Today's hi-tech home hot water systems

Posted by on Sunday, April 16th, 2017 at 5:51pm.

Tankless hot water systems are getting more efficient and soon, new incentives will make them more feasible for Edmonton home owners.

There's nothing like an endless supply of hot water and people are warming up to their environmental benefits not to mention the economy.

Conventional hot water heaters and tanks can be real drain on your household budget, using nearly 20% of the energy in every Edmonton household. Only home heating comes first. New building codes are helping to reinforce the notion that hot water costs need to be more reasonable. Replacing your old tank with a highly efficient tankless model may also be a great selling feature for your Edmonton home.

Tankless heaters are becoming more popular as their efficiency increases, as well as direct-vented models that are similar to tank-type models. The use of alternative methods of hot water delivery are easier now that building codes in Alberta have eliminated the need for the conventional chimney, at least, in new homes built to these new codes for furnaces.

New home builders don't need to put in standard metal chimneys with the new high-efficiency furnaces. They haven't for the past 10 years. This has also paved the way for equally high-efficient water heating appliances that are also vented directly outside.

The newer water heaters, which also use natural gas, use a fan system to push out gases produced during combustion through a PVC pipe. Because there's no chimney through the middle, as there is in a conventional hot water tank, there isn't the significant heat loss. There is still some heat loss but not the huge amount there is with a conventional tank.

The Alberta government is offering incentives to people who retrofit their homes with high energy appliances, and soon there will be a push to install tankless systems so that people both save on heating costs and save water.

The Trouble with Tankless

Getting hot water on demand is great, but sometimes there are different sorts of complications with a tankless system. We have hard water in Edmonton, which can cause buildup from minerals such as calcium and magnesium in that hard water and clog up the small passageways inside the system which will restrict flow. They have to be descaled on a regular basis or home owners need to use a water softener in conjunction with their tankless system.

Industry watch dogs have suggested that as soon as the province's incentive program kicks in that water softener sales will also rise.

If your Edmonton home has a conventional hot water heater that is between 12 and 18 years of age, it's nearing the end of it's life cycle. Now the decision as to what to replace it with.

In considering a tankless system, one needs to consider the number of people in the house and whether there's a unique demand for large quantities of hot water, such as a large jacuzzi or extra deep soaker tub.

You'll need a system with a suitable recovery capacity. If a tankless heater is installed corrected and regularly maintained, it would be able to fill any size of bathtub as long as it can keep up if all of a sudden other fixtures and faucets are turned on.

Buying a Tankless System

Go with a tried and true brand so you're not calling for repairs every year.

According to, a tankless system can cost anywhere from $837 to $2,300 up to as much as $3,600 plus installation. It depends on the size of your system, where in your home it needs to go and accessibility of venting and how many gas lines need to be rerouted.

A new unit should come with at least a 10-year warranty and installation should also be guaranteed.

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