Traditional water tank storage systems have been the most common solution for water heating for decades, but a tankless system may be more efficient for your household. You could easily save over 20% on your month-to-month water heating bills just by switching, especially if you use less hot water than the average family.
What is a Tankless Water Heater and How is it Different than Traditional Tanks?
Traditional systems both heat and store water in a tank. Unfortunately, hot water in a tank cools down slowly over time if it’s not in use. This creates inefficiencies in the system because the same water has to be reheated multiple times so that it is hot when you are ready to use it.
This problem is completely solved by a tankless system, which heats water only when it is ready to be used. How is it able to do this?
A tankless system pulls in cold water which passes over the heating coils before the water goes to its final destination. As long as you don’t exceed the rate of flow of the system, you’ll always have hot water. This translates to consistently hot showers and clean dishes out of the dishwasher.
Point-of-Use vs Whole-House
A point-of-use tankless water heater connects to only one part of your plumbing, usually a single appliance such as a shower or washing machine. This is the smaller and less expensive option. It can be used in conjunction with an existing traditional tank system to lessen the workload on your already installed water heater.
Water heaters can use a variety of different fuels such as electric or gas. However, it is usually recommended to use electric for a point-of-use system because it is much more energy-efficient and therefore more cost-effective.
So, is this right for your family? If you are running out of hot water due to overuse, or someone in your household enjoys really long showers that leave the rest of the household with nothing but cold water, a point-of-use system will alleviate the stress on your system and allow constant hot water flow in the area of your plumbing where it is installed.
A whole-house tankless water heater is able to supply hot water to all of the fixtures and appliances in your home. Obviously, this will be much larger and more expensive than the point-of-use system. They are usually less efficient than point-of-use because they have to be able to handle a higher