Is a Tankless Water Heater the Smarter Choice for You?

Is a Tankless Water Heater the Smarter Choice for You?
March 7, 2013 Lorelie
tankless water heater

Tankless Water Heater

Nowadays, due to the advancements in technology, there are many home appliances that have been invented and improved to make our lives easier.  A home appliance that is most probably considered to be one of the most useful in many households is a water heater.  Many people have different opinions and experiences regarding water heaters.  Some prefer to have a traditional or the tank-type water heater units, while there are those who like the smaller tankless water heaters.

Choosing the tank-type or the tankless water heater may be a rather easy task for you, but do you really know which one would really suit your needs?  Tankless water heaters actually can help you save on your energy consumption, but do you know that these units are actually not the best choice for everyone?  Below are some ways on how to figure out if a tankless water heater is the smarter choice for you.

It is a common fact that a lot of tankless water heater units in your home will definitely provide you and your family a lot of hot water available for all your daily needs.  Also, your expenses would definitely be less expensive if you have these units installed outside of your home.

If you and your family tend to do many things at the same time with the use of hot water such as bathing, washing clothes, and washing dishes, then a low-capacity tankless water heater unit could give you a “cold water sandwich effect” and this is quite a problem for those who would like to use hot water all the way but get cold water after they turn off the tap and then turn on it again.  On the other hand, tankless water heater units which heat water only when turned on, are more energy efficient unlike the traditional tank-type water heater units which continuously warm the water whether you need it or not.

Which Water Heater Should You Get – Tank-type or Tankless?

Traditional tank-type water heaters usually are placed at the basement due to the fact that they are normally bulky in order to be able to deliver gallons of hot water at one time.  For instance, a 60 to 80-gallon water tank can heat water that is sufficient enough to run a dishwasher, wash a load of laundry, and supply hot water to the shower, all these at the same time.  However, because of the fact that standby energy loss is typical with water heaters, when you have used up all the hot water supply, then you will have to wait for 20 to 60 minutes for the water heater to heat up more water.

On the other hand, a tankless water heater generates hot water only when you need it.  Once you turn on the tap, cool water is heated on the spot as it flows through the capillary-like pipes which are heated by either electric coils or a powerful gas burner.

Hot Water Supply Somewhat Limited

Even if a tankless water heater unit can pump out hot water every time, it cannot generate a huge amount of hot water at once.  Also, it can suddenly destroy your showering bliss with the “cold water sandwich effect”, which is known as the sudden flow of cold water that results from the turning the hot water faucet off and on again and again.

A traditional tank-type water heater unit can supply enough hot water to run the dishwasher, help you do the laundry and to get a shower at the same time.  However, a tankless water heater unit can only do two of these activities at the same time.

Limited Hot Water – Just Install More Units

A simple solution if you have problems with limited hot water output is to install more tankless water heater units.  Due to the fact that they are of small size, the size of a small flat box about an arm’s length, you can install a tankless water heater unit along any stretch of pipe, may it be in the basement, attic, closet, crawlspace or anywhere you like.  You can actually install two or more units to supply hot water to different areas in the house, or even install one that is dedicated only to one specific use, such as in the shower.

Using more tankless water heater units actually increase the overall energy efficiency.  The closer the hot water is to the area where it is needed, you actually lower your energy loss and therefore increase the energy efficiency by as much as 50% unlike when you use a traditional tank-type water heater unit.  This averages about $180 in yearly savings for a typical household.

High Upfront Price

An electric tankless water heater unit has a price tag of about $400.  It does not qualify for a tax credit due to the fact that it is less efficient than a gas-fired tankless water heater unit and is much appropriate for point-of-use applications such as hot water at the kitchen sink rather than to be used for the entire household.

A gas-fired tankless water heater unit has a price tag of about $1,500 to buy and install, which is almost double the price of a traditional gas water heater unit.  Moreover, the plumbing is different which can further add to the initial costs.  Looking at the bright side, the new energy-efficient tankless water heater unit might be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $300 on purchase and installation.

Despite its high upfront cost, a tankless water heater unit can significantly help you save energy and money in the long run.

Save Up on Energy and Money

There are many ways how a tankless water heater can help you save up on energy and money:

If your hot water demand is low or less than 40 gallons a day, then a tankless water heater unit will be 25% to 35% more efficient energy-wise and money-wise.

If your hot water demand is quite high or more than 80 gallons a day, then a tankless water heater unit will be 8% to 15% more efficient energy-wise and money-wise.

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