Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater 

Should your next water heater be tankless. Ryan Holden says yes. Find out why.

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Tankless water heaters have become a popular choice among homeowners and business owners. Contractors have responded accordingly and are more prepared to present tankless water heaters as the default option. Life is easier with tankless heaters for consumers and contractors alike, and the benefits offer compelling motivation to move beyond storage tanks and old technologies.

Types of tankless

There are two types of tankless water heaters. One type uses electricity and the other type is powered by gas. Both are also known as “instant” or “on demand” water heaters. This is precisely the objective of such a technology. Tankless heaters do not store any water; there is no need to store water to heat it or to keep it warm & ready for whenever the user needs it. Therefore, they do not need to keep hot water warm over the course of several hours. The heat exchange is activated only when necessary and it instantly warms the incoming water. The user takes as much warm water out as they want and then the device goes on standby, during which time it does not use any heat and is not holding any water. The way that tankless water heaters function leads to a plethora of benefits:

Significant Reduction in Energy Consumption

Contractors should inform consumers that tankless water heaters can offer significant reduction in energy consumption.  The device does not have to heat water when no one is really in need of it. The “on demand” function enormously reduces the amount of time that tankless water heaters are “on”, leading to a reduction in the amount of energy the device consumes.

Standard tankless water heaters can lead to around a 30% reduction in energy consumption if users require around forty gallons of water in a day. If the daily requirement is eighty gallons then that energy consumption is reduced by around 14%. The reduction in energy consumption can be as much as 50% if every hot water outlet has an instant or on demand water heater.

(Note: The latter scenario is not readily viable for every house. Many homes do not need so many installations. Offices and commercial properties may require such multiple installations. Even if there is around a 25% to 30% reduction in energy consumption, it will reflect in the bills and average households can save over a hundred dollars in a year.)

More Reliable and Durable than Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters with varying storage capacity are developed using dated technology. The technology is now old and no major manufacturer is improving it (because the focus is on tankless). Market leaders in any industry want to make more efficient products; this simple fact has led to the tech in tankless water heaters evolving way past that of tank heaters. Tank water heaters have a much shorter life expectancy than tankless water heaters, and will last at least a decade longer.

Of course, the initial cost of a tankless water heater is higher than that of one with a storage tank. Many consumers wonder if spending more is indeed wise. Contractors need to convey the reliability and durability of tankless water heaters compared to those of models with storage tanks. Besides, the savings assured through reduced energy consumption will more than compensate for the slightly higher upfront expense. The operational costs are contained as well. There is a greater need to repair or replace certain components of tank water heaters over the years- tankless models require nominal upkeep.

Sleeker and More Practical in Homes & Offices

Homes are getting smarter and people want more space, both in their living room and their utility area. Tankless water heaters take up much less space, making them more practical. Plus, the lowered visibility of tankless water heaters creates a much more pleasing aesthetic. At the end of the day, homeowners are much more likely to choose having an extra cabinet or a larger closet over the bulky storage tank of a water heater.

A Tankless Water Heater is the Obvious Choice

On top of everything mentioned above, tankless water heaters are also the safer option. The water is much cleaner because there is no storage tank keeping water stagnant for a period of time. Many storage tanks keep water stored, still and stagnated for hours (and sometimes days) at a time. There is bound to be some sediment in such stagnated water. Storage tanks also have rust buildup. Tankless water heaters have none of these issues. If price is the only deterrent for consumers, the financing options and readily available rebates could help them decide.

Next, read our guide to tackling prickly plumbing problems.

Ryan Holden is a former HVAC technician, and director of Progressive Heating & Air, an HVAC and A/C repair specialist company based in San Diego.