High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
The dream of unlimited hot water can come true with a tankless water heater. Here are three electric ones worth your attention.

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient alternative to normal hot water heaters, you’ve probably heard of tankless water heaters. Besides allowing you to get rid of the giant storage tank in your basement or closet, they also help reduce water and energy waste, resulting in lower utilities and less environmental impact over time. If you live somewhere where you don’t have a lot of room to spare, such as in a condominium, apartment, or townhouse, you might not have any options besides a tankless heater if you want more than a few minutes of hot water at a time. No matter why you’re in the market, today we’ll help you figure out which electric tankless heaters offer the most value for your money and energy needs.

How do tankless water heaters work and what are the differences between gas and electric models?

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
Although tankless heaters may seem a bit magical, they’re not that much more complex than air conditioners or refrigerators.

Tankless heaters work somewhat like air conditioners; an air conditioner cools air as it passes through it, while tankless water heaters heat cold water while it flows through the machine. Depending on the heating system and capacity, a tankless heater can heat between 2 and 5 gallons of water each minute, whether through gas or electricity. You’ll typically have higher peak flow rates through gas units at the expense of greater purchase, fuel, and maintenance costs. Electric tankless water heaters will typically use energy more efficiently but will need to work harder to quickly heat water compared to gas units.

How long do electric tankless water heaters take to recoup the money spent buying them?

The buy-back period will vary from one tankless heater to the next, as well as with whether you already have the necessary electrical connections in place to support a tankless heater. If your home is sufficiently wired and it’s just a question of installing the heater itself, it can pay for itself in as little as a couple of years compared to a traditional tank-based electric heater. However, it’s important to note that the buy-back period can be substantially longer if you’re starting from scratch. Typically the period will be shorter for electric heaters than for gas units since gas units require more complex upgrades than electrical systems.

Now we’ve covered the basics, here are our recommendations at different price points and levels of functionality.

What’s the best overall electric tankless water heater right now?

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
The EcoSmart has been one of the best selling electric tankless heaters for years for a reason: it works, and it works really well.

If you’re looking for overall performance and value energy efficiency in conjunction with high flow rates, the EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater is probably your best bet. Unlike most electric models, it’s capable of generating just under 3 gallons per minute at inlet temperatures as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal choice for families in the northern United States and Canada.

Of course, if you live in warmer latitudes, such as in the southern or western United States, you can get much higher flow rates; it tops out at up to 6 gallons per minute, which is enough to run 4 showers and 1 sink simultaneously without ever running out of hot water. Additionally, you can set your desired outlet temperature in 1 degree increments between 80 F and 140 F, making it one of the most flexible options on the market today if you can afford it.

What’s the best budget electric  water heater for the money?

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
While the Bosch Tronic isn’t technically a tankless water heater, it’s almost as convenient as one and is a great point of use solution for people who don’t need that much water, but do want the water they need hot.

If you’re interested in going tankless but aren’t quite ready to drop more than a few hundred dollars on the technology, you owe it to yourself to check out the Bosch Tronic 3000 Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater. It’s technically a tank heater, but is small and convenient enough for us to forgive it. Available in 3 sizes–2.5 gallons, 4 gallons, and 7-gallons–it’s a cube-shaped little machine small enough to fit beneath sinks yet large enough to provide immediate hot whatever wherever and whenever you’re in the mood for it. The installation is also about as simple as it gets; instead of needing to think about upgrading your circuit breakers and electrical system, you simply connect it to your cold water line, plug it in, and enjoy the flow. The temperature range is generous, spanning 65 F to 145 F, with a peak water pressure of 150 PSI.

What’s the best high-end electric tankless water heater on the market?

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
If you can afford them, the Stiebel Eltron Tempra models are among the best on the market.

If you’ve got a larger budget and simply want the best, or at least something very, very close to it, we recommend the Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus 36 kW tankless electric water heater. It’s one of a family of Tempras from German company Stiebel Eltron that span the gamut from the Tempra 12 (named for the 12 kilowatts it uses) to the Tempra 36 Plus, which, as its name suggests, consumes 36 kilowatts when in operation. Fortunately, it’s efficient enough to only use that much energy when absolutely necessary, and includes a range of advanced features to help you make the most of your water and electricity.

High Value Electric Tankless Water Heaters For the Money
Whatever you choose, make sure it has enough capacity to allow you to do all the things you might want to do with water at once without exceeding capacity. That might mean showering and running multiple sinks at once.

Aside from the standard expectation of continuous hot water, the heater also auto-modulates to regulate the amount of energy used while delivering water at a given temperature. That temperature is visible through a digital display and is kept constant through a range of sophisticated internal technologies that slightly throttle water flow if you end up needing more hot water in your home at any given time than the heater is able to produce.

In short, it’s one of the best options on the market right now for electric tankless water heating, and it’s well worth considering if you’re in the market for a quality, buy-it-for-life solution to the hot water problem (i.e., the problem of running out of hot water). It will deliver water between 86 F and 140 F and can supply 3.9 GPM from an inlet temperature of 42 F all the way up to 7.5 GPM with an inlet temperature of 72 F.

If you find our work at PumpThatSump helpful, you can put our relentless reviewing of every pump and fixture on the market to the test by shopping via our links above for whatever you need to make your house a home. Despite being self-employed, we promise not to spend it all on health insurance.

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Replacing or Installing a New Toilet: An Easy DIY Guide

Replacing or Installing a New Toilet: An Easy DIY Guide
We walk you through how to replace or install a new toilet without going to plumbing school.

