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Did You Know Tankless Water Heaters Can Do This?

When you open the hot water tap in many bathrooms or kitchens, you get cold water. And more cold water. And more cold water. In some bathrooms in the back of a house, it can take up to a minute for the hot water to make its way from a home’s water heater to the tap.

At best, the hot water delay is an inconvenience that homeowners begrudgingly accept. At worst, cold water dumping in drought-prone areas can be costly to both homeowners and the environment.

Tankless water heaters are well-known for providing an endless supply of hot water, but when paired with a recirculation system, they can also provide instant hot water to the tap.

But you don’t have to subject your customers to the hot water wait. Recirculation pump systems keep hot water flowing to a home’s plumbing fixtures so it’s ready when needed. Rinnai is one company pairing the technology with propane tankless water heaters, allowing you to provide customers with both endless and instant hot water. Rinnai calls the technology Circ-Logic, and it’s one of several tankless water heater technology advancements that you can use to improve your homes’ water heating systems.

Eric Legacy, Rinnai’s national boiler business development manager, introduced builders and remodelers to these technologies at a training session at the 2013 JLC Live conference. Along with Kohler, Rinnai will again present several training sessions highlighting innovative propane heating and power solutions at the 2014 JLC Live.

End cold water

The feature that differentiates Rinnai Circ-Logic (RCL) is the way the circulation pump is integrated into the brains of the tankless water heater with a logic circuit. Traditional, third-party recirculation systems can cause a tankless water heater to rapidly cycle on and off, reducing the life span of the heater and wasting energy.

RCL, which is offered standard on Ultra and Luxury Series tankless units, offers two smart recirculation modes: comfort and economy. Comfort mode keeps the recirculating hot water within a more consistent 10-degree range, providing hot water at the tap at a steadier temperature. In economy mode, the hot water has a wider, 20-degree temperature range, but the tankless water heater cycles on less often. Homeowners can choose the mode that best meets their lifestyle and budget needs.

Comfort mode keeps the recirculating hot water within a consistent 10-degree range.

An optional Pump and Timer Kit offers further control. Homeowners can use the timer controller to shut the recirculation pump off completely at certain times. For instance, homeowners could have the system operate in comfort mode for a few hours in the morning from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., in efficiency mode for a few hours in the evening, say from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and turn the cycle off at other times. A preheat button overrides the timer if recirculation is needed at unexpected times.

Lower upkeep

Rinnai also offers two other accessories that help reduce maintenance associated with tankless water heaters. The Scale Control System helps tankless water heaters perform better in areas with hard water, where limescale deposits can affect the efficiency of a unit. A catalyst in the system changes the calcium molecule in the water, keeping it traveling through the pipe instead of building up inside the unit, where it must be occasionally flushed to maintain the heater’s efficiency.

“For people who are used to seeing white lime on the end of your sink faucets, you’re not going to see that when you have this system,” Legacy says.

One necessary byproduct of high-efficiency condensing tankless water heaters is condensate. Because the condensate is acidic, it can cause etching in copper pipes or kill the enzymes in a septic tank. And if your project is on a public sewer, you may be required to treat the condensate before it passes into the sewer system. The Condensate Neutralizer uses limestone media to raise the pH of the condensate, resulting in neutral water that can be drained directly from the unit.

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Jeffrey Lee