● Is your current water heater 10 years or older?
● Do you want to lower your monthly energy/utility bills?
● Is your family complaining about running out of hot
● As you turn on a faucet, are you counting the minutes
waiting for hot water?
If you answered yes, then not only do you need a new water
heater, but you may want to see if a tankless water heater is
best for you and your family.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element will heat the water. Because it is being heated immediately, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You won’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill
up with enough hot water before the hot water gets to you. However, because of this process, a tankless water heater’s output limits the water flow rate.
According to energy.gov, a tankless water heater provides hot water at a rate of 2 to 5 gallons (7.6 to 15.2 liters) per minute. If your tankless water heater is gas-fired tankless it will produce a higher flow rate than an electric one. This is something you may want to consider before making your water heater choice. Also, even the largest, gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. If you still want a tankless water heater and you know it won’t produce enough hot water for a large active family, you can install multiple tankless water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for
appliances, such as clothes washers or dishwashers.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Energy.gov, also tells us, if you use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24% to 34% more energy-efficient than conventional storage-tank water heaters. They can be 8% to 14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water – around 86 gallons per day. You can achieve even greater energy savings of 27% to 50% if you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet.
Although tankless water heaters can avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage tank water heaters, they can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. This can sometimes offset the anticipated energy saving you want from a tankless water heater compared to a standard storage tank model. To avoid energy loss with a gas-fired tankless water
heater you can always turn off the pilot light until the hot water is needed. You can also consider models that have an intermittent ignition device (IID) instead of a standing pilot light. This device resembles the spark ignition device on some gas kitchen ranges and ovens. The purchase cost of a tankless water heater is usually greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs. This can often offset its higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In comparison, storage water heaters usually last between 10–15 years.
Selecting an On-Demand Water Heater
Before buying a demand water heater, you also need to consider the following:
● Fuel type and availability
● Energy efficiency
Installation and Maintenance
Proper installation, sizing, and maintenance of your demand water heater can optimize its energy efficiency. Many factors need to be considered for an on-demand water tank’s proper installation. These include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas-fired water heaters. Make sure you have a qualified
professional go over these factors before making your decision. Make sure you do your due diligence when looking for a qualified professional.
● Request cost estimates in writing
● Ask for references
● Check the company with your local Better Business Bureau
● See if the company will obtain a local township permit if necessary.
Also, remember you want to purchase a water heater that offers a warranty. Yearly water heater maintenance can significantly extend your water heater’s life and minimize loss of efficiency. Read your owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations.