Heat Pump Water Heater Rebates and Credits

If you’re thinking about replacing your electric water heater, now is a great time to take advantage of an excellent rebate opportunity from MassSave. If you install a qualifying heat pump water heater and you receive your electrical service from a MassSave program sponsor, you can take advantage of a $750 rebate.

Until December 31, 2016, you can also take advantage of a federal income tax credit of $300 on your heat pump water heater purchase. That means you can reduce the cost of installation of a heat pump water heater by $1,000 just by acting right now.

Heat pump water heaters keep saving

The savings don’t stop there. A heat pump water heater can reduce your annual energy spending by more than $300! There’s no reason not to take advantage of this exceptional rebate-and-credit offer.

Heat pump water heaters aren’t appropriate for every space because they extract heat from the surrounding air. Heat pump water heaters work best in spaces that remain at a temperature of 50° F or higher. They also need about 750 square feet of space to work. Heat pump water heaters aren’t approved for use in utility closets, even if the closet has a louvered door.

Worried about not having enough hot water on a cold winter morning? Most heat pump water heaters are hybrid devices. They work first as a heat pump, but have an electric backup system to ensure that your hot water is always hot!

If you’d like more information about heat pump water heaters, this excellent rebate opportunity through MassSave, or you’re trying to figure out whether a heat pump water heater is a good choice for your home, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 to schedule a consultation. This rebate program and the associated tax credit are both time limited offers, so don’t wait!

Photo Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, via Flickr.com

Air Source Heat Pumps Can Save Money

You might be tempted to think about heat pumps as “new” technology. They’re not. The concept of a heat pump was actually described in 1852 by Lord Kelvin, and even that was a refinement of a demonstration of artificial refrigeration – one that took place in 1748! Robert C. Webber developed the idea (and a working prototype) for a ground source heat pump in the late 1940’s, with a little help from his water heater and an accidental encounter with the business end of his freezer. (He burned himself by touching the freezer’s refrigeration line – which was hot!) After re-routing the refrigerant line through his water heater as a test, he built a full-sized heat pump that served his entire home.

There are many different heat pump designs, but they all do the same basic thing – they move heat from one place to another using refrigerants. Although they may have operated on the same basic principles, those basic heat pumps are a far cry from today’s air-source heat pumps. If you have dismissed heat pumps as being too expensive to operate, or not robust enough to make it through a Boston winter, keep reading.

In very basic terms, a heat pump is an air conditioner that operates in reverse, generating heat instead of cool air. A mini-split or ductless system is a reversible system, so it can generate both hot and cold air. When refrigerants are compressed, they heat up. When they’re expanded, they get very cold. By circulating uncompressed (cold) gases, the system can make the refrigerants “absorb” heat. When the system forces the gas to expand, the refrigerant dumps heat.

Early heat pumps used the ground as a heat source, so refrigerant loops were buried in the ground around a house or building. Advances in technology have made air-source heat pumps more efficient and less expensive to install and operate. Today’s heat pumps aren’t like heat pumps that were installed even 10 years ago. New refrigerants are exceptionally efficient because they can compress and decompress much better than older refrigerants. This “supercompression” allows the refrigerants to absorb and transport heat from the air much more readily than ever before.

As an added bonus, air-source heat pumps (think mini-split ductless systems) can operate in both directions. The refrigerant flow is reversible, so when the refrigerant moves in one direction, it delivers heat into a home. Reverse the flow of refrigerant and the refrigerant will absorb heat from the home and dissipate it outdoors.

Air-source heat pumps are electric, so when you install one, your electric bill will rise, but because air source heat pumps are so efficient, the rise in your electric bill will offset the cost of heating your home using another fuel. As an added advantage, you get both heating and cooling in one package without the need to install ductwork – a major source of inefficiency. They’re also incredibly quiet. When they’re operating, the indoor units are acoustically no louder than a whisper.

If you’d like more information about using an air-source heat pump or a ductless mini-split heating and cooling system, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We can schedule a visit and show you how an air-source heat pump can heat and cool your home.

Photo Credit: Stig-Espen Soleng, via FreeImages.com

Tank v Tankless: Water Heaters Come Full Circle

If you’re like most people, you only think about hot water when you want it and don’t have it. On-demand hot water has only been around for about 120 years. Before that, people didn’t shower much; they bathed – and they didn’t bathe often. When they did, they brought heated water to the tub and then added cold water to get the right temperature.

