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on November 12, 2013
Some information about this unit (and the entire product line) is sparse, and numerous people have posted inaccurate information as well. First, RTFM. EcoSmart provides a wealth of information online, and all of us would do well to check their site before posting bad information.

I have two of these units, one for DHW (Domestic Hot Water) and the other to operate our whole house hot water baseboard system. Some information is hard to find, and other information is a closely guarded secret and cannot be obtained anywhere online. I'll focus on these areas.

The unit is rated at 27KW at 240 volts. Internally, it is three separate 9KW heaters, operating in series and in sequence based on demand. The unit is truly self-modulating and will not provide more heat than the load requires.

Each individual heater requires a dedicated 240 circuit, rated at 40 amps, and provided via #8 wire. For the Ohm's law fanatics, each unit draws 37.5 amps under full load, for a total system load of 112.5 amps. Anybody that tries to operate this unit off of a 100 amp main breaker deserves what he gets. We have ours connected to our main 150 service, and can get away with it because everything else in the house is "green" and we can operate everything else with the 37.5 amps available if the heater is running under full load.

I'll say this again: Each internal unit requires a separate, dedicated 240 volt 40 amp circuit, equalling a total of three separate #8 wire 240 volt circuits. I hope I made that plain enough.

The heat exchangers inside the heater are 3 copper pipes, cross connected in series with about 1/2" dia. copper sections. So there is a flow restriction, but nothing as radical as some of the reviews would have us believe. Some reviewers have posted that their hot water is down to a trickle. I've been inside this unit from top to bottom. If your hot water only dribbles, it is time to clean your pipes or replace your valves. We have not been able to observe a loss of flow anywhere in our house, enough said about that.

The upper temperature limit is 140 degrees F. That is a difficult number to discover, but it is out there if you do your homework. Regardless, 140 is the hard upper limit in DHW mode. This is not a limitation of the unit, it is a safety limitation to minimize the chance of someone scalding themselves, and EcoSmart states this all across their web pages.

Here's the undocumented stuff:

EcoSmart supports hot water heating, and even provides plumbing diagrams. However, they will not tell you how to get 160 or 180 degree water. There are internal jumpers in the heater that allow you to limit the maximum output temperature to 105 degrees (handy for the elderly or where there are small children playing with the knob), and it is also possible to set a wattage limit across the 3 heating elements. The factory setting is 9KW per element, and 140 degrees max. output. At the very top of the jumper strip is one marked "180". With power removed, place a jumper on these two pins and the unit will allow a setpoint of up to 180 degrees when power is restored.

Most hot water heating systems operate best in the 160 degree area, and the older oil fired boilers actually used a setpoint of 200 degrees. Clearly, a heater with an upper limit of 140 degrees could cause poor performance of most baseboard hot water systems, and many of the newer hydronic systems. We replaced an antique oil fired boiler with the ECO27, and placed the setpoint at 160 to get started. The performance is nothing short of amazing, and I've actually dropped the setpoint to 150 until we get into the dead of winter. It is very nice to know that we have a reserve available.

EcoSmart provides a wealth of information about the capability of this unit. I see over and over again that people can't (or won't) get their heads around a lot of what's commonly available. Simply, if you need 4 GPM, the best this unit can do is heat the water by 46 degrees. In other words, if you want a 110 degree shower (at a ridiculous 4 GPM), you must have incoming water of at least 64 degrees. If you live in an area where your water source is about 50 degrees, you will get 96 degree showers at 4 GPM. The obvious solution is to spend $20 and get a low-flow shower head. At 3 GPM this unit can give you a 110 degree shower with incoming water of only 49 degrees. At 2 GPM this unit will provide the full 140 degree setpoint with 50 degree incoming water.

In boiler service, obtaining 160 degree water will require incoming water of at least 114 degrees. Most hot water heating systems operate with a differential of less than 20 degrees, so this unit is just loafing along while providing 160 degree water to your baseboard units. Also, most standard hot water heating systems have a design of either 1 GPM or 4 GPM. The temperature rise chart from EcoSmart demonstrates that a temperature rise of 184 degrees is possible at 1 GPM. Again, most hot water systems operate with a differential (or "Delta-T") of around 17 degrees, often less. The actual temperature setpoint isn't the focus as much as being able to maintain the differential is. So for a 180 degree output, we need to feed the heater with 163 degree water. At a mere 17 degree rise, this heater can easily flow well beyond 6 GPM, probably closer to 10 GPM, but we only need a max. of 4 GPM. So for boiler service, it is a perfect solution. It is small, silent and smart.

