3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters

3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Thinking about a tankless hot water system for your home or business? See what the pros and cons are!

Whether you are in Tuscany, Canyon Meadows, or Parkland, living anywhere in Calgary makes your situation unique when it comes to picking a hot water system.  

What!? Why?

Calgary has a high elevation which means our gas appliances perform differently. High efficient tankless hot water heaters even have a dip switch which reconfigures how it will burn the gas to compensate for our altitude.  If your new tank is not set up correctly, you could be reducing the efficiency, and voiding your warranty.  Caught your attention?  Keep reading for more important facts about tankless hot water. 

TANKLESS PROS

There are many reasons to buy and install a tankless hot water system. Here are my top 3. 

#1 – 96%-98*% Efficient!  You simply will not find anything else this efficient when it comes to heating your water. The advanced system that tankless heaters use, especially when compared to typical hot water tanks, revolutionized the amount of energy and cost needed to get hot water in your home or business. Plus, it only activates when you need hot water. Tankless hot water tanks consume energy only when needed. This is why some people also call the system an on-demand hot water system. They are super efficient because they produce warm water when you need it, or as you demand it. Combine these two facts, super efficient energy use and only working when you need it, and you have by far the best way to efficiently heat your water. (Tanks average mid 60% to low 70% at best.)

#2Size.  You can replace up to 2 full size hot water tank heaters with one tankless unit that hangs on your wall out of the way.  If you have a tight mechanical room, this is a quick way to gain storage space once the water heater(s) are removed. Imagine the added space you can gain in your utility room by removing 1 or 2 water tanks and replacing it with a simple unit on your wall? No matter the brand you choose (Rinnai, Navien, Rheem, Noritz, John Wood and others), you will experience a cleaner, more open space in your basement or utility room.

#3Long life.  Compared to the 10 year average life of a tank, a tankless heater can last over 20 years if properly maintained. That means a tankless hot water system can last up to twice as long as a typical hot water tank. Even the warranty on most units is 15 years on the heat exchanger, which shows that the suppliers know their products are designed to last for a long time and produce hot water consistently. And if you think 15 years as a warranty is long, on some newer models, it’s up to 25 years! When you invest in a tankless hot water system, you can feel confident that it will reliably provide hot water for the long run. 

TANKLESS CONS

There are a handful of reasons why you may not want to choose a tankless hot water system. Here are my top 3.

#1 Cost. – The overall cost to remove a water heater tank and convert your system to tankless is costly.  Once done, it is quite comparable to replace a tankless as it is to replace a tank in the future, but the work and materials required to initially install it, will put you at 2 to 3 times the cost of replacing a water heater.

#2 Service. – Unlike a tank, you really do need to service the tankless annually and provide good water quality to the unit.  If you don’t you will void your warranty and risk failure in the first 2-3 years. The good news is, it is easy to do on your own, or get help from professionals like our Team at Aquality who will even train you how to do it yourself. 

#3 Lifestyle Changes. – Yes you get “Unlimited” hot water with a tankless when sized right, BUT only to a certain amount of gallons per minute (GPM).  This means you cannot run a tub, a shower, wash dishes, and another shower all at the same time.  Typically, you can run 2 showers at once as a good rule of thumb and in months when the inlet water temperature is higher, you could even wash dishes too. The good news is, once you adapt, you can stay in that shower for as long as you want and never run out. 

skdla 3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters
How do Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work?

Technology has come a long way to get warm water to your desired faucet or fixture faster than ever with tankless heaters. This happens with built in recirculation pumps.  They are quiet and provide precise temperatures. You can even get them linked to your smart phone and change the temperature setting from your phone! They can also provide enough hot water for your comfort to your faucets and fixtures, as well as to your floor heating systems with incredible Combi units. 

Some people also choose tankless because they provide hot water endlessly for as long as it is needed. Typical hot water tanks hold hot water until you need it, which is great, but this means that once the tank or tanks are empty, that your home is out of hot water until the tanks can regenerate warm water. If your home or business has periods of time that require large amounts of warm water usage, a tankless unit might make sense. 

If you are interested in more information on tankless heating, let us know and we can set up a virtual meeting, or come meet you at your home.  If you are getting pricing on a tankless installation and you currently have a water heater, ensure this is customized to your needs.  A quote over the phone is not recommended, as there are too many factors to consider in each home.  Don’t get caught paying for things that are not required at your home. 

