Imagine never running out of hot water. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take a shower with an unlimited supply of hot water without the possibility of it turning cold at any minute. Using a tankless water heater is the only way that this can this be achieved. Also called “on demand” or “instantaneous” water heaters, tankless water heaters only heat water when needed and thus do not have a tank that runs out of water (as is the case with conventional water heaters). Consumers across the country are realizing that tankless water heaters not only provide continuous on-demand hot water, but also a substantial cost and space savings.
Homeowners who like to relax by slipping into a warm luxurious bubble bath often find themselves sitting in tepid water. Instead of slipping into a tub for a hot soak, they sit shivering. In order to prevent this, one would have to constantly checking the temperature to make sure the hot water supply doesn’t run out before the tub is full.
The problem is that conventional hot water tanks often fail to have enough hot-water capacity to fill 60- or 80-gallon bathtub. However, through the wonders of modern technology, a solution to the problem does exist. Tankless water heaters are designed to provide an endless supply of hot water, allowing homeowners to fill the tub to the brim at anytime. Unlike conventional storage-tank water heaters, tankless versions heat water only as it is used. When a hot water tap is opened, sensors in the heater kick-on to activate the heating elements, which then allow the heater to deliver a constant supply of hot water.
There are many benefits to owning a tankless water heater, including the amount of energy that is saved. A conventional water heater uses up to 20 percent or more of a household’s annual energy cost. It also loses from 10 to 20 percent of the annual water heating cost because of the heated water just sitting in the tank. This water is constantly being heated and therefore using energy for water not in use. On the other hand, a tankless heater uses energy only to heat the water when a faucet or appliance is turned on. When not in use, the water heater is off. Many tankless water heaters will save a household anywhere from 25 to 45 percent in energy expenditures. Tankless water heaters save space with no need for a bulky tank and can be installed virtually anywhere in the house. Equipment life may be longer than tank-type heaters because they are less subject to corrosion. The expected life of a tankless water heater is 20 years, compared with 10 to 15 years for conventional water heaters.
Tankless water heaters have an electric, gas, or propane heating device that is activated by the flow of water. Once activated, the heater provides a constant supply of hot water. The maximum flow rate at a desired temperature will be determined by the capacity of the heater. Gas tankless water heaters typically have larger capacities than electric tankless water heaters. In most cases, electric tankless water heaters will cost more to operate than gas tankless water heaters. Though tankless water heaters can operate on electricity, gas-powered heaters tend to deliver hot water at higher rates and are recommended for houses with more than two bathrooms.
Tankless water heaters range in type and price from a small under-sink unit to a gas-fired unit that delivers 5 gallons per minute. Typically, the more hot water the unit produces, the more it will cost.
New construction is the ideal time to install a tankless water heater in order to maximize the benefits and minimize costs. Heaters can be centrally located in the house in order to minimize hot water runs. Additionally, electric wiring and/or venting is installed easily during construction rather than being retrofitted.
When transitioning from the use of conventional water heaters to tankless systems in your existing home, it is recommended as with any major retrofit to choose your contractor wisely. Make sure that they specialize in tankless water heaters so you get a high quality installation from someone who understands what has to be done.
Tankless water heaters have improved environmental performance over conventional water heaters due to their decreased energy consumption. Other environmental benefits reside in the decreased material use resulting in less manufacturing, lower transportation and storage requirements, and less landfill volume. The outlet temperature can be set lower than tank systems; the potential for scalding accidents is reduced. Tankless hot water heaters save energy and thus money. Using energy efficiently and conscientiously reduces pollution, global warming, and waste. Better use of energy can mean saving money.
Tankless systems are a win-win not only for your wallet but for the environment. For more information on this and other remodeling and energy saving topics, visit our Knowledge Base or contact the Arizona Key Team.