Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, are increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and ease of use. But like all products, there are pros and cons that you should consider before you make the decision to switch from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless system.
Here, we offer some of the pros and cons of tankless water heaters. If you have questions about your water heater needs or conversion, don’t hesitate to contact The Fire Man directly.
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Pros of Tankless Water Heaters
There are many advantages to a tankless water heater. In fact, the pros of these systems often override the cons. Here are our picks for the top five pros:
Long-term Energy and Cost Savings
When you install a tankless water heater, you are getting long-term energy savings. Tank-style water heaters require round-the-clock energy to run and maintain temperature. With an on-demand water heater, you are not paying to heat water that just sits in your tank. You are only paying for the energy you really need.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could save as much as 50% on your electric spending for heating water compared to a tank-style system. The average savings depends on your usage and how many on-demand systems you install in your home.
Unlimited Supply of Hot Water
The next benefit of a tankless water heater is the fact that you have unlimited hot water. When you decide you need hot water, the cold water passes through the heater and is heated by a gas-fired burner. The water heats in seconds and there is no such thing as running out.
Tankless water heaters have a maximum flow rate – meaning they only heat a certain amount of water at a time. As long as your maximum water usage is below that maximum flow rate, you will have an endless supply of hot water. Imagine taking a five hour shower or filling up your Jacuzzi tub without running out of hot water.
They Utilize Less Space
We’ve all experienced the frustration of cleaning around a tank-style water heater. These systems are often housed in basements or closets, they are large and bulky, and there are a lot of pipes and fixtures to keep an eye on. Tankless water heaters require much less space. For example, a standard 50 gallon tank-style water heater is around 60 inches tall and has a 20 inch diameter. A tankless unit, however, is around 27 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. These units can be mounted to a wall and require little maintenance.
Lower Risk of Leaks and Water Damage
Tank-style water heaters are notorious for building up minerals and corrosion. This can cause leaks and can contaminate your water system. Tankless water heaters don’t have a tank that stores water, so you don’t have to worry about these issues at all. That’s right – no more risk of disastrous leaking or flooding.
Life Expectancy of Over 20 Years
Along with energy efficiency is the cost-savings of a long life expectancy. Tank-style water heaters often need to be replaced after 10-12 years of regular use. A tankless water heater can last, on average, for 20 years.
Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
Now that we’ve talked about the pros of installing a tankless or on-demand water heater, let’s talk about some of the potential cons that may make you pause before switching your water heating system.
Upfront Cost of the Unit and Installation
You may be unsure about installing a new water heating system because of the potential initial cost. It is sometimes more expensive initially to purchase and install a tankless system as compared to a tank-style unit. The additional cost is generally due to wiring and venting that may need to be installed.
You should know, however, that the cost of a unit and installation will depend on factors like where you live, who you choose to purchase the unit from, and who you choose as an installer. At The Fire Man, we pride ourselves on offering only affordable high-quality service and installation.
Takes Longer to Deliver Hot Water
With an on-demand water heater, you are using hot water only when you need it. Because there is no surplus of water just sitting there pre-heated, it will take a few seconds or minutes for you to get that initial burst of hot water. This is not a problem for most homeowners, but is worth mentioning. Generally, it takes less than one minute for the hot water to reach the faucet.
Inconsistent Water Temperature
No matter what type of water heating system you have, if you have multiple systems in use at the same time (i.e. several people showering at the same time, or both laundry and dishwasher running), your system may not perform as well as you would like. With a tankless system, you may experience less water temperature consistency if the demand for hot water is greater than what the system is designed to provide.
Hard to Maintain a Lukewarm Temperature
On-demand water heating systems have a harder time achieving and maintaining lukewarm temperatures. That’s because there is a minimum amount of water flow required before the heater activates. Once it starts heating, there isn’t much room for barely warm water.
No Hot Water When the Power is Out
Whether you choose a gas or electric tankless water heater, your system will depend on electricity to function properly. If you experience a power outage, your water heater will also lose power.
The Bottom Line
With all of these pros and cons detailed, you should have a better understanding of the differences between a tank-style and tankless water heater. Generally, we find that the pros outweigh the cons. We also find our customers are incredibly satisfied with their tankless systems and the associated money savings.
If you aren’t sure which type of system is best for you, or you have questions about the cost of installation, contact The Fire Man. Have our experts come assess your current system and give you an estimate on upgrading or switching to a tankless system. Contact The Fire Man by filling out our online form, or call us at (706) 897-1873.