Water heaters are an appliance most home and building owners don’t often think about. These forgettable but important appliances are “out of sight, out of mind” – that is, until they aren’t doing their job. One day you either have no hot water because the water heater has reached the end of its life or has an unexpected issue. A traditional tank water heater needs to be replaced about every 8 to 10 years. This lifespan can be reduced by a number a factors, ranging from quality of water to lack of maintenance. When it comes time to replace a non-functional or poorly operating storage tank model, it could be time to consider switching to a tankless option.
The duration of life for a standard storage tank model shortens tremendously if hard water is present. Scale, lime, or other unwanted particles continue to accumulate in the bottom of the tank and force the bottom element to work harder. If you don’t maintain it properly by flushing it routinely and changing the elements, it will give out faster. Energy use for traditional water heaters is also much higher because they kick on as needed to ensure hot water is always available, even if it’s not being used. The government specifically recommends switching to tankless water heaters for reduced energy use and greater savings.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
A tankless water heater, or on-demand appliance, only provides hot water as it is needed. With a tankless water heater, the power source connects to the heating unit, which uses elements or a gas burner and pilot light to heat the water. The heating unit then connects to the hot and cold water lines to meet these needs on demand. A heating unit contains elements or a gas burner, just as with a storage model. They are used to heat up the water as it passes to the faucet or another area from the main water line.
Storage tank models experience what is called ‘standby energy loss’ thanks to the need to maintain heat at all times. Tankless models do not store water in a tank and only provide heated water when the tap is turned to the hot position. The main argument over the two choices is that tankless water heaters provide a constant flow of hot water with no need to wait for a tank to fill up and complete the heating process. This reduces energy use, but may limit the flow rate as opposed to a storage model.
Gas tankless water heaters have been proven to offer a higher flow rate over electric models. Both types will struggle when subjected to simultaneous activities because they make the tankless water heater work at max capacity regardless of the power source. To remedy the problem, many homeowners install more than one and connect them in parallel to meet the higher demand for hot water. Another option is to install tankless water heaters specifically for appliances that require large amounts of hot water like laundry washers. These demands should be well researched and discussed with one of our plumbers before making installation decisions.
5 Reasons You Should Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters offer significant energy savings for homes or buildings where 41 gallons or less is used per day. The savings can be as much as 34% according to an article by energy.gov. When you surpass 41 gallons per day, the energy savings decreases to between eight and fourteen percent. This is for the average household using around 86 gallons per day. Installing a tankless water heater at each hot water outlet will increase the savings to as much as 50%.
The following are five important reasons why homeowners should consider this option:
Reduced home energy costs
Constant supply of hot water
Longer lifespan than storage models
Requires only a small amount of space
Lower utility costs than storage models
The top reason to invest in a tankless water heater is decreased energy use and lower operational costs. This is why the government provides tax rebates of up to $300 for installing tankless water heaters. Additionally, using less energy lowers the overall cost of electricity in your home and the cost of water since a tank is not constantly being filled. With tankless water heaters, power is only required when heating is necessary. Since the model provides on demand hot water, you never run out of it as opposed to storage models.
The lifespan of a tankless water heater averages 5 to 10 years longer because the wear on heating elements and other components is less. Traditional water heaters hold water for years, allowing sediment to accumulate at the bottom. This makes the unit work harder and will deteriorate the number of years you receive from it. Tankless water heaters last longer even in hard water conditions because water only flows through the unit for heating as it is needed, thus reducing the harm caused by hard water.
Tankless water heaters take up much less space than the traditional tank model where a closet or other large space is necessary to house it. Another benefit is the instant hot water you receive from them. A tank model must fill up and then be heated with the elements before providing hot water again. A tankless water heater does cost more to install up front, but will offer significant savings in the long run. If you are on the fence and need help deciding if this option is right for your home or business, contact the team at Plumb Pro today or check out our page on tankless water heaters to learn more!