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Price Your Job Quickly:

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Save up to $463 annually!

VIP Service Plans Get Financing

Condensing or Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heaters. Which is Best for My Home?

So, the time has finally come to replace that clunky, giant cylinder full of water that has been taking up valuable floor space in your attic, garage, or utility closet since your house was built.

As any homeowner knows, tank-type water heaters have been the gold standard for roughly one hundred years. While they still do a good enough job at providing your family with the hot water required for daily tasks, there’s been a considerable shift in recent years toward tankless water heaters.

Perhaps you’ve decided to go with a tankless unit for your water heater replacement, either because of the convenience of on-demand hot water or for the efficiency and energy savings. Tankless water heaters offer several advantages over their century-old predecessors, with several options available on many units for instant hot water, smart technology to control your water heater from a phone or tablet, and the safety of eliminating a giant tank of water from your house.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Also known as an on-demand water heater, these units provide hot water as needed without using a storage tank. Unlike traditional tank-type water heaters that continuously heat and reheat a large volume of water—usually 40 to 70 gallons—in a storage tank. Tankless water heaters only heat your water when there is a demand for hot water in the home and can be equipped with a recirculation pump for instant hot water on demand.

A Note from Your Friendly Content Writer.

At Nick’s Plumbing, we appreciate customers who do their due diligence before making expensive home improvements. Since your water heater is among the top 3 most costly home repairs, it is critical that you choose the one that works best for your family’s needs.

If you’ve made it to this page, you already know the benefits and drawbacks of switching to a tankless water heater, and you probably understand that they differ from their tank-type ancestors. As such, this blog will skip the usual introductory information about how tankless water heaters work and instead focus on the difference between non-condensing and condensing water heaters and what those differences can mean for your water heater’s performance and energy costs.

So, Let’s Start with How a Condensing Tankless Water Heater Operates.

Condensing tankless water heaters use condensation to trap heat which can then be recycled for heating water rather than just disappearing into the atmosphere. Using an additional heat exchanger, the condensing water heater can also recover the heat generated by the exhaust gases from fuel combustion.

When a hot water tap is opened, sensors in the condensing water heater detect the water flow, signaling the heating components to fire up. As cold water flows into the unit, it passes over—or around—a primary heat exchanger as the gas burner ignites. Water is heated as it passes over this heat exchanger and is distributed to the tap.

In a condensing water heater, the combustion process generates hot exhaust gases, which are directed through a secondary heat exchanger. When this second exchanger cools down, the water vapor in the exhaust condenses into a liquid form. This process releases additional heat energy that is transferred to the incoming cold water flowing through the primary heat exchanger.

By recovering heat from the exhaust gases through the condensing process, condensing water heaters can achieve greater energy efficiency than non-condensing models. The recovered heat is used to help pre-heat the incoming cold water, reducing the amount of energy required to heat the water to its desired temperature. After heating, the condensed water and trapped exhaust gases are safely released into the environment.

OK, So How is a Non-Condensing Tankless Unit Different?

First of all, no one is taking potshots at non-condensing tankless water heaters. They offer fantastic performance and greater efficiency than any tank-type water heater and other crucial benefits like on-demand hot water and the lack of a vast tank just waiting to burst.

Non-condensing water heaters can do anything a condensing unit can—except for the whole capturing and recycling energy thing.

Non-Condensing Water Heaters Waste Energy!

Non-condensing water heaters do not incorporate a secondary heat exchanger to recover heat from exhaust gases. As a result, the gases are released directly without any energy recovery, which limits the overall efficiency of non-condensing models compared to condensing units.

Size Matters With a Non-Condensing Water Heater.

It is also essential to properly size a non-condensing tankless water heater to ensure it can meet the hot water demands of your household. Professional tankless water heater installation and maintenance will help to ensure decades of optimal performance and efficiency.

Before installation, have a conversation with your Nick’s plumbing technician about the number of bathrooms you have and the number of people living in the home, and be sure to tell them about any hot tubs or jacuzzis that may require additional hot water and, thus, a larger water heater.

Why Choose Nick’s Plumbing for My Condensing Water Heater Installation?

Nick’s Plumbing knows water heaters, and we’d better. We’ve been installing water heaters all around the Houston area since 1979. Now as tankless technology, condensing water heaters—both tankless and tank type—and other innovations like wi-fi-enabled tankless water heaters that can be controlled and monitored via an app become the standard, we’re installing more water heaters than ever.

Tank-type water heaters do not age like wine. They age more like bread, getting stiff, moldy, and eventually breaking apart.

Schedule a consultation with one of our fully trained, licensed, and background-checked plumbing technicians to determine what tankless water heater might be just right for your family.

Call Nick’s Today, We’re on the Way!

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