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Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

The pros and cons of tankless hot water heaters

Posted 06:49 June 21, 2017
Last Updated 08:40 November 17, 2017

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A tankless hot water heater is an on-demand water heating unit. It does not store water in a tank like conventional water heaters. Instead, water is heated as you use it. When you turn on your hot water tap, cold water travels in from your water main into the unit. Next, either a gas or electric burner unit heats the water. The result is hot water at your tap.



Types of Tankless Hot Water Heaters


Tankless hot water heaters come in electric and gas varieties. They are also rated based on their water flow rate. A small unit may produce 0.8 gallons per minute whereas a large unit may produce 5 or 10 gallons per minute. Gas units tend to have higher water flow rate capabilities. Electric units are limited by how much they can heat the incoming water. Generally, they can raise the temperature of the water by 60 or 70 degrees. If you want 120 degrees at the tap, then incoming water must be at least 50 degrees. Gas units generally don't have this limitation.

Variety of Applications


Tankless hot water heaters come in many sizes. A small, electric, 1 gallon-per-minute unit can be installed at a point of use, eliminating the need to install a costly conventional tank system. Small units are also often used as booster units. If you have a traditional hot water heater and a tap at the other end of the house takes a long time to receive hot water, installing a booster unit at the remote location will provide hot water faster.



Small tankless units are also used to boost solar water heating systems.

A home or business can utilize several small units at points of use or a single large unit that services the entire location.

Energy Savings


The primary benefit of tankless systems is their energy savings. Because you are not storing water in a tank and heating and reheating it over and over, there is considerable energy savings. How much energy savings you can achieve depends upon your daily water use. A home that uses 40 gallons of hot water or less a day can save 24% - 34% on the water heating portion of their energy bill. Homes that use a lot of water, 85 gallons or more a day, can save 8% - 14%.

The greatest energy savings is achieved by installing multiple small efficient units at each point of use. 35% - 50%+ energy savings is possible with small multiple units.

Service Life


Tankless hot water heaters have a longer service life compared to their conventional counterparts. A traditional hot water heater lasts between 10 and 20 years, with the average life right around 14 years. Tankless systems are designed to last in excess of 20 years. There are fewer parts to fail and they are more easily serviced. When the tank fails on a conventional system, you have no choice but to replace the entire unit.

Upfront Cost


The biggest disadvantage of tankless systems is their upfront cost, which can be more than conventional systems. There is more variety in pricing when it comes to tankless systems. A small 1 gallon per minute electric unit may cost $175 whereas a large 9 gallon per minute gas model may cost $1,200 (with all kinds of pricing variety in between). Installation costs for tankless systems are also typically higher.

Conclusion


Despite higher upfront costs, tankless hot water heaters can provide considerable savings over the long run. They have lower energy costs and longer service lives. Electric units can be powered off of solar, providing additional savings. All Trades in Las Vegas specializes in tankless hot water heater installation. We can help you decide if a tankless system is right for you, and what type and size to install.

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