During the 20th century, domestic hot water became a standard, and that’s pretty much where we are. Today, debates about hot water ask the question, “Tank or tankless?” The vast majority of domestic hot water today comes from a tank storage system, but the earliest water heaters were invariably tankless. (In fact, some were even portable!) So we’ve come full-circle on domestic hot water, and we’re still asking, “Tank or tankless?”

Team Tank
Storage tank water heaters are relatively cheap, easy to find and relatively easy to install or fix. Compared to other water heating techniques (like electricity), gas water heaters are also reasonably efficient. The design of a water tank hasn’t changed much, but newer tanks have more insulation and safety features like pressure relief valves. Storage tank water heaters can discharge about 7-10 gallons per minute of hot water, so you can shower, launder and wash your dishes simultaneously.

On the minus side, water tank storage systems use a lot of energy, and their efficiency is limited by design. Once the tank is empty, you’ll need to wait as long as an hour for more hot water.

Worse, the tanks themselves are pretty much designed to fail every 6-10 years. Some early storage water heaters had replaceable tanks. Others were made of non-corroding alloys. (75 years later, a few of these tanks are still in service.) If you’re on Team Tank you’ll be buying a new one about once every decade.

Team Tankless
Tankless water heaters have more recently made their grand return to the market. They eliminate many of the storage water tank’s faults. Some gas models are up to 98% efficient, and they’re designed to last for about 25 years. You can take advantage of tax credits and rebates that storage tank water systems don’t qualify for, and a tankless hot water system may even help sell your home!

As long as you are scrupulously honest with yourself about your hot water needs, you can have “endless” hot water. Good tankless water heaters can crank out about 4-5 gallons per minute of hot water. That’s enough for a shower, but you won’t also be able to do the dishes and the laundry at the same time. You may have to choose how and when you use hot water. (The prospect of a cold shower should make the choice easy.)

On Team Tankless, your hot water can be “endless” as long as the electricity stays on. The cold truth about tankless hot water systems is that even the gas-fired ones use some electricity. When your power goes out, your hot water goes out with it. You’ll also pay more up front for a tankless system.

So again, which is it – tank or tankless? If you need an instant solution because your tank is broken, Team Tank is calling. They’re fast, relatively cheap and you can have them in a couple of hours.

If you can replace your hot water system on your schedule and you can afford to get a system that’s large enough to accommodate your hot water demands, you should at least consider a tankless system. They’re more energy-efficient, last 2-3 times longer than a tank, take up less room, and cost less to operate over their lifetimes. In the long run, the additional money you spend up front on a tankless system (and then some) will come back to you in the form of lower energy bills.

If you’d like more information about water heaters or tankless hot water systems, give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We can help you figure out which option is best for you!

Photo Credit: Svilen Milev, via FreeImages.com

Water Efficiency: The Averages v The Ideals

If you plan to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, you’re likely to see a little water efficiency activism, thanks to Colgate-Palmolive. The Fortune-500 superbrand is using its Super Bowl spot to remind people to turn off the water when they brush.

Leaving the water running can send as much as 4 gallons of fresh water down the drain. The ad reminds viewers that those 4 wasted gallons are more fresh water than some people around the world get in an entire week.

Turning off the water while you brush you teeth can save about $40 per year. If you’re looking for some big savings, think about this: the three biggest water consumers in your home are your toilets, your washing machine and your shower. Let’s look at two typical Boston families (four people each) – the Average family and the Ideal family – and how their relative water efficiency shows up on their water bills.

The Bathroom
Each member of the Average household flushes the toilet about 5 times per day, so the Average family uses more than 25,500 gallons per year just to clear the bowl. Toilet usage accounts for nearly one-third of the Averages’ water bill.

The Ideal family installed new water-saving toilets in their home. Each member of the Ideal family also flushes the toilet 5 times, but since their toilets only consume 1.25 gallons per flush, the Ideals use only about 9,000 gallons of water per year on flushing.

If the retail rate for water and sewer services is $0.015 per gallon in their town, the Averages will spend about $380 per year to flush their toilets, while the Ideals will spend just $135. By switching to a new toilet (or even a high-efficiency toilet using just 1.25 gallons per flush), the Averages can reduce their water use by 16,500 gallons per year and save about $250 per year!

