The pros and cons of tankless water heaters
Whether you’re building a new home or it’s time to replace your existing water heater, you have a lot of choices to consider. Tankless water heaters offer some great advantages, such as size and energy efficiency. Before you decide if it’s the right option for you, weigh the pros and cons of installing this type of water heater.
What are tankless water heaters?
Conventional water heaters warm water in a tank and maintain the temperature. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, only heat water when you need it. Electric coils or gas-fired burners take care of this task. The water heats up as it passes through the unit.
Tankless water heaters are available as whole-house or point-of-use units. A whole-house unit will heat the water for your entire home. A point-of-use option heats water for a specific area, such as a soaker bathtub or shower. Some options are so small you can put them under your sink.
Pro: Improved Energy Efficiency
A conventional water heater has to continue using energy to keep the stored tank of water at a particular temperature. Tankless water heaters only use energy to heat water when you need it. So, if you’re taking a shower or running a load of laundry, the heater will turn on and only use as much energy as it needs to heat the water you’re using. This lower use of energy can reduce your utility bill.
Pro: Less Space Required
Traditional water heaters take up more space in your garage or utility room compared to tankless water heaters. Traditional units have a big tank that’s needed to store enough water for your household’s average hot water needs. A tankless unit doesn’t need to store large amounts of hot water, so the tank can be significantly smaller.
Con: Higher Installation Costs
Installing tankless water heaters can cost more than a conventional water heater. The costs can increase even more if your home isn’t set up to support them. Weigh the overall cost of the unit and installation with the energy usage savings to see if it’s worth it. A plumber will be able to give you a general estimate of how much it will cost to install either type of unit.
Con: Potential Hot Water Flow Delays
When you have a tankless water heater, you might experience slight delays until the hot water starts flowing. Since the water is being continuously heated while you use it, you won’t have a big supply of hot water available right away. If you typically do multiple tasks that require hot water at the same time, such as take a long shower, run the dishwasher, and run a load of laundry, talk to a plumber to determine if this option will provide enough hot water for your needs.