Jacuzzi Tankless water heater cost
! !Read Author's Notes at the bottom of this column! !
DEAR TIM: I need to install a water heater in my home. I have seen tankless water heaters in stores that sound as if they are a miracle product. Do they really deliver an endless supply of hot water? Do you save money using one? Are they a wise investment? Wesley W., Silverdale, WA
DEAR WESLEY: The tankless water heaters you speak of seem to be the rage right now. The marketing campaigns of these companies seem to stimulate the same nerve endings that tingle when the hot water in a shower turns to cold. But you need to look under the skin of these appliances, between the lines of the brochures and do some simple mathematics before you make a decision to buy one.
The tankless water heaters come in many different sizes. These heaters have a voracious appetite for natural gas, often two or three times the amount of a standard residential water heater. If you need one to supply an entire family with hot water, look for one that has an input of no less than 165, 000 Btu. Shop long enough and you may find a model with a burner that consumes an astonishing 230, 000 Btu of gas per hour.
Even with an enormous gas burner, the tankless water heaters have limitations. Pay attention to flow rates. This number tells you how much water a tankless heater can deliver at a given temperature rise. The flow rate in your home is a function of how many fixtures are demanding hot water. As more hot water faucets are turned on at the same time, more water flows through the heater. When this happens water may exit the heater before it gets to the desired temperature. To add insult to injury, incoming cold water temperatures in many cities vary month to month.
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