The Laundry Room
The Averages have an older washing machine that uses 32 gallons of water per load. The Averages do 12 loads of laundry each week, so they use about 20,000 gallons of water for laundering in a year.
The Ideals have a new high-efficiency washing machine that uses 13 gallons of water per load. They also do 12 loads of laundry each week, but their washer uses only about 8,100 gallons of water each year. Using the same retail rate for water and sewer services, the Averages will spend about $300 each year on laundry, while the Ideals will spend just $122, a savings of $178 annually.

The Shower
Each member of the Average family spends more than 8 minutes in the shower, which uses about 20 gallons of water per shower at a cost of about $0.30 per shower. In a year, the Averages use more than 29,000 gallons of water for showering. The Ideal family installed a WaterSense showerhead, which reduced their shower usage to about 16 gallons per shower at a cost of about $0.24 per shower. They reduced their consumption to about 23,360 gallons per year. The Averages spend about $438 annually on showering, while the Ideal family spends just $350.

In terms of water, the Averages consume nearly 75,000 gallons of water each year, while the Ideals use about 40,000 gallons per year on the same activities. In all, the Averages spend $1,118 on water and sewer, while the Ideals spend about $600.

If you’d like more information about water-efficiency, and how you can make your home more water efficient, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’d be happy to help you select and install water saving fixtures around your home!

Photo Credit: Bob Smith, via FreeImages.com

Angie’s List Recognizes Boston Standard Company again!

We’re pleased to announce that Boston Standard Company has been recognized by Angie’s List with a Super Service Award for the 6th consecutive year! Angie’s List is a members-only organization where subscribers rate and review a wide range of service providers. The top 5% of service providers on the list each year are given a Super Service designation.

As always, we want to thank all of our customers, and especially those who took the time to review us. Your feedback helps your neighbors and friends learn about the good work we’re doing at Boston Standard Company. We wouldn’t receive recognition like this without you. We also want to recognize all of our dedicated employees, who make Boston Standard Company stand out from the crowd every single day.

What makes Boston Standard Company so different? We always put the customer first. As much as we would like it, we know that our customers aren’t calling to invite us over for a cup of tea. They’re usually up to their elbows in something unpleasant when our phone rings! We spring into action immediately – whether you’re having a meltdown in July, or you’re playing hockey in your basement – we’re always ready to help.

We can service most makes and models of heating and cooling equipment, and we’re ready to tackle any plumbing problem you can throw at us. We’re also a great resource when you’re planning your next upgrade, or you want to modernize the equipment in your home.

Call us for a consultation on a replacement boiler, furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Need a new water heater? We can help with that, too! We can also show you how to save money year-round on your plumbing, heating and cooling by choosing the most efficient models.

We know that replacing a major system in your home is a big decision, often with a big price tag. You want to make sure you get the right equipment for your home and your budget. We’ll help you take advantage of rebates, tax breaks and incentives on your purchases, and we can also help with financing, too!

If you’d like to see Boston Standard Company in action, give us a call at (617) 288-2911. We offer true 24-hour emergency service for those truly memorable moments, and scheduled service for repairs, upgrades and consultations.

Thanks again for all of your great feedback and Happy 2016 from Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating.

Water Heater Regulations Take Effect Next Month

Water Heater Regulations Take Effect Next Month

Water Heater Regulations Take Effect Next Month

New residential water heater efficiency regulations take effect next month, and that means you might be in the market for a new water heater sooner than you thought! The new regulations, which were adopted more than a decade ago, will require standard gas-fired tank water heaters with capacities between 20 gallons and 50 gallons to have an efficiency factor of at least .675. Tanks between 55 gallons and 100 gallons must have an even higher efficiency factor of at least .8012.

Manufacturers of smaller residential tanks can achieve this efficiency without redesigning the tank itself, but they can do it only by increasing the insulation around the tank. The increased insulation changes the footprint of the tank. New conforming tanks will be 2″ taller and 2″ wider in diameter than the current standard tanks. This will require replumbing current water heater installations to accommodate the new tank heights and widths. It also means that if your existing water heater is enclosed snugly in a closet or cabinet, you may not be able to fit a taller, wider tank in your current space.

In addition, all new water tanks must have a pilotless electronic ignition, which means that those tanks installed after April 16, 2015 must have an electricity source to power the igniter. If your residential electrical service is already full, needing an additional breaker might require a service upgrade.

