TANKLESS WATER HEATER ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
JAN 30, 2018
If you are thinking about replacing your water heater you might ask, is a tankless water heater the right choice for you? Depending on your household and priorities, a tankless water heater has specific advantages over traditional water heaters which may make it the perfect choice. Donley Service Center is here to run down the pros and cons of installing a tankless water heater system so you can make the best decision for your home.
PRO: NEVER RUN OUT OF HOT WATER AGAIN
A tankless hot water heater works by heating water on demand. When a hot water tap is turned on, water is instantly heated by a gas burner or an electric heating element. If you have family members that like to take really long showers, (or if you like to take long showers) worrying about running out of hot water would be a thing of the past. Since a tankless system is just that, you no longer have to wait for the tank to fill up with hot water before using it. Also, if you have a giant bathtub that never seems to fill up entirely with hot water, a tankless water heater is definitely something to look into.
CON: LIMITED FLOW RATE
Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately, as with most things in life, even tankless water heaters have some drawbacks. While they can constantly provide hot water, they are limited by their flow rate. This means that depending on its size, a typical tankless water heater will probably only deliver 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. (Traditional water heaters can deliver as much hot water as is needed until the tank runs out.) So while a definite advantage is the constant source of hot water, it usually will only hold true for one fixture at a time. For example, a single tankless water heater probably will not provide enough hot water for you to take a shower and run the dishwasher at the same time. For this reason, some households opt to use tankless water heaters as a supplement to their traditional water heaters or to have multiple tankless units installed.
PRO: MORE COMPACT THAN TRADITIONAL COUNTERPARTS
The potential need for more than one water heater makes the relatively small size of tankless water heaters a serious advantage. They take up significantly less space than water heaters with tanks, meaning that you do not have to sacrifice precious garage space. Some used for supplemental purposes (sometimes called booster units) are even small enough to fit under a sink! This can come in handy if you are considering a tankless water heater as a booster for a remote bathroom that may take a long time to have hot water delivered because of its distance from the traditional water heater.
CON: IDEALLY, YOU WILL ALSO BE BUYING A WATER SOFTENER
Phoenix’s notorious hard water can be especially rough on tankless water heaters. To make the most of your investment, if you do not already have a water treatment system, you should look into installing a water softener as well.
***For more information on the benefits of water softeners, click here.
PRO: MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT
As we mentioned, purchasing a tankless water heater is an investment for most families. But considering the exceptional efficiency of some units on the market (some score as high as 95 on ENERGY STAR’s 1-100 scale), costs are recouped over time. The rate at which you will save money depends on your hot water consumption and whether you have a gas or electric water heater. Either way, there is a definite ROI in the form of decreased utility bills and the desirability of the feature should your home go on the market.
CON: HIGHER INITIAL INVESTMENT
Speaking of your investment, tankless water heaters generally do cost more upfront. Between purchasing the correct unit for your home and installation, the cost can be significantly more than a traditional hot water heater. Keep in mind that tankless water heaters run off electricity, so if you do not have a power source close, you may have to re-route to power to the desired installation location.
PRO: 20-YEAR LIFESPAN
You can count on a traditional storage tank water heater lasting you about 10 years. On the other hand, a tankless water heater should keep you bathing comfortably for a whopping 20 years. So despite the higher initial costs, in the long run, a tankless water heater may end up costing you less money — especially if you calculate the value of the time you have to invest each time you replace a water heater.
Tankless water heaters must be maintained regularly to prolong their life. They must be flushed and cleaned – doing so every month is ideal. Along with flushing them out, the filters must be changed often and the system drained completely as well. If you do not mind taking the time to do these extra maintenance steps, then a tankless heater is a good option.
Still wondering if a tankless water heater is right for you? Contact us today. One of our professional plumbers will talk you through any questions you might have and make a recommendation. Life’s too short to take cold showers!