Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular as they can provide many advantages over traditional storage-tank units. As the name suggests, tankless water heaters don’t have a storage tank and instead only heat when hot water is needed. Tankless water heaters do have some drawbacks, so it’s always important to consider the pros and cons when deciding if a tankless unit is right for your home.
Pro: Superior Energy Efficiency
One of the biggest advantages of tankless water heaters is that they are extremely energy efficient and cost less to operate than standard storage-tank water heaters. Exactly how much you can save with a tankless water heater depends mainly on your average daily hot water usage. If your household typically uses around 40 gallons a day, a tankless water heater will typically use around 25–35% less energy than a storage-tank unit, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If your average daily hot water usage is around 80 gallons or more, the energy savings will only be around 8–15%.
The reason that tankless water heaters are more efficient is that they don’t have the same energy waste issues that storage-tank units do. Tank water heaters will usually run for around three to five hours each day, or even more, depending on how much hot water you’re using. Even if you’re away or don’t use any hot water, the unit will still need to run for a few hours to keep the water in the tank at the correct temperature.Tankless water heaters are different and don’t have this issue since they only run on demand, which means the unit will only turn on when hot water is called for.
Pro: Takes Up Much Less Space
Another major advantage of tankless water heaters is that they are much smaller than storage-tank units and take up far less space. This makes a tankless unit the ideal option if you have limited space or want to free up some room in your home. A tankless unit can be mounted on any wall in your home, which means you could easily hide it away in a small area. The only thing to consider is that if you opt for a gas-burning tankless unit, you’ll also need to have enough space to install the flue so the exhaust fumes can be vented outside.
Pro: Limitless Supply of Hot Water
Installing a tankless water heater means you’ll never again need to worry about running out of hot water. These units can theoretically run indefinitely as long as the power stays on and your unit is functioning. If you have a storage-tank unit and the power goes out, you will still have hot water for at least a few hours until the water in the tank starts to cool off.
Pro: Longer Life Expectancy
Tankless water heaters also have a much longer life expectancy than tank units. With proper maintenance, most tankless units will last for 20 to 30 years, whereas a tank unit will typically only last for 8 to 15 years at most.
Con: Higher Upfront Cost
One drawback to tankless water heaters is that they typically cost more than storage-tank units. If you’re converting from a tank to a tankless unit, the installation cost will also be quite a bit higher, as this requires retrofitting or adapting your existing plumbing. That said, tankless units will almost always be more cost-effective in the long run. The energy savings you’ll get with a tankless unit will usually be enough to offset the higher cost.
Con: Longer Lag Times
Another issue with tankless units is that they usually have a fairly long lag time, which means you’ll need to wait longer from when you turn your faucet or shower on until hot water begins flowing from the fixture. This is because it takes at least a few seconds from when the unit turns on until the water flowing through it fully heats up. The lag time will always be longer the further away the fixture is from the water heater.
Con: Can Only Provide So Much Hot Water at Once
One other drawback to tankless water heaters is that you’re more limited in terms of how much hot water you can use in one moment. A large storage-tank unit is usually capable of supplying multiple fixtures at once, so you can easily shower while also running your dishwasher and washing machine. If you try to do the same thing with a tankless unit, the water temperature can fluctuate quite a bit since you’re demanding more hot water than the unit can supply at one time. However, you can overcome this issue by choosing a unit with a higher flow rate that can supply more gallons of hot water per minute.
If you’re looking to install a new water heater in your home, Affinity Plumbing and Water Conditioning has you covered. We carry a wide selection of new water heaters as well as water softeners and filtration systems. Whether you need water heater installation or any other plumbing service like garbage disposal repair or leak detection in Shakopee or surrounding areas, contact us today, and we’ll take care of you.