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In recent years, Tankless (also called Demand or Instantaneous) water heaters have become a larger player in today’s green building movement.  In this article, we try to highlight the advantages and possible disadvantages of using tankless water heaters in your home.

Advantages

Long Term Energy Savings:

Because tankless water heaters provide hot water only as it is needed, they don’t produce the standby energy losses that storage water heaters do.  In tests conducted by Consumer Reports, gas tankless water heaters were 22% more energy efficient than traditional storage-tank models.  The U.S. Department of Energy agrees, with their tests indicating a 24%-34% increase in energy savings for an average home’s daily hot water usage.

Unlimited Hot Water:

When using a traditional water heater, your hot water supply is limited to the amount of water that can be held in your storage tank.  With a tankless water heater, water is heated as it passes through the system by a gas burner or electric element each moment it is needed.  As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.

Space Saver:

While traditional water heaters require a large amount of space to accommodate a storage tank, most tankless water heaters can be mounted on a wall or even built into a home’s internal structure.  Below is a picture of a tankless water heating system that we recently installed in one of our homes.

Temperature Safety:

Temperature of the water is precisely controlled in a tankless water heating system, thus dangerous spikes in water temperature are not an issue.

Longer Life Expectancy:

Tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years and have easily replaceable parts that can extend their life even further.  Traditional storage water heaters last 10-15 years.

Disadvantages

Installation Cost:

Installing a tankless water heater in your home is substantially more expensive than a traditional storage tank model, especially here in the U.S. where tankless systems are not dominant.  The tankless models tested by Consumer Reports ranged in cost from $800-$1,150, compared with $300 to $480 for storage models.  In addition, if you currently have a storage water heater and would like to replace it with a tankless system, you may also incur additional costs to ensure that the electrical wiring or gas pipeline in your home can accommodate the new system.

Start-Up Delay:

In a tankless water heating system, it takes time to heat the water to the target temperature, and just like with storage models, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out.  A circulating pump can be installed to combat this problem.

Limited Simultaneous Supply:

Sometimes tankless water heaters cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households.  For example, taking a shower and running the washing machine may stretch a tankless water heater to its limits. To overcome this problem, some homeowners choose to install more than one tankless water heater.

Overall, it is agreed by all that Tankless Water Heaters are more energy-efficient than traditional storage water heaters.  Whether or not to choose a tankless system for your home will require a thorough understanding of the pros and cons as they apply to your personal needs.

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Marie Sims
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Marie Sims

As a veteran team member of Sims Luxury Builders, Marie enjoys sharing what she’s learned with the world. If you have any questions about building or renovating your own custom home, give her a call today!

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