A tankless job

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As evidenced at the 2017 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition that was held earlier this year, nearly all of the manufacturers of tankless, or instantaneous, water heaters redesigned their products, so they facilitate a water-line connection that’s at the top of a unit in addition to a connection that’s at the bottom of it. Don’t let a salesperson for a particular brand tell you that the inclusion of this configuration in his/her company’s model is unique, as one manufacturer claimed to us.

“Most [residential tankless water heaters] now have top/bottom connections,” says Dave Yates, who is the president of contractor F.W. Behler and who authored two articles on the comfort-conditioning segment for Consumers Digest. Yates is surprised that manufacturers didn’t make such a redesign sooner, given the simplicity of the change.

It costs a consumer more to remove a conventional storage-type water heater and replace it with a tankless water heater than it does to swap out one conventional water heater with another one. Therefore, the labor savings that can be facilitated by the location of a water-line connection that’s at the top of a tankless water heater is beneficial to the homeowner. So, too, are the redesign of tankless water heaters so they accommodate 2-inch venting and the use of flexible polypropylene vent piping.

Yates says Navien was the first manufacturer to redesign tankless water heaters in this way, but “the others have been playing catch-up.”