Best Propane and Natural Fuel Tankless Water Heaters 2015
Updated on November 10, 2015 Toasty Critiques moreContact Creator With the correct tankless water heater at your disposal, you can stop worrying about scorching water for the next few many years. Supplied you choose the precise one, a tankless water heater can become one among the neatest investments you make in your home. Additionally called on-demand water heaters, these compact items provide sizzling water for immediate use instead of storing it in a tank and letting heat power drain away. They’re inherently extra environment friendly, and that, coupled with their longer common lifetime, can save you the price of several water heaters over the subsequent decade.
Though electric tankless water heaters are additionally highly regarded, due to their versatility and ease of use, many opt for fuel units. There is sweet reason for that: Each propane and natural gas can heat water at only a fraction of the cost of electricity. A excessive-finish gasoline tankless water heater might be probably the most cost-efficient means to provide your house with scorching water.
These critiques of propane and natural gas tankless water heaters goal to guide you in your seek for the best tankless water heater. First, I focus on the features try to be looking for in a tankless unit. Subsequent, I current an inventory of the top gasoline tankless water heater manufacturers and present the professionals and cons of their merchandise in an unbiased method. Once you have gone by way of the data on this page, you need to be ready to decide which on-demand water heater is the best suited on your wants.
What Features To Look for in a great Tankless Water Heater
Indoor, outside, propane and natural gasoline variations are available for many tankless water heaters. Needless to say, the very first thing you must resolve is whether you need to use natural gasoline or propane as gas. Virtually at all times, you’ll have to upgrade your incoming fuel pipe because tankless water heaters have 3/four” inlets. You must also make up your thoughts on exterior set up vs. indoors installation. Outdoors fashions are solely good for really heat climates whereas the indoors items are considerably extra complicated to install as a result of they need venting. All the brand new indoor tankless models I’ve seen are power direct vent; that is, they are sealed with no contact with the room air. They take combustion air from the outside and dump the fumes with the assistance of a fan. That is essentially the most advanced and protected venting system when carried out properly, and permits for horizontal venting.
Let us now have a have a look at some other key options that make the most effective tankless water heaters stand out from the rest.
Most Flow Rate: It is a measure of how a lot water is allowed to move by the water heater at a time in gallons per minute (gpm). For gasoline tankless water heaters, it varies between about 6 gpm and 10 gpm. On condition that an average shower head or faucet has a 2 gpm move rate, you can easily estimate your required water flow primarily based on the number of water fixtures that will likely be used concurrently. The important point is to not confuse this worth with the water heater’s heating capacity. Sometimes, individuals come to consider that a ten gpm water movement capacity translates into 10 gpm of very popular water regardless of incoming water temperatures and different conditions. The truth is, although a tankless water heater that’s listed as 10 gpm will always offer you water at that price, how hot that water can be depends upon the energy input of the unit. That’s the reason, when selecting a natural fuel or propane tankless water heater, you want to concentrate to its power input per hour, that is, BTUs per hour.
Heating Energy: One British Thermal Unit (BTU) of vitality is equivalent to 1055 joules. Performing some maths, it seems that roughly 500 BTU/hr is enough to heat water flowing at 1 gpm by 1 °F. As soon as you already know that and the incoming faucet water temperatures in your region, it is possible to roughly calculate how many BTUs per hour you require from your prospective tankless water heater. The map may also help you find out your tap water temperature.
Be aware that the water temperatures can range by season and depending on whether or not it is ground or surface water. So, let’s say you are in New York, the place the tap water temperature is 50 °F, and two folks will likely be showering at the same time whereas one other washes the dishes, and you want hot water at one hundred twenty °F. Assuming every outlet takes 2 gpm, and you will be mixing scorching with cold water in order that you don’t scald yourself, we will estimate a scorching water flow at four gpm. 2,000 BTUs are needed to heat water flowing at 4 gpm by 1 °F; for a 70 °F rise, the requirement is 140,000 BTUs.
You are able to do your personal calculations based on your particular wants and conditions. 120 °F is the utmost temperature you should be searching for, because larger temperatures create a scalding risk. You must also remember that the BTU number within the product spec sheet shouldn’t be the precise heating capacity. To calculate how many BTUs are literally used to heat the water, you might have to apply the energy issue.
