08 Sep Tankless Water Heaters
What is a tankless water heater and how does it work? Knowing about these innovative new hot water heaters will help you decide if one is right for you
Tankless water heaters are much more common in Europe and Japan, but they recently caught on in the United States as part of a cultural effort to be more “green.” Just like the name says, this is a water heater without a large reservoir keeping hundreds of gallons of water hot all the time.
There are two types of tankless water heaters:
- Point of Use Heaters – these are small units that usually run on electricity that can be installed to heat the water to only one or two fixtures like a shower or the kitchen sink. There are models small enough to install beneath a cabinet or right next to the faucet.
- Whole House Heaters – these are much larger units that can provide hot water for multiple showers, sinks, the dishwasher and washer. These types of tankless water heaters generally run on propane or natural gas.
How Tankless Water Heaters Work
Instead of keeping gallons of water hot for when you need to take a shower or run the dishwasher, a tankless water heater heats up the water on demand. When activated, water flows through a heat exchanger to be rapidly heated to a pre-set temperature. The unit continues to heat the water as long as you keep it flowing, thus ensuring you never run out of hot water.
Benefits of Installing a Tankless Water Heater
- Never run out of hot water.
- They last 5 to 10 years longer than traditional water heaters.
- They are more efficient.
There is no “standby heat loss” like water in a tank heater when it is not in use.
- They take up a lot less space.
- There is a federal tax refund.
You will receive about $300 for installing one in your home.
- They can shave up to 20% off your water-heating bill annually.
- Electric units do not emit greenhouse gasses.
- You never have to worry about a leaking tank flooding the house.
This is something a large family might find especially appealing when everyone is trying to get ready for school and work or a special event all around the same time and using multiple showers and sinks.
There are some drawbacks to going tankless. So you should carefully consider them before you decide to go this route.
- Significantly higher installation costs.
- Hot water is split among faucets so pressure/flow might be reduced.
- Installation may require utility upgrades like a larger natural gas line.
- You will have to install vents for gas and propane powered tankless water heaters.
- Gas units emit greenhouse gases and require annual servicing.
- Electric units use a lot of energy.
- Lag time from the heater to the faucet may be longer, meaning higher water consumption costs.
The convenience of never running out of hot water, having less space taken up for a water heater and not ever having to worry about it flooding the house might make getting tankless water heater right for you. If that is the case, let our experienced plumbers give you a thorough consultation and install your unit or units so you can start reaping the benefits right away.