By Corey McCloskey, Customer Response Team Representative
If you tuned in last week, you already know that the blog featured a write-up on the virtues of triple glazed windows, and how they affect your home’s capacity to stay warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Another standout feature that is a part of the Cedarglen Homes EnerGuide 80 promotion*, is the tankless water heater.
With tankless water heaters, the future of domestic hot water heating is now. These units look like something you’d expect to see installed on the International Space Station, but you’ll find this carry-on luggage sized beauty neatly installed in the mechanical room of your new home. A tankless water heater is exactly what its name implies, but let’s start with what it isn’t.
A common misconception about tankless water heaters is that they’re instantaneous, which can be misleading for many. The principles of water distribution still apply here: between your mechanical room and every plumbing fixture in your home are meters upon meters of piping and, once the system is charged initially, it remains full of water at all times. The unused water in the system, which was intended to supply the hot shower you took before you left for work this morning, will cool over time, and you’ll still need to use up that “standing” water tomorrow morning before the piping hot stuff makes its way to your shower head. And yes, that pun was intended.
A more accurate term to describe the performance of a tankless water heater is “on-demand,” which is how these units save energy and, ultimately, money. A conventional water heater supplies hot water to your home by constantly reheating a 50-gallon bucket of water, in order to maintain the desired water temperature. For argument’s sake, if you and your family are asleep for 8 hours and at work or school for 8 hours, that’s a whole bunch of hours every day when nobody is even around to use the hot water, yet the tank plods along, and your gas meter along with it.
Thankfully, your tankless water heater is smarter than the average cylinder of water. A flow sensor alerts the computer when it’s time to get to work, which starts the natural gas combustion process. As cold water continues to flow through the unit, the burners fire up, transferring thermal energy to the adjacent heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a length of coiled copper piping, which transfers thermal energy to the water passing through it, via conduction. Only need a little bit of hot water? The unit monitors the volume of water required to be heated to the preset temperature, using a smaller flame on less of the burner. Planning on relaxing in your soaker tub while a load of laundry finishes? 199,000 max BTUs of water heating goodness is at your command; however, water flow may be reduced if you’re using multiple appliances or faucets at the same time.
Not impressed? If you follow the path of water on the illustration below, the water passes through a secondary stainless steel heat exchanger, which preheats the water by re-using the retained latent heat of the water vapour produced by the unit; a by-product of natural gas combustion. Now I know you’re impressed! When you shut off your tap, the flow through the unit ceases and it completes the combustion cycle. There it will stay, until called for, using no natural gas whatsoever!
It’s a tankless job, but somebody has to do it, and these units are up to the task. To see them in action, stop by our showhomes in Phase 46 of Auburn Bay and check them out for yourself!
Have a great weekend,
* Cedarglen Homes EnerGuide 80 initiative applies to the standard plan only on a standard lot for homes purchased in 2016. Any revisions made to the standard plan may affect this rating. In the event of a dispute between this document and a contract, the contract will prevail. E&OE. Revised and effective 07/2016.