Have you decided to install a tankless gas water heater in your home? You'd be forgiven for thinking that your search for the perfect residential water heating system ends here, but a few extra hours of online research and shopping may reveal that not all gas-powered tankless water heaters are created equal.
As a homeowner, you have two primary options to choose from when it comes to installing a tankless gas water heater: condensing and non-condensing units. Both types outshine traditional storage water heaters in terms of operating efficiency. However, they're different in a number of ways, as further elucidated below.
Non-condensing tankless gas water heaters
This is the most basic form of tankless gas water heater and is the first type homeowners choose when switching from a traditional storage water heater. They're the first choice for homeowners because they can use a home's existing ventilation to direct exhaust gases outside where the cooling process takes place.
Non-condensing tankless units typically have only one heat exchanger because they don't use the exhaust gases for the heating process once the hot gases have been vented outside the units.
While they're more energy-efficient than traditional storage water heaters, you might be better off investing in a condensing unit if you want to achieve higher efficiencies with your tankless water heater installation.
Condensing tankless gas water heaters
Unlike their non-condensing kin, these tankless gas water heaters are closed systems that recycle heat to maximise efficiency and energy savings. The heat energy in the exhaust gases is captured using a second heat exchanger. As the hot gases become cool, they turn into condensation water, which collects within the unit instead of being vented directly to the outside of it.
Because condensation water is highly corrosive and can corrode a home's existing venting system, a non-corrosive venting material of high quality will be needed to prevent corrosion damage: standard PVC pipes are typically used for this purpose. That said, a special filtration or dilution process must be used to neutralise the condensation water before it can be drained to the outside.
To add to the energy savings, condensing units help to minimise greenhouse gas emissions by absorbing and using exhaust gases to heat water. They're suitable for people looking to keep their homes' carbon footprint as low as possible. That said, a condensing unit will cost more upfront.
Ultimately, the right tankless gas water heater for your home will depend on your budget and the specific goals you want to accomplish with your hot water system installation. Contact a hot water plumber near you to book a professional hot water system installation service.