Which Water Heater is Best?
Does endless hot water on demand sound like something you’d be interested in? No more cold morning showers while waiting for the water to heat up or kids fighting to get in first before all the hot water is gone. Let’s compare the features and benefits of tankless water heaters versus standard tank water heaters.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Tankless water heaters use either a gas burner or an electric element to heat water. It warms the water as it travels through a pipe and into the unit rather than storing a large amount of water and then heating it all at once. Typically, a gas tankless water heater will produce a higher flow rate than an electric tankless water heater. The flow rate is simply the number of gallons of water that can be provided per minute.
Efficiency and Wait Time for Water
Water heating is the second largest expense in your home, so being efficient matters. In the battle of efficiency, tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters win by a mile. As the name suggests, they don’t store water. This means they only use energy to heat water when it is needed. Because they only heat a few gallons at a time, you will receive hot water within seconds. If you have a tankless though, just make sure to set your expectations appropriately. Yes, the water is heated “on-demand,” but it still has to travel through the lines to get to you so it may take a few seconds to warm up. Often, people call these types of water heaters “instant,” but that is actually not the case. You can still expect to your wait time for hot water to be much shorter than that of a storage tank.
In a tank or storage water heater, a large amount of water is re-heated in the tank several times each day, even when no water is needed at that time. This wastes energy and money on your energy bills. When you do need hot water, it may take a few minutes to warm up because the entire tank needs heated.
According to Energy.gov, “For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand (or tankless) water heaters can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates gas-fired tankless heaters save an average of $108 in energy costs per year over their traditional tank counterparts, while electric tankless heaters save $44 per year.
You can expect your tankless water heater to be fully operational for 20+ years. If you opt for a storage water heater you can expect about 10 years of functionality before needing to replace your water heater.
A tankless water heater takes up much less space. Its overall size is much smaller and it is mounted on the wall, giving you free space underneath the unit as well. However, besides just being convenient, this is also better for the environment as there is less metal and copper being dumped when you eventually purchase your next water heater.
Both tankless (on demand) water heaters and storage water heaters should receive annual maintenance in order to extend their life expectancy and efficiency.
Tankless water heaters have a much higher initial cost than standard tanks. Typically the difference in installation costs is about 3 times more than a traditional water heater.
For homes that have electric only utilities, your electrical system may need to be upgraded before being able to install.
Tankless water heaters have a much higher initial cost, but long-term savings and the benefit of on-demand hot water. Conventional tank water heaters can be appropriate too, given your current situation and water heating needs. If you are in need of tankless water heater installation or repair in Cincinnati, OH give Quality Comfort Home Services a call at 513-620-4822.