Tankless water heaters are not new. For decades, European households have been making use of this technology because it lowers costs, is more efficient, has increased longevity, and is much smaller than a standard water heater.

Always off, these on-demand appliances eliminate wasted energy used to keep water hot at all times (on-demand). The units are so small and can be placed in closets, on walls, in crawl spaces, or event mounted outdoors, providing they are safe from the elements.

Why go tankless?

Many people choose tankless water heaters due to the extreme savings in energy costs; sometimes as much as 50%, making them easy on the environment and the budget.

Most models last as many as 30 years, compared to the 6 – 10 years of standard models. Older types of water heaters can also become toxic before they wear out.

What is the downside?

Large families with high demand may not be satisfied with the availability of hot water on request without upgrades to the home’s wiring or gas ducts. These modifications can be costly. Users may inadvertently cause the use of more energy than a standard model, lulled into further use by the idea the hot water is endless.

How does tankless work?

Based upon demand, heat sensors and computer chips control the flow of water through the tankless device. The system supplies only enough water to the device to fill whatever appliance is (or appliances are) making the demand. In this way, the amount of energy consumed is limited to what is needed to meet the demand.

Hot water from a tankless heater is not instantaneous; there is a time delay between the request and when the heated water becomes available. That is because cold water must move from the pipes to the device and then heated. The amount is time is usually short and can be made faster by positioning the unit next to the primary appliance it is servicing.

What model do you need?

Tankless water heaters are available as electric or gas-powered. For smaller output requirements, an electrical water heater is likely capable of meeting demand and costs less than a higher-output, gas model. Whole-house units that use gas are a better choice for families and commercial use.

For demand greater than four simultaneous showers, additional requirements are met with combination plans for multiple units. Gas-powered devices may require particular installation adaptations such as ventilation and maintenance.

How much does it cost?

Switching to this eco-friendlier type of heating water will cost $500 – $1500, plus installation charges. However, given the positive effect, this will have on a home’s utility usage, switching is usually an easy decision for the homeowner.

If the home requires upgrades to the ventilation system or modifications to existing electrical and water supply, the cost of installation can be substantially higher. To assess the value, factor in the total cost of the unit and installation over ten years. Do not underestimate the importance of environmental benefits. Homeowners’ intent upon going green will see the highest return on investment.

What maintenance is required?

For heaters powered by gas, an annual inspection by a licensed service person is recommended. Check the unit to ensure it continues to meet safety standards, including proper ventilation to prevent toxic build-up.

Maintenance is easier for electrically powered units, though if installed outdoors, check it regularly to ensure it is holding up to environmental stresses.

The big picture

Tankless water heaters are better for the environment than traditional devices. The energy savings can be as much as 50%, and this affects the bottom line of homeowners’ utility bills. Available in gas and electric models, each has distinct output limits so speak with an electrician or plumber if unsure about which model is best for your needs.

Since these units are so much more environmentally friendly, the benefit goes well beyond that of cost-saving and makes owners feel good about reducing their carbon footprint. If you do need help with installing a tankless water heater, then get in touch with Master Flush Plumbing today. We can also help you with installing gas hot water systems, solar hot water systems, and electric hot water systems.