Power Issue: Even the very best fuel tankless water heater will waste some energy by releasing heat to the skin in its exhaust. Fortunately, we now have a perfectly goal metric to gauge the efficiency of a water heater, and it’s known as the energy issue. Energy issue is used for several types of appliances; when we are coping with water heaters, power factor means the ratio of the heat vitality really applied to the water to the full power enter delivered to the machine. As an example a fuel water heater has a fuel consumption enter of 100,000 BTU and an energy factor of 0.8. The precise heating energy of this unit is not more than 80,000 BTU, that’s power consumption multiplied by the energy factor. With water operating through at 2 gpm, this tankless water heater can provide an eighty °F temperature rise. For pure gas and propane tankless water heaters, the energy issue varies between zero.8 and zero.95, depending on whether or not it’s a condensing unit or not.
Condensing Water Heaters: When pure fuel or propane is burned to generate heat, the ensuing flue gas accommodates carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and water vapor. What issues us is that this flue gas contains heat vitality which is wasted by dumping it out of the exhaust vent. Condensing water heaters tackle this concern. With out going into technical particulars, what a condensing water heater does is to make use of the heat of the flue gas as a secondary heat supply, thus saving power as an alternative of releasing it into the air. The waste gas launched from the exhaust vent of a condensing water heater is cooler and in the cooling course of the water vapor often condenses again to liquid state, therefore the title “condensing”.
While non-condensing tankless gas water heaters have a mean energy factor of 0.Eighty two, condensing water heaters have an power issue of up to zero.95. Not surprisingly, condensing items price more. That being stated, I advise you with out reservation you to choose condensing tankless water heaters. It’s not solely about saving on gasoline. Condensing tankless water heaters are normally the showpieces of the provider companies and they’re seemingly to place the better elements and better workmanship into the manufacturing of these. So, along with being more efficient, a condensing water heater can have a greater build high quality.
Build High quality: This is the most important and but the most elusive function you want in your potential water heater. Although gas tankless water heaters often include substantial warranties, a malfunctioning water heater continues to be one of many belongings you wish to avoid in life. Even with the most benevolent customer support, a water heater failure can depart you in a state of deprivation for days and value you cash, time and peace of mind. The best option to keep away from such an unpleasant expertise is to keep away from products which can be blatantly low cost and do not forget that paying for scrupulous workmanship is the last word manner to invest your money. In addition, you should check out the customer opinions for the model you’re planning to purchase to see if there is a sample of failure with it. Luckily, I have already carried out the latter for you by sifting through lots of of person opinions for every brand.
Activation Stream Price: Lastly, a key spec that is commonly overlooked is the minimum move price. Tankless water heaters start heating only when their sensors confirm a specific amount of water is flowing by way of the system. If the water use remains below that minimal circulation rate, the unit is not going to be activated and also you get cold water. Low-cost immediate water heaters can have activation flow rates as high as 1 gpm and that makes it very straightforward so that you can unintentionally fall beneath the threshold while adjusting the shower knob and expertise a cold water sandwich earlier than you understand you need to extend the flow. Such an interruption could make people furious as it is a waste of time and water. Thankfully, you may sidestep this drawback in case you merely take a look at the product specs and ensure you get a unit with a low minimum activation fee.
Having discussed a very powerful options, let us now transfer on to see some opinions.
Eccotemp Indoor Tankless Water Heaters
We’ve received two standard indoor water heaters from the Eccotemp company. They are nearly an identical, besides that FVI-12-LP runs on liquid propane and FVI-12-NG on natural fuel. Neither of them are prime-high quality products, but they get a spot on the list because many people install these two, probably due to the low worth.
The energy enter for both units is 74,500 BTU, which is one among the bottom out there however acceptable at this price. The power issue is zero.79, again the lowest, and even decrease than what’s required by the brand new federal rules. Which means these two can not be manufactured after April 2015, though they are often retailed and installed so they will be around for some time extra. Based mostly on the power input and power factor, we are able to estimate that an Eccotemp FVI-12 heats water at a maximum rate of 60,000 BTU/h, which is just enough for one faucet in a chilly region and perhaps for 2 in warmer parts. It uses power direct venting, and features a venting kit, so the preliminary value to get the unit put in and working turns into even decrease. And the second it turns into operational is when the issues begin.
