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An on-demand water heater can easily be mounted under a kitchen sink or off to the side, in places where looks don't matter. When you turn the hot water tap on, the flow turns on a heating element that heats the water as it runs through copper tubes. When the faucet goes off, so does the heat. Because 20 percent of a home's energy use goes into heating water, an on-demand unit can save a lot of money.
To meet code, you will need a cutoff switch within sight of the unit, and cable must be flexible or housed in conduit.
Run Power for the Unit
It will be either a 120- or 240-volt circuit, and it must be a circuit wholly devoted to the heater. Either voltage requires 8-gauge wire, and the section exposed to the area under the sink must be armored cable. If the manufacturer's instructions call for a larger cable, the National Electrical Code says you must comply.
If You're Installing the Heater Under an Existing Sink
Turn off the water line. Drain the line by opening a faucet at a lower point somewhere in the house. Solder a cutoff valve onto the pipe stub that comes from the floor or wall. Solder a second valve onto what's left of the line that runs to the faucet, cutting the line as necessary to allow room for the heater.
Screw the Unit to the Wall
Follow the manufacturer's directions. Connect the water supply line to the cold in-feed fitting with soldered copper pipe or high-pressure flex connections as shown here. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads before you make the connection and hand-tighten. Finish tightening with a wrench. Connect the line going to the faucet to the hot water outlet using the same materials.
Wire the Unit
On a 240-volt circuit, the white wire will attach to one of the hot terminals and the black to the other hot terminal â€“ they're often labeled L1 and L2. The ground will go to the grounding screw on the unit. On a 120-volt unit, twist the white supply wire to the white wire in the unit, and twist the black wire to the black. Cover with wire caps, and tape the caps in place.
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