Insight from a Plumber on Tankless Water Heaters

Insight from a Plumber on Tankless Water Heaters

When individuals take a hot shower or turn on the water to wash their hands they rarely think about how the water was heated before it reached the faucet. You may not even think about the cost of heating your water when you pay the water bill. However, did you know that the amount of energy used to heat water is second only to heating your house?

A Different Option for a Water Heater

Fortunately, there is another option when it comes to water heaters. You can switch to a tankless system. These on-demand units are easily installed by a qualified plumber.  However, depending on your needs, they may not be more efficient or cost-effective.

How a Tankless System Works

A tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater, provides hot water instantly right in the spot you need it. When you turn on the tap the water travels through the heating unit on its way to the faucet. The heat source can be gas, electricity, or propane. Small units can be installed directly underneath a sink. Larger units that provide water to the entire house are usually installed in a central location.

Advantages to an On-Demand Water Heater

There are several advantages to an on-demand system including the following:

  • They are small and require less space than a conventional appliance.
  • Heat is not lost from water sitting in long pipes or resting in a storage tank.
  • You use less water because you get hot water as soon as you turn on the tap.
  • The water heaters tend to last longer than conventional units because you don't have the problem with a corroding storage tank.
  • Gas units are less expensive to operate than electric units.
  • You can save up to 30 percent on your energy bill.
  • Regular plumbers can install and work on tankless units as needed.

Disadvantages to an On-Demand System

While the advantages are many there are also disadvantages to these units. Depending on your situation, the disadvantages may be drastic enough that you should stay with a conventional storage water heater. The disadvantages include the following:

  • The amount of hot water provided at any given time is limited. Therefore, you will not get enough hot water to do the laundry and take a shower at the same time.
  • The water temperature may fluctuate with fluctuating water pressure.
  • The immediate power used to heat the water instantly is more than the power used to heat a storage tank. Therefore, your electrical wiring needs to be adequate.
  • Although gas is more cost-effective, the plumbing requirements for a gas tankless water heater include a flue or a direct vent regardless of where the unit is located.
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