Most people think that installing a tankless water heater in their home is going to give them hot water in the blink of an eye. Modern technology does lower energy consumption and bills, but it’s not going to provide you with hot water instantly.
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What’s the explanation of “on-demand” hot water?
A traditional water heater with tank collects and maintains the water hot. Should you use all the hot water in the tank, the heater will keep on heating the water refilling the tank.no matter if you use it or not, the tank is always on.
In the case of tankless water heaters, the heating process will start when you need hot water, which is when you tap the hot water. Therefore, you will never run out of hot water.
Is it really instantly?
You shouldn’t expect the very first drop of water coming out of the faucet to be hot. Truth be told, no traditional and no tankless water heater can give hot water in a nano-second. The process of hot water starts when you’re tapping the water, but several factors provide meaning to the “instant” concept. The distance from the water heater to the faucet is one of them. Obviously, the closer the tap is to the heater, the faster you will get hot water.
There are several tricks you can try to shorten the time, so you should keep reading for the details.
Why doesn’t the hot water come instantly?
Even if a tankless water heater is going to give you hot water faster than a traditional system with tanks, some aspects may raise the hot water wait time:
- Water left in pipes
It’s one of the most common reasons for which you will wait for hot water even when using a tankless water heater. Water will start flow from the faucet the moment you turn it on, but the water coming out first will seldom be straight from the water heater. It’s instead of the water still found in the pipes and gets to the faucet.
- The flow
The flow of the water may also influence on the wait time. It’s typical for fixtures (showerheads, for instance) to present a low flow rate, and some come with a volume restrictor, which is supposed to lower the amount of water coming out of the fixture.
Even if the devices conserve water and cut down the costs, they also delay in the water delivery. When water needs more time to come out, you simply wait longer for hot water.
- Distance from the tankless water heater
How much does the hot water have to travel from the heater to the faucet/sink/shower is another aspect to consider. When the tankless unit is installed in the basement, it’s going to take quite some time for the hot water to get to the fixture at the second-floor sink.
The more the hot water has to travel, the longer it will take to get hot water.
- Sediment buildup
The hardness of the water in your area can impact the performance of your water heater. Some minerals will always be present, and even a water softener won’t completely eliminate the problem. Also, if the water doesn’t get to stay in the system, minerals still build up after a while. When you’re tankless water heater struggles to heat the water, its durability and performance are compromised, and you don’t get hot water as instant as it should.
- Outside temperature
Even if your tankless water heater runs appropriately, it can still make efforts to give constant hot water if the outside water temperature is really low. When you live in a region with freezing temperatures, the poor performance is quite familiar. Should the outside air be cold, the underground water coming inside the pipes will also be cold. Therefore, the tankless water heater will work harder to make the water reaching the desired temperature. Even if the water is hot, the pipes may be cold, rending the water heater to look ineffective and useless.
- The water heater’s malfunctioning
Even if a tankless water heater is supposed to last for a long time, its durability may be affected, and it can start performing poorly after a while. Improper installation, the hardness of water, and poor maintenance are some of the many factors that alter the performance of the unit.
Hot water recirculation pump- did you try it?
The hot water recirculation pump is one popular option for helping you get hot water almost within seconds. It’s a reliable device that gives hot water without you having to way.
As you’re turning off the hot water tap, the hot water that is left in the pipes is going to cool down after some time. As you’re reopening the tap, you will drain the cooled water until new hot water finally gets to the faucet. The process does take a couple of minutes and wastes a considerable amount of heat energy, time, and water.
When you’re using a recirculation (booster)pump near the faucet, the hot water that got cooled will run right back to the water heater, whereas the fresh supply of hot water will replace it. When you’re switching the hot water on, the hot water will come out quicker than previously. The recirculation pump is able to reduce the hot water wait time between 60 and 80%.
Side note: The water heater-mounted unit is another example of a faucet recirculation pump. A model, as such, features a 120-V pump and a timer that is attached to the hot water line. At specific times, the recirculation pump will turn on (it only uses the power of a 25-watt lightbulb), maintaining the hot water circulating and coming out of the faucet.
Let’s not forget the electronic recirculation pumps that use an electric pump. They feature digital controls and a thermos-controlled zone valve for increasing efficiency. You only need to push a button for activating an electronic recirculation pump. A motion detector or remote control can also activate the pump.
Have you considered point-of-use tankless water heaters?
Should you be determined to have hot water faster, the point-of-use tankless water heaters are reliable options, as well. They’re small units that are easy to mount inside a sink cabinet or a closet. They run similarly to whole-house tankless units but are made for handling just one sink or shower. They’re more affordable than the whole-house models and a viable choice when the water heater cannot handle the hot water demands in your household.
How about structured plumbing?
Another solution for getting hot water faster, especially in the case of new homes, comes from structured plumbing. In the case of a structured plumbing scenario, the water heater is found in the center of the house. It’s not mounted in the basement or the garage.
Every time you need hot water, you switch the hot water ump. But the hot water line running through the home mustn’t be more than 10-ft away from any faucet. It should be connected to the drains with 3-in pipes. A more extensive primary line is going to cut down the wait for hot water when you’re activating the pump. The small branches make less water will travel down the drain as you’re waiting for the hot water.
No matter which solution you go with, you can save somewhere between 11,000-16,000 gallons of water every year. Speeding up the delivery of hot water can also cut down the utility bill.
When you’re upgrading the plumbing and heating systems, you’re investing for the long run.
One last thought
Tankless water heaters are great for giving instant hot water, but you should always take “instant” with a grain of salt.