Most people have heard of tankless water heaters before, but might not know too much about how they work. You should be aware of the trade offs that result from choosing this kind of water heating system. Here are some of the pros and cons of tankless water heaters.
The main difference between a tankless water heater and a tanked water heater is the fact that a tanked water heater is constantly heating as much as 80 gallons of water. This system will cycle on and off during the day to maintain the water at the temperature that you’ve set. Even overnight when you’re asleep or while you’re at work, it’s going to be working to keep that water hot and ready to use.
A tankless water heater, as the name suggests, does not have a large storage tank. Instead, it senses when you’ve called for hot water and the burners are then turned on. The downside is that the tankless water heater has a slightly longer delay to get hot water out of the faucet. Since you don’t have hot water sitting in a tank waiting to be used, you’ll have to wait until the system delivers hot water.
Although tankless water heaters have a higher BTU burner than tanked water heaters, they don’t run as often. There are some fuel savings that come along with the reduced running time. These savings aren’t the whole picture, however. There are other important factors to consider that may sway your decision one way or the other.
One of the pros of a tankless water heater is the fact that you’ll never run out of hot water. That being said, if several appliances are all calling for hot water at the same time, the flow of hot water will be reduced. This is necessary so the system can continue to send hot water to every appliance. You may be in a situation where someone is doing laundry, another person is washing dishes, and a bathroom shower are being used at the same time. You would end up experiencing reduced water flow in that case.
Tankless water heaters are sized based on the number of people and the number of bathrooms in the home. If there’s one or more garden tubs, that can be a deciding factor as well. In terms of cost savings on your utility bill, it’s interesting how things turn out. You would probably take a faster shower if running out of hot water was on the back of your mind. Because you never have to worry about using all the hot water, the potential savings from increased efficiency might end up cancelling out.
If you’ve ever seen a water heater tank leak, you know how disastrous it can be. All of a sudden, 50 gallons of water are dumped onto the floor. Water continues to gush as the tank tries to refill itself. It can end up becoming a huge mess. That kind of situation is much less likely with a tankless water heater. If you have a vacation home or weekend home, you won’t have to worry about draining the water heater or turning it on and off. (Remember, the tankless water heater will not run unless there’s a call for hot water.)
Just like any other mechanical appliance, tankless water heaters require regular maintenance. The burners require you to clean them regularly. Additionally, hard/acidic water could result in buildup of calcium or magnesium in the water pipes in the water heater. In that case, it must be flushed on a regular basis.