Tankless water heaters are the newest advancement in water heaters. While they aren’t as new as they used to be, many still don’t know if their home is the right place for one. As a Lafayette Plumber, we see so many types of homes and families. There is no way to give a blanket answer to the question.
The best we can do is walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of choosing a tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient and cost less to operate.
Tankless water heaters only use energy when they heat the water. Traditional water heaters use gas to heat water even if you’re not using it. This wasted energy costs you money! Water heaters that use tanks are programmed to keep the water in the tank ready at all times. This means you pay for “stand by” heat.
Tankless water heaters last longer than traditional water heaters.
Water heaters that utilize a tank have a lifespan of 10-13 years. Most tankless water heaters claim to have a lifespan closer to 20 years. When considering the possibility of needing to replace a traditional water heater three times by the time your tankless water heater runs out, it can start to make sense.
Tankless water heaters take up far less space than traditional water heaters.
Is space at a premium in your home? Is your mechanical closet stuffed to the max? A tankless water heater might be an option for you. With a smaller overall footprint, the tankless water heater is a great option for those without much space to spare.
A tankless water heater will put a major strain on your energy system.
While a tankless water heater might use less energy overall, when it is using energy, it’s using a lot of it. A tankless water heater will need a significant amount of energy to heat your water on demand. It could need as much as 4-5 times the amount as your traditional water heater.
What this means is this, your current energy delivery system could be insufficient to deliver the energy the unit needs when it needs it. This is the case for both electric and gas. You need to have a professional come and assess your home before you take this step. You will set yourself up for failure and disappointment if your home’s energy system can’t supply all of the necessary energy to satisfy the water heater’s needs.
A tankless water heater’s upfront costs could outweigh the total energy savings.
Some tankless water heaters might cost under $500 to purchase. However, most units that are worth owning are going to be considerably more expensive. This isn’t even factoring in the installation costs. The upfront costs of a tankless water heater will be significant and will outweigh the overall cost savings benefit in most cases.
A tankless water heater doesn’t actually give you “limitless hot water”.
A tankless water heater can send out warm water that can be defined as “hot” water, however it won’t be good enough for someone taking a shower. If you three people need to take showers, a load of laundry needs washed, and dishes need done, a tankless water heater is going to leave you wanting. If you have significant hot water needs, you will most likely need to talk to a professional plumber to accommodate you.
A tankless water heater is a good option for some. We, however, have not seen them be a great option for most cases. If it’s the upfront cost, energy demands, or inability to keep water hot enough for all the needs in the house, a conventional water heater might be what’s best for you.