Condensing vs. Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heaters

Replacing your current water heater with a tankless water heater offers lots of benefits. They’re energy-efficient, cost-efficient, and generally more convenient to use. So, if you’re ready to make the switch to a tankless water heater, you may need to choose between a condensing or a non-condensing heater. Read on to find out more about these options, the differences, and the pros and cons.

How do tankless water heaters work?

A tankless water heater heats your water on demand by igniting a flame whenever you require hot water, i.e., if you turn on the hot tap or start running a shower. This flame affects heat exchangers, which then heat up the water as it passes through them. The heated water is then supplied to whatever fixture it is needed at. The flame goes out when the fixture is no longer in use and hot water is no longer needed.

So, what’s the difference between a condensing tankless water heater and a non-condensing one? Let’s take a look…

Condensing water heater

A condensing tankless water heater has two heat exchangers, creating a closed system and helping to make it more efficient. The exhaust loops back to the other heat exchanger so that the heat can be recycled. The recycled exhaust can then be used to heat water inside the system rather than being vented out of the heater. So, when the water reaches the primary heat exchanger, it has already been heated up a little, meaning less energy is required to get it to the desired temperature.

Some water is even recycled as vapor is collected and cooled to create condensation, which then goes back into your water supply ready to be heated again. While this can save you a little on your water bill, it can also give condensing systems a shorter lifespan as the vapor and condensation can lead to corrosion.

Condensing heaters also require a less complex ventilation system since the exhaust is recycled and is at a much lower temperature when it is released. This can result in lower costs.

Non-condensing water heater

In comparison, a non-condensing tankless water heater only has a single heat exchanger. This means that the exhaust is ventilated out of the system rather than recycled and reused. A non-condensing heater is typically cheaper to purchase but does require a more expensive ventilation system due to the exhaust being released at more than 300 degrees.

Non-condensing water heaters generally have lower maintenance costs and are less likely to suffer from corrosion, but they are less energy efficient, which can cause higher costs in the long run.

If you need any more advice or are looking for a professional installation service for your new tankless water heater, then contact Brandon Plumbing for our plumbing services in North Carolina.