For many years now, the traditional storage tank-style water heater has dominated the landscape as the go-to hot water solution for homes everywhere. In our experience, plenty of homeowners aren’t even aware that there’s any other option. However, there is another option, and it’s a great one. Tankless water heaters offer homes a reliable, near-endless supply of hot water in place of a traditional tank model. Here’s how tankless water heaters work and why homeowners might consider installing one.
What’s a Tankless Water Heater?
As their name implies, tankless water heaters provide a hot water supply for a home without relying on a storage tank. They instead use a high-temperature heating element to produce hot water on demand when you need it. The heating element of a tankless water heater will either rely on electrical resistance heating or a natural gas-powered burner, much like a traditional water heater.
The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters
The most obvious benefit of tankless water heaters is that they provide hot water on demand for as long as you need it. Unlike storage tank-based water heaters, which store a finite amount of heated water, tankless models turn on when needed and keep running until you no longer need hot water. That means, for example, that you could take a much longer shower without fear of the water turning cold.
Endless hot water isn’t the only benefit, though. Tankless water heaters are also more energy efficient. Traditional storage tank models lose a significant amount of heat energy while they’re standing by waiting for you to use hot water. This means traditional storage tank water heaters must turn on and off periodically to keep their stored water at the desired temperature.
According to the US Department of Energy, homes that use 41 gallons of hot water or less each day could save up to 34% on energy costs compared to using a traditional water heater. For homes with higher hot water demand, like up to 86 gallons a day, those savings drop a bit to between 8% and 14%. The point is, in almost every usage scenario, tankless water heaters are cheaper to operate.
Plus, tankless water heaters tend to last longer than traditional storage tank models. The average tankless water heater will last around 20 years, and possibly more with regular maintenance and occasional parts replacement. By contrast, traditional models typically don’t make it past 15 years.
The Downside of Tankless Water Heaters
With all of the benefits that come with tankless water heaters, you’re probably wondering why they aren’t already the go-to solution in Las Vegas, NV homes. There are a few reasons for that. The first reason is cost. A tankless water heater costs more upfront than a comparable storage tank model. So, they’re often passed over by the cost-conscious.
Then, there’s the matter of flow rate. Tankless water heaters will produce an endless amount of hot water but have limited flow rates. Most tankless water heaters provide between two and five gallons per minute of hot water. This means you can’t use hot water in multiple places in your home at the same time. So, you couldn’t, for example, take a shower and run your dishwasher simultaneously. To do that, you’d either need to buy a larger and more costly tankless water heater or install more than one to meet your home’s hot water needs.
Another reason that some homeowners shy away from tankless water heaters is the fact that they sometimes cost more to install. This is especially true in homes that started with a traditional storage-tank water heater. To replace one of those with a tankless system often means rerouting water supply pipes and gas supply pipes in some instances. For that reason, some homeowners opt to stick with a water heater that’s similar to what they already have when the time comes for a new one.
Consult the Water Heater Experts
At the end of the day, tankless water heaters are an excellent option for most homes. As long as you’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses beforehand, that is. They’re efficient, long-lasting, and much smaller than storage tank-based systems. If you like to use hot water in several parts of your home at once, though, you might want to avoid them. Either way, the experts here at Loyalty Plumbing can help. We provide comprehensive plumbing services, including water heater installation, maintenance, and repair to the greater Las Vegas, NV, area. We also specialize in the installation of water treatment systems to help keep your home’s water fresh and clean at all times.
So, if you need a new water heater and you think that a tankless water heater would make a good fit for your home, contact Loyalty Plumbing today, and we’ll be happy to help!