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Not having to manage your household’s hot water use according to your hot water heater’s tank size can be attractive. What about using a tankless hot water heater? Except for the initial cost, there are lots of advantages to having a tankless unit. What may be a surprise challenge, however, is finding the right plumber who knows the ins and outs of this fairly recent technology, and can perform expert tankless water heater repair if it’s needed. Since these devices tend to need much fewer repairs than standard tank-type water heaters, plumbers just aren’t getting to know them as well. At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach, SC, our team has the training and experience to provide repairs as well as installation and maintenance, so your amazing new source of hot water will continue to serve your family well.
The Benefits of Tankless, and Sizing the Unit for Your Home
With a bit of care, a tankless unit can keep on producing hot water for your home up to double the length of time that a standard tank-based system will, or about 15-20 years. One of the main reasons is that a tank-based unit lasts only as long as the tank does, and most water supplies produce some degree of corrosion over time, some much more than others. Tankless water heater repairs are reduced because of the lack of a tank and related problems, and also because the unit produces hot water only when needed, so the heating elements don’t have to keep reheating the water in storage until you need it. Of course, this on-demand type response requires considerably more energy than a tank-based unit to quickly heat water as it flows through, but only for the time you’re drawing hot water for a shower or washing machine cycle. A tankless unit is rated in gallons per minute (GPM) that it can successfully heat. Installing a unit that’s too weak for your household’s needs will result in a failure to deliver sufficient hot water at times of peak demand when too many people or machines are pulling hot water at the same time. Excessive capacity will waste energy each time the unit operates. Your plumber can help you calculate the right capacity for your family based on your typical lifestyle. For example, you may need a larger unit if everyone is away during the day and hot water is needed for showers, kitchen use, and clothes washing at the same time each evening.
Focusing On the Cost of Installing a Tankless Hot Water Heater Unit
Installation of the tankless water heater is considered the main drawback to switching from a tank-based system to a tankless one. The cost can be significant, making any energy savings, and there typically will be some, not enough to cover the cost of the unit for quite a while. Tankless units draw a large amount of energy while operating, which means that your energy source has to be able to provide the resources to heat the water. That means enough gas flow, or electrical power, to meet a demand that for electrical units can require enough power to cause an upgrade of a typical 200 Amp electrical service. A water heater drawing 120 Amps is not unusual.
Maintenance Is Minimal, But Important
Tankless water heater repair and maintenance keeps problems from corrosion at bay, cleaning out the unit from time to time, and ensures that the thermostat mechanism and heaters remain in good shape. Vents and intake channels need to be kept clean, and most units will let you know when they sense airflow problems. Issues with the burner on gas units can cause airflow problems from a dirty burner as well. Maintenance issues are much more common than tankless water heater repairs.
How Do You Know You Need a Tankless Water Heater Repair?
There are many reasons why you might think you need a tankless water heater repair, that have to do with operational issues or maintenance needs rather than actual malfunctions. Depending on the demand you place on the unit you can get water that’s too cold or water that’s too hot. If a normal GPM rate still produces a temperature issue, the temperature setting may need to be adjusted. You might also be confused by a “cold water sandwich,” a situation that’s most notable in the shower, where some remaining hot water arrives at the tap or showerhead that was recently heated for someone else. Since the heating unit is off, after that burst of hot water you’ll get a startup blast of cold water, followed by the hot water produced for you. It sounds strange, and it feels even weirder as the temperatures alternate, but it’s just how the unit operates. Two common issues to check before calling for tankless water heater repair are making sure you’ve got your faucet set to draw the minimum flow rate that triggers heating, and ensuring that your energy source such as gas or electricity is working properly.
What Factors in Your Home’s Plumbing Might Affect Your Unit’s Longevity?
Hard water, uncommon in the Myrtle Beach, SC area, can affect the longevity of any kind of metal plumbing including water heaters, and lead to tankless water heater repairs. Increasing the frequency of maintenance and unit flushing from annually to every six months can help, as can the use of a water softener. Without maintenance, water quality can produce clogs and overheating in the unit over time.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach is Your Tankless Water Heater Resource
Our hot water experts work with a variety of ways to produce hot water for your home and can provide tank-based or tankless water heater repair. These services will help you optimize the operation and lifespan of your heating unit. Give us a call for help with your hot water system, questions about your plumbing, or for scheduled plumbing upgrades and repairs or emergencies.