Tankless Water Heaters – The Hard Facts that You Ought to Know About (Part 1)

Tankless Water Heaters – The Hard Facts that You Ought to Know About (Part 1)
May 2, 2013 Lorelie
Tankless Water Heaters

Are you going to buy tankless water heaters the next time you need to buy a water heater unit?

If it is going to be your first time in buying a tankless water heater, then you ought to know some of its benefits as well as its limitations.  Of course, tankless water heaters are believed by many people to be more energy efficient than the traditional tank-type water heaters.

It is actually a general notion that most people have heard that tankless water heaters are much better than traditional tank-type ones due to the fact that they heat the water up only when it is needed and so it results to having no standby energy losses at all.  Moreover, these tankless water heaters are used by a lot of households all over the world for quite a long time from now.

However, the thing is, this general notion is not that very accurate.  There are some situations that make the tankless water heaters look like a gift from heaven as they are very useful and it makes our everyday lives comfortable, but it is not every time that they are the perfect solution to everything.  Below are some things that explain this statement further.

What Is It Exactly That You Want When It Comes to Water Heaters?

Water heater companies conduct surveys about what people want their water heater to do for them and these are what they got:

  1. People are by nature not a very patient species, which means that they do not want to wait for hot water to come out of their water heater unit.  Once they turn on the water heater unit, it should deliver them hot water as soon as possible.
  2. It is a very unpleasant feeling to run out of hot water while you are showering, right?  A lot of people do not like that, especially if they are in a hurry but would still like to have a proper shower to start their day.
  3. Of course, even if #1 and #2 points are met, nobody would still want to buy a water heater if it costs them a lot of hard-earned money.  Therefore, before they buy, they should find out if the water heater really meets their needs, and when they have confirmed that, then they should see if the price still is able to fit in their budget.

The Risk Factor

Companies of tankless water heaters, through the years, have come and gone.  When they are presently operating, they sell many of their water heater units.  When they go, they tend to leave their consumers high and dry – no technical support, no spare parts, no warranty and not even an online customer support or a simple help desk.  There are even some companies that have abandoned their customers before in the past, but now they are back in business (some actually just changed their brand or company names).

Building Up The Hype

Tankless water heater units, in reality, are considered as an “oversold” commodity.  This means that customers are lured in to buy tankless water heaters due to claims that they have a greater efficiency, it is an eco-friendly option to have them, you are one of the modern class or you are thought to be “cool” if you have them, and they provide users with greater savings.  All of these claims typically are enough to convince consumers to buy these tankless water heaters, until they realize that they have actually paid a lot more cash up front, that their electric/gas bills are obviously much higher than before, and that they are forced to face costly service bills or else if they skip maintenance checks and other types of service, they will void their tankless water heater unit’s warranty.

Initial Price Tag

A very sad fact is that it is very difficult to cheat the laws of physics.  When you heat up water, the gas that is going to be burned or the electricity that is going to be used up and unless you have a condensing heater, it is going to cost you the same amount to heat up a certain amount of water, no matter which one you use – be it with a traditional tank-type water heater or a tankless one.  Normally, tankless water heaters have an initial price tag that is many times more expensive than traditional tank-type water heaters.

A recent price comparison being done by water heater companies showed that a 40-gallon traditional tank-type water heater unit can provide a family with 2 showers at the same time and a tankless water heater unit doing the same thing resulted to prices of $330 versus $990.  These are actually prices of the water heater units fresh off the shelf.  Installation fees run something around $500 for traditional tank-type water heaters versus $2,000 for tankless water heaters.  It is actually a very serious price gap considering that it will really take you a very long time to save enough on your energy bills to make up for the initial price that you pay when you first buy it, if that is even a possibility.  Moreover, a tankless water heater unit is a very complex machine, and it may tend to break down long before you ever get to save from your energy bills.

Comparison Loophole

It is a fact that there are no standards by which you can successfully compare the efficiency of tankless water heaters to that of the traditional tank-type water heaters.  Tankless water heater manufacturers, as it is typical with other appliance businesses, tend to make comparisons that make their products seem to look much better such as with a tank-type water heater with 1-inch insulation, although there are available tank-type water heaters  that have up to 3 inches of insulation which is a really big difference.  Another comparison they make is that they claim that tankless water heaters have efficiencies that are based on a 35-degree rise in water temperature, which is usually less or half of real-world situations in several parts of the country.

to be continued on Tankless Water Heaters – The Hard Facts that You Ought to Know About part 2.

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