Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are great because they provide hot water on demand as compared to regular tank storage heaters which will eventually run out of hot water if you use them for too long and too often. Also regular storage heaters can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. We know that gas tankless water heaters use high-efficiency burners to rapidly heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger. This could result in a sixty to ninety dollar savings per year on your energy costs depending upon your water usage, which is good.
The average cost of a tankless water heater is between seven-hundred-fifty and two thousand dollars, while the average cost of a regular water storage tank is between three and five hundred dollars. As you can see, tankless water heaters cost substantially more than tank storage water heaters and despite the fact that they are twenty-five more efficient than regular tank storage water heaters, if we were to spread the cost savings out versus the cost of the unit it would take approximately twenty years to recover your cost, unfortunately most tankless water heaters only have a twenty year life span.
To install a tankless water heater you will probably need new electrical outlets to run the cooling fan, you will most likely need to upgrade your ventilation system and possibly your gas pipes which could really increase your installation cost, not to mention the inconvenience of getting these upgrades done. Maintenance could also be costly as calcium has a tendency of building up within the units over time. Most manufactures recommend a yearly maintenance servicing by a qualified technician which if not followed could potentially shorten or void your warranty. Installing a water softener could help to alleviate some of the problems associated with calcium build up and scaling.
Flow rate of hot water from a tankless system will be affected by the temperature of your groundwater. The warmer your groundwater, the faster the hot water flow rate, so homes located in colder climates will potentially need a larger system to get sufficient hot-water flow speed. Another problem with tankless water heaters is the quickness of getting the hot water to the tap that it is needed. There is normally cold water in the pipes that has to be pushed out by the incoming hot water before it reaches you. If you are brushing your teeth or shaving, there is the potential of the heated water not getting to you in time before you are done those simple rudimentary tasks.
So the question still remains, should you run out and get a tankless water heater today? The answer is no if you are servicing a large household. However there are tankless water heater systems that work at the point of use, such as under your kitchen or bathroom sink and can be integrated into your shower system. And while there are larger units that serve multiple plumbing fixtures around your entire house, if you have a large family and use a lot of hot water, the most efficient use of a tankless water heater is to be used as a booster system for your bathroom water needs. However it should be noted here, you can still get by quite nicely if you are single or are couple with minimal water needs by purchasing a tankless water system. The bottom line is to look at your water usage and then decide if a tankless water heater is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.