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July 12, 2016

Summer Residence. Harwich Port, Massachusetts

Project Details

This summer residence used a less efficient electric tank water heater that kept running when hot water was not being called for. The Navien NPE-A condensing tankless water heater delivers an endless supply of hot water only when it’s needed.


The owner of this vacation home in Cape Cod needed to replace a bulky, less efficient 120-gallon electric water heater. The large tank water heater wasted energy to keep water warm when the house was vacant and could not keep up with demand when the family was home.


Two installers from W. Vernon Whiteley, Inc., of West Chatham, Massachusetts, replaced the old electric tank water heater with a new Navien NPE-240A condensing tankless water heater. The ability to run PVC venting through a crawl space made installation a lot easier and faster.



Faster, less expensive installation

Innovative condensing technology on the NPE-A creates cooler exhaust temperature, so installers can run 2” PVC venting for up to 60 feet instead of using more expensive venting materials. Installer John Ryan commented, “Being able to use the PVC was really helpful in this particular installation, since access was really limited in the crawl space.”

“Another nice thing is the simple plug-and-go setup, so we don’t need an electrician to wire everything. We just plug in the condensate pump; plug in the heater, test it and we’re good to go. There’s a series of DIP switches that make changing the recirculation programming very easy, “ Ryan added. “The unit comes with its own mounting bracket and it’s light enough for one guy to do most installations, usually in about 4 to 6 hours.”

Reduced space requirements

Eric Whiteley commented, “Customers really like the smaller footprint. They’re gaining back whole closets. We can get units in very tight spaces, especially with the PVC venting materials, whether it’s in the basement or on an upper floor. Because they’re wall mounted, we have a lot more flexibility for installation location.”

Instant hot water

Whiteley said most customers prefer the Navien NPE-A models. “We recommend the NPE-A mainly because of the internal buffer tank and recirculation pump. It allows us to connect easily for the recirculation mode, which reduces the wait time for domestic hot water. Also the buffer tank allows better hot water production at low flows. It eliminates the cold water sandwich because it’s constantly recirculating, even without an external recirc line. “

Whiteley added, “There’s no recovery time with the Navien NPE-A. It’s going to make hot water endlessly. With the electric tank heater, if you’re running 3-4 showers, it’s going to take a while to get enough hot water.”

Operating efficiency and energy savings

More homeowners are looking for energy efficiency, to save money and help protect the environment. Whiteley noted, “We’re seeing a strong push for higher efficiency from our customers. With the Navien NPE-A, they use less gas and it makes their whole house more efficient. Plus, in this area, they qualify for energy rebates.”

Whiteley continued, “Compared to the electric tank heater it replaced, there’s no standby losses. You’re not heating a 120-gallon tank. The Navien NPE-A works on demand and is only going to burn gas when it’s needed.”

Easy service and strong support

Navien NPE series tankless water heaters have an exceptional record of reliability. When service is required, Navien makes it easy for the technician. Ryan said, “What’s nice about the NPE-A is the isolation valves and drains at the bottom of unit. It’s easy to shut off and drain without interrupting water service to the rest of the house.“ Whiteley added, “There are a lot of products with comparable specs, but for us, Navien’s support structure makes it a better choice. The rep is always there for us and training has been excellent. Phone support is available 18 hours a day. So our service techs have all day and after-hours access.”

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