The very first thing you’ll notice about Eccotemp tankless water heaters is the absence of a transparent temperature control. It has two management knobs named “Gas Regulator” and “Water Temperature Regulator,” however these two merely can help you play with the gasoline and water intake with out an choice to specify a temperature. Naturally, the temperature will fall when the water use goes up, and it will rise when you use much less water. So, be ready for fluctuations.
The major situation with Eccotemp FVI-12 water heaters is the very excessive activation flow rate. There is no official knowledge on this, aside from a vaguely mentioned zero.Ninety three gpm on the company web site. Individuals who use the items recommend it have to be at the least 1 gpm and may very well be as excessive as 1.5 gpm. What we know for positive is that on many events a completely open faucet or shower head was not sufficient to trigger the Eccotemp. In addition, it stops heating all too typically for precisely the identical cause so it appears like you should have a really exhausting time to get constant scorching water if you buy one of these.
Finally, Eccotemp gas tankless water heaters might hardly be known as reliable as they’re among probably the most poorly rated merchandise in their category. Customer critiques contain all types of complaints in regards to the units freezing, leaking and quitting functioning altogether. The truth is, Eccotemp’s lack of high quality even received it involved in a lawsuit. In 2008, a plumbing firm bought 75 Eccomtemp tankless water heaters and put in them in purchasers’ properties. 70 percent of the units froze in winter. The plumbing firm sued Eccotemp, and the verdict required Eccotemp to pay $750,000 to the plaintiff.
Some folks consider Eccotemp water heaters to be a bargain. Certainly, they are if they ever work. This model is an choice if quality is of no relevance to you and also you simply want the cheapest, quick-term scorching water repair. On the other hand, if you would like something you may rely on, you need to in all probability keep studying.
Navien Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heaters
Navien is a Korean producer that solely makes condensing models, and its merchandise are packed with attention-grabbing features that you don’t see in some other manufacturers. Unfortunately, they are a bit overpriced, and with a surprisingly excessive proportion of discontented clients, the features hardly justify the cost.
A heavily marketed Navien feature is the stainless steel primary heat exchanger however how that makes Navien tankless water heaters any higher than different brands is unclear. All other brands use copper for the primary heat exchanger and stainless steel for the condensing heat exhanger. Copper is appropriate for the primary heating unit, because it is a much better conductor of heat and is more resistant to cracking attributable to extreme temperatures. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, so it is sweet for the condensing part, where the fumes are cooler but acidic. A stainless steel main heat exchanger could possibly be a legal responsibility, not an advantage. Luckily, other options of Navien are of more utility.
Navien water heaters can have energy factors as much as 0.99, and for tankless technology, that’s impressive. But in absolute phrases, that’s solely a three to 5 percent improvement over Rheem or Rinnai condensing water heaters. The financial savings from such a minuscule difference should not be expected to be greater than a couple of dollars per yr; at this fee, it will take a century for energy savings to pay for the value distinction between Navien and the other manufacturers.
The excessive vitality factor of Navien is offset by its mediocre stream sensitivity. Navien units want at the least zero.5 gpm water going via to maintain the heating process going, and that’s not almost nearly as good as Rheem condensing tankless models that price no more than two-thirds of Navien’s. Probably to handle this weakness, Navien has developed a built-in recirculation tank characteristic.
Navien NR-A and NPE-A series heaters are geared up with a buffer tank that retains zero.5 gallons of water hot on a regular basis. This lets you bypass the minimal-stream-price impediment and get sizzling water sooner at the faucet. The tank is reported to be poorly insulated, which type of defeats the purpose of going tankless, but it surely appears to work as a result of customers fee the Navien models which have buffer tanks higher than the Navien fashions that don’t. The NR-A and NPE-A collection even have built-in scorching water recirculating pumps. This system sends the cooling water in the new water pipes back to the water heater so that there is at all times hot water in the pipes, ready for instant use. That helps save time and water, and a recirculation pump that works with a tankless water heater can cost just a few hundred dollars. I’m not sure concerning the reliability of a constructed-in hot water recirculating pump, nevertheless it explains the excessive worth to some extent. A Navien NPE-240A condensing water heater would be no bad selection, had it not been for the widespread high quality points that plague Navien merchandise.
