Your old storage-tank water heater is corroded and leaking, and you’re considering replacing it with a tankless water heater. You know these consume less energy and take up less space, but is it the right choice for your home?
Tankless water heaters are relatively small units that only provide hot water as needed. Rather than storing and heating a tank of water, these systems utilize electric or gas elements that heat water on demand. Conveniently you needn’t wait for the tank to refill when there’s no more hot water, as happens with tanks.
According to Energy.gov, on-demand water heaters can be 25 to 34 percent more energy efficient than a storage tank water heater. The savings come from not having to heat and reheat the same water, regardless of whether it’s being used. That hot water sitting unused in the tank sustains significant standby heat losses as time passes.
A tankless water heater will last up to 20 years, while a storage tank unit typically doesn’t last more than a decade, and even less if you live in an area with hard water.
A tankless water heater has a limited water supply that can’t always meet the demands of a household where three or four water uses might be occurring at the same time. As an example, one tankless unit would have a difficult time providing hot water for two showers and a dishwasher running at the same time. This is why many homes that utilize tankless systems install one bigger whole-house unit, then one or two point-of-use tankless heaters in specific water-using locations.
They don’t instantaneously provide hot water, though it doesn’t take much longer than a storage tank water heater, and you don’t have to sorry about all the hot water already being used up.
Cost and installation of tankless water heaters is considerably higher than that of conventional water heaters. Also, installation requires outlets for the tankless units’ components, gas pipes for the gas model, and ventilation. This can raise the cost.
While the cost is higher than a conventional storage-tank unit, in most homes the energy savings eventually will pay for the difference.
For more information on water heaters, tankless or otherwise, please contact us at Overland Park Heating & Cooling, Inc. We’ve been providing superior HVAC services to the greater Kansas City area since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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