Have you heard about tankless water heaters? If you have been considering ways to save some money or reduce your energy usage, you may have come across this as a potential option for your plumbing system. But how do you know if it’s going to be a good investment? Here are a few ways you should be able to tell whether to stick with the traditional water heater or go tankless.
The Traditional Water Heater
Most homeowners have a water heater that includes at least one tank, generally placed in the basement or out of the way in an area like the garage. It holds anywhere from around 30 to 80 gallons of water at any given time (larger families or households with more people will have a larger tank), and keeps that amount of water hot and available for use in showering, washing dishes or clothes, or any other hot water needs for your home.
The problem with a traditional “tank” water heater is that the warm water is only available in a finite amount based on how big the tank is. Once the water is used, it takes time for the water heater to warm up another tank, leaving you with cold water in the interim.
The Tankless Advantage
The primary selling point for many homeowners is the idea that tankless water heaters provide endless warm water at any time, throughout the entire house. Since they only heat water as it is needed, these heaters also provide energy savings by using less energy to keep a big tank of water warm all the time, which can add up to a little over $100 a year on average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Tankless water heaters also take up less space, since they don’t require a huge water tank in the basement or garage, and they will usually last longer than an average tank-based water heater, which generally only come with warranties of less than 10 years (the average is around 6 years), compared with a 15-year warranty for tankless heaters. Plus they offer an environmental benefits, since they don’t include a large tank that will likely end up in a landfill when the water heater’s useful life is up.
Reasons to Stick With Traditional Water Heaters
While these savings—and the idea of instant hot water all the time—might sound great, keep in mind that tankless water heaters are not the right solution for every home. For starters, some homes in Utah may not be able to support tankless water heaters, especially if you have an older electrical system that would have to be upgraded in order to support the new water heater. While they will save you money each year on energy costs, the up-front costs of tankless water heaters are also higher, so it’s important to figure out if your budget can handle the initial expense.
For homes that have a large number of people using hot water each day, want to save money on energy costs, and have the proper infrastructure in the home to support it, a tankless water heater might be a great option. Talk to a local plumber today about whether it’s the right choice for your home.