Imagine stepping into a warm, soothing shower after a long day, only to be interrupted by a loud, grating noise. Not the most relaxing scenario, right? This is a common concern among homeowners considering the switch to tankless water heaters. But is it a fact or just another myth circulating the internet?
Recent statistics show that 27% of homeowners are hesitant to install tankless water heaters due to noise concerns. But what if we told you that this concern might be based on misinformation?
In this blog post, we’re going to debunk the top 3 myths surrounding tankless water heaters, starting with the big question: Are tankless water heaters loud?
Keynote: Are Tankless Water Heaters Loud?
Tankless water heaters directly heat water via an electric element or gas burner as it flows through the unit. While most models operate quietly, the noise level can vary depending on the unit’s size and the fuel type (gas, electric, or propane). Noise can increase if there’s a system issue, such as mineral buildup or improper installation. Regular maintenance helps ensure silent, efficient operation.
What are Tankless Water Heaters?
Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, are a modern solution to the age-old task of heating water. Unlike traditional water heaters that store and continuously heat a large tank of water, tankless water heaters heat water directly without the need for a storage tank.
When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, and either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water, without the need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.
Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters come with a plethora of benefits. They are energy-efficient, as they only heat water when it’s needed, reducing energy costs by up to 30%. They also provide hot water on demand, meaning you’ll never run out of hot water in the middle of a shower. Plus, their compact size saves valuable space in your home.
Common Concerns About Tankless Water Heaters
Despite these benefits, some homeowners have concerns about tankless water heaters. One of the most common concerns is noise. Many people wonder, “Are tankless water heaters loud?” This concern often stems from misconceptions and myths, which we will debunk in the following sections of this post.
Myth 1: Tankless Water Heaters are Always Loud
One of the most common misconceptions about tankless water heaters is that they are always loud. This myth likely stems from the mechanical nature of these devices. After all, they involve moving parts and heat elements, which could theoretically generate noise. But is this always the case?
The Facts and Statistics
Contrary to popular belief, tankless water heaters are not inherently noisy. According to an article in Forbes, the noise level of a tankless water heater largely depends on its quality and installation. High-quality units are designed to operate quietly, and proper installation can further reduce any potential noise.
The article also mentions that tankless water heaters operate only when there’s a demand for hot water. This means they’re not constantly running, which further reduces the overall noise level.
Experts in the field agree that tankless water heaters are not excessively loud. According to Rinnai, a leading manufacturer of tankless water heaters, their units are designed to operate quietly. They also emphasize the importance of proper installation to minimize any potential noise.
The myth that tankless water heaters are always loud is just that – a myth. While they do make some noise during operation, it’s typically not disruptive or excessively loud. High-quality units are designed for quiet operation, and proper installation can further minimize noise. So, if you’re considering a tankless water heater but are worried about noise, rest assured that with the right unit and proper installation, noise shouldn’t be a concern.
Myth 2: The Noise from Tankless Water Heaters is Harmful
This myth is another common misconception that has been circulating around. Some people believe that the noise produced by tankless water heaters can be harmful to human health. Let’s delve into this myth and uncover the truth.
The Science Behind the Noise
The noise produced by tankless water heaters is a result of the combustion process that occurs within the unit. When water flows into the heater, a sensor triggers the gas burner, which heats up a heat exchanger. As the water passes over this exchanger, it gets heated before being sent to your faucets or appliances. This process, while efficient, can produce some noise.
However, it’s important to note that this noise is not harmful. It’s similar to the sound produced by other household appliances. In fact, the noise level of tankless water heaters is often compared to that of a running dishwasher or a refrigerator.
Comparing Noise Levels
To put things into perspective, let’s compare the noise levels of tankless water heaters with other common household appliances. According to a review by The Wirecutter, the Honda EU2200i, a portable generator, was described as the quietest among its peers.
Despite being a generator, a machine known for its noise, the Honda EU2200i was praised for its quiet operation. If a generator can operate quietly, it’s reasonable to assume that a tankless water heater, a much smaller and less complex machine, would produce even less noise.
The noise produced by tankless water heaters is not harmful. It’s comparable to the noise level of other household appliances, and it’s a normal part of the heater’s operation. As with any appliance, proper installation and regular maintenance can help minimize any noise. So, the next time you hear your tankless water heater humming away, rest assured that it’s just doing its job, providing you with endless hot water, without causing any harm.
Myth 3: All Tankless Water Heaters Produce the Same Level of Noise
This myth suggests that all tankless water heaters, regardless of their brand, model, installation, and maintenance, produce the same level of noise. This is a common misconception as many people assume that all tankless water heaters are built and operate in the same way.
