Most plumbing services offer tankless water heaters, which come with a wide range of benefits for the average homeowner.
Tankless Vs. Traditional
Traditional tank-style heaters maintain a constant reserve of hot water –anywhere between 20 and 100 gallons. If you fancy long showers, you probably know what happens when you deplete this supply too quickly. Tankless water heaters utilize the same heating techniques, but without a storage container. When you turn your hot water tap, cold water is drawn into the element and heated on demand.
Like any appliance, tankless water heaters come with pros and cons.
- Efficiency: This is one of the primary advantages. Rather than constantly heating water and maintaining a full tank at all times, you use your heat source only as needed. This dramatically decreases energy costs and is much better for the environment. Tankless systems are becoming popular among developers, and Energy Star certified gas models save the average four-person household nearly $100 per year. Some models even come with a secondary gas condenser that can add nearly 10 percent more in savings.
- Convenience: When you run a tankless heater, you don’t have to worry about running out of hot water. However, this also means a slower flow rate. You may experience low water pressure when running multiple faucets simultaneously.
- Space: The average residential reserve heater holds between 40 and 50 gallons of water. Tankless systems, on the other hand, take up much less space. Plus, you have more flexibility when it comes to placement. If you operate on gas, however, you’ll need to factor in additional room for venting.
- Cost: The upfront cost of going tankless is usually much higher than a traditional replacement. However, tankless heaters tend to last between five and 10 years longer, and the energy savings almost always outweigh the cost of purchase and services.
Ask an Expert
A water heater is an important investment, so be sure to consult with your plumber about your home size and specific use requirements.