If you search in your dictionary, a “Califont” mostly refers to an Instant Hot Water Heater. Depending on the country, the name may be different, but in basic terms, a “Califont” is an On-Demand Hot Water Heater. The unit being powered by either gas or electricity.


You may also find a Califont to be called a Tankless Water Heater, Gas Hot Water Heater, or Instant Hot Water Heater. The truth is they are probably all just different terms of the same thing.


In NZ the 2 most common brands of Califont are Rheem, and Rinnai.

Rinnai Infinity is a name that has been trade marked and has stuck for many people. Rinnai did a phenomenal job of branding their unit to take a huge part of the market share. These are the fancy white box on the wall that delivers endless hot water.

Califont: Rinnai Infinity

rinnai infinity a26 gas hot water heater - califont





In my opinion, based on over 20 years experience in the trade as a plumber | gasfitter. Be a little skeptical about some of the information you read about Califont’s. Especially in regards to life expectancy, performance, and brand recommendations. A good number of articles you read are more sales pitch than fact. Califont water heaters are great because they provide hot water only as it is needed. Efficiency is maximized as there is no tank. There is no energy lost from having standby hot water waiting to be used. This therefore can save you a significant amount of money each year in hot water heating.


A Califont, works similarly to other water heaters with one exception – there is no large storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, the Califont will deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

The only downfall for most people is that the Califont has a limited flow rate, meaning that in some situations you can get fluctuations when multiple hot taps are used at one time. It is not the end of the world, but can be frustrating if you were never informed about it prior to making the decision to get a new Gas Hot Water Heater fitted in your home. Also as they are normally fitted on the exterior of the house, if you have a long run of pipe to a particular tap, you can experience significant delays waiting for hot water each time you use the tap. Be sure to put the Califont as close to the kitchen as possible for a most satisfactory results. The kitchen you use multiple times a day, so a big delay can be awful.

Fitting multiple units can overcome the lag of hot water and fluctuations to certain fixtures, or taps along way from the Califont itself, however every home is different and it pays to talk to an expert for getting the right location for installation.

When looking at installing or replacing your old hot water cylinder, a Califont is a great option to consider.


Are they as good as people say they are? Based on our findings of over 20 years of installing Gas Califont Hot Water Heaters at Regency Plumbing – these are possibly the greatest or clearest benefits.

  • Endless hot water
  • Strong hot showers
  • Increased water pressure
  • Free up space in your home
  • Efficient hot water heating

Califont: Rheem Integrity

rheem continuous flow gas hot water heater - rheem 27

We are always weary defining how much savings someone might make switching from a conventional hot water cylinder to a Califont. Why? because there are a number of aspects we cannot control, or which can not be measured. Apples for apples, 200 litres of hot water heated in your cylinder versus 200 litres of hot water heated by your new Gas Califont, the Gas Heater will be more efficient by a reasonable amount, however the following paragraph must be considered when measuring or trying to quantify what your efficiency might be.


If you have a family of 5 who all shower now out of the one hot water cylinder and you all take 5 minutes so everyone gets through before it goes cold, your hot water usage can be very consistent, easy to budget for, and predictable. But if you fit a new Califont, upgrading to endless hot water, and showers that never go cold even if you all shower for 15 minutes one after the other, you may just find that suddenly your hot water usage has tripled. The user experience is will be most definitely amazing and another joy to life, but when you get the gas bill you might feel the pain. Of course this is possibly the extreme, however we normally promote the benefits more than the efficiency savings, for this very reason.


If you fit the new Gas Water Heater to get high pressure hot water, endless showers, and an extra free cupboard in your home, you will love it, and you may even save a few dollars along the way, however if you do the upgrade from a hot water cylinder to a Gas Califont just for the savings that many claim are a reality, you might be disappointed. This is my personal unbiased opinion based on installing hundreds of these gas hot water systems and speaking to a lot of people we have installed them for.


For sure I would. In many cases a Gas Califont is just brilliant. There are a couple of types of installations where I would not recommend them, but there are many I would.

When you consider family homes, the baby boomers big homes that just have 2 people in them. They are using only a fraction of the hot water they once used. Of course they are great for them. When you are home you have hot water, but when you are at work, or on holiday they are using no energy at all. But come the long weekend and 10 people turn up for a family catch up, there is endless hot water for everyone.


Califonts have not become the most popular hot water system by default. They are a very smart option for heating you water.

If you want to find out more about getting a Gas Califont installed in your home – call our office today. We have some great deals on Gas Califonts.