If you're considering this unit for hot water baseboard or hydronic service, it is capable of 92,000 BTU/hr.

It has been incorrectly represented that this is the largest electric tankless available. The largest commonly available electric tankless is 36KW. Just to set the record straight.

Overall, I give this unit 5 stars. Price, reliability and technical support are right up there. The unit comes with a lifetime warranty when professionally installed. Cleaning and maintenance is accomplished with a Phillips screwdriver, no more pipe wrenches and fiberglass insulation to contend with. The unit is so small and lightweight that I actually carried it into the house under one arm, installed it and said nothing. Nobody knew that I'd done this until days later!

The unit supports a remote thermostat which is very inexpensive and is waterproof. The little remote connects with telephone wire and is perfect for a location next to your sink or shower.

We are a 3 adult household, using all of the "normal" things, doing laundry, taking showers, washing dishes, etc. I have been able to purposely cause the heater to fail to keep up, and that was by running the tub wide open. In any other situation, two showers at once, someone in the shower, someone else doing laundry, etc., I have yet to hear a single complaint. All I ever hear is how wonderful it is to have a long shower, or not have to wait 1/2 hour, etc. The days of my wife complaining about no hot water for the dishes because I took a long shower have ended!

This is a true, self-modulating unit. People that have reported lights flickering and their TV having problems need to look at their house wiring. The unit starts softly, just like turning up a light dimmer. There are no flashing lights in this household. The only way I've ever been able to tell if the unit is running is to actually look at it - The display is only lighted when the unit is operating.

Not to be overlooked is the energy savings. A tank heater will cycle 24/7, to maintain a tank full of hot water, even if you're on vacation. The tankless does absolutely nothing unless it detects water flow. Through an intelligent design EcoSmart units ignore faucet drips and won't send hot water to drippy faucets. The minimum flow to start the unit is 1/4 GPM.

Hope this helps to quash some bad information and get accurate information posted.

Dave.
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on October 7, 2015
I purchased 2 of these ECO 27's in early 2012 and a similar model ECO 18; please see my previous reviews. One unit has now failed due to a leaking heat exchanger; an internal plumbing connection located at the weakest point - a soldered copper pipe - eventually broke loose. The terms of the warranty were not posted on the Ecosmart website. Upon receiving the units and reading the enclosed warranty, it was apparent that there were strict requirements to qualify the units for the warranty; warranty cards had to be returned within 30 days, and the installation had to be by both a licensed plumber and a licensed electrician, whose names, phone numbers, and license numbers had to be noted on the warranty cards.

This posed problems for my application since 1) the installation was for a remodeling project and could not be completed in the next 30 days 2) the area where the home is located does not require licensed electricians or plumbers for remodeling work (and none were going to be hired to install a water heater, as I have those skills myself, having renovated 27 homes previously and I have college degrees and construction trade experience in those fields). Therefore I wrote a letter to Ecosmart asking for exceptions to the requirements, else I wanted to return the units for credit. I received an email response from the then-Director of Operations Mr. Nicholas Cardoso who stated, as directly copied below:

"As long as the units are properly stored there will not be a problem. When the units are installed just send in the registration information and we will document all the information should you need assistance in the future. If you have any questions let me know.
Thanks.
Nicholas Cardoso
Director of Operations
ECOSMART US, LLC
3315 NW 167th Street
Miami Gardens, FL 33056
PI 305.623.7900
FI305.623.7923
www.ecosmartus.com"

It is my understanding from web information that Mr. Cardoso later became the CEO of the company and is still employed by them although the company was sold.

I returned the 3 warranty cards within 90 days, once the units were installed, and retained the customer half of each card, as was required.

