It's a ‘tankless' job, but someone has to do it! Pardy House is such that maximizing space is important so a future hot water tank was a question when we first began layout plans. A little research produced results.
There comes a time in every homeowner's life, especially those in Europe apparently, when you might consider saying goodbye to cumbersome, energy-hungry water heaters and replace them with smaller, more energy efficient models. Welcome Newfoundland, to the age of tankless!
Over the past few decades the North American water-heater industry has evolved dramatically and what used to be a simple choice between the purchase of a 40-gallon or 60-gallon tank has now become far more complex! In today's world of energy conscious home owners, water heating has become more advanced, smaller in scale and cheaper to run (but not to initially buy!). At this point it is probably important to note that these small tankless units cost $1200-$1900 each, so keep that in mind if you are thinking ‘tankless'.
Our tankless water heater, nothing more then a laptop box sized structure which sits on a wall, is a huge technological achievement that has been used in Europe for years but only now has been appearing in North American homes. This innovative hot water system not only saves valuable space, it is also supposed to create significant energy savings which translate into noteworthy monetary savings (which interests us greatly).
Energy savings from these tankless water heaters are based on the fact that they are capable of providing instant and ‘endless' hot water without storage. So, since this system of ours functions on an on-demand basis, it does not require the traditional storage unit-- it doesn't require a holding tank to store pre-warmed water. This not only means that there is no waste in energy insulated stored warm water, but also that these systems have a much greater life span as they hold no water, thus the risk of rust and corrosion is significantly lowered.
So when it comes to the real details, with an electric unit like ours, where water is heated by passing over an electrical element (gas is also an option), it is important to note that hardwiring into the home is required. Since gas/propane water heating is not common in rural Newfoundland, though we are using gas for a small fireplace in the living room, we settled on electric for our tankless system.
Our only concern surrounding this water heater is its capacity. It can only produce so much hot water at one time. If a hot shower is running and the kitchen sink is being used, that is it. There can be no other warm water use during that drain on the system. If the clothes washer is running on warm and the shower is on, both will be warm but not hot. Of course almost always the clothes washer will be using cold water.As far as using the dishwasher that can be easily run when we are sleeping so these issues seem more serious than they actually are. For larger homes and larger families where two or more showers may be running at the same time, two or more tankless systems must be installed. We still feel ours will more than take care of our needs in a small, two washroom home as it is the equivalent of a 35-40 gallon tank system. Wish us luck!