If you’re like most homeowners in Las Vegas, NV, you’re likely used to getting your home’s hot water from a large storage tank water heater. They are, by far, the dominant type of residential water heater used in the US today. There are good reasons for that, too. They’re based upon mature technology, they’re reliable, and they’re inexpensive, too. But they’re far from perfect. That’s why tankless water heaters are slowly gaining popularity here and elsewhere in the US. Here is everything you need to know about tankless water heaters and whether they’re the future of residential hot water.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
As their name implies, tankless water heaters are devices that can supply hot water without the need for a storage tank. They do so on demand, using high-powered electric heating elements or high-efficiency natural gas burners. Tankless water heaters have a history that stretches back almost as far as their storage tank cousins, with the first functioning models appearing in the 1890s. However, those models were extremely inefficient and couldn’t compete with the storage tank water heaters of the day.
However, by the 1970s, tankless water heater technology advanced to the point that it could compete with storage tanks in terms of operational efficiency. It didn’t take very long after that for tankless water heaters to claim the efficiency crown. At that point, multiple European countries started to adopt tankless water heaters for residential use, both because they saved space and because they saved energy, which remains at a premium there.
The Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters
Besides efficiency, the biggest advantage of tankless water heaters is their ability to supply endless quantities of hot water. Unlike storage tank models, there’s no recovery period once the stored hot water runs out. Tankless models turn on when you request hot water and stay on until you’re finished.
Tankless water heaters also take up much less space than storage tank models and don’t run as high of a risk of leaking. Storage tank water heaters can wear out and burst, leading to significant water damage to your home. Tankless models only consist of a series of pipes and a heat exchanger, so they’re not prone to that type of failure.
The simplicity of tankless water heaters also increases their longevity. On average, you can expect around 20 years of reliable service from a tankless water heater. That’s close to double what you’d get from a comparable storage tank model.
The Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters do come with some trade-offs, especially if you’re used to a storage-tank water heater. The biggest among them is that tankless water heaters have limited flow rates. That means you can’t use hot water in multiple parts of your home simultaneously with most models. To do that, you’d either need to spend more money on a model with a higher flow rate or install multiple units to meet your household demand.
Tankless water heaters also cost significantly more than comparable storage tank models. On average, you can expect to pay roughly double for a tankless water heater. However, the extended longevity they offer does ameliorate that disadvantage somewhat. Plus, your upfront costs may be higher than you expect if your home needs significant plumbing changes to accommodate a tankless water heater.
Are Tankless Water Heaters the Future?
It’s impossible to say if tankless water heaters will come to dominate the residential hot water market here in Las Vegas in the future. While they are certainly gaining popularity here, it’s unlikely that they’ll supplant storage tanks anytime soon. And storage tanks have a new trick up their sleeves that may help them stay on top for the foreseeable future. That trick is the incorporation of heat pump technology, which gives them a major efficiency advantage over today’s tankless models. So, at the moment, the likeliest outcome is that tankless and storage tank water heaters will continue battling it out for supremacy in Las Vegas homes going forward.
The good news is that whether you need a storage tank or a tankless water heater for your Las Vegas home, Loyalty Plumbing can help. We specialize in the installation and maintenance of both types of water heaters. Plus, we offer comprehensive plumbing services, drain repair and cleaning, water treatment, leak repairs, gas line services, and more. We’re your one-stop shop for your Las Vegas home’s plumbing needs. When the time comes for a new water heater for your Las Vegas home, call us today.