So when one of the units failed recently, I contacted customer service, and during 3 emails and 3 phone calls over 1 week was told that Ecosmart only sends out repair parts for these units, not replacement units. Therefore the customer must remove and disassemble the internals of the units to repair them himself. This requires the customer to have electrical and plumbing experience and proper tools for disassembly. Furthermore, the heat exchanger - the part that failed - is not available as a replacement part. And finally, I was told that Ecosmart had an old database that may contain my records, but the current database has no records of my purchases nor their receipt of my warranty cards. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE IS NO WARRANTY EVEN WHEN THE CUSTOMER RECEIVED PERSONAL ASSURANCE OF A WARRANTY FROM THE CEO OF THE COMPANY. I asked to speak with Mr. Cardoso but was not allowed access to him.

Now you know why Ecosmart wont post the terms of their warranty on their website. BUYER BEWARE.

With the life of these units being about 3 years, and since the units have unique, non-industry-standard electrical and plumbing connections, which makes quick replacement labor-intensive and/or impossible, you should buy a spare of these to keep on hand when one fails.

I ordered a replacement from Amazon. Incidentally, the new unit has the same internal copper tubing design flaw as the old one, and still has an incoming wire clamp connector that wont meet electrical codes because electrical conduit, not unsheathed #8 wires, is required for the installation; the cable entrance hole in the panel is not large enough to accommodate a conduit connection for those wires. Takes a large hole punch and/or a Dremel tool to enlarge the existing hole so that a conduit connection can be made.

Picture shows where the weak point is that leaks over time. It is the center connection between 2 heat exchanger tubes.

Units do work well when they work. Just buy a spare, as you'll eventually need it.
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on September 2, 2012
I owned this product so far for a month and has been doing great. Excellent performance, consistently hot water and great energy savings. I installed it my self and I have a few tips:
Make sure you use #6 electric cable, it's the recommended and safer cable width. You will need three cables and a 60 amp breaker. For the water pipes. You will NOT need any water heater hose. You only need to adapt the house water pipes to the heater with pressure fitting (which are included with the water heater) make sure that after you install all, BUT before feeding the heater with electricity, open all the house hot and cold water faucets to remove all the air inside the pipes. THEN, feed it with the electricity. After this you will be amazed by its performance.

The only thing that I am concern is: how much time will this water heater will last without any problems? For me anything beyond 2 years is acceptable. Before 2 years will be very disappointing. So I will be informing you during time, to tell about it's performance.

If you have read all my review, like it, so I can be more motivated to give you more updates.

So far this product is definitely a MUST BUY... And if you have any doubt if this water heater will work for all your house, the answer is yes. It has more than enough heating capacity for any normal house unless you have a huge house with 3 bathrooms or more and expects 3 or more persons taking a bath or shower at the same time.

FIRST UPDATE:

WOW, My first electricity bill came and I save 33 dollars compared to the previous month. Nothing in my house has changed from previous billing cycle to this current cycle. At this pace the investment will pay for itself in like 6 months, that its VERY IMPRESSIVE!!!

SECOND UPDATE (DEC 9, 2013)

It's been 14 months since I installed this water heater and it is working beautifully and it paid for himself in energy savings alone. This product is worth every cent. I hope it last more years...
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on November 6, 2015
I did extensive research before purchasing a tankless water heater. The common problem seems to be that people are reading the GPM a unit is capable for their area and are expecting a nice hot shower. The GPM listed is based on heating water to only 105 degrees which is nice and warm out the unit, but by the time it gets to the other end of the house, it is barely body temp, if that. We found it needs to output between 120 and 125 degrees to get a nice hot shower (using no cold water). This in turn ups the kW required to heat the water... So to be safe, I picked the biggest model available right now (36 kW) and are tickled to death over the performance. It is solid, steady source of hot water for both showers at the same time. Love it. -- Note: If you don't have four 40 amp breaker slots available, no problem! Still get this bad boy and start off with 2 or 3 circuits(whatever you have available) and it'll use what you give it (albeit you may have to limit use to just one item at a time)... allowing you time to wire up for more power later.