In recent posts on this blog, we have covered options for homeowners, ranging from replacing your water tank immediately (or even prematurely) to considering other water heating technologies. What is clear to us is that the Department of Energy is unlikely to extend or waive these regulations. If you would like to avoid the expenses associated with installing a conforming water tank or switching to a different water heating technology, right now is the time to make this move. In little more than a month, you will no longer have the option of installing a non-conforming water tank.

If you would like more information about the new energy regulations for residential hot water tanks, or would like to consider a different water heating technology, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 today. The sooner you contact us, the more options you will have available to you.

Photo Credit: 24acorns, via FreeImages.com

Heat Pump Water Heaters and A Note About Your Boiler

This is the last installment of the Water Heater Chronicles, and it covers two alternatives for providing hot water to your home. Before I go any farther, I just want to make clear that no one had Massachusetts in mind when they designed heat pump water heaters. Also, not everybody has a boiler, but if you do, you have a big ace in your domestic hot water hole, so to speak.

The Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat Pump Water Heaters and A Note About Your Boiler

Heat Pump Water Heaters and A Note About Your Boiler

A heat pump water heater takes heat from the surrounding air and applies it to stored water in a tank. Heat pump water heaters are designed to work in areas where the temperature varies from about 40°F to about 90°F, and they require about 750 cubic feet of air space around the device. (Do not install a heat pump water heater in an enclosed area, like a closet, even if the closet is louvered.) Heat pump water heaters tend to cool the space they’re in, and they don’t work well in a naturally cold space, like a basement.

Hybrid versions of a heat pump water heater include electric assist and all-electric water heating modes. Even in electric and hybrid modes, a heat pump water heater is more efficient than a conventional electric water heater. One advantage of a heat pump water heater is that they can be programmed to “sleep” during extended absences.

Heat pump systems that are designed to heat and cool homes can also be modified to attach a water heater to the existing system. Heat from the home that would otherwise be returned to the ground is diverted to a water heater instead. This approach to hot water can be used with either a storage tank or a tankless hot water system.

Massachusetts doesn’t provide the ideal year-round environment for efficient heat pump operation. In other words, you’re not likely to be happy with the results of a heat pump water heater in January. As the technology changes, heat pumps (for climate control and hot water) may become a more attractive option, but that’s not the case in 2015.

Boilers

Indirect water heaters are designed to work with boilers

Indirect water heaters are designed to work with boilers

If your home has a hydronic heat system or a steam boiler, you already have a built-in source of domestic hot water. Many homes with boilers also have a water heater, which is absolutely unnecessary! The same boiler that provides heat for your home is capable of (and designed to) meet all of your domestic hot water needs. If you have a boiler, a licensed plumber can install a very efficient indirect water heater that uses the boiler to produce and store domestic hot water.

The advantage of this is obvious – you eliminate your direct-fired hot water tank altogether in favor of a heating source that’s already installed and operating in your home. Second, indirect water heaters have a long life expectancy, often come with lifetime warranties on the tank and heat exchanger, and are relatively low-maintenance devices. They have very low standby loss, which means they’re able to maintain hot water in the tank without the need to fire the boiler often. They range in capacity from 30 gallons to over 100 gallons and actually produce the highest hot water output of any domestic water heating option. In times of peak demand, you won’t run out of hot water.

Throughout 2015, Gas Networks customers can claim a rebate of $400 on indirect water heaters. You can also claim a rebate of $1,500 on a natural gas hot water boiler with an efficiency rating of .95 or better, or a $1,000 rebate on a natural gas hot water boiler with an efficiency rating of .90 or better.

If you have a boiler and a stand-alone hot water tank, and you’d like to switch to an indirect water heater that uses your boiler, call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We can install an efficient, high-performance indirect water heater to supply all of your domestic hot water needs.

Photo Credit: Bradford White

Is a condensing storage water heater right for you?

Is a condensing storage water heater right for you?

Is a condensing storage water heater right for you?

A condensing storage water heater uses a condenser to increase the efficiency of a traditional storage water tank. These models achieve a higher efficiency than a conventional tankless water heater does, but still offer the benefits of a storage tank water heater. These tanks have a fan that directs air and fuel into a sealed combustion chamber. The exhaust gas from the combustion chamber is forced through a secondary heat exchanger located inside the tank. The secondary heat exchanger delivers the “waste heat” from combustion back to the water in the tank, increasing its efficiency.

