Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, do not heat water in a tank and hold it in reserve. Instead, tankless water heaters use heating elements. When the hot water tap is turned on, the water passes over the heating elements and comes out hot.
There are pros and cons to these kinds of water heaters, the most notable pro being the energy savings. But there are other benefits of tankless water heaters, and some more negative considerations as well. Here are some of the things to consider about these types of water heaters.
According to Consumer Reports, the average home can expect a savings of around $70-$80 a year, as tankless heaters are about 22 percent more energy efficient than conventional tanks. There is no “standby” energy loss with tankless heaters, either. This refers to the energy required to keep the standing water in the tank hot when it is not in use, which can be significant in cold weather. Tankless water heaters do not heat water that is not being used.
Because you don’t have to wait for long minutes for the water to run hot out of the tap, you will use less water. The water in a tankless heater is hot right away, or maybe after a few seconds.
Convenience and Comfort
With on-demand water heaters, there is no waiting time for hot water to replenish itself between uses. If two or more people take showers in succession, the second or third person need not worry about the hot water running out during his or her shower.
Conventional water tanks have a lifespan of around 7 years. On-demand tanks, however, have a lifespan of around 20 years, helping to offset their initial cost.
Tankless heaters take up less space than traditional water tanks. You can then use that space for something else.
Tankless heaters cost around twice as much as conventional tanks. Tankless heaters cost between $800-$1150, while a conventional tank costs between $300 and $500.
Professional installation is necessary, adding to the cost, and, if you use natural gas, you may need to make expensive upgrades to your gas line. A venting system often needs to be installed as well.
- Gas-powered tankless heaters are less efficient than electric ones due to the pilot light that burns continually on gas-powered models.
Lower Flow Rate
Multiple, simultaneous uses may overwhelm an on-demand heater. In other words, running the dishwasher and shower at the same time could overwhelm the system. To overcome this, you have to install a tankless heater at each hot water outlet.
Tankless water heaters have been in use in other parts of the world, such as Japan and parts of Europe, for some time. They are not the water-heating standard in the U.S. now, but perhaps, as they become more well-known, tankless heaters will become more common and less expensive.