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Navien Tankless Water Heater – Is It Good? Benefits?

In your research for tankless water heaters, you’ll surely be looking into many different manufacturers to find the right unit for you.


Brands like RINNAI and Rheem have been making quality products for over a century and offer dependable water heating solutions. EcoSmart has budget-friendly point-of-use models and Stiebel Eltron has ventured into the niche markets of solar-powered water heating for eco-conscious clients wanting to lower their energy footprint even more.


Among all these manufacturers however, the more recently-established Navien brand has begun to quickly solidify a strong reputation as a benchmark for quality and cutting-edge technology in tankless water heating. They are the #1 brand for condensing tankless water heaters in Canada and they show no signs of slowing down. With hyper-efficient water heating solutions, proprietary condensing technology, At Pink Plumbing we work in conjunction with Navien as we strongly believe in their products – additionally, our technicians are all Navien-certified.


Call us to learn more about Navien tankless water heating and if it’s the right choice for you and your family.


Navien Inc.

KD Navien is a relatively new water heating solutions company from South Korea. Founded in 1978, their initial aim was to develop highly-efficient water heaters. 10 years later, they were the first Asian company to develop a condensing water heater that was renowned for its technological breakthroughs. This approach to being the industry standard would remain strong with developments in HVAC solutions, home networks, and zone control – all under the overarching vision of comfort, technology, and greener living.


With this focus on creating the most cutting-edge and eco-friendly water heating products, KD Navien has since become the world standard in efficiency, energy-saving, and CO2 reducing tankless condensing water heaters.


Apart from their tankless water heating products, Navien is also well-known for its boiler and combi-boiler water heating solutions. This proprietary condensing tech is one of the defining features of Navien’s water heating products and one of the key differentiators between them and other manufacturers.


Condensing tankless water heaters – how do they work?

Condensing technology is an increasingly-prevalent feature in modern water heaters, both tank-based and tankless. Navien is the global standard in ultra-efficient water heating because of their focus on condensing heating – let’s learn a little more about how it works.


A traditional tankless water heater operates by pulling cold water through the unit and past a heat exchanger, becoming superheated and then blended with cold water for the correct temperature at the point-of-demand. Traditionally, only one heat exchanger is in the unit and exhaust gasses from the water vapor (and byproducts of the gas burners) are vented outside. These exhaust gasses are highly-acidic from the minerals in the water and can corrode ventilation components if they’re not the right metals. Installation for tankless gas-fueled water heaters can thus be expensive from the get-go as specialized materials are needed to create an efficient and safe ventilation system.


Condensing tankless water heaters are a bit different: for one, the condensing part of the name is in reference to the way it uses byproducts of the heating process to make water heating more efficient. Water vapor will be trapped within the unit (not vented) and used to maintain a baseline temperature in the water heater so that the heat exchanger doesn’t have to work as hard (or as sporadically).


The second main feature of condensing technology with Navien is their addition of a secondary heat exchanger. Two heat exchangers allow the water to be heated in steps: the workload is divided and the heat exchangers don’t have to reach extremely high temperatures to bring the water up to your desired temperature.


By transferring heat to the water in steps, the exhaust vapors are significantly cooler than they would be in non-condensing models. This water vapor condenses inside the water heater, helping the flow rate increase and making the unit extremely efficient by keeping everything warm. The water vapor eventually condensates on the surfaces of the unit and drips into the water heater’s condensate drain, a specially-built draining system that can handle the acidic aqueous byproducts of superheating hard water.


Because the gasses are cooler, they are not as corrosive as those from non-condensing models. This has significant benefits in terms of cost savings: materials like PVC and polypropylene can be used to build the venting system and offer homeowners more flexibility around budget and installation. The cost savings continue in terms of energy use: condensing units are the most efficient kind of water heater available on the market and they are drastically cheaper to operate than other tankless (non-condensing) units.


Here are a few key differences between condensing and non-condensing tankless water heaters.


Condensing Non-Condensing
Initial Investment Higher Lower
Operating Costs Lowest among all water heater styles Higher than condensing, lower than tank-based
Venting PVC/Polypropylene (Cheaper options) Corrosion-resistant concentric metal
Efficiency Ultra-high (EUF = .96) High (EUF > .80)
Size Slightly larger than non-condensing tankless, 70-80% smaller than tank systems Smaller than condensing, 80% smaller than tank systems
Maintenance Yearly maintenance Minimal maintenance

Navien SPE-S2 Series

Navien has two lines of tankless water heaters currently available, the first of which is the SPE-S2 series.


It upholds the high standards of Navien’s condensing water heating tech, with higher outputs, greater efficiency, higher GPM, and cheaper installation costs than the next best non-condensing water heater from the leading competitor.


Models like the NPE-180S2 are smaller, highly-efficient condensing tankless water heating units with max inputs of 150 000 BTU/h, able to be hung indoor or outdoor. At locations where the temperature rise is below 30°C, this smaller unit can easily provide flow rates of unlimited hot water up to 8.4 GPM.


The SPE-S2 series has many options for customers hoping to go tankless and dip their toes in the field of condensing technology. This line of tankless water heaters is affordable, dependable, and extremely-high quality.


Navien NPE-A2 Series

The second series of condensing tankless water heaters offered by Navien is the brand-new NPE-A2 series. It is the current benchmark for condensing tankless tech in water heating, boasting the highest efficiency rates among competitors and the most cutting-edge tech in the field.


This series is also equipped with Navien’s patented ComfortFlow® technology: this recirculation tech uses a small “buffer tank” to ensure the constant availability of hot water at a moment’s notice, eliminating the “cold water sandwiches” often spoken about with tankless water heating. Flow rate issues are minimized and efficiency among all your points-of-use is maximized.


The big boss of the NPE-A2 series is the heavy-duty 240A2: with max energy inputs of up to 199 900 BTU/h, a flow rate of up to 11.2 GPM, cascading capabilities, and extremely low emissions ratings of 20ppm NOx, the 240A2 is the best condensing tankless water heater on the market – period. Furthermore, all of Navien’s tankless offerings come equipped with a simplified and easy-to-use display panel with the intuitive EZNav™ software.


If you’re interested in learning more about Navien products and how Waterline can help you install them in your home, feel free to call us anytime to speak with one of our Navien-certified technicians.

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