Remodelers now have more flexibility with tankless water heaters with the advent of the ecoTOUGH Series of gas-fired residential condensing tankless water heaters from Noritz America Corp., Fountain Valley, Calif. The heaters received the most reader inquiries from the August issue, page 98.
The tankless water heaters have an Energy Factor of 0.93, nearly 10 points more than that of a comparably sized conventional tankless unit and nearly 30 points more than a standard, tank-type, gas-fired water heater. With a maximum flow rate of 9.8 gallons per minute and temperature settings from 100 to 140 F, the water heater heats water only on demand. No standing pilot light or storage is required, which results in energy savings because no stored water needs to be reheated as it does with conventional water heaters.
Designed to meet the needs of Northern houses with two bathrooms and Southern houses with three baths, the two-pipe direct-vent water heater has a Btu input range of 16,000 to 180,000. In addition to the primary heat exchanger warming the flow of water, a condensing unit incorporates a secondary heat exchanger to extract more heat from the byproducts of the combustion process. This secondary heat exchanger preheats the incoming cold water on its way to the primary heat exchanger.Additional features include:
- Condensing technology that permits venting with PVC or CPVC piping instead of Category III stainless steel. The plastic piping allows vent runs up to 62 feet with 3-inch PVC.
- The high-efficiency, low-NOx Eco-Burner has a nitrogen-oxide emissions level of 20 parts per million, which complies with the South Coast Air Quality Management District regulations that go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, in Southern California.
- The primary heat exchanger is made of copper, which offers better heat transfer than stainless steel. The secondary heat exchanger is made of stainless steel to resist corrosion from fluid produced by the condensing process.
- In addition to higher combustion efficiencies and reduced atmospheric pollution, the water heater has reduced amounts of hexad chrome in the exterior coating and burner case; reduced amounts of lead in the water-flow servomotor, lightning protector and circuit boards; reduced cadmium in the inlet/outlet bracket; and reduced consumption of standby electricity by the power transformer.
- Noritz America affixed specific alpha codes to various plastic components within the unit to identify the material makeup when it is time to recycle the unit.