Tankless Water Heaters | Edmonton Buying Guide

Rheem Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heaters | Edmonton Buying Guide


Choosing the right water heater for your home is crucial for ensuring a steady supply of hot water while keeping energy costs in check. In Edmonton, with its cold winters, having a reliable water heating system is essential. Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, are an increasingly popular choice due to their efficiency and convenience. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the benefits, considerations, and steps involved in selecting the best tankless water heater for your Edmonton home.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater heats water directly without the need for a storage tank. When hot water is needed, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water, providing a constant supply of hot water. This means you don’t have to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

1. Energy Efficiency

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than traditional storage water heaters because they eliminate standby heat loss. Standby heat loss occurs in storage water heaters when heat escapes from the water tank, even when no hot water is being used. By heating water only when needed, tankless systems can reduce energy consumption by 24-34% compared to storage water heaters.

2. Unlimited Hot Water

With a tankless water heater, you won’t run out of hot water. Since the system heats water on demand, it can provide a continuous supply, making it ideal for larger households or homes with high hot water usage.

3. Space Saving

Tankless water heaters are compact and can be mounted on a wall, freeing up valuable floor space. This makes them an excellent choice for homes with limited space.

4. Longer Lifespan

Tankless water heaters typically last longer than storage water heaters. With proper maintenance, a tankless system can last up to 20 years, compared to the 10-15 year lifespan of traditional storage heaters.

5. Lower Risk of Leaks and Water Damage

Since tankless water heaters do not store water, there is less risk of leaks and water damage associated with tank failures.

Considerations When Choosing a Tankless Water Heater

1. Fuel Type

Tankless water heaters can be powered by either gas (natural gas or propane) or electricity. The choice between gas and electric models depends on several factors, including energy availability, efficiency, and installation costs.

  • Gas-Powered Tankless Water Heaters: These models tend to have a higher flow rate and can heat water more quickly than electric models. However, they may require venting and have higher installation costs.
  • Electric Tankless Water Heaters: These are typically easier and less expensive to install since they don’t require venting. However, they may have lower flow rates and higher operating costs in areas with high electricity prices.

2. Flow Rate

The flow rate, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), indicates the amount of hot water the heater can produce. To determine the appropriate flow rate for your home, consider the simultaneous hot water needs of various fixtures and appliances. For example, a shower typically uses 1.5-2.5 GPM, while a dishwasher uses about 1-2 GPM.

3. Temperature Rise

The temperature rise is the difference between the incoming cold water temperature and the desired hot water temperature. In Edmonton, where incoming water can be very cold, a higher temperature rise is needed. Ensure that the tankless water heater you choose can handle the required temperature rise for your household needs.

4. Installation Costs

While tankless water heaters can save money on energy bills, the initial installation cost can be higher than traditional storage water heaters. This includes the cost of the unit itself, potential upgrades to your home’s electrical system or gas line, and professional installation fees.

5. Maintenance Requirements

Regular maintenance is essential to keep a tankless water heater running efficiently. This includes descaling to remove mineral buildup and periodic inspection of the system’s components. Understanding the maintenance requirements and costs associated with the model you choose is crucial for long-term performance.

Steps to Selecting the Right Tankless Water Heater

1. Assess Your Hot Water Needs

Start by evaluating your household’s hot water usage. Consider the number of people in your home, the number of bathrooms, and the frequency of use for hot water appliances. This will help you determine the required flow rate and capacity.

2. Determine Fuel Availability

Check the availability and costs of natural gas, propane, and electricity in your area. This will help you decide between a gas or electric tankless water heater.

3. Calculate Temperature Rise

Determine the temperature of the incoming cold water in Edmonton (usually around 40°F in winter). Subtract this from your desired hot water temperature (typically 120°F) to calculate the required temperature rise.

4. Choose the Right Model

Based on your flow rate and temperature rise calculations, choose a tankless water heater model that meets your needs. Consider the brand, energy efficiency ratings, and customer reviews to make an informed decision.

5. Professional Installation

Hire a licensed professional to install your tankless water heater. Proper installation is crucial for optimal performance and safety. Ensure the installer is experienced with tankless systems and familiar with local building codes.

Popular Tankless Water Heater Brands

Several reputable brands offer high-quality tankless water heaters. Some popular brands include:

  • Rinnai
  • Noritz
  • Navien
  • Bosch
  • EcoSmart
  • Stiebel Eltron
  • Takagi

Tips for Maintaining Your Tankless Water Heater

1. Regular Descaling

Hard water can cause mineral buildup in the heat exchanger, reducing efficiency. Descale your tankless water heater every 6-12 months to prevent this.

2. Inspect Air Intake and Exhaust Vents

Ensure that the air intake and exhaust vents are clear of debris and obstructions. Blocked vents can reduce efficiency and pose safety risks.

3. Check for Leaks and Corrosion

Regularly inspect the unit for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

4. Monitor Water Pressure

Ensure that the water pressure in your home is within the recommended range for your tankless water heater. High water pressure can damage the unit, while low pressure can reduce performance.

Environmental Impact of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are generally more environmentally friendly than traditional storage water heaters. By reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, they contribute to a lower carbon footprint. Additionally, the longer lifespan of tankless units means fewer water heaters end up in landfills.

Cost Comparison: Tankless vs. Storage Water Heaters

While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater can be higher, the long-term savings on energy bills can offset this initial investment. Here’s a cost comparison:

1. Initial Costs

  • Tankless Water Heater: $1,000 – $3,000 (including installation)
  • Storage Water Heater: $500 – $1,500 (including installation)

2. Energy Costs

  • Tankless Water Heater: Lower annual energy costs due to higher efficiency
  • Storage Water Heater: Higher annual energy costs due to standby heat loss

3. Lifespan

  • Tankless Water Heater: 20+ years
  • Storage Water Heater: 10-15 years

4. Maintenance Costs

  • Tankless Water Heater: Regular descaling and inspections
  • Storage Water Heater: Periodic tank flushing and inspections


Investing in a tankless water heater for your Edmonton home can provide numerous benefits, including energy efficiency, unlimited hot water, and space savings. By understanding your hot water needs, considering the fuel type, and evaluating the flow rate and temperature rise, you can select the right model for your household. While the initial installation cost may be higher, the long-term savings and environmental benefits make tankless water heaters an excellent choice. Regular maintenance will ensure optimal performance and extend the lifespan of your unit, providing you with reliable hot water for years to come.


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