34 thoughts on “Califont – or Continuous Flow Gas Hot Water Heater in NZ

  1. rod rudduck says:

    Hi. I have a very old outdoor gas HWC that is fine in summer but cannot provide enough hot water in winter for 3 adults. Looking to replace it with either instant hot water or new gas cylinder. I did get advise several years ago that gas pipe would need to be replaced for a new cylinder but not for an instant hot water system. Would like to get a quote.

  2. Amanda Taylor says:

    I am looking to put a gas Califont outside on the wash bay of the stable yard. Where do I start?? Is there more hardy,durable model I should look at? Do I need a separate piwer/electrical source to the unit? Want to get this job ticked asap so looking forward to hearing from you

    • Regan says:

      Hi Amanda, I am sorry I missed your inquiry.
      The regular model we have is perfect for you.
      Check out our hot deals on hot water which will be coming out on Monday for the Auckland Home show which starts on Wednesday.
      Lots of options and we’d be glad to help you.
      Thanks Regan

  3. Jason says:

    Hi, we have a Paloma califont. It’s great, but we have noticed that the gas fires up just briefly when the cold water tap is turned on. This happens with any tap in the house including the washing machine. Just wondering if that’s normal?

    • Regan says:

      Hi Jason, this can be normal, unless of course it has just started doing it, and hadn’t previously. If the pipework is set up incorrectly, not as per manufacturers specifications this can be an issue. Not real common problem, but I’ve certainly seen it before. If it continues to bug you, give us a call post lock down and we can check it out for you.
      Thanks Regan

  4. Paul Taylor says:

    Hi Regan, I have an older gas califont unit in a caravan. When I quickly turn off the sink mixer, the pressure build-up between the califont and the tap has ruptured the pipework. Do you know of any sink tap mixers with a built-in pressure relief valve that I could try?
    Thanks, Paul.

    • Regan says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t know of any taps in particular, however you can buy a fitting (valve) called a water hammer arrestor. A small vessel to cushion pressure when turning taps off – normally to reduce water hammer. but would probably achieve the same outcome. Also you could fit a pressure limiting valve on inlet to califont. This would balance all pressure and would also probably help.
      Ultimately you need to reduce the pressure, or upgrade piping.
      A tap replacement is really just a temporary fix, even if there was one.

      Anyway, here’s a couple of things to try – hope it helps.
      Thanks Regan

        • Regan says:

          Hi Susie
          The last tiny home we did, we fitted a Rheem 26 LPG continuous flow gas hot water heater.
          Have you got LPG gas already in bottles.
          If not this is the best solution for hot water heating.
          We can arrange a quote for you. Just call the office on 0800 PLUMBER | 0800 758 623

  5. Malc says:

    We have a gravity fed water supply. Do we need to add a pump before we can use this type of califont gas heater?

    • Regan says:

      Hi there, yes you need to have a minimum water pressure at the inlet of about 120kPa.
      With the old header tank you probably only have about 30 – 50kPa if you’re lucky.
      Just by pass the old header tank and you’ll be fine.
      Just give us a call, happy to help out.
      Thanks Regan

      P.S. 0800 PLUMBER | 0800 758 623

    • Lois says:

      Hi there, with the new gas rules 2025, would you still be able to buy califonts after this date. I have one in my bach for showers only, If califonts are going to be slowly phased off the market up to 2025 that means I would have to install an electric hot water cylinder, apart from the cost there is simply not room for one in a very small bach .
      Wondering if I should purchase another califont to have in reserve for future years after 2025.
      Cheers Lois

      • Regan says:

        Hi Lois, no the units will be available for many years. The only thing that could happen by 2025 is they’ll not allow any new gas connections.
        Existing systems will be allowed until 2050. And even this is all only a draft idea.
        I wouldn’t panic. I would wait until you need it as there may be better alternatives available by the time you need one that run on bio gas and are more economical to run, or at least meet new requirements. Thanks Regan

  6. Donna says:

    What does it mean when no hot water is coming through. We have checked there is gas and we have checked the batteries they are all good.??

    • Regan says:

      Hi Donna, if you have power and gas, you should have hot water.
      Have you managed to sort this out yet?
      If not call our office and we can send a technician.
      We can certainly help you with your gas hot water system.
      Thanks Regan


    My parents have a cylinder (electric driven/no gas) that is a long way from their ensuite and they have to run and waste (in this time of water shortage) about 10 litres of water before the water runs hot. They wanting a device that will heat the water instantly (electric). They have asked around Pukekohe but noone has heard of such a device. Can you solve their problem.

