If you are a contractor who has decided to take advantage of the increasing number of home-buyers interested in custom-built tiny homes, then you are entering a hot market. In a tiny home, the obvious choice in a water heater is a tankless heater, sometimes called an on-demand water heater. However, there are many types of tankless heaters that rely on different power sources to operate them and are able to produce more water on demand than others. Your clients trust you to choose the right option for their home based on their needs, so ask these questions that will help you pick the perfect tankless heater for each home.
1. Do They Plan to Live on or Off-grid?
Many people interested in tiny homes want to be able to place their home somewhere "off grid" where public utilities they can utilize may be scarce. Others plan to live a more normal life in an everyday neighborhood where they have access to the same utilities that other homeowners do. The answer to this question will let you know what type of power source will be available to power the heater.
If a client plans to live off-grid, then they will need a tankless heater that can be powered with propane. If they are looking to have as much of their energy created by solar power as possible, then you must inform them that they must have both a traditional solar-powered hot water heater with a water tank and a compatible tankless heater to reap the benefits of both. When connected with a mixing valve, the tankless heater can be triggered to make hot water when the temperature in their solar hot water tank drops below a preset temperature. The heater will then pump the water directly into the solar water heater tank to heat it up only when needed.
If your buyer plans to live on-grid, then they can choose any option to power the tank that any traditional homeowner can, including electricity, natural gas, and propane.
2. How Many Appliances Do They Want Their Tank to Supply Water to Simultaneously?
You will likely have some buyers who want all of the appliances in their small home that would be in a typical, larger home. Every home needs a bathroom and kitchen sink and a shower and/or bathtub. Some may also have clothes washing machines and dishwashers that use hot water. The number of appliances that in the home that require a hot water supply, in the end, doesn't matter when choosing the right tank as much as how many of those appliances your client would like to use simultaneously. You then must choose a tank that can produce the hot water required to supply that number of appliances all being used at once.
For example, if your client wants to be able to wash a load of laundry with hot water and take a hot shower at the same time every evening, then they will need a unit that supplies more hot water than if the client takes a hot shower in the morning and then washes that load of laundry a few hours later. Each appliance also has varying water needs per minute used, and this is called the flow rate.
Once you determine how many gallons per minute your client will generally need, you can then choose the right tankless water heater that will produce the right flow rate. You can find the flow rate listed in the product description of tankless heaters online and in-store.
3. Do They Want the Tankless Heater on the Exterior or Interior of Their Home?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both interior and exterior tankless water heaters that you will need to educate your clients about. In a tiny home without much interior space already, going with an exterior unit is a natural choice. Outdoor installation also allows the unit to vent naturally without the need for special venting to be installed by you that every interior tankless heater needs. However, if the home will be located in an area of the country where outdoor temperatures drop to freezing in the winter, then special precautions must be taken to eliminate the chance of unit damage due to freezing. You can install an emergency pipe drain during installation to reduce the chances of heater damage during deep freezes.
In the end, an exterior tankless water heater is the best choice for a tiny home, but if your clients are worried about the outdoor elements in a very cold region, then a unit can be installed inside the home to help ease their worries.
If you are building tiny homes, then there is no better choice for heating water in the home than a tankless water heater. There is simply no room for a bulky hot water tank in such a small space. Ask the client you are working with the above questions to make sure to choose the right size and style of tankless water heater for them to make sure they are happy with their home and recommended you to other clients seeking tiny homes. For more information, contact a business such as First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc.
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