What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heaters are compact, wall-mounted units that heat water directly as opposed to their traditional counterparts that continuously heat a tank of water to keep it warm. When you turn on the hot water, the cold water travels through a pipe and into the tankless water heater unit where it is heated by a gas burner or an electric element. This allows you a constant supply of hot water.
On average, tankless water heaters can provide 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute. Gas-fired tankless water heaters, according to energy.gov, can produce higher flow rates than electric models.
Those with large families who go through a lot of hot water, installing more than one tankless water heater is common. Doing so ensures that there is always enough hot water available for showers, laundry and the dishwasher.
If you're not sure whether it's worth it to make the investment in a tankless water heater, we're here to help you weigh out the pros and cons.
Check Out These Advantages
Tankless water heaters (also called “on demand” units or an instant hot water heater) use 30 to 50 percent less energy than units with tanks, saving a typical family about $100 or more per year, depending on water usage.
These units heat water only when you turn on the faucet.
They usually operate on natural gas or propane.
The main advantage is that they eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank, so you waste less energy.
They also offer a continuous supply of hot water, which is ideal for filling a big hot tub or a whirlpool.
They’re more compact than a standard water heater and mount on a wall.
Let's Weigh the Disadvantages
The primary disadvantage of on-demand or instant hot water heaters is the upfront cost.
The smaller units that you often see won’t produce enough hot water to serve most households. They’ll only serve one faucet at a time—a problem if you want to shower while the dishwasher is running. There are larger units that can handle the demand of a whole family, but they are, of course, more expensive.
Because tankless units have high-powered burners, they also have special venting requirements (a dedicated, sealed vent system, which requires professional installation). Natural gas burners often need a larger diameter gas pipe, which adds to the initial installation cost.
Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters
The biggest difference between electric tankless water heaters and gas tankless water heaters is their efficiency. Electric tankless water heaters are typically around 98 percent or more efficient while gas tankless water heaters are around 80-85 percent efficient. A gas tankless water heater can be cheaper to run and will typically last longer.
Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Gas Tankless Water Heaters
Gas tankless water heaters will last longer than traditional water heaters and they’re safer than conventional water heaters. One disadvantage is that if there is scale build up, a tankless water heater can automatically shut off.
The Bottom Line: Pricing and Installation
Keep in mind, installing a tankless water heater is not a do-it yourself project unless you have pro-level skills. ONE Service Pros is ready to help you assess if a tankless water heating system is right for you. The investment upfront could lead to great savings — both in money in the long term, as well as the convenience upfront. If you're interested in learning about the best options for your home or business, call our plumbing pros today or book online and schedule an estimate.