    • Regan says:

      Hi Vanessa, yes electric options are few and far between, but we can certainly help them with a gas continuous flow gas hot water heater, or a flow pump and ring main. Sometimes there are a number of ways we can solve the issue.
      Just get in touch with our office when you can. 0800 PLUMBER | 0800 758 623
      Thanks for asking – Regan

    • Regan says:

      Hi Beth
      Absolutely. We actually connect far more gas hot water units to LPG (the 2 large bottles), than natural gas.
      Natural gas isn’t always available, and often costs a lot for a connection.
      LPG is very quick and easy.
      Also we have a deal going if you connect your bottles through us, you get a FREE bottle of LPG – saving approx $100.
      Thanks for asking
      Regards Regan

  8. Peter says:

    I have a caravan used as a office.
    i want to put a wash basin in it .
    Does the califont have to be out side or inside ?

    • Regan says:

      Hi Peter,
      We don’t do plumbing of caravans, however in answer to your question normally the hot water systems are within the van space but vented to outside.
      You need the correct LPG model.
      Cheers Regan

  9. Gavin says:

    Is there a product that can shield a califont from the weather? I have one and the flame constantly gets blown out when the wind hits that side of the house. Thanks

    • Regan says:

      Hi Gavin, this certainly isn’t common, however you can get a recess box that goes in the wall, and then the unit is fitted inside that box.
      You could just get box, fit to outside of house, and then fit unit back in there. That should protect from the wind.
      Are you sure its the wind blowing it out.
      Call the office for more information.
      Cheers Regan

  10. Mark Berghan says:

    Hi there looking at putting in a second bathroom/ensuite and the hot water cylinder is past its use by date, so want to switch to a gas califont. Problem is that one bathroom is 15m away from proposed installation site of califont. Can a califont provide enough hot water at consistent pressure so both showers be running at the same time, as well as hot water for kitchen etc.? Or would I be better putting in a smaller second electric califont for the distant bathroom?

    • Regan says:

      Hi Mark
      Sounds like a good project. If you’d like to fit a gas califont, that is a great idea, however their brilliance is limited. They deliver mains pressure hot water, they deliver endless hot water, and they can in general supply hot water to multiple bathrooms and kitchens, but you divide 26 litres per minute by (3) fixtures, and you aren’t getting all that much hot water to each fitting (approx. 8 litres per minute). To be honest though, most basic family homes built by group builders (your average 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, single storey home, which is what is commonly built now, generally just have one gas califont, and often not well positioned, and most people are more than happy. Would I do that on my own home, not by choice, maybe by budget. One califont is much less cost than 2, but 2 is much better than 1. If you get what I mean. Yes one unit will do it, but will it do it well. The answer is not really. An electric cylinder will deliver 40 litres per minute, great for multiple points al requiring hot water at the same time, but the only issue is they are more inefficient, and you run out of hot water.
      My recommendation is that you just fit 2 gas califonts if that fits your budget.
      Hope this was helpful. Cheers Regan

  11. Martine Cashell-Smith says:


    We have gas hot water and have suddenly started going through gas bottles twice as fast (18 days as opposed to 35-40 days). We haven’t been using any extra hot water. What could the reason for this be and what should we do?


    • Regan says:

      Hi Martine,
      Sorry for the delayed response.
      I would at a guess think you have a gas leak, or leak through the regulator.
      I would get this checked for 2 reasons. One you are obviously chewing through more gas, but Two, your system could be dangerous if you have a gas leak.
      If you haven’t already, I would book in a gas fitter to come and check it out for you.
      Regards, Regan

  12. steve douglas says:

    hope you are well. your opinion on the system (Bosch) style non electric method for our out door bath, approx 4o mtrs from house so to as save running an ext cord/wiring. V’s the system that needs an electric connection for the gas starter. have heard the hot flow can be interrupted with no electric start but that seems to be more water purity issue than system fault? also for an 200 ltr capacity bath so about 120 ltrs, maybe once a week for summer really would a 16l be enough, so take about 8 mins to run a bath is quick enough as opposed to a 26 doing it 5, but any other considerations?
    thank you steve

    • Regan says:

      Hi Steve,
      I cant really help you on the Bosch question. I don’t know a lot about them.
      We really only install Rheem and Rinnai.
      Regards, Regan

    • Regan says:

      Hi Diana, A factory set califont will deliver hot water at 55 degrees Celsius.
      That is the standard temperature for hot water in NZ, in most cases.
      Thanks Regan

  13. Denise says:

    Hi Steve
    My califont when in use will stay at a very hot temperature and we can not get it to the desired shower temp? Is there a quick fix for this to adjust it please?

    • Regan says:

      Hi Denise, I would assume at first guess that this is as a result of your shower mixer having the issue, not the califont. Of course once we get to site we may find a different issue, however we are experts at this type of work so it will be no problem for us to diagnose the exact issue and repair it for you. Just call the office on 0800 PLUMBER | 0800 758 623 and we can get a plumber out to you. Thanks Regan

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