Tankless Systems Are an Investment Worth Making
Looking for a new water heater and not sure where to look? The team at T.Webber can help!
What’s better than hearing and learning all about tankless water heaters than from the experts themselves? Tommy Webber, Service Manager at T.Webber Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, provides some insight and information on tankless water heaters for your perusal!
We are going to discuss tankless water heaters today, but first, tell me about T.Webber.
We have been in business since 1987. We provide residential service to Dutchess County, Putnam County, Westchester County, Orange County, and Ulster County, New York. We specialize in plumbing, heating, air conditioning, well pumps, water treatment, drain cleaning – basically most of the residential home services that people require.
Switching back over to tankless, which models do you prefer to install and why?
We’ve been installing several different tankless water heaters throughout the years. Within the past year or two, we’ve moved to Navien. We really like their product. They have great technical support and training. There’s little to no callbacks with it and we’re really comfortable installing them.
If I’m a homeowner, why would I want to choose a tankless water heater over a conventional one?
It comes down to efficiency and not running out of hot water. It’s also safer for your family. It’s a direct vent, so all the flue gasses go directly outside. This means it’s a lot safer and there’s not going to be any backdraft where the flue gasses are entering the house and having carbon monoxide poisoning happening. Also, it’s very efficient because it only heats hot water when you need it and you never run out of hot water. You have an endless hot water supply, so you never have to cut a shower short or take a cold shower. Endless hot water, higher efficiency, lower bills – all around, it’s a great product.
And in comparison, again, to the conventional water heater, how long would you say a tankless one lasts?
Tankless water heaters will last 15-20 years. With a conventional water heater, 10 years is pushing the maximum life on them. That really depends also on the incoming water quality, so we like to make sure there’s no hard water passing through the tankless water heater that will shorten the lifespan of it. But, generally, 15-20 years.
In order to get those 15-20 years, we want to maintain it. How would you say the maintenance process is for a tankless?
Maintenance process is pretty simple. You are softening the water so you have soft water – not hard water – passing through. If you do that, you won’t have to clean out the heat exchanger as often. So, making sure that it’s soft water passing through is a great way to ensure your equipment is working optimally. Also, it is a condensing unit so you do have to change the neutralizer for the condensing portion of it. That’s something that would have to be maintained as well. But that’s about it.
Does T.Webber offer a maintenance program?
Yes, we do we offer a Service Partner Plan on tankless water heaters. It’s an annual maintenance contract where we come out, we go over the system, we check the neutralizer, make sure it’s working well, and ensure it doesn’t need to be replaced. We also check the water quality and make sure everything is performing as it should without hard water passing through it. We clean the screens on the water inlet to the water heater to make sure that’s not affecting any flow rate. Overall we check the system for functionality to make sure it’s sending hot water where it should be and that it is operating efficiently and doing what it needs to be doing.
If repairs or replacements are necessary, what does the warranty look like for the model that you install or internally for your company?
At T.Webber we have a 2-year warranty on installation and for Navien there’s a 5-year parts warranty.
Can you tell me a little bit about the installation process?
We cut out and remove the existing water heater. If you already have a tankless water heater – another brand – it might be a little bit easier to replace as opposed to converting from a standard water heater. But, we will remove the old water heater, cap off the existing flue piping if it needs to be, and then we would install direct vent PVC or CPVC vent piping. Then, we will mount the unit on the wall, type in the hot and cold water supply, run the condensate lines to drain and make sure that’s piped in perfectly. Also, the gas piping in many cases needs to be upsized. So before we start any installation we’ll definitely pay attention to those finer details, such as the gas piping being properly sized so the unit can operate effectively and not have any issues down the road.
Mostly, it all starts with the initial visit. We set everything up, look at the entire system so the installation can be flawless.
You mentioned gas piping. What kind of hookups would I need to have in the home – is it just gas or would electric work too?
The Navien does require a 115-volt power supply. And, as I said with the gas piping size, in some scenarios there needs to be a meter upgrade so we can have more gas coming into the home. We do all that – we do gas sizing, we work with the local utility companies to upgrade meters and upsize the gas lines if that needs to be done.
Going off of common objections that I’ve heard about tankless water heaters – that they’re inconsistent or that I will experience cold showers – you mentioned that won’t happen, so how has the technology changed in recent years?
It’s come a long way. A few years ago, tankless water heaters were new to the market, and over the last two years we’ve had a chance to see which units have been performing well and which ones haven’t been or had issues. As long as they are installed properly and everything is maintained everything is good. The only downside – which is very much of a downside – is the slight delay on hot water coming up through the fixture, but that’s really a minimal inconvenience that not a lot of people notice. So, I think the technology has come a long way, they have worked out the kinks, and as long as everything is sized out and installed properly, there’s little to no maintenance or problems with these units.
Have you heard any specific questions or objections from your customers about tankless?
It is an investment, so it is more money than a conventional water heater. And the initial transition to a tankless water heater might be more expensive. But down the road when you go to replace it, that cost isn’t going to be as much. A lot of it is basic pricing concerns versus a conventional water heater which might be less expensive. But, in the long run, after a few years the unit will pay itself off and it will provide a better quality of life to the people living in the house because they aren’t heating up the water when they’re not home and it’s super efficient. The cost of energy and fuel is just going up and up, and this is a great way to curb the expenses of rising utility costs. It’s a really good investment. Any complaints or concerns we get are mostly related to pricing, but after the initial cost is invested, it will pay for itself over time.
You’ve already mentioned a lot of benefits, but are there any others you’d like to discuss?
It’s fairly simple – you save money, you get endless hot water, it takes up a lot less space. In these newer houses – and even older houses – there are space constraints and this is something that looks very nice. It hangs up on the wall and it’s a lot safer with the flue gasses directly going outside. Also, all products that have combustion byproducts, they use fresh air and it pulls that fresh air from the outside so the mixture for combustion is always perfect with these units.
If I’m interested in buying a tankless, or if I just want to learn more about T.Webber, how do I contact you?
You can give us a call at (845) 288-2777 or (914) 222-4626. We’d be happy to speak with you. If you have any concerns or questions and you want to reach out to us, you can visit our website: twebber.com.