Having constant access to hot water in your home is obviously essential. In the past, the majority of houses accomplished this with a traditional water heater that would heat and store hot water inside of a large tank. This is great for ensuring a steady supply of hot water, but traditional water heaters do have a number of drawbacks. For this reason, more and more homeowners are choosing the convenience of a tankless water heater. Although they do cost more than traditional water heaters to purchase and install, it can be well worth the added cost due to the many additional benefits that tankless water heaters provide.
Reduced Energy Costs
A tankless water heater is an easy way to reduce your monthly energy costs due to improved energy efficiency. One of the biggest problems with traditional water heaters is an issue known as standby heat loss. A traditional water heater needs to constantly heat the water in the tank to keep it at a set temperature. This means that you are paying for energy to keep the water hot no matter if you are using it or not.
According to the EPA, tankless water heaters use around 22% less energy than traditional gas water heaters on average. Nonetheless, this number greatly depends on how much hot water you use daily. Your savings could be much greater than this if you use very little hot water on a daily basis, but you might not save much at all if you use lots of hot water every day.
If you use less than 40 gallons of hot water a day, the EPA estimates that you could reduce your energy usage by more than 40%. On the other hand, the energy savings could be as low as 8% if you use more than 80 gallons of hot water a day. In this situation, you will need to decide whether the energy savings are worth the added cost of a tankless heater. This is especially true if converting from a traditional to a tankless heater, as this will require a retrofit of your plumbing.
Although tankless water heaters cost more upfront, they also tend to have a much longer lifespan than traditional water heaters. The average life expectancy of a traditional water heater is usually between eight and 12 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters will potentially last for 20 years or more with proper maintenance.
This is an important factor to consider when comparing the costs of each type of water heater. Whatever you initially saved by purchasing a traditional water heater will instantly go out the window if you have to replace it again within 10 years. In this sense, a tankless water heater almost always makes more financial sense in the long run. One tankless heater will obviously be cheaper than having to buy and install two traditional heaters in the same timeframe.
No Worry About Running Out of Hot Water
Another benefit of tankless water heaters is that you will never have to worry about running out of hot water again. The average traditional water heater stores around 50-55 gallons of hot water. While this may sound like a lot, you can still quickly run out of hot water if several people shower in a row. When this happens, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for the tank to refill and reheat.
By only heating up water on demand, tankless water heaters allow you to avoid this situation. As long as the unit has power or gas running to it, it can essentially continue to provide hot water indefinitely.
Avoid Issues With Leaks and Water Damage
Even if traditional water heaters can potentially last for up to 15 years or more, it is always best to replace them before they get too old. As traditional heaters age, they tend to suffer from more issues with rusting and leaks. Even minor leaks can cause water damage and lead to mold growth if left unchecked. Even worse, traditional water heaters can potentially explode or suffer from catastrophic issues that cause the entire tank to drain out on your floor. In this case, you could be left spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair the damage.
Since tankless water heaters do not store any water, they do not suffer from the same issues with leaks. In fact, the only time a tankless heater can leak is due to a loose or damaged fitting or a leak in the plumbing lines going in or out of the unit.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Before getting into the specific benefits, it is first important to understand how tankless water heaters work. Instead of constantly storing a large volume of hot water, tankless water heaters use a powerful heat exchanger to deliver hot water on demand.
Some tankless water heaters run solely on electricity, while others use either propane or natural gas. Electric water heaters use electric coils to heat the heat exchanger, whereas gas units use a gas-fired burner for the same purpose. Either way, the process of creating hot water works in essentially the same way by taking heat from one source and transferring it to the water.
Both whole-home heaters and point-of-use heaters are available. Point-of-use water heaters are usually electric, and they work to provide hot water for one specific source, such as a sink or shower. Whole-home heaters can be either gas or electric, but gas is far more common. These units function exactly like a traditional water heater in that they supply hot water to the entire house.
Electric point-of-use heaters tend to use more energy than gas heaters. However, the fact that these units are usually located directly next to the water source means they do not suffer from issues with lag time. In most cases, you will have hot water within a few seconds, just as you would with a traditional water heater.
Whole-home tankless heaters running off of gas are generally far more energy-efficient. Still, it will usually take at least a few seconds before hot water reaches the tap. In larger houses or water of colder temperatures, it could potentially take up to several minutes for hot water to come out of the tap.
Expert Water Heater and Plumbing Services
If you need a new water heater installed in your home, look no further than the experts at Anchor Plumbing Services. Our team of professional plumbers install, service, and repair all types of traditional and tankless water heaters, and we can help you determine which is the better choice for your household and needs. We also specialize in leak detection, clogged drains, and toilet and faucet repairs and replacements. Our team also works on most types of garbage disposals, water softener systems, and pressure-reducing valves. We are located in San Antonio and provide service to customers in most surrounding areas. If you have any questions about tankless water heaters or want to schedule an appointment, give our team at Anchor Plumbing Services a call today!