Factors affecting the noise level of tankless water heaters
- Brand and Model: Different brands and models of tankless water heaters have different designs and components, which can affect the noise level. For instance, some models may have better insulation or more efficient components that reduce noise.
- Installation: The way a tankless water heater is installed can significantly impact its noise level. If it’s not properly installed, it may vibrate or rattle, causing more noise. The location of the heater can also affect the perceived noise level.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help keep a tankless water heater running smoothly and quietly. If a heater is not properly maintained, it may develop issues like sediment build-up or component wear, which can increase noise.
Case studies showing different noise levels of different tankless water heaters: While specific case studies on the noise levels of different tankless water heaters are not readily available, research on noise levels in mechanical systems, such as those found in tankless water heaters, shows that noise levels can vary widely depending on various factors.
For instance, a study on the noise level in mechanical systems found that the noise level can widen or narrow depending on the noise level in the system, suggesting that different tankless water heaters could produce different noise levels.
The myth that all tankless water heaters produce the same level of noise is not accurate. The noise level of a tankless water heater can vary based on the brand and model, how it’s installed, and how well it’s maintained. Therefore, when choosing a tankless water heater, it’s important to consider these factors if noise level is a concern.
What Types of Noise Should You Be Aware Of
While tankless water heaters are generally quiet, there are certain noises that could indicate a problem. If you hear any of the following sounds coming from your tankless water heater, it might be time to call a professional:
- Popping: This sound could indicate a build-up of mineral deposits or sediment in your heater. When water heats up, these deposits can cause popping sounds. Regular maintenance and flushing can prevent this issue.
- Sizzling, Hissing, Ticking, and Crackling: These sounds can be a sign of a leak or condensation inside the heater. The sound is caused by water dripping onto the burner. If you hear these sounds, it’s best to turn off the heater and call a professional.
- Rumbling: A rumbling noise can be a sign of a more serious issue. It could mean that the water inside the heater is boiling, which should not happen in a properly functioning unit. This could be due to a faulty thermostat or a build-up of sediment.
- Sizzling: A sizzling sound could indicate a leak in your water heater. If water or condensation is leaking onto a hot surface, it can create a sizzling sound. This should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage.
- Humming: While some humming is normal, especially when the heater is working hard, excessive or loud humming could indicate a problem. It could be due to loose parts or an issue with the heating element.
Note: If you hear any of these sounds, it’s best to turn off your tankless water heater and call a professional. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the safety and efficiency of your home appliances.
How to Reduce Noise from Tankless Water Heaters
The noise from your tankless water heater should not be a constant source of irritation. Here are some ways to ensure your heater operates as quietly as possible:
- Importance of Proper Installation: The way your tankless water heater is installed can significantly impact its noise level. If it’s not properly installed, it may vibrate or rattle, causing more noise. Therefore, it’s crucial to have your heater installed by a professional who can ensure it’s secured correctly and in an optimal location.
- Role of Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help keep a tankless water heater running smoothly and quietly. If a heater is not properly maintained, it may develop issues like sediment build-up or component wear, which can increase noise. According to Lifehacker, homeowners are supposed to flush their hot water heater at least once a year to remove any built-up mineral deposits and sediment that have accumulated in the tank. When this isn’t done for long periods of time, the sediment that settles in the bottom of the tank can cause it to leak, which can also increase noise.
- Tips and Tricks to Reduce Noise: There are several strategies you can use to reduce the noise from your tankless water heater. For instance, you can use noise reduction pads or mats under the heater to absorb vibrations. Additionally, installing the heater in a less-used area of your home, like a basement or utility room, can help reduce the noise you hear.
- Expert Advice on Noise Reduction: If you’re still having issues with noise after trying these strategies, it may be worth consulting with a professional. They can assess your specific situation and provide tailored advice on how to reduce the noise from your tankless water heater.
The noise level of a tankless water heater can vary based on a number of factors, including the brand and model, how it’s installed, and how well it’s maintained.
We’ve debunked several myths surrounding the noise level of tankless water heaters, showing that they are not inherently loud, their noise is not harmful, and not all heaters produce the same level of noise. We’ve also discussed the types of noises that could indicate a problem with your heater and how to reduce noise from your tankless water heater.
So, are tankless water heaters loud? The answer is: it depends. But with the right unit, proper installation, and regular maintenance, noise should not be a significant concern.
As you consider the benefits of energy efficiency, endless hot water, and space-saving design that tankless water heaters offer, don’t let the fear of noise deter you. With the right knowledge and approach, you can enjoy the benefits of a tankless water heater without the noise.
