Tankless Water Heaters – Pros and Cons

Wondering how a tankless water heater works?

Many properties in other countries already use tankless, or “on-demand”, water heaters in most new-build properties, because let’s face it—in a cold English winter, you want hot water, and you want it NOW.

But here in sunny Orange County, we rarely have to endure cold weather—and before you start complaining about how cold you get in December, tell that to someone from New York or the midwest. But we still like our hot showers, as any early-morning surfer or jogger will tell you, and perhaps that means that a tankless water heater is for you.

Tankless water heaters do not have a storage tank, but use electricity, gas or propane as a heat source and can actually cut your water-heating bill by up to 10 or 20 percent! How is that? Basically, by only heating the water you need when you need it, the tank eliminates standby losses, which are caused by warmed water sitting around unused in a tank.

Tankless water heaters are good for small properties as they can sit in a closet or under a sink where the hot water is used, saving space by eliminating the big water heater that you have to strap down for safety. These on-demand water heaters are great for the smaller properties not just because of space-saving features, but also because they aren’t necessarily suitable for homes with large families or a large number of people. You can, of course, have more than one of these water heaters, but one won’t necessarily work for a large household where laundry, dishwashing and showers will all happen at the same time.

Residential gas-fired models supply only five gallons of water per minute, heated by 90 degrees. Electrical ones are even less productive, producing just two gallons per minute, heated at only 70 degrees.

Here are some of the advantages to tankless water heaters:

  • They eliminate the wasted energy of standard hot water heaters, where hot water cools down in long pipes or while sitting in the storage tank
  • They waste less water by providing warm water only when it is needed, plus the water heats up almost immediately, so less water is wasted by running a faucet for hot temperatures.
  • Unlimited hot water, as long as they are running within their capacity
  • Longer life expectancy, as they are less prone to corrosion. A tankless water heater could last up to 20 years versus the 10-15 of standard water heaters
  • For a small tankless water heater for one sink, the price can be as low as $200 per unit, ranging to $1,000 for the top-of-the-line brand

Disadvantages include:

  • Won’t usually provide enough hot water for simultaneous use, like laundry and showering
  • Unless your demand system has a feature called modulating temperature control, it may not heat water to a constant temperature at different flow rates. That means that water temperatures can fluctuate uncomfortably – particularly if the water pressure varies wildly in your own water system.
  • Choosing electric won’t save you much money over a traditional system, and you need to make sure your property’s wiring is up to the demand
  • They require a direct vent or conventional flue. If a gas-powered unit has a pilot light, it can waste a lot of energy.

Are you looking for more ways to save energy in your Orange County home? Are you looking for reasons to replace your current water heater? If you have any questions about the information above, please contact us today.

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