Like a condensing tankless system, the heat exchanger is so effective at cooling the exhaust gases that they can be vented to the outside using common PVC materials. The thermal efficiency of a condensing storage water heater typically exceeds 90% – far better than your current conventional tank, and it avoids some of the problems that tankless systems may have.

Condensing storage water heaters have the same footprint as a conventional storage tank heater does, so they work well as replacements. Since they already have an exceptionally high efficiency rating, they already meet the new required standards. Some condensing storage tank water heaters can use an existing ½” gas line. Larger tanks usually require a larger service line. Depending upon the model you choose, you may or may not have to re-plumb your gas service.

Condensing storage tank water heaters require a 120-volt electrical service to run the fan. The fan will produce some noise when it is operating, and you may hear this in your home’s living space. Additionally, you cannot use your existing flue to vent the remaining gases to the chimney, but a new, PVC exhaust flue is inexpensive and the exhaust run can be as long as needed to reach an outside wall.

One additional twist is that you’ll need a condensate drain for your condensing water heater. A condensing storage water heater produces condensation that collects in the flue and heat exchanger. This condensation is trapped inside the tank and drains to the outside of the tank. The condensate is acidic enough to cause damage to metal, concrete and other surfaces, so it can’t just be dumped down the drain. Condensing storage water tanks have a neutralizer cartridge filled with limestone or another base material, and the condensate is forced through this cartridge before it is drained away. The neutralizer cartridge needs to be checked annually and replaced or refilled when the neutralizing medium deteriorates.

Condensing storage water tanks, which were designed initially as commercial appliances, cost about twice as much as a conventional tank. While that may seem high, a condensing storage water tank has a life expectancy of about 10-15 years. With the lower operating costs and lower installation costs, a condensing storage water tank may be the right option for you. As an added bonus, throughout 2015, Gas Networks customers can take advantage of a $500 rebate on the purchase of a gas-fired condensing water heater with an efficiency rating of .95 or better.

If you’re considering the installation of a condensing storage water heater, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We can explain the benefits and costs associated with condensing storage water heaters, and help you make the best choice for your home.
Photo Credit: A.O. Smith

MassCEC Extends Rebates On Air-Source Heat Pumps

MassCEC Extends Rebates On Air-Source Heat Pumps

MassCEC Extends Rebates On Air-Source Heat Pumps

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) has announced that it will extend its rebates on qualifying air-source heat pumps through March 31, 2015. This program, which offers rebates of between $750 and $3,750 based on type and size, represents an excellent opportunity to save money on the purchase and installation of air-source heat pumps.

Air source heat pumps can use electricity and outside air temperatures to draw heated or cooled air into a home. Qualifying models include both central units, ductless split units and water heaters. The newest heat pump technologies can deliver 100% of their rated heat production in temperatures as low as 5°F, and can work to 75% of their rated maximums in temperatures as low as -13°F.

Ductless split units work as an excellent supplementary source of heated or cooled air for individual rooms or sections of your home where your primary systems does not provide optimal comfort. Boston Standard Company is a certified Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer, and we can help you take advantage of this excellent rebate program.

In addition to this rebate program, qualified products may also be eligible for additional rebates through the MassSave CoolSmart program, as well as no-interest loans from MassSave that can be used for the purchase and installation of these systems.

This is a great way to lower your utility bills, improve the comfort of your home and take advantage of multiple rebate and finance programs. The MassCEC rebate extension is only available through March 31, 2015, so now is the time to think about improving the comfort and efficiency of your home.

If you would like more information about the MassCEC rebate, or other rebate and financing programs that will enable you to add a clean, efficient heat pump to your home heating and cooling plant, or are interested in replacing your current system with a heat pump, give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We’ll set up a consultation for you and help you decide whether a heat pump is right for you!

Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

Tankless Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Tankless Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Tankless Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly


Tankless water heaters have been on the market for awhile and provide an option for homeowners who want to recover some floor space, are looking for something more efficient, or who are space-limited. Manufacturers make both electric and gas-fired tankless water heaters. You can also find propane-fired tankless systems.

The up-front cost of a tankless system is generally higher than a conventional hot water tank, but tankless systems also last about two to three times as long as a conventional tank system. Over time, you’ll actually save money on a tankless water system through lower operating costs and a longer replacement cycle.