Certainly, the charm of the high-tech features disappears once you start reading the client opinions. Rated very poorly by customers, Navien items are reported to regularly run into problems that vary from failure of circuit boards to malfunctioning stream detectors and even leaks. I am sure a few of these incidents are caused by individuals who fail to take care of their water heaters and blame it on the manufacturer, but the constant poor evaluations on practically each Navien product tells us that something is improper with Navien. The Navien customer service is reportedly keen to assist and sends replacement elements without a lot trouble, but that does little to help the inconvenience of having no scorching water for days and paying a plumber to diagnose the unit’s drawback. Such things happen too typically to be acceptable for such an expensive equipment. You must also observe that Navien recalled thirteen,000 models in late 2011 resulting from a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Given the poor consumer expertise, I feel a bit sorry that I can’t advocate Navien, as its merchandise do have some promising features. If the sturdiness points are mounted in future merchandise, Navien might someday be named the very best tankless water heater—but that day just isn’t at present.
Takagi Tankless Water Heaters
Initially a Japanese manufacturer, Takagi was one in every of the primary to introduce tankless water heaters to the United States market. Takagi handed over its advertising and marketing operations in North America to A.O. Smith in 2011, months after Rinnai withdrew from a tankless enterprise with the latter. A.O. Smith is a widely known American producer of tank-sort hot water heaters although it is a latecomer within the tankless market.
Takagi has a wide number of tankless models and it is feasible to know most specs of a Takagi unit by looking at the product title. T-H3 collection are the condensing water heaters. T-D2, T-K4 and T-KJr2 consult with the large, mid-size and small non-condensing items respectively. OS means outdoors and IN is indoors. Letters N and P at the top of the mannequin title tell us whether or not it’s natural gasoline or propane.
Most Takagi water heaters range between 140.000 and 200,000 BTUs, though heavy responsibility ones up to 380,000 BTUs are additionally accessible apparently for business applications. Condensing fashions have energy factors that vary between zero.Ninety three and zero.95 and for the non-condensing, vitality factor is 0.82. In other phrases, Takagi tankless water heaters are as environment friendly as every other gasoline tankless water heater.
Takagi’s weakness is the minimal activation circulation charge. Regardless of measurement, all Takagi models have a threshold of zero.5 gpm to begin heating the water and a minimum circulation of zero.4 gpm to maintain operating. This is not nearly as good as Rheem or Rinnai tankless water heaters, and with a Takagi unit, you are extra probably to turn down the heater by mistake and temporarily get chilly water. I am not stunned that Takagi isn’t very desirous to make this known. The only manner to search out out is to dig deep into the manuals. By its evasiveness, Takagi form of admits the minimal movement rates aren’t that good.
As for what the customers feel about Takagi, it seems like they’re usually happy, however there are also a number of complaints about the general reliability of the units. The interesting point is that folks who have been familiar with Takagi water heaters for a decade or so declare that Takagi quality shouldn’t be what it was before the joint enterprise deal with A.O. Smith. Others who have had the prospect to match Rheem with Takagi counsel that Rheem gasoline tankless water heaters are actually more dependable.
On the whole, no one can say that Takagi will not be an honest model of tankless water heaters, and the likelihood is you will end up fairly glad with a Takagi unit. Yet, the occasional unhealthy customer critiques, coupled with product specs that are removed from exceptional, provides the impression that you’ll be paying more for the brand title than tangible options and high quality, and that is after the model identify has been bought by a company that is not a lot into the tankless idea. I humbly recommend that you just have a look at the Rheem tankless items earlier than you make a closing determination.
Rheem Indoor and Outside Gasoline Tankless Water Heaters
There is this assumption about tankless water heaters: that they are a Japanese thing, and that you must get a Japanese brand in order for you them to work. Nicely, in recent years, Rheem has provide you with top-notch natural gasoline and propane tankless models which are also properly-priced, belying the notion that American manufacturers can’t handle the tankless technology.
