17 May Evaluating Tankless Water Heaters
Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?
Hot water represents convenience, relaxation and all too often heated family conflict when you run out. When it comes to energy use, the financial resources devoted to heating your water are second only to the cost of heating your entire home. Tankless water heaters continue to grow in popularity with home owners so Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Company will tell you what you need to know about them. Also known as instantaneous water heaters and on-demand water heaters, tankless models consist of a gas or electric heating unit. Optimally placed, the unit contains heating elements that convert cold water into hot right where you need it, when you need it and only for as-long-as you need it. There are many green advantages to tankless water heater installations.
- 24 to 34 percent in homes with conservative hot water use – 41 gallons or less.
- 8 to 14 percent in homes with higher hot water use—86 gallons per day.
- 27 to 50 percent if you install units at multiple hot water usage points.
While tankless units typically cut energy costs over time, a consideration is standby heat loss in everyday practice. Tankless or not, gas-powered water heaters rely on a pilot light. In heaters with a storage tank, that standby heat contributes to the standing water temperature of the tank. In a tankless model, however, standby heat is just keeping the unit ready, and energy use varies by model.
Initial Investment. Units come in assorted sizes, but a tankless model will cost more than a comparable conventional water heater with a storage tank. Installation also typically costs more, as it may involve altering plumbing, running electrical wiring and gaining access to gas, depending on the model.
Appliance Life. A tankless heating unit will last more than 20 years. Since parts are easily replaced, they can be repaired, and warranties typically average 15 years. In contrast, storage heating units last 10 to 15 years and usually carry a warranty of about 6 years.
Space Savings. Standard hot water storage tanks can be as small as 20 gallons and as large as 80. Regardless, that’s a closet- or corner-full in an attic or basement, with pipes extending to the assorted outlets. Tankless options have no storage tank so require minimal space. You can put optimally matched and sized models just about anywhere—one for the kitchen and each bathroom if you like. There’s no tank to rust, leak or eventually take up space in a landfill.
On-Demand Hot Water. The whole point of going tankless is having water as hot as you want it when you want it. These units heat the water near the outlet, so selecting the right model depends on the maximum temperature increase a unit can achieve at any given rate of water flow. For a common standard of increasing water temperature by 70 degrees, models differ substantially by capacity and capabilities:
- Gas-powered tankless systems can handle about 5 gallons per minute.
- Electric tankless systems can handle about 2 gallons per minute.
- Some units have smart thermostatic controls that adjust heating to cold water temperature and flow to achieve a desired temperature.
Therefore multiple units are often necessary in large households or in homes where high water usage is concentrated or simultaneous. To be effective, a unit must be able to heat the water to a suitable temperature while maintaining the rate of flow.
Remote or Challenging Areas of the Home. Tankless water heaters can be especially useful in areas of a home that are removed or set apart from the rest of the living space. Many people choose tankless water heater installation for a master bath, for example, that might be distant from the hot water heater storage tank. Hot water can take several minutes to reach the opposite end of a spacious home, leaving gallons of cold water wasted down the drain. Meanwhile, other family members or appliances may be vying for or have depleted the hot water in the storage tank. A tankless system delivers instant hot water. The challenge is ensuring access to the proper power systems.
Matching Living Space and Lifestyle. Every home is different. That’s why water heaters come in a wide variety of types, sizes and models. The right water-heating system for your household depends on a combination of criteria:
- fuel availability,
- size and capacity,
- energy efficiency and
What is essential is ensuring that you have the model that best serves your home’s design and layout and supports your family’s usage in a sustainable way. If you’ve been considering adding a tankless water heater or replacing a conventional storage tank, contact us at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. We can help you match your water heater to your living space and lifestyle so that you’ll always have hot water exactly when and where you want it.