it can make tankless water heater
short cycle and reduce its efficiency. Therefore, it is hard to say whether
recirculation pumps save energy or waste energy. There are more advanced
systems that you can trigger to replace the cold water in the pipes when you
need cold water but in any case, the complexity of the devices make them less
than the best solution to hot water delays.