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Gas Tankless Water Heater

Done correctly, gas tankless water heater upgrades can save significant utility expenses while providing unlimited hot water, longer life, and added safety by eliminating the potential for back-drafting of combustion gases.

The existing hot and cold water pipes around the water heater shall be inspected for water leaks before installation, and if any leaks are found they shall be reported to the homeowner for repairs before continuing the work.
The existing gas service line shall be inspected. If the line size is not adequate for the tankless gas water heater, the gas line must be replaced with one of adequate size.
The contractor will determine whether the water heater model to be installed requires an outlet or a hard-wired power supply, confirm the availability of an electrical outlet or supply near the location for the water heater; and install an outlet if necessary.
The water hardness shall be tested and recommendations shall be made to the homeowner about installation of a water softener if the tested level exceeds manufacturer-specified limits.
The water heater shall be sized based on the maximum demand anticipated and the temperature rise needed (which depends on climate).
The water heater installed shall be ENERGY STAR certified.
Collection and disposal of combustion condensate shall be provided if necessary. For a closed water supply system (i.e., with a back-flow preventer in the cold water supply), provisions shall be made to control thermal expansion (i.e., install an expansion tank if needed).
Where required by local codes, a mixing valve shall be installed to reduce the point-of-use temperature of the hot water to prevent scalding.
Where water leakage from the water heater could cause damage to the home, a building code-compliant emergency drain pan shall be installed with a ¾" drain line or larger running to a drain or pumping to daylight.
All accessible pipes connected to the water heater shall be insulated with a minimum of R-3 pipe insulation.
The water heater shall be installed in compliance with manufacturer’s specifications and relevant industry standards.
The water heater shall be commissioned in compliance with manufacturer specifications and relevant industry standards.
All operation and maintenance procedures shall be reviewed with the homeowner.
Where atmospherically vented combustion equipment is present, a combustion appliance zone safety test shall be performed after installation to ensure there is no back-drafting or spillage of combustion emissions. The test shall be in accordance with ANSI/ACCA 12 QH Appendix A or RESNET Chapter 8.
The gas line shall be tested for leaks after installation is complete.
If installation of a new sealed-combustion direct-vented water heater results in a vacated entry point in the chimney, the hole in the chimney wall shall be sealed.

BASC Guides

Retrofit guide describing how to assess harmful gasses such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and soot from existing combustion appliances.

Information guide describing how to assess crawlspaces and basements before proceeding with upgrades in existing homes.

Guide describing how to install a tankless hot water heater in a new or existing home to provide domestic hot water that is heated on demand without the standby losses associated with tank storage water heaters

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert (HIE) is a valuable tool for organizations committed to quality installed work. The following tips help optimize the value of this tool when selling home improvements:

  • Be the Expert: Take advantage of Building America Solution Center comprehensive guidance on ‘Existing Home’ retrofits.
  • Earn Trust: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) world-class expert guidance and recommend homeowners visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.
  • Clarity with Contrast: Tell prospective homeowner clients to compare your expert recommended best practices with other contractors.
  • Ensure Equivalent Pricing: Tell prospective homeowner clients to insist other bids also include DOE checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.
  • Translate Value: Note your company uses DOE HIE Checklists based on world-class expert recommendations for home improvements on all your public-facing communication including websites, advertising, and signage.
  • Create Emotional Experiences: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images for good and bad insulation and air sealing; pre- and post-energy bills following quality installed work; short and long warranties for standard and high-efficiency equipment; and charts showing amounts of contaminants in homes that can be reduced with effective fresh air systems.

Gas Tankless Water Heater Background

Gas tankless water heater

Water heating is the second largest energy expense in a home – typically 18% of the total utility bill. High-efficiency gas tankless water heaters eliminate heat loss from stored hot water in tank systems and use more efficient burners for significant energy savings. The combustion process is decoupled from the indoors with ducting for outside combustion air and exhaust air. This mitigates potential back-drafting of combustion gases that can occur with less efficient atmospherically vented gas tank water heaters. These systems also provide added durability compared to tank systems, which are to leaks.