UPDATE (5/15/2016): It had performed flawless for about 4 months. Then, suddenly, one day it said "OFF" and nothing we did (even with tech support via phone/email) fixed the problem. So, we had 3 days of cold water in the home until a new controller card arrived. Installed it (pretty easy) and voila! we're back in business. Tech support was easy to reach and the part was delivered via 2-day service. However, since then, it has turned itself completely off (not even light up) for no apparent reason. No breakers tripped... but recycling the breakers restored service. It has been a month now since last time it did that. -- I am still very happy with the purchase and would recommend it for anyone thinking about trying it.
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on June 12, 2017
I've had this installed for about a month now and I'd say it works better than the 50 gal. Gas tank style unit I took out, which by the way ran non stop. I think there would be far better Reviews on this product if people would take the time and do their own diligent research on the products that they are buying . I find it amazing how many people are quick to leave a bad review on a product when their ignorance was the primary reason for the product not performing as they had hoped. That being said time will tell whether or not this product will last as long as the old tank style heater I had before but as of right now I absolutely love it and I expect to be enjoying the energy savings reflected on my utility bill soon.

It is true this unit does draw a 150 amps at full capacity but being an electrician I took some real load test on it and found out that the 4 circuits actually are staged, so unless you have 4 people showering at all at the same time you will likely never see anywhere close to that current draw.

I'll check back in a year-and revaluate this review but for now 5 stars baby
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on April 2, 2014
The Good
As for the item itself I would only suggest that the purchaser make sure they have sized the unit correctly for their needs and have taken their area's ground water temp into account. The unit has a sublimely simple design and its shell is both space efficient and cosmetically pleasing. Unlimited hot water is a decadent luxury and Ecosmart makes it affordable to all. My lady is finally able to take her time wash and shave without ever running out of hot water (yikes for my water consumption). Regarding water consumption I'v found that this unit works amazingly well with the "Spa Fire-Hydrant" shower head, Economy and Performance.
The Bad
This pertains to the install process and NOT the unit. -- The plumbing is very straight forward and should be doable by a moderately experienced DIY'er with basic plumbing tools and a little soldering know-how. The Electrical is also not very difficult BUT requires two Double Pole 40-Amp Breakers and sufficient sized service to handle the unit (which is actually comparatively large). But if you've got the space or are willing to upgrade your electric service this item is a must-have.
Final Warning
The large cost for this unit will come from the install by licensed professionals without which you cannot quality for the lifetime Warranty, My advice (if you are not planning to install yourself) would be to get quotes for the install (both plumbing and electrical) and compare those numbers to the cost of the unit if you end up paying more for the install than the unit is worth you might be better off forgoing the warranty because if you do have a problem it would still be cheaper to by a replacement unit.

***One year Update
I've had this unit for a year now and recently blew a heating element, (an issue caused by a plumbing change and NOT the unit itself). I only bring it up because its a bit of a pain to have to order a replacement from Eco-Smart since no other place I found (Even Amazon!) carries this odd element size (9kW 240v Screw-In). So I would suggest having a spare on hand to avoid the shipping time wait if it becomes necessary. Also having seen first-hand what kind of scale and build up can occur at tragic speeds on the heating elements, do yourself a favor and drop the extra $65 on the recommend 'Aqua-pure' scale inhibitor. Most users can only tell you that it seems to work having nothing to compare it against. I have seen both sides and it makes a world of difference!
Aside from that, I am Extremely happy with this purchase, there is no going back in my household, Even with my girlfriend's new 45 minute long shower ritual (compared to the 25ish she use to get), I have seen a consistent 20-30% electric consumption drop when compared to the two years proceeding it. So my unit will have paid for itself after another year of usage. If your experience is anything like mine you will NOT be disappointed with this unit, so I'd say buy with confidence
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on February 28, 2012
My electric tank-type water heater developed a leak, and after a lot of reading on the Internet I decided to replace it with a tankless unit from EcoSmart. I'm fairly handy, so I wanted to do the work myself. I bought the heater from Amazon for $453 and various electrical and plumbing supplies from Lowes and Home Depot for $251, for a total outlay of $704. Aside from the tankless unit, the biggest expense was the wire.

Tearing out the old tank heater was easy and only took about a half hour. Mounting the EcoSmart unit in the same place as the old heater and creating the new plumbing connections with copper pipe took about 4 hours. Although 240-volt wiring was left over from the old heater, the 12-gauge wire was too thin, and there was only one 30-amp circuit available. The EcoSmart unit I bought needs three 40-amp circuits and 8-gauge wire. My breaker box is located about 30 feet away from the water heater location, so I had to string 3 lengths of 8-gauge, 2-conductor wire up into the ceiling and across to the breaker box. This took a full day, and crawling around in the space above the ceiling killed my knees. My electrical service is 200 amps, so I only had to find 3 double-wide slots for the new circuit breakers (one slot where the old water heater connected, and two new slots). Shuffling a few breakers around gained me the last 3 available slots. Hooking up the EcoSmart unit was simple, and the instructions are very clear. The biggest hassle was routing the heavy 8-gauge wire into the breaker box. Doing the electrical hookup took about 3 hours. After verifying that nothing leaked and all the voltages were right, I turned on a hot water tap and prepared for the worst. And Voila! Hot water. Lots of hot water.

