Hot water on demand is one of the best perks a home can provide, right along with air conditioning and the garbage disposal. However, like any other major home appliance, water heaters eventually break down, especially storage tank water heaters. If your storage tank water heater has seen better days, it could be time to consider upgrading to a tankless water heater.
Whether or not you need to replace your water heater, the benefits of installing a tankless water heater are worth the cost and effort. Storage tank water heaters need to run constantly to keep the water inside the tank hot. Generally storing 30-50 gallons of hot water, there’s a limited hot water supply. What’s also important to note is that the operating costs of a tank storage water heater are expensive because it’s always running to keep the water heated. In comparison to the 20-30 lifespan of a tankless water heater, the average lifespan of a storage tank water heater is 10-15 years. The benefits of a tankless water heater include much more than efficiency, and here’s why.
A tankless water heater doesn’t have a tank that can crack or rupture. When a storage tank water heater has reached the end of its warranty, it might mean 30-50 gallons of water flooding your basement. This occurs when there’s enough of a buildup of mineral deposits inside the water heater’s tank, creating pressure until it bursts and resulting in some devastating water damage.
One great perk, especially if you have plans to renovate the basement, is that a tankless water heater takes very little space. Without the 30-50 gallon tank, you can mount a tankless water heater just about anywhere.
Since there is no tank, which means there is no standby heat loss, a tankless water heater literally provides hot water on demand. A storage tank water heater needs to constantly heat the water inside the tank, regardless if you’re using the hot water or not. A tankless water heater can provide up to 5 gallons of hot water a minute, but no hot water is wasted.
Because they’re energy efficient, tankless water heaters use 30-50 % less energy than storage tank water heaters, resulting in homeowners saving up to $100 and more a year. Most tankless water heaters also come with a tax rebate.
For the eco-conscious homeowner, tankless water heaters not only benefit the environment by being energy efficient. In fact, most tankless water heaters are built from recyclable materials, which mean one less major appliance ending up in the landfill.
If you’re ready to invest in a tankless water heater, it’s important to first consider the different types of tankless water heaters and what works best for you. Size, fuel type, and efficiency are a few important factors to think about when selecting a tankless water heater. Before contacting a plumber, consider the following.
There are three fuel types for a tankless water heater: gas, propane, and electric. Picking a fuel type usually depends on what type of fuel is available in your area and switching fuel types can be costly. Gas is much faster and efficient at heating water, but requires a high heat output. Electric tends to be cheaper to install, but demands a great deal of electricity to operate.
Since a tankless water heater doesn’t use a tank, this means calculating the size in a different way. A tankless water heater delivers hot water on demand, so you need to determine how much gallons per minute (GPM) each appliance in your home needs and what the peak water consumption rate is in your house, before determining a size. If, for example, you typically have a shower, the dishwasher, and washing machine all running at the same time, you would have a GPM of 3.5 - 7.5.
The temperature of incoming groundwater impacts the speed and flow of your tankless water heater. For homeowners who live in a cooler climate, for example, they will need a tankless water heater with a higher GPM to meet their hot water demands. Homeowners who live in a hot climate where it seldom hits freezing temperatures, should consider an outdoor tankless water heater.
It’s also important to consider what’s involved in maintaining your brand new tankless water heater before installing it. How much maintenance will depend on the fuel type of your water heater as well as how much your water is laden with minerals. Homeowners who run on hard water should flush their water heater every 6 months. Electric tankless water heaters require little maintenance other than some routine cleaning. Gas tankless water heaters however, should be inspected annually to verify for safe fuel combustion and any other general maintenance.
Don’t let your wallet and lifestyle suffer a day longer, not when a tankless water heater can cut down your utility bills by 20%.