Installing a Tankless Hot Water Unit in your Calgary home 

Our first question usually is, “How long will you be expecting to live in the home?”  If your answer isn’t 4 years or more, we likely will tell you that this is not the product for you. An honest attitude is what drives our business, and we look forward to learning what your needs are and helping to share our expertise and educate you on what is best for you, your budget and your home. 

Installing an important investment such as a Rinnai or Navien tankless system in your Calgary home, can be a complex project and getting expert advice is a good idea. For example, because our water is so hard in Calgary, we always suggest adding a water softener to ensure your tankless system can function properly. If you don’t, and we’ve seen it in real life, the hard water minerals will build up in your unit and it won’t last as long as it should and will void your warranty. 

Choosing a brand is an important step in the process and we are happy to offer our recommendations. There are many on the market such as Rheem, Rinnai, Navien, John Wood and Noritz. Each brand and style has its pros and cons and once we learn about your home’s water systems, your water needs, budget and other elements, we can share our suggestions based on experience and what you need. 

You see at Aquality, our vision is to be the trusted plumbing and heating expert by building honest relationships. We feel this is a great way to start your relationship with us.  ~ David, from Aquality

5 Things to Consider when Choosing between a Hot Water Tank or a Tankless Hot Water Heater

5 Things to Consider when Choosing between a Hot Water Tank or a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Love a hot bath? Enjoy endless warm-water showers? Dream about washing clothes at the same time as a family member has a hot shower? Looking for ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption?

Look no further! You can upgrade your home’s hot water situation and you can make the right choice between a standard hot water tank or a tankless water heater. 

Here are 5 key points to consider when deciding between a hot water tank or a tankless water heater:

  1. How long will you be living at this residence?  

This is our first question when considering tankless water heaters because if you are not going to reap the benefits long enough to pay back the added expense, or you aren’t a die hard environmentalist, and space saving isn’t vital, then you do not need to read any further because a tankless is not for you.

Based on the cost, we’d like to know you will be sticking around for at least a few years (we say 4 or more) to ensure you are getting value from your decision. Remember though, if you value making the right choice for the environment, you can skip ahead to point #4.

  1. Where do you live?
    If you live in Calgary, like I do, you will need to address the water quality. If you live in a city or town with soft water, then this is one consideration you don’t have to factor in.

There are 2 options for those who have hard water.  First, you can install a scale remover before the tankless unit; or secondly, you can get the whole home on a water softener. There are huge advantages to having soft water, and it is imperative to maintain your warranty on a tankless system.

A tankless water heater system, (also called on demand water) is a great investment for your home, but it is an investment. We want to ensure that our customers know up front that if your home has hard water like most homes in the Calgary area do, that before installing a tankless water heater, you will have to consider how you will address the water quality. Keep in mind, if you install a water softening system to your whole home, not only will it support your new tankless system, but it will give you so many other terrific benefits too. You can read more about the benefits of water softeners on our website.

  1. Annual Maintenance of Tankless Water Heaters
    Be aware that maintenance is required with your tankless and some plumbing companies will argue both ways on tanks.  Flushing the tankless and having it serviced are your key to a valid warranty. Typical hot water tanks can live without annual maintenance, especially in a clean dust-free area.

    With tankless, if you have hard water, it will scale on the inside and this added hard scale will reduce efficiencies down to approximately 70% efficient levels. See point #4 to compare how unfortunate it is to reduce your efficiency levels this low. 

    Plumbers secret and hint for you: If you have soft water, be sure to change your Anode Rod every 4 (maximum 5) years or you will see your tank start to leak prematurely at about year 6 or 7.  You’re welcome.
  1. How efficient is the tankless heater compared to a hot water tank? 
    There is no comparison. Period.

    It’s incredible how efficient tankless models are. Most tankless models will operate at 96%-98% efficiency. This is incredible and should be celebrated for many reasons including the efficient use of energy, the efficient use of your money when you pay for your home’s energy usage, and the engineering plus the craftsmanship that goes into creating tankless heaters.

    The concept of a high efficient residential hot water tank isn’t as true as it is marketed, especially living in Canadian climates like Calgary. From what we know, an efficiency rating of 67% is typically all you will get on the variety of hot water tanks typically installed.

    Factor in that tankless only heats water when you open a faucet; compare that to a giant tank that is constantly trying to keep 40, 50, sometimes over 100 gallons in some homes, hot 24/7.

