A water heater is one of those household appliances that usually gets little attention, until it stops working (cold shower, anyone?). In fact, a lack of hot water is one of the most common emergency calls we get at I Need the Plumber and A/C. And while many water heater issues can be repaired, some can’t and a complete water heater replacement is what makes the most sense.
Although we always offer several options to a customer based on his or her budget, the most frequent question we get is: should I stick with a tank water heater, or should I go tankless? The answer is: it depends. There are pros and cons to going tankless, but we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Let’s start by talking about what a tankless water heater actually is.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Aptly named, a tankless water heater is a device that heats water through a powerful, energy efficient heat exchanger coil, which sends an endless supply of hot water to your faucet. Since it doesn’t heat and store hot water all day, like a traditional tank water heater, a tankless unit heats and circulates hot water only when you need it. Like their tank counterparts, tankless water heaters are sold in gas or electric models.
We personally like tankless water heaters because of how compact and efficient they are when compared to a traditional water heater. However, as with any device, it’s important to be mindful of the pros and cons before making such a significant purchase.
Pros of Tankless Water Heaters
- Endless hot water: As long as the faucet is on and your electricity (or gas) is running, the hot water will keep flowing. With a tank water heater, your hot water is limited to what’s in the tank at any given moment.
- Space savings: Because of their compact size and wall-mounted design, tankless water heaters can free up as much as 9 square feet of floor space. This is a serious advantage if you have a small home or apartment.
- Energy savings: Depending on the brand and model you purchase, a tankless water heater can use up to 50% less energy than a tank water heater, which can add up to significant savings on your utility bill.
- Lifespan: Tankless water heaters are designed to last a lot longer than the conventional tank heater. Many brands and models will run for 20+ years before they need replacement.
Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
- They are not instant: Despite their ability to supply continuous hot water, tankless water heater units have to go through a brief startup process before the hot water starts flowing. It may take a few extra seconds for hot water to get to your faucet after you turn it on.
- Annual Maintenance (for some models): Although this doesn’t apply to all tankless water heaters, some models require annual maintenance as do tank water heaters. Unlike tank water heaters, however, these tankless models will be a lot less forgiving over time if maintenance is not done regularly. It’s important to know ahead of time whether, and how frequently, your tankless may need maintenance so be sure to ask (we would make sure to tell you anyway).
- Installation costs: A tankless water heater can save you money over the long term, but be aware that installing one of these units in your home can cost twice as much as a tank water heater, especially if your home needs to be retrofitted for a tankless. This can be a huge disadvantage for the budget-conscious homeowner. Once you have a tankless water heater, though, future replacements shouldn’t cost as much.
Now that you’ve read through the general pros and cons of tankless water heaters, we hope you have a better understanding of the way these units work and how they may (or may not) be best for your home.
If you are interested in learning more about tankless water heaters and would like to discuss what options would work best for you, please give us a call at 772-320-5258 or send an email to [email protected]. You may also visit our Water Heater Repair and Installation page for more information on our services.