Your water heater is one of the most essential appliances in your home. Just think about how unpleasant it would be to take cold showers every day, and consider how hard it would be to wash dishes with only cold water. There are two main kinds of water heaters: tankless models and traditional models with a tank.
In a traditional model, hot water is stored in a large tank, which gives you a reservoir of hot water that is ready at any time. On the other hand, tankless models heat up the water on demand. Let’s look at the major pros and cons of tankless water heaters so that you can decide which of these options is best for you.
Pros of a Tankless Water Heater
One of the main benefits of a tankless heater is that it takes up far less space than a model with a tank. Since that reservoir will have to be placed somewhere, then a traditional model won’t be as good of a choice for smaller homes or apartments where space may be at a premium.
When compared to a large water tank, a tankless water heater looks like a relatively small box that is mounted directly to a wall. This also means that they won’t take up any of the floor space in your home, and it leaves them easily-accessible, instead of hidden away in the basement.
Reduced Energy Consumption
Another huge benefit to tankless water heaters is that they only heat up hot water when you need it, as opposed to heating a reserve and keeping it hot. This consumes a lot less energy than a traditional water heater, which needs to periodically turn on to ensure that the reservoir of water stays warm.
It is estimated that tankless water heaters conserve up to 50% more energy than traditional ones, and this translates to savings on your end. A typical household will save around 80 dollars per year. Of course, there are also the ecological benefits of consuming less electricity.
Durability and Reliability
Since tankless water heaters are working less often than regular ones, they are also more reliable and less prone to failure. A failed water heater can end up flooding your home, so it’s important to find one that is durable enough to operate for a long time without failure.
Your average water heater with a tank will run for up to ten years, but if a tankless model is maintained properly, then it will double that lifespan, lasting twenty years. Of course, this is also dependent on the model of the water heater itself, but as a general rule, tankless ones are more reliable.
Cons of a Tankless Water Heater
The major downside to tankless water heaters is that they are a lot more expensive than those with a tank. While electric tankless water heaters are comparable in price to tank heaters (costing about $600 on average), that doesn’t account for the higher installation costs, which can be up to $2000 and sometimes more.
This is because plumbing will sometimes have to be moved or extended so that it can accommodate the tankless heater. Of course, you will be able to make up this difference in cost over the period of time that you use your tankless water heater.
Tankless Models Can Take Longer to Produce Hot Water
While one would assume that a tankless water heater essentially means that you have hot water on demand, they can sometimes take even longer than regular models to heat up your water. If you’re getting ready to take a shower, you may have to leave the water running for about 30 seconds before you get hot enough water.
If you often need hot water in a rush, then a tankless water heater may not be the solution that you’re looking for.
Limited Water Flow
Another issue is that a tankless water heater can only heat up a certain volume of water at a time, meaning that there is a limit to how much hot water can be used in the house at a time. If you have a larger family or two bathrooms, then you may find that your heater can’t provide enough hot water for everyone.
Depending on the kind of tankless water heater you have, the maximum output can range between 2 gallons per minute to 5 gallons per minute. You may even have to install several tankless water heaters so that they can meet your hot water needs.
They Are Immediately Affected by Power Outages
If you live in an area where power outages are relatively frequent, then we wouldn’t recommend using a tankless water heater since they won’t have a reservoir of warm water ready to use. The insulated tank of a traditional model will still hold sufficient water for a time until the reservoir runs out.
On the other hand, since a tankless model heats the water on demand, it will provide you with nothing but cold water as long as it is powered down.
Vulnerable to Hard Water
Tankless water heaters can also fail because of hard water, and they will have to be regularly maintained and have their filters switched out often to ensure that this doesn’t become a problem. Poor maintenance will often void the manufacturer warranty for a tankless water heater, as well.
More Complicated and More Expensive to Maintain
Finally, a tankless water heater is a lot more complicated than a traditional model, as it has a lot more parts. This means that it will be nearly impossible to maintain on your own unless you have expertise in the field, and it will also make it more expensive to get repaired if you ever run into any issues.
Conclusion: Make the Switch
We hope that we’ve been able to adequately sum up the advantages and disadvantages of tankless water heaters. In the end, it’s up to your preferences and the place that you live in, as some people won’t mind the extra cost for a tankless water heater, while others will prefer proven, traditional models.