There are two sequence of gas tankless water heaters from Rheem: the Prestigeor RTGH series, which are condensing and far more environment friendly, and the more affordable Mid-Effectivity or RTG sequence. The models differ between 150,000 BTU to 200,000 BTU, with maximum circulate charges of 6.4 to 9.5 gpm. That means even the smallest Rheem must be able to provide loads of sizzling water for a mean family; but when you are not frugal in terms of showering, you would possibly need to do your own calculation and get one of many sizier Rheem items. As for effectivity, the non-condensing RTG series heaters have an vitality issue of 0.82, and the condensing RTHG heaters an power issue between zero.Ninety two and zero.94, which is the usual efficiency of gasoline tankless units.
The characteristic that truly makes Rheem gas tankless water heaters differ from the ones we’ve seen thus far is the very low minimal movement charge. Water flowing at simply 0.4 gpm is enough to activate a Rheem tankless water heater, and once it is activated, you possibly can go right down to zero.26 gpm and nonetheless get hot water with out the heater shutting down. Provided that no water outlet has a lower than 2 gpm stream rate, you will most likely by no means have to undergo unintended intervals of chilly water with a Rheem, which can add much to your comfort and savings. Solely Rinnai, which is deemed the best gasoline tankless water heater manufacturer has related minimum flow charges but Rheem simply offers it at a better price.
The customer critiques for Rheem items are excellent, with next to zero complaints. The consensus of users is that Rheem gasoline tankless water heaters are effectively-priced, straightforward to install and dependable.
One other thing I actually like about Rheem is the constructed-in condensate neutralizer in condensing fashions. All condensing tankless water heaters have a condensate drain pipe that comes out of the bottom of the unit; condensate water from this pipe has a degree of acidity equal to that of lemon juice or vinegar. Releasing this liquid into your drainage system without diluting or neutralizing it could corrode the drain pipes over time. Typically, the local constructing codes require you to put in a condensate neutralizer. Although, I don’t know of any incident where someone’s drain system was eaten away by acid from a condensing water heater, having a condensate neutralizer is always higher than having none. This accessory can cost from $50 to $one hundred, so a constructed-in neutralizer is a nice additional that cuts installation value and time.
When selecting a Rheem gasoline tankless water heater, you could find out the key product specs by merely trying out the model title. The quantity on the mannequin title refers to the maximum stream fee. X means exterior, i.e. outdoors, and DV means direct vent, i.e. indoors. The letters N and P at the tip of the mannequin name inform whether it is pure gasoline or propane. So the Rheem RTGH-95DVLP is a condensing indoors pure-gasoline unit with 9.5 gpm movement rate capacity, and the RTG-64XLP is a non-condensing, outdoors, propane tankless water heater and has a circulate price of 6.4 gpm. Be aware that the latest versions of every Rheem mannequin has an L in its title, so RTG-64XP is mainly an older model of RTG-64XLP (needless to say, you need the newer one).
All in all, Rheem seems to have put within the work to develop some high-quality natural gas and propane tankless water heaters that just do the job and not using a fuss. Consumer experience is optimistic, and with the price being proper, I can advocate Rheem units with out reservation. In truth, one of many condensing Rheem RTGH Prestige units would probably be my selection, if I needed a new water heater proper now.
Rheem RTGH-95DVLN 9.5 GPM Indoor Direct Vent Tankless Pure Gas Water Heater Buy Now Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters
Rinnai tankless water heaters have related specs to Rheem’s, and slighly increased costs. But, Rinnai remains the leader of the tankless market, just because it has established itself as the most trusted manufacturer with solid merchandise which might be built to the very best quality standards in the world.