    Without a doubt, the tankless water heater is the clear winner here.
  2. Will your lifestyle adapt?
    A tankless option will never run out of hot water.. sort of.  It will never run out of hot water, BUT only at a certain amount of gallons per minute (GPM). If you exceed the amount of gallons per minute, it will go lukewarm or cold. Generally though, endless hot water is one of the main features that people love about a tankless water heater. Rather than singing one or two songs in the shower, you’ll be able to sing the whole album!

    If your lifestyle can adapt to using less gallons per minute (typically 2 or 3  faucets, as the GPM per faucet will vary) to align with what your tankless was specified for, you will love it!

    A typical hot water tank has a reserve of all those gallons we mentioned earlier so running out of hot water works differently. It may handle more gallons per minute at first, but once your hot water tank is drained, with limited recovery potential, you can expect to be waiting a while for hot water again. The tankless will be ready to go instantly if you keep your GPM within its means.  

Hot Water Tank Warranty Specialists

In the Calgary area, Aquality Plumbing and Heating is actually designated as the plumbing technician of choice to handle all the warranty calls, repairs and replacements for several top hot water tank brands. We know a lot about hot water systems and we have seen how they look and function when they are new, partly used and on their last legs. If you ask us about your home’s hot water situation, you are guaranteed to get an honest and helpful answer based on our many years of experience. 

We hope this helps you make the right decision for your situation. If you have more questions, we welcome you to reach out to us at: connect@aqualityplumber.com or call our office at 403-205-2782.

The Aquality Granola Project

The Aquality Granola Project

e91109fc-c180-4ebc-bafd-1e93d44fad5f The Aquality Granola Project

Did you know that Aquality Plumbing & Heating Vans are equipped with Granola Bars to help people we come across throughout our days on the roads?  If an Aquality Tech sees someone in need, they offer a Granola Bar from their van. It is that simple, as we have all been through hard times in our lives, and offering loving kindness with a healthy snack is a small step in being a part of our community here in Calgary.

Growing up I recall seeing people at stop lights and watching as almost nobody would roll their window down, to the point where they look down or away so they wouldn’t make eye contact with the person outside.  It hit me hard in the winter growing up in Winnipeg.

There were people who would roll their windows down, those few would offer money in most cases.  I recall listening to my Dad frustrated by the fact, these people would most likely use the money for drugs or abuse in someway, and giving money was not going to help most of the people looking into the cars.

In the past couple years, I know many people who have lost their jobs due to poor economy and the struggles in the oil industry.  Some of them who were six figure salaries, could easily have lost their homes, family, and been on the street. They were not necessarily the stereotype I was taught.  In fact, even the people from my childhood may not have been the stereotype many of us place. It simply isn’t fair or just to ever assume anything about another person.

And if there is truth to what my father had said, then we are not helping some of these people by giving money, as we are feeding a habit I would not condone.  And in that statement was the answer for me, “Feeding” was the key. We all need food, no matter what, in good times and bad, we all need nourishment.

So after some pondering, and the next time I was at Southland and Macleod, I rolled down my window for the first time in my life.  I said Hello, and offered up a smile, one that I hope projected hope. And then I received the warmest smile back from a fellow human being.  I then looked in my truck and found a Granola Bar I had, and gave it to the man. He lit up with excitement, and was more grateful than most people I meet daily.  

Selfishly, I felt amazing, as perhaps there is no true act of selflessness.  I also felt that this feeling should be felt by others and I started by explaining to my kids what had happened.  This led to weeks of my kids loading up a special bag that lives in my truck, and being on the lookout for people in need.  And if traffic allows, we give out Granola Bars to those who are needing a little something, and even more important we do it with a big smile to offer hope.

Once you do something that feels good and right I believe you have to spread the word.  So I did that with my kids, and then I started the program with all the Aquality Vans about 5 months ago.  Now I am telling you. So whether you join our family and use our services, or already have for years, consider giving to those people on our streets, even if it is just a granola bar with a smile.


Myth Buster: The Toilet Leak Dye-Test Doesn’t Work!

Myth Buster: The Toilet Leak Dye-Test Doesn’t Work!

Toilet-768x512 Myth Buster: The Toilet Leak Dye-Test Doesn't Work!

Toilet leaks may be an easy repair but sometimes detecting a leak can be the biggest part of the challenge, especially if it’s a silent leak. 

