To get or not to get a tankless water heater, that is the question! If you’re trying to decide what’s best for you and your home, this article will provide information to help you make your decision.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
A tankless water heater provides water on demand and is an alternative to the traditional tank system. This unit will heat water as you need it, rather than hold gallons of water to heat and reheat over and over.
In a tankless system, a high-powered burner heats the water quickly. The water runs through the heat exchange and then out to your appliances or faucets when you need hot water.
A traditional tank water heater heats water and then stores it in a large tank. Whenever you need hot water, it will come from the top of the tank. Cold water goes into the bottom of the tank to replace the water you use and will then get heated. The issue is if you take long showers, or are in a household where several people need to take hot showers, your hot water can run out. That results in cold water coming out until the tank can heat more.
If your interest has been piqued by the tankless water heater, we can understand why! Here are some pros and cons you should consider before diving headfirst into a tankless heater purchase.
Tankless water heaters are generally more energy-efficient. Without a storage tank that needs constant reheating, the energy savings are significant with a tankless system.
The U.S. Department of Energy says that compared to tank water heaters, tankless models are between 24% to 34% more efficient if you use less than 41 gallons of hot water each day. And since it’s only using energy to heat hot water as you need it, you’re also saving water as well. That means you’ll be saving more over time on both your energy bill and water bill.
When it comes to life expectancy, the winner is the tankless water heater. A tankless system usually lasts longer than 20 years, while a tank model will last only 10 to 15 years. That could seem inconsequential, but with a tankless heater, you won’t have to replace it for a long time. This saves you money and the hassle of replacing your unit often.
Keep in mind no matter which type you choose, you’ll want to have regular maintenance done to make sure your water heater lasts as long as it can. Especially in places with hard water, like Arizona.
Another advantage of trading your tank water heater for a tankless version is there’s a much lower likelihood of having it leak. A tankless system doesn’t hold a massive amount of water like a traditional tank does. If a leak does occur in a tankless heater (it’s rare, but it can happen), it would cause minimal water damage. However, a leak in a tank system would be bad news. They can hold anywhere between 20 to 80 gallons of water, and that leak could turn into a rupture.
One of the biggest benefits of a tankless water heater is the convenience. You don’t have to stagger family showers, let the faucet run until the water heats up, or delay starting the laundry to conserve hot water. With a tankless system, you’ll have all the hot water you need, exactly when you need it.
It’s not like a tankless heater goes without some disadvantages. The biggest? The upfront cost. Tankless water heaters aren’t cheap and can range from $1,200 to $5,000. And if you’re switching from a tank water heater to a tankless system, you might run into extra expenses for new wiring and plumbing changes. Not to mention, tank-style heaters are much more common, so more professionals are capable of installing them, meaning the labor costs are lower.
If you’re on a budget, you should probably stay away from a tankless system, as a tank heater is usually the most affordable option.
The other con of a tankless water heater is it can be “output challenged.” A tankless system can provide showers back-to-back without running out of hot water. But, if you were to have multiple showers running at the same time, a tankless system wouldn’t be able to keep up. And depending on the size of your water heater, it might also have issues if you run a shower and the dishwasher at the same time.
A plumber will be able to help you pick out the right size water heater for your home. But you’ll need to remember if you run too many showers/appliances/faucets at one time and exceed what your water heater can put out, the water won’t be hot.
City Plumbing Service is Here to Help
If a tankless water heater sounds right for you and your home, our top-rated plumbers would be more than happy to help install one for you! We’re always here to provide reliable and professional plumbing services you can trust. We’re located in Cave Creek, but are ready to help those in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Surprise, and most of the East Valley of Arizona.