After playing with the EcoSmart unit for several hours, I have the following observations:

1. It works, pretty much as advertised. Owing to electrical power limitations, it can't produce super-hot water at high flow rates, but it has no trouble producing really hot water at low flow rates. This means that it's advisable to install low-flow heads if you like hot showers. I doubt if the EcoSmart unit can keep up with multiple showers running simultaneously, despite what they claim, but for most tasks it should be fine. The only operational quirk I've noticed is that the water temperature is initially fairly hot, then not so hot for a few seconds, then hot again forever.

2. The EcoSmart unit is well made. When and if they fail, the heating elements will be easy to replace using standard, off-the-shelf elements. The innards of the unit are nicely laid out and constructed using first-rate materials. And you can't beat the lifetime warranty.

3. The project is well within the scope of a do-it-yourselfer with decent plumbing and electrical skills. The biggest hassle is running the heavy wire, and you can expect the job to take two days if you're replacing an electric tank-style unit. The installation instructions are crystal-clear, and the troubleshooting guide is very good. Make sure you have sufficient electrical service (200 amps) and space in your breaker box for the additional breakers (or add a small sub-panel). Finally, be sure to take into account the cost of the additional plumbing and electrical stuff you'll need.

The bottom line is that I'm pleased with the EcoSmart tankless water heater. Installing it was a somewhat bigger hassle than I had anticipated, but it all worked out in the end. Its only apparent limitation is an inability to produce piping hot water at high flow rates. We'll see how much money I save as time goes on.
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on January 17, 2013
We went through a bit of a hassle to get this installed professionally and properly; however, it was worth every bit! What I think Amazon needs to stress is that when a consumer is trying to determine what size unit is best for their home, the main, determining factor is the INLET WATER TEMPERATURE in your home, based on your geographical location. We live in Michigan, in the lower-thumb area on the East side. In the winter, our inlet temp is just above freezing, 38-40 degrees! Therefore, there is no other Ecosmart unit besides this one (27) that will work year-round here. This was a learning process for us. We originally bought the (11) model and had that one installed and it actually worked pretty well for all outlets upstairs; however, all outlets in the basement, where the unit is installed, just didn't have enough time to heat up before reaching the faucets because the inlet temp is just too cold here. SO, as a result of having to swap-out units to the larger (27), we did have to upgrade our electrical in the house from a 100 breaker box to a 200. This is obviously very pricey, but a good investment, nonetheless. I am lucky enough to have two very good friends who are licensed - one plumber & one electrician. Ecosmart does require the installation to be by licensed contractors in order to honor the lifetime warranty on the unit. We have seen a decrease in both our electric bills and our gas bills, on top of the increase in the value of the home by just having this system. The warranty is even transferrable to one subsequent homeowner! What a great selling-point if you intend to move at some point in the future! The only adjustment we have had to make is that now we have to let the water run for an average of 20 seconds before its hot; but, once it is, we never, ever run out! And, in a house with 2 adults and 2 teenagers; that, is priceless!!
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on October 23, 2017
WARNING NOTICE: This water heater SPARKED and had FIRE FLAMES coming out of the top of unit. Luckily I was there with a fire extinguisher and I was able to unplug unit adverting a potential disaster. Sparks literally came flying out of the top of the water heater. I've never seen an electrical product spark this much in my life. After all the sparks there was a orange smoke that came billowing out of the top of the unit. Thank the Lord I had a fire extinguisher handy and I was there when this happened or it might have been a disaster. I wrote EcoSmart and spoke to Rory Herrera at EcoSmart and Mr. Herrera just said item was beyond repair and the warranty card hadn't been returned within the 30 day window. I told him about all the sparks and the flame that came out of top of unit and he didn't seem concerned.

