I don’t have gas. Can I have an ELECTRIC tankless water heater?

Home / I don’t have gas. Can I have an ELECTRIC tankless water heater?

Although they do make electric tankless water heaters, they won’t perform well here in the Pacific Northwest for whole house type operation. They can work well in cabins, coffee stands, mother-in-law apartments, etc, but in an environment where multiple users may be using hot water at the same time, they will not do well. The culprit here in the Pacific Northwest is COLD INCOMING WATER TEMPERATURE. Tankless performance is based on “Degree of Rise”, or how many degrees the unit must heat the water to hit the target temperature. It isn’t uncommon to see incoming water temperatures in the mid 40’s in the middle of winter here in the Pacific Northwest. That means we have to raise the temperature of the water 75 degrees to get to our target of 120 degrees. This performance rule applies to both gas and electric tankless water heaters. The gas models are powerful enough to overcome this great temperature rise and still produce 4-5 GPM. The best an electric tankless can do here in our climate is about 3 GPM. ADDITIONALLY, the average home will not have the power available for an electric tankless unit without having extensive electrical work done. By comparison, an average 50 gallon electric tank water heater needs one 240 volt, 30 amp circuit. The electric tankless unit that will make 3 gallons per minute here in the PNW will require THREE 240 volt, 50 amp circuits. Of the 500 or so tankless water heaters we install each year, only 1 or 2 will be electric models. Electric tankless models do work well in warmer climates, like the southern states and tropical areas.

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