Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless Water Heaters (combined with) Low Water Usage Clothes Washers and Other Fixtures
Although we strongly support low water usage in all homes and businesses, there are some technical issues to consider. You may have the right green fixture in mind however, proper installation and usage design is the key to both enjoying the product and using the product effectively. Recently, as of 12/28/2019, we had one of our favorite customers call us up with an issue. They were getting a lot of noise coming from their tankless water heater...a disturbing putter putter bang bang. Yikes! Upon visiting the home and after a bit of discussion the customer mentioned that it was only happening when the new clothes washer was running. The new clothes washer was a very efficient model that used very little HOT water. The way that it was able to provide this efficiency was by simply injecting hot water as needed, in short bursts. Bingo! Mystery solved. A tankless water heater fires and delivers hot water only when a faucet opens and calls for hot water or in this case, the clothes washer does. Every tankless operates with a 'flow switch'. When water flows on the hot side, usually a minimum of 1/2 gallon per minute (the typical minimum flow of any faucet is 1.5 gallons per minute) the tankless fires and heats the water flowing through it. On a GAS FIRED tankless, as was the customer's in this case, this means: 1. the flow switch registers flow 2. the fan goes on to begin combustion and intake air flow 3. the burner ignites. That's a lot of mechanical and fluid action going on and it causes some stress to the unit. That stress is engineered into the unit however...it's not engineered to handle the constant and quick battery of on/off, on/off as happens when something like a low water usage clothes washer does it's thing. So there you have it. That clothes washer was causing the tankless to start/stop start/stop in rapid succession which in turn was causing the disturbing sounds. It was also causing a lot of stress on the unit. The tech term for it is 'short cycling'.
*Buy another clothes washer. That's no fun after already stretching the bank account.
*Use hot water cycles infrequently (Okay but there's still some stress)
*Take a hot bath or shower while doing a hot clothes washer cycle (better, continuous flow is the trick)
*Forget the hot water clothes washing altogether and do the super environmental strategy of cold washes only