I wouldn't trust another one of these in any building that I owned, since I don't deem to be a quality or safe item from what I've experienced.

Also, the warranty they have on these units is only good if you send in the warranty card within the first 30 days of buying. BETTER read the FINE PRINT on the warranty.

IMO, this is a VERY POORLY made product and my unit leaked from the inside from a manufacturing defect. They tried to say it was buildup, but that isn't true, since you can CLEARLY see that the unit was leaking from the INSIDE of the unit at the solder joints and other places inside the unit.

I hate leaving bad reviews, but I don't want anyone to have a disaster or maybe even a fire from one of these units. That is a LOT of electrical current to be mixed with a leak inside the water heater.
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on September 24, 2015
I purchased the ECOsmart ECO 18 tankless water heater in April from Amazon during one of their open box warehouse sales for a very cheap price. The unit arrived as a wreck (as I expected it would). After beating out the smashed in cover (from improper shipping packaging) I inspected the inner workings, and found several parts ajar, and the cold water inlet fitting missing. Amazon offered an additional discount to me, so I took it, and set out to fix the unit, and replace the missing part. The cold inlet fitting has a one of a kind unique fitting threads, and I quickly found out that it’s irreplaceable. A call to Ecosmart tech support was personally and professionally handled. The tech told me that this part is not available. He then went into their spare parts junk drawer, found one used, and sent it to me for next to nothing. I couldn’t be happier with Ecosmarts service! The unit sat for 4 months until I had time to install it myself. I wanted to be sure it worked before gutting out my perfectly good water heater, so this report is what I found by permanently wiring, but temporarily plumbing the unit so as to not disturb the existing water heater. First of all, I live in South Florida (Broward County). Our water is fairly warm as supplied (70 Deg. Inlet temperatures in summer). I can only report how the unit worked with reasonably warm inlet temperatures. I’ve lived in the past in places where the water is 50 Deg. Year round coming out of the tap (NE Ohio), so I know I’m living in ideal conditions for a tankless electric water heater set up. I can report the following: I measured my normal shower water temperature. I like a hot shower. Using a lab quality thermometer, I find a water temperature of 95 to 98 Degrees is pretty darn hot. Maybe not hot enough to thaw out a frozen Ohio Linesmen, or firefighter with ice frozen to your face, but plenty hot for normal humans. I have the ECosmart 18 because electrically, my house only has 150 amp service. Larger Ecosmart units would overload my supply service. As tested, a 5 GPM flow (That’s enough for two old fashioned shower heads AND a sink running hot, the outlet hot water as measured was 115 degrees. This is with the unit set as high as it will go (140 Degrees). The unit will maintain a 45 degree water temp increase over inlet temperature. Testing at a flow rate of 2.5 Gallons per min.(enough for an old fashioned shower head and a sink), the unit maintained 135 deg. With the temp set at 140. My unit had no problem maintaining 115 deg. output if set at 120 deg. With a flow rate of 2.5 gallons a minute. In testing, I found a constant 5 degree error between what the unit says the set temperature is, and actual. Not bad considering it’s not an aerospace product, and some small gauge error is possible. The hot water tank I’m replacing is a 65 gallon unit, and IT DOES flicker the house lights every time a heating element turns on. (Noticeably annoying). I am super happy to report that the Ecosmart 18 unit does not flicker my house lighting. If you look very carefully, a very, very slight, teeny, weeinee load can be seen in the interior lighting of the house when the Ecosmart unit turns on, but it’s MUCH better than my existing standard tank type water heater. The ECO 18 turns on with very little water flow (a sink just turned on enough to wet a tooth brush will trigger it to heat the water) so flow sensing is perfect, and not a factor at all. My overall opinion is that yes, the unit is delicate, and is prone to damage in shipping. Once placed in service, it’s rugged enough to last a long time, and it works better than advertised. If you are in very cold water climate, you will need the biggest unit, and adequate power supply. Ecosmart lists what the unit will actually do modestly. If you read up on the specifications for each of their units, and match your water need and water temperature and follow the installation instructions you will never be disappointed by purchasing an Ecosmart unit. These things are great! Do your homework before you buy, and match it properly, you won’t be disappointed! Removing that old tank water heater and replacing it with the Ecosmart gave me a whole lot more room in my garage, as an added benefit too!
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