Tankless water heaters are commonly called instant or on-demand units. They offer various benefits over the traditional, tank-style units and can be a smart investment for some homeowners. However, just like any other product, tankless Hot Water Heaters have some downsides, and they may not be the best solution for every home.
Unlike the traditional water heaters, which have a tank, a tankless water heater does not use energy to maintain the hot water supply. In fact, these units only expend energy when a hot water tap is turned on or when certain appliances (i.e., the washing machine or dishwasher) are being used. This style of on-demand operation helps to provide the biggest benefits: cost and energy savings.
Along with cost and energy savings, there are a few other reasons to consider choosing this hot water system over the traditional tank-style units. A tankless unit will provide an ongoing supply of hot water while not taking up much space. Keep reading to learn about the specific benefits offered by this investment.
The biggest benefit of a tankless unit is that they are energy efficient and can help homeowners save money long-term. The traditional tank-style units will use energy all the time to keep the temperature in a tank that is typically 40 to 50 gallons in size.
However, as the name implies, a tankless unit provides hot water on-demand. There is no continual heating of stored water. When water is heated just when needed, a tankless unit will not have issues related to standby heat loss. This is something that takes place when the heat escapes from the tank, and the water inside has to be reheated time and time again.
When an appliance, shower, or tap is turned on in the home, cold water will move through the tankless unit. At this point, it will be heated by electric coils or a gas-fired burner. After the water is heated, which occurs in just seconds, the hot water moves through the pipes and out of the outlet to the location where it was requested inside the home.
The actual energy savings a homeowner sees depends on the amount of water used and the unit’s efficiency. However, according to the Department of Energy, a tankless unit can be between eight and 50% more efficient than traditional tank-style units.
When everyone needs a shower, anyone who is not first or second may be limited to using cold water if a traditional tank-style unit is still in place. However, with a tankless unit, this scenario will never occur.
Every tankless unit is designed with a set maximum flow rate. What this means is that just a specific amount of water will be heated at a time. If someone has five separate showers turned on simultaneously, most tankless units will not be able to keep up with the demand.
However, if the water usage stays beneath this flow rate, the unit can supply the hot water needed. Because a tankless unit works by heating the water from the external source when it is demanded, a person could shower for 10 hours (or more), and the water would be just as hot as it was for a 10-minute shower.
If someone has a small home, they may want to avoid taking up a lot of room with the water heater. Unfortunately, tank-style systems are quite large. This is not the case with a tankless unit.
Usually, a tankless unit will be mounted on the wall. This means it will take up much less space compared to the alternative. While each unit varies in size, the average tankless unit is around ten inches deep, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches wide. This is much smaller than the traditional tank-based system.
Also, the tank style unit will require floor space. Usually, this is in the home’s basement or utility closet. With a tankless unit, the system is mounted to the wall and can fit in most closets.
With tank-style units, the possibility of a leak is high. As time passes, minerals from hard water will begin to accumulate in the tank. This causes corrosion, which eventually results in leaks. Since there is no tank on a tankless unit, there is no possibility of a leak, flooding, water damage, mold, or other related problems.
Keep in mind that this does not mean the tankless unit does not have any issues. There may be problems that result in a leak, but the likelihood of this happening is much lower. Also, the potential a tankless unit has to flood a home is virtually non-existent.
The modern plumbing code requires that all water heaters with a tank have a pressure relief and temperature valve to open and release the pressure. The purpose of this is to make sure the tank does not explode.
As time passes, sediment and minerals out of the water can begin to clog this valve, which means it may not be able to function properly. If this occurs, and too much pressure builds up, it puts the tank and everyone in the home at risk. It is a good idea for those with a tank-style unit to test the valve annually to ensure it is functioning properly.
While the situation is rare, an explosion is serious and can cause damage, injuries, and death. With a tankless unit, this is a non-issue because there is no tank to explode. This is just one less thing to worry about.
When it comes to water heater options, there are a lot to choose from. However, for most homeowners, the installation of a tankless unit will be more than worth it. Keep the information here in mind to see why this is an investment that all homeowners should consider making. In the long run, the unit will more than pay for itself.