Don’t be alarmed – there are many ways for you to check to see if your toilet is leaking, but the classic ‘leaking toilet dye-test’ isn’t one of them! In case you’ve forgotten the details, the leaking toilet test, is where you drop a few drops of food colouring or dye into the tank of your toilet, and wait a few moments to see if coloured water seeps or leaks down into your toilet bowl. It may sound pretty straightforward and foolproof, however it doesn’t always produce results you can count on! 

When performing the test, we often found the dye would still leak into the toilet bowl, but it wasn’t necessarily because a leak was presentWhat most people don’t know is dye can still leak into your toilet bowl due to the differences of viscosity in the liquids and dyes. After performing the test, it might tell you that you have a leaking toilet, when you really do not!

If you want to diagnose a leaking toilet, here are a few of my insider tips and tricks you can try yourself:

1) Place your ear to the toilet tank after you’ve flushed.  Continue to listen for a minute or two after the toilet has stopped filling. If the leak isn’t silent, you will be able to hear if water is still running. If you can still hear water running, it means you’ve most likely detected a leak.

2) After you’ve flushed, wait a few moments and then look into the toilet bowl. If you can still see water movement filling from the tank minutes later, you’ve most definitely spotted a leak.

3) If you can hear your toilet filling when no one has recently used itit probably means you have a broken fill valve. This is known as the famous ‘Ghost Fill’.

Before you let your water bill double, give these tips a try to detect a leak right away. If you suspect you have a leaking toilet, contact us for a professional toilet check.

~David, Owner, Aquality Plumbing & Heating

Garburator or Compost?

Garburator or Compost?

Garburator-768x512 Garburator or Compost? Garburator_web Garburator or Compost?

Ever wonder why you should compost if you already have a garburator? Doesn’t it all eventually end up back in mother earth anyway?

Kitchen waste is a major part of composting and once we own a garburator, we become conditioned to scrape plates and put everything we can down our garburator in our sink. This is still the best thing to do, right!?

At Aquality Plumbing & Heating, we want you to reconsider using your garburator for kitchen scraps! Please start composting and give your garburator a break.

Why would we suggest you compost instead of using a garburator?

Maybe you are surprised that a business that sells and installs garburators is pushing for composting, but to us, it makes complete sense. Aquality Plumbing & Heating is built on honesty and providing services for Calgarians that they actually really need. We are about being helpful – not for selling products if they won’t benefit you and make your life better.

Garburators have a place and as an owner of one in my home I see the value. In the past, I used my garburator to get rid of plate scraps and then cut up lemon or lime to keep the smell down as that kills bacteria from forming. (That’s a helpful tip for you Garb-people out there!). I also “flush” the kitchen sink once a week to keep it healthy. (Learn more about Sink Maintenance.)

Our home plumbing systems are not actually designed to have so much food debris running through them. In addition, the City’s water systems then have to work extra hard to screen this same debris out before it is processed back into our river system.

Can My Compost Bin Really Handle All Our Table Scraps?

With the City of Calgary having compost bins available, we finally have the best of both worlds. I no longer put table scraps into my sink even though I have a garburator. I get everything I can, even yogurt, into the compost as I know it will break down and create a sustainable fertilizer that will be used for so much good around the city!

In addition, I feel good knowing this saves space in our landfills: food waste is 50% of our current garbage!

Use Your Own Compost

Hey, you can even be selfish and compost at home and keep the goods for yourself and your yard! In the end, I am proud to say that my drains run clear which means I avoid a potentially costly service call for an augur service, that many garburator users and abusers will incur.

Compost. Not Garburator.

The truth is, we see a ton of people abuse their garburator by using it for items that it cannot fully break down. We even see people prepping for large meals and putting everything down the drain. To save yourself money in the long run and avoid the annoyance of a plugged line, put that food waste in the compost! It is smart and super easy!

What Should a Garburator be Used For?

In the end, I still have and use my garburator almost everyday for the little items that find a way in the sink. This ensures my drain stays clear. I just no longer use it to rid myself of all the food waste we produce in our home. Composting is designed to deal with all this material in the best way possible, our piping systems are not.
~ David H., Owner, Aquality Plumbing & Heating

Still not convinced?
Check out these compelling reasons to compost, as listed by our awesome City of Calgary!

http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/Recycling-information/Residential-services/Green-cart/Why-Green-Cart.aspx