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7 Ways to Prepare for Tankless Water Heater Installation

7 Ways to Prepare for Tankless Water Heater Installation

7 Ways to Prepare for Tankless Water Heater Installation

Going tankless can save space, improve energy efficiency, and reduce water consumption if you have a tank-based water heater. However, to see the most benefits, it helps to prepare for tankless water heater installation. There are a few steps to follow so the transition goes smoothly. Once it’s completed, you’ll have an unlimited hot water supply. Below, we’ll look at what you can do before your plumbing contractor arrives for water heater replacement.

  1. Verify You Have the Electrical Capacity
  2. Make Sure Your Gas Line Is Compatible
  3. Verify the Space is Well-Ventilated
  4. Determine a Suitable Location
  5. Decide on the Right Type and Size of Tankless Water Heater
  6. Secure a Permit
  7. Prepare the Installation Area

Whether installing an electric or gas water heater, you’ll need an electrical connection. The electrical demand on your existing panel will increase. To be safe, hire a skilled electrician to verify its capacity and determine how much more load it can handle. This can help find a tankless water heater suited for your home. It can also help determine whether you need an electrical panel upgrade first.

A tankless water heater needs more heating power than a traditional water heater to get going. It doesn’t heat water when idle. While this doesn’t mean it uses more gas, it does mean your gas line must be big enough to supply the unit when it starts up. 

Tankless water heaters need at least a ¾ inch gas line. We advise consulting with a plumber to determine if your current gas line is sufficient or needs to be modified. They can also determine if your existing water line connection matches the water heater’s flow rate requirements.

A gas tankless water heater must be properly ventilated. It can be connected to a power vent, which uses indoor air for combustion, and vents that exhaust outside. Or, it can be paired with a direct vent, which pulls in air from outside, requiring an intake and exhaust vent.

Proper tankless water heater installation for gas units requires a corrosion-resistant, gas-tight Category III stainless steel venting material. This will prevent carbon monoxide leaks. However, PVC or polypropylene can be used with a condensing tankless water heater because of its lower exhaust gas temperature. 

A tankless water heater’s smaller size increases the flexibility of where it can be installed. Some units can even be installed outside. However, there are code requirements to consider. Many people envision their tankless unit sitting in a small closet. This is possible, depending on the unit. However, the water heater must be placed where there’s room for the ventilation components. Direct-vent units can fit in a more confined space than power-vent systems. 

If you choose a gas tankless water heater, your fuel options include natural gas or propane; generally, propane has a higher heat output, but natural gas costs less. Electric water heaters require a bigger circuit breaker and larger service wire than tank-style systems. Depending on the unit’s output capacity, its total wattage can range from 12.2 kW to 32 kW.

Aside from the fuel type, also consider the following before tankless water heater installation:

  • BTU Input: A water heater’s maximum BTU input determines how much hot water it can produce. If the water is colder in your region, you’ll need a higher BTU unit.
  • Energy Efficiency: To be Energy Star certified, a gas tankless water heater must have a thermal efficiency of at least 90%. The Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) is a direct measure of a residential water heater’s efficiency. Also, look for LEED-rated models, which can qualify you for tax incentives and save you on energy use and operational costs.
  • Flow Rate: Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute. It’s how much water the unit can supply to meet peak demand in your home. If the unit is too small, it may not be capable of supplying multiple fixtures at once.

Tankless water heater installations must meet local building codes and regulations. In most places, you must secure a permit, which requires submitting an application, paying a fee, and consulting with a professional. The unit must be inspected after installation to verify code compliance, proper installation, and safety.

To make the process easier and faster for the installers:

  • Clear the Space: Enough space must be cleared for the unit and to move it into place. 
  • Verify There’s Enough Support: Determine that the installation site is structurally sound and can support the unit’s weight.
  • Ensure Accessibility: Make sure the installation site is accessible and that technicians have room to service the unit. Also, make sure power sources, gas lines, plumbing, and ventilation elements are easy to access.

Schedule Tankless Water Heater Installation Today

Monarch Home Services installs and replaces water heaters in Fresno, Bakersfield, and throughout Central California. Our technicians are trained and qualified to install tank and tankless water heaters. When it’s time for water heater replacement, they’ll recommend the best-sized, most efficient model for your home. To learn more or request a tankless water heater installation consultation, call (661) 215-5851.

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