Remember, the hum of a well-functioning tankless water heater is the sound of efficiency and innovation at work. It’s the sound of a modern solution to an age-old task. And that’s something to embrace, not fear.
Tankless Heaters Noise (FAQs)
How do I reduce the noise on my tankless water heater?
Reducing the noise on a tankless water heater can be achieved by several methods. These include regular maintenance to prevent scale build-up, using a water softener, and installing the heater on vibration dampening mounts. Additionally, ensuring that the heater is correctly installed and that all pipes are securely fastened can also help reduce noise.
Why is my tankless water heater so loud?
Tankless water heaters can become loud due to several reasons. These include scale build-up, loose pipes, improper installation, or a malfunctioning part. Regular maintenance and inspection can help identify and fix these issues, reducing the noise level.
How loud are tankless hot water heaters?
The noise level of tankless hot water heaters can vary based on the brand, model, and installation. However, they are generally quieter than traditional tank heaters. Most tankless heaters operate at around 49 to 52 decibels, which is comparable to the noise level of a quiet conversation.
What brand of tankless water heater is best?
The best brand of tankless water heater can depend on individual needs and preferences. However, some of the top-rated brands include Rinnai, Rheem, and EcoSmart, known for their efficiency, reliability, and advanced features.
What can cause water plumbing to vibrate?
Water plumbing can vibrate due to water hammer, which is a sudden change in water pressure. This can be caused by quickly closing a valve or faucet. Other causes can include loose pipes, high water pressure, or air in the pipes.
What are the benefits of tankless water heaters?
Tankless water heaters offer several benefits. They provide hot water on demand, are more energy-efficient than traditional tank heaters, save space due to their compact size, and have a longer lifespan. Additionally, they eliminate the risk of tank leaks and water damage.
Which one is better: gas or electric water heaters?
The choice between gas and electric water heaters depends on several factors. Gas heaters are typically more powerful and can heat water faster, but they require a gas line and venting. Electric heaters are easier to install and maintain, but they may consume more energy. The decision should be based on your home’s infrastructure, energy costs, and hot water needs.
Does the size of a tankless water heater affect its noise level?
The size of a tankless water heater can influence its noise level. Larger units often have more powerful motors, which can generate more noise. However, the quality of the unit and its installation are also significant factors in its noise level.
How does the noise of a tankless water heater compare to a traditional water heater?
Tankless water heaters are generally quieter than traditional tank heaters. While both types can produce noise during operation, tankless heaters tend to produce less noise due to their on-demand operation and lack of a large tank that can cause echoing sounds.
Can the installation location of a tankless water heater affect its noise level?
Yes, the installation location can affect the noise level of a tankless water heater. Installing the unit in a closed space can amplify the sound, while a more open or insulated space can help dampen the noise.
Are there any materials that can be used to insulate the noise from a tankless water heater?
Yes, materials such as foam insulation panels, soundproof blankets, and anti-vibration mounts can be used to insulate the noise from a tankless water heater.
Does the noise level of a tankless water heater increase over time?
The noise level of a tankless water heater should not significantly increase over time. However, if you notice an increase in noise, it could indicate an issue such as scale build-up, loose parts, or a malfunctioning component that may require maintenance or repair.
What could be the source of a loud noise in my tankless unit?
The source of a loud noise in a tankless unit could be due to several factors such as sediment buildup, a dirty flow sensor, or inadequate ventilation. A plumber can help identify and resolve these issues.
Why is my tankless water heater producing a screeching sound?
A screeching sound from your tankless water heater could be due to high water flow through a narrow inlet, or a problem with the check valve. It’s recommended to consult with a plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.
How can I reduce the knocking sound from my water line connected to the tankless unit?
A knocking sound from the water line could be due to water hammer, caused by much pressure in the water supply. Installing a pressure relief valve or a set pressure valve can help mitigate this issue. Additionally, securing loose plumbing fixtures and using a rubber mat for damping can also help.
Why is there a ticking sound from my tankless water heater?
A ticking sound could be due to the expansion and contraction of the vent or water line due to changes in temperature. It could also be a sign of corrosion or a problem with the blower. Regular maintenance, including cleaning with vinegar to prevent sediment buildup, can help reduce these noises. If the noise persists, it’s advisable to use a decibel meter to measure the noise level and contact the manufacturer if it exceeds the warranty conditions.
Mark Bittman is a public health expert and journalist who has written extensively on food, nutrition, and healthy living. He has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to solving problems with appliances. In addition, he can help you choose the right appliances for your needs, optimize their performance, and keep them running smoothly.