Is A Tankless Hot Water Heater Your Best Choice?
A tankless hot water heater an be a good choice for your home. But there are some misconceptions about the benefits of them and they are quite a bit more expensive than regular hot water heaters.
In this post we’re going to talk about the myths and misconceptions around tankless hot water heaters, discuss the various options and how to choose the best hot water heater(s) for your home.
How They Work
Regular Hot Water Heater
Regular hot water heaters have a 30-50 gallon tank that is kept hot by either a gas or electic heating element. When you turn on the hot water in the home the water runs from the tank thru the pipes to whichever faucet is turned on.
Tankless hot water heaters don’t have a tank of water that is kept hot all the time. Instead they heat the water using a heat exchanger that heats the water on demand. That’s why tankless heaters are often called on demand hot water heaters. When you turn on a hot water tap the water still runs thru the same pipes to get to your faucet.
Here’s a nice short video explanation of tanksless hot water heaters from Rinnai (one of the premier manufacturers of tankless heaters).
Tankless Hot Water Heater Myths
First a few misconceptions about tankless hot water heaters
1. You’ll get hot water faster
Water from a tankless hot water heater still runs through same pipes in your house. So hot water wll take the same amount of time to reach your taps, In fact it can take a little longer with a tankless heater.
2. They save money
Tecnically yes, they are less expensive to operate. But the savings is around $100 a year. And tankless hot water heaters cost 2-3 times more than a regular model.
3. Their maintenance free
Just like regular heaters, tankless heaters require annual maintenance to operate properly.
Pro’s and Con’s
Regualr Hot Water Heater
- Inexpensive to purchase and install
- Easy to maintain (DIY friendly maintenance)
- gas models continue to work in a power outage
- Take up a lot of space
- must be installed inside
- can run out of hot water if demand is high
Tankless Hot Water Heater
- Endless hot water if sized properly
- Save space
- Can be installed outside
- maintenace is best done by a pro
- gas models won’t work in a power outage
How to Choose
Bascially the choice for me is simple. If you need to save space or are constantly running our of hot water in your home then a tankless model is a good choice.
But if you have plenty of space in the garage and you never have issues running out of hot water then a less expensive regular hot water heater is probably the best choice.
If your remodeling your home and not sure which model is best for you we’ll discuss your options during your design and budget consult.
Problem: Hot water takes too long to reach tap
This is a common issue and a reason many people switch to a tankless hot water heater because they mistakenly believe it will solve this problem (it won’t). So what will solve it? Here are some possible solutions:
1. Install a second hot water heater
Install a small hot water heater just for the area that needs hot water faster. This can be tank or tankless depending on the space requirement.
2. Install a recirculating pump
A recirculatig pump keeps hot water running thru your pipes even when the hot water taps are off. They usually put on a timer so you don’t waste heat and run your energy bill up too high.
3. Undersink hot water heaters
A tiny undersink hot water heater is a great solution for a kitchen or bathroom faucet. A 7 gallon water heater fits nicely under the sink and provide plenty of hot water for most uses.
Need some more advice?
Just give us a call. If we can’t quickly answer your question we can refer you to our plumber who can pay a visit to you home a help you figure out the best solution to you hot water problems.