A tankless water heater is a modern option for the energy-conscious homeowner. Also known as an on-demand water heater, it does not heat a tank-full of water and reheat it again for use. This can account for 20% of your household budget1 and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless models can be 8% to 34% more efficient than traditional systems, depending on water usage, so can bring down your energy bill.2
Tankless water heaters have many benefits and some drawbacks. Here is a closer look at how they work and the pros and cons to consider.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
Powered by gas burners or electric coils, it uses a heat exchanger to heat water very quickly. The unit starts up when you turn on the hot water faucet. Water is heated as it passes through, just before it reaches your sink or shower. Traditional models store gallons of water until needed, heating and reheating it, which expends a lot of energy.
What Are the Advantages of a Tankless Water Heater?
In addition to cost savings and energy efficiency, which are the primary advantages of this type of water heater, tankless models offer these benefits:
- Require less space: Tankless water heaters are much smaller and can be mounted on a wall in a basement, closet, or outside.
- Environmentally friendly: Use much less fuel to heat the same amount of water, reducing your environmental footprint.
- Unlimited hot water supply: Water is heated continuously, so you will never run out, as long as you stay below the maximum flow rate.
- Longevity: A tankless unit can last 20 to 30 years, while the lifespan of a tank model is about 7 to 10 years (15 if you’re lucky).
- Tax incentives: In addition to the cost savings from usage, you may qualify for federal tax credits just for buying and installing a tankless system, which can offset installation costs.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heaters are usually worth the investment, but there can be drawbacks. For example, there is a higher upfront cost for installation. Also consider the costs of setup, such as installing water pipes, gas pipes, and electrical wiring. Initial setup costs can be high enough to offset any savings from using the water heater.
Other potential disadvantages include:
- Longer time to get hot water: It can take longer for water to warm up depending on the location of the unit. The farther water must travel to your kitchen or bathroom sink, the longer you may have to wait.
- Limited output: Tankless water heaters have a limited flow rate. If you’re running multiple water sources at once, such as showers, sinks, and laundry, the unit may not keep up with the demand.
- No hot water during a power outage: Tankless units rely on power to heat water on demand. There is no storage, so if the power goes out, you’ll be stuck with cold water.
Why a Tankless Water Heater Is a Good Investment
This comparison of the pros and cons can help you decide if a tankless water heater is right for your home. One distinct advantage is longevity, which can contribute to long-term energy/cost savings. Plus, you can get a lengthy warranty and choose options like anti-scale devices, brass drain valves, and digital displays.
Contact The AC Hero
The AC Hero is open for plumbing services during the COVID-19 pandemic and following all recommended safety guidelines. If you’re in need of a replacement and can benefit from a tankless water heater, we can work with your budget, install the latest equipment, and help you save on your utility bill. Our plumbing contractors provide water heater repair services as well. For water heater service and installation in North Richmond Hills, Texas, and surrounding areas, call us at 817-557-7586 today.