Unless you enjoy calling plumbers and paying high hourly rates, there are a lot of plumbing jobs you can get done on your own with a bit of reading, a bit of courage, and a lot of time. Replacing or installing a new toilet is one of them, except it’s not going to take you much time at all, even if you’re new. Here’s a guide to easily installing a new toilet in your bathroom, whether to replace a broken one or to simply upgrade an existing one in looks and energy efficiency. We’ll also cover recommendations and special tips for replacing macerating toilets in below-grade, basement bathrooms.

Turn off your water and remove the old toilet

Replacing or Installing a New Toilet: An Easy DIY Guide
Most of the advice here applies equally to regular and macerating toilets. Keep in mind that you’ll need a macerating toilet if you’re installing a toilet in a basement bathroom in most cases.

The first step is to turn off the water supply going to your toilet. There will typically be a shut-off valve behind the toilet, but if you can’t find one or if it wasn’t installed, you can shut off your water main; this will be in your basement if you have one or in a plumbing closet. You can follow your water heater to find it if necessary.

Once your water’s off, flush the toilet, holding the flusher down until there’s no more water in the bowl or reservoir. You’ll want to use a bucket and a sponge to soak up any remaining water so it doesn’t drip everywhere. If you have a macerating toilet, unplug it once you’re done flushing. Disconnect your toilet tank from your water line and unscrew the nuts on your toilet’s closet bolts; these are the bolts at the base of the toilet that connect your toilet to your floor. Lift the toilet up with the help of a friend and remove it carefully.

Remove the old wax ring and measure for a new toilet

With the toilet out of the way, cover the exposed drain so sewer gases from your pipes don’t enter your home. Clear out the wax ring with a putty knife; you won’t reuse it. Also make sure the closet flange is still in good condition; if it looks like it has worn down or begun to rust, replace it.

Use a tape measure to measure the distance from your closet bolts to the walls beside and behind your toilet; these measurements will give you an idea of the size of the replacement toilet you need, presuming you haven’t already chosen one. If you’re replacing a macerating toilet, keep in mind that you’ll need another; a regular toilet won’t be able to pump sewage against gravity.

Install the new toilet (but don’t over tighten it)

Connect your flange to the closet bolts for your new toilet and make sure each is aligned with your toilet’s holes. Rest the toilet upside down and carefully align a new wax ring over the base. Place your toilet on the drain, making sure to align your closet bolts. Be sure to press firmly in order to make a seal that’s watertight, or you’ll face a risk of leaks later on. Attach the nuts, washer, and cap base to your closet bolts and tighten everything down.

Make sure you don’t over tighten your bolts; this can lead to a cracked toilet, which you’ll then need to replace. Cover your closet bolts with caps. If any bolts are too long, you’ll need to cut them with a hacksaw. If your toilet is a two-piece model, install the bowl at this point. Typically the flushing components will already be assembled within the bowl. Install any necessary bolts as well as your rubber gasket and carefully set the tank on top of the toilet. Seal the two by tightening your bolts. Again, be sure not to over tighten them.

Reconnect water and check for leaks

Here’s the moment of truth. Reconnect your water line, turn it on, and look for leaks all around the toilet, particularly at the base and at the bowl. If you need to make adjustments, do so; it’s better to discover mistakes at this point than later. When the tank fills to the fill line, flush it and check the wax seal. If your toilet is leaking, shut off the water again and recheck your connections. If you don’t find any leaks, you can connect the toilet lid and use latex caulk to seal up the base of the toilet.

Know when you need professional help

While you can generally get this job done on your own with enough patience and trial and error, if you don’t feel comfortable taking it on alone and don’t have any knowledgeable friends, there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help. And if you do tackle the job on your own but can’t figure out where your toilet is leaking once you’re done with the installation, it’s important to get help. If you use a leaking or dripping toilet, you’re eventually going to either damage your bathroom, structurally speaking, or at the very least, tarnish its aesthetics. It’s particularly important to call for help if your closet flange or drains are damaged or leaking; while these jobs can be tackled without a plumber if you have enough experience, it might be a better use of your time to simply bring a plumber in instead of becoming one over the course of several weekends.

Which macerating toilets do you recommend for basement bathrooms?

Replacing or Installing a New Toilet: An Easy DIY Guide
The Saniflo Sanicompact is our top choice for a basement or below-grade toilet, as it macerates without needing venting.

While most of the above advice applies equally to regular toilets and macerating toilets, macerators have a few unique points to keep in mind. First of all, if you’re installing one from scratch, such as in a basement bathroom addition or renovation, you’re more likely to need professional help unless your plumbing is already roughed in and you’re comfortable connecting your toilet to a discharge line and venting it. That said, there are macerators that don’t require venting, like the Saniflo Sanicompact, which we highly recommend and review here. The Saniflo Saniaccess 2 does require venting but is another excellent option for homeowners and landlords in search of a reliable macerating toilet. And of course, if you’re willing to put in a sewage pump or already have one installed, you won’t need a macerating toilet at all no matter where you set up a bathroom, as it’ll be able to pump sewage against gravity.

If you find our work at PumpThatSump helpful, you can put our relentless reviewing of every pump and fixture on the market to the test by shopping via our links above for whatever you need to make your house a home. Despite being self-employed, we promise not to spend it all on health insurance.

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We share best practices in pump and fixture selection, installation, and maintenance for families and small business owners who want water (or worse) gone for good.