The Rinnai RU (Ultra) collection are condensing tankless water heaters with vitality factors up to 0.96, making them more efficient than most different brands. Their power inputs range between one hundred fifty,000 and 200,000. The V (Value) and RL (Luxurious) series are non-condensing and their power issue is the standard 0.82. The V and RL sequence have mainly equivalent features. The RL sequence varies between 200,000 BTU and 180,000 BTU, whereas the V models provide smaller and extra reasonably priced choices ranging from 180,000 BTU to 120,000 BTU. Like most different manufacturers, you will discover out the important thing product specs simply from the mannequin name. The numbers on the product names inform the utmost flow fee whereas I, E, N and P confer with indoors, outdoors, natural fuel and propane. It is not any big deal to guess that RU98IN, certainly one of the top Rinnai fashions, is a condensing indoors pure-gasoline unit with a 9.Eight circulation fee limit.
All Rinnai units swap on as soon as a water circulation of 0.Four gpm is achieved, they usually keep running as lengthy as the move stays above zero.26 gpm. With such low activation flow rates, Rinnai units are principally probably the most sensitive tankless water heaters available in the market, together with Rheem.
The Rinnai Extremely and Luxury sequence have a special characteristic referred to as Circ-LogicTM. This can be a built-in pc program that may management the operation of an exterior scorching water recirculation pump, definitely one thing useful in case you plan to put in a recirculation system.
Rinnai makes state-of-the-art on-demand water heaters, and extra important, its unmatched popularity as essentially the most reliable manufacturer makes it the number-one promoting tankless water heater in US. Made in Japan, Rinnai is by default the acme of tankless expertise. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the customer evaluations laud Rinnai’s high quality and reliability; the few complaints usually come from people who didn’t pay sufficient consideration to the installation and upkeep of the unit.
The one authentic concern with Rinnai appears to be the reportedly cumbersome customer help course of. For the guarantee to stay valid, the unit have to be installed and repaired by a Rinnai certified contractor and that makes issues a bit extra expensive and gradual, and could cause some frustration in case your unit ever fails.
In conclusion, there’s a close to concensus that Rinnai is the perfect tankless water heater manufacturer and i humbly agree. While I really feel that Rheem could be the optimum choice due to the more aggressive pricing and problem-free customer support, I also have no doubt that a correctly put in and serviced Rinnai provides you with nothing less than the final word tankless water heater experience.
Rinnai RU98IN 9.8 GPM Indoor Ultra-NOx Condensing Tankless Natural Fuel Water Heater Buy Now Related
PlumbingNo Scorching Water- Troubleshooting Your Water Heater
by Dr Penny Pincher3
House ImprovementA Plumber’s Guide To Hot Water heaters
by draingene lm32
PlumbingThe Greatest Scorching Water Heating Programs for Off-grid Residing!
by Brie Hoffman29
PlumbingChoosing an Vitality Environment friendly Water Heater in your Eco Pleasant Residence
by Om Paramapoonya28
ToiletsGlacier Bay Dual Flush Rest room Blue Button; What’s it For? Which Button is Which?
PlumbingNo Scorching Water- Troubleshooting Your Water Heater
by Dr Penny Pincher3
sendingCezary 2 years in the past
Now we have tried each a tankless propane water heater from Takagi, and an
electric one from Stiebel Eltron. The minimum turn on circulation was an issue with each. Our water is pretty hard, and has a high iron content material. It requires quite a lot of processing to be usable in such heaters. The Takagi lasted about a yr. We began utilizing a polyphosphate cartridge since we received the Stiebel, which lasted perhaps three years – it just went bad.
Max 22 months in the past
What is the perfect tankless unit with a PVC exhaust? Also where does BOSCH Tankless heaters match into this editorial or is that this a Rheem it could have been nice to see a balanced discussion.
MB 9 months ago
Is there any means I can seek the advice of with the author of this invaluable review article? I am a decades lengthy tankless scorching water heater consumer (Paloma) and want to reference the Rheem unit that will finest fit my use wants. I see others have posted questions; how does the response process work?
Ruby 9 months ago from United States
@MB I might keep away from Rheem as that is simply a house depot brand… yuck. I would go for a Noritz or Renai which could be discovered at Ferguson in case you are buying yourself. I was a plumber & still work for a plumbing company. Ferguson’s workers are additionally extra knowledgeable than Dwelling Depot, do not be intimidated by the principally contractor buyers, they may nonetheless assist out the house proprietor!
KevinH 3 months ago
Why not just use the dehumidifier that I’ve in the basement anyway, to get FREE scorching water?