Tanks, Or No Tanks? Should You Say "Yes" To A Tankless Hot Water Heater?

Posted on: 27 January 2016

Tankless hot water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water as it is needed, rather than heating up a tank of water and holding it until you turn the hot water faucet. These units are becoming quite popular, but before you take the plunge and opt for a tankless system, consider these pros and cons:

Pros of Tankless Hot Water Heaters

You won't run out of hot water.

This is a common problem with hot water tanks: several people shower back-to-back, or you decide to wash dishes and do the laundry, and before you know it, the hot water tank is empty. Since a tankless water heater will continuing warming water as you need it indefinitely, it prevents this issue. For this reason, these systems are popular in homes of large families. Nobody has to take a cold shower or boil water to do the dishes.

Tankless water heater save space.

Whereas a standard water heater is a large cylinder that will likely occupy an entire corner of your basement, a tankless water heater is a box-like unit that's about the size of a mini fridge. It takes up less space, and its rectangular shape is also easier to decorate around. Plus, the compact size of tankless hot water heaters means fewer resources are used to make this. Thus, they are an eco-friendly choice in that they reduce waste once they stop working and end up in the landfill.

Tankless water heaters last longer.

A typical tank-style heater lasts between 10 and 15 years, whereas many tankless heaters last for 20 years or more. Even though a tankless heater costs a bit more up front, the extra cost is usually worth it since you are essentially buying one tankless heater instead of two tank-style heaters.

Tankless water heaters conserve energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water a day, a tankless heater can reduce energy usage by 24–34% compared to the typical hot water tank. In homes that use more water, the energy savings are somewhat less — but tankless water heaters still use less. Not only is this good for your wallet, but it's also good for the environment, since most energy is produced by burning fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gasses.

Cons of Tankless Hot Water Heaters

They can be difficult to install in some homes.

If you live in an older home, your plumbing system may need to be re-worked in order to accommodate a tankless hot water heater. This may make installing such a system too costly and inconvenient to be worthwhile. You may have to do without water for a few days while the plumber re-pipes part of your system in preparation for the new water heater.

If the power or gas goes out, you won't have any hot water.

With a standard water tank, when the gas or electric goes out, you still have a tank of hot water that will stay warm for a while. With a tankless system on the other hand, when the electricity goes out or there is an interruption in the gas supply (depending whether you have an electric or gas tank), you don't have any hot water prepared and waiting for you.

The output is limited.

Tankless hot water heaters can only heat so much water per minute. Thus, if you try to use hot water at two or three different locations in the home at the same time, the system might not be able to keep up. Choosing a high-output model can thwart this issue somewhat, but every system has its limits.

If you're looking for an energy-saving alternative to a hot water heater and you like the idea of having a continuous supply of hot water, a tankless system might be perfect for you. On the other hand, if your plumbing needs extensive reworking or you're worried about not having hot water during a power outage, you might be better off with a traditional, tank-style unit.

Contact companies like Trenchless Pipe Technologies for more information and price quotes.