Tankless hot water systems don’t do a very good job of providing hot water at a low flow rate. Generally, a tankless system will heat water if it detects a flow rate that exceeds about ½-gallon per minute. If you turn the hot water tap on to get just a small stream of hot water, the flow rate may not be sufficient to trigger the water heater. Likewise, there is a delay in getting hot water from the system, as it takes a brief period of time to get the water heated to the desired temperature.

Tankless systems free up floor space, but they’re wall-mounted, so you’re giving up wall space to get floor space. Based on the unit’s size, you’ll need about 2 square feet of wall space plus some new piping, and since the units can weigh about 75 pounds or more, they’ll need to be anchored securely to the wall. They can be mounted to either an interior or exterior wall. Annual maintenance on the tankless coil involves cleaning and/or replacing a sediment filter, and deliming the system to discourage lime and scale buildups.

Natural gas-fired tankless water heaters
Gas-fired tankless systems can be designated as either “condensing” or “non-condensing.” Condensing tankless water heaters can achieve efficiencies of up to 98%, while non-condensing water heaters have a maximum efficiency of about 80%. Since your current water heater has an efficiency rating in the mid-50% range, either type of tankless water heater offers a major efficiency improvement over what you have now. An important design variation between condensing and non-condensing water heaters accounts for differences in both up-front and operating costs.

How does a tankless water heater work? Unheated water in a tankless system flows across a heat exchanger, which is itself heated by combustion. Heat is transferred to the water as the water flows across it. One of the natural by-products of combustion is steam. Because the combustion process produces other noxious gases, the exhaust is vented to the outside.

A condensing tankless water system extracts additional heat from the steamy exhaust and returns it to the water in the system. This technique reduces the corrosiveness of the exhaust gases and increases the efficiency of the system. Condensing tankless water heaters are somewhat more expensive to manufacture, but they can use common venting materials like PVC. Throughout 2015, Gas Networks customers can claim a rebate of $800 on gas-fired condensing tankless water heaters with an efficiency rating of .94 or better.

Tankless Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Tankless Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

A non-condensing tankless water heater vents all of the corrosive by-products of combustion, including the super-hot, toxic steam to the outside. Because the steam is not recaptured and reused, a non-condensing system is less efficient and requires higher quality venting materials. Typically, non-condensing water heaters require stainless steel venting, which – as you might guess – is expensive. On the plus side, non-condensing systems cost less to produce and buy. Throughout 2015, Gas Networks customers can claim a rebate of $500 on gas-fired non-condensing tankless water heaters with an efficiency rating of .82 or better.

Gas-fired tankless systems normally require a ¾” or 1-inch gas line, which is larger than the line your conventional tank takes, so you will need to re-plumb your gas service at the time of installation. Tankless systems also require an electrical service, since they feature an electronic pilotless ignition. (This means you won’t have hot water during a power outage.) Tankless hot water systems work best when they’re located close to the fixtures and appliances that draw hot water. Long hot water pipe runs will cause the water temperature to cool, so you’ll definitely want to insulate your hot water pipes if you go tankless.

Electric tankless water heaters
If you don’t have natural gas service, you can consider electric tankless water heaters. Electric tankless systems need to be sized carefully to ensure that they provide sufficient hot water. Electric tankless water heaters require a minimum household electrical service of 200-300 amps, 240 volts, and a dedicated, double-pole, high-amperage breaker for the unit itself. If you are considering an electric tankless water heater, consult with an electrician to determine how your current electrical service will need to be improved to accommodate your new water heater.

Electric tankless water heaters are priced similarly to natural gas tankless water heaters. They are also comparably efficient to condensing tankless water heaters, and do not have the same venting issues that gas water heaters do. Even though an electric tankless water heater is highly efficient, the operating costs for a tankless water heater are significantly higher because electricity typically costs about 2.5 times more than natural gas does to produce the same amount of heat. Electric tankless water heaters are typically used only where natural gas service is not available.

Many electric tankless systems are designated as “point-of-use,” which means that they provide hot water for a single application, such as an individual sink, shower or appliance. Point-of-use units typically do not supply hot water for an entire building, and are commonly used in additions and remodeling.

If you’re considering the installation of a tankless water heater, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We can explain the benefits and costs associated with tankless water heaters, and help you make the best choice for your home.

Photo Credits: Bradford White