Switching to Tankless Water Heater: Benefits and Drawbacks

Choosing the right appliances for your home can be a challenge, especially since they can get so pricey and you’ll likely be stuck with them for the next five to ten years. While minor gripes aren’t as much of an issue with things like kitchen appliances, you’ll usually want to be sure that your utilities are all in order.

One of the most crucial utilities is hot water, and this is managed by your water heater, which can come in one of two varieties. Today, we’re going to cover the pros and cons of tankless water heaters when they’re compared to tank water heaters, which are their proven counterparts.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Before we jump in, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. A typical tank water heater is a cylindrical water tank that uses either gas or electricity to keep a reserve of water ready for use.

On the other hand, a tankless water heater is a smaller unit that is usually attached to a wall for ease of access. Cold water flows into the tankless water heater and then comes out of the other end hot. Unlike tank heaters, tankless models don’t have a standing reservoir of water, so they heat it on demand.

Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters typically have an edge in efficiency and convenience when compared to tank models. We’ll also go over advantages like the tankless design’s increased lifespan and more compact dimensions.

Energy Efficiency

The main advantage to tankless water heaters is that they are far more efficient than tank heaters since they only heat the water when you need it. A tank water heater is always passively keeping your water hot in case you need it, but if you don’t have that many people in your home, then you likely don’t use hot water that often.

This means that you’ll end up saving money on either gas or electricity (depending on what your water heater is powered by) throughout the water heater’s life. Another benefit to the more energy-efficient design is that a tankless water heater is more ecologically-friendly than a tank model.

Compact Size

Another benefit to tankless water heaters is that they are far more compact due to their lack of a water tank. If you live in an apartment or a smaller home, space may be at a premium, and if you’re looking to make the most out of it, then a water tank may take up too much space.

Tankless water heaters can be placed nearly anywhere in the home that has reasonable access to the plumbing system. A tankless heater can even be installed in a pantry or cupboard so that it’s located somewhere accessible but isn’t immediately visible to guests and visitors.

Reliability/Lifespan

If you’re looking to get the most out of your money, you can expect a tankless water heater to last longer than a comparable tank model. Where most tank heaters will last for around a decade, many tankless models are meant to operate for twice as long, with some even reaching a lifespan of 25 years.

This is because tankless water heaters are usually more reliable than tank models, so they’ll also be less likely to fail. Keep in mind that a tankless water heater will often be more expensive to repair, but it will also be less likely to malfunction than a tank design of the same quality.

Drawbacks of a Tankless Water Heater

Unfortunately, tankless water heaters still have a few downsides when compared to the more traditional tank designs. Namely, tankless water heaters have a lower volume of hot water that they can provide at any given time, they’re more expensive, and they’re usually more demanding on gas lines and electrical grids.

Low Hot Water Volume

One of the main issues with a tankless water heater is that it is not ideal for larger households as it can only output so much hot water at any given moment. While a tank heater can draw on its reserve to provide a large volume of hot water at once, a tankless model probably won’t be able to send hot water to every tap in your house at the same time.

The flipside is that the tank model will eventually run out of hot water and will need to reheat more, but most people will be done using it by then.

Energy Needs

While a tankless heater is more efficient overall, it will need a more robust power grid or gas supply to keep it running. Since tankless heaters warm up the water nearly instantly, they’re going to need a more significant amount of energy than tank models, and you may discover that your home is not up to task.

Your average tank-type gas heater will use around 40 000 BTU of fuel to produce hot water, but that’s only a fraction of what a tankless water heater will need. Some tankless models will require up to 200 000 BTU of gas to keep your water hot, and this may simply be unrealistic for homes with low gas pressure.

Initial Cost

Tankless water heaters will save you money over the course of their service life, but you’ll also have to account for how much they cost you up front. The most affordable tank water heaters will cost around 300 dollars, but the average cost is closer to the 800-1000 dollar range.

The most low-end tankless water heaters will usually cost around 1500 dollars, but prices can easily reach up to twice as much as that, with some of the priciest models reaching 4000 dollars. Installing a tankless water heater can also be a complicated task that will cost you even more up front.

Conclusion

While tankless water heaters are convenient and efficient, they aren’t the perfect solution to hot water that many people make them out to be. We hope that we’ve managed to outline the key pros and cons of tankless water heaters and that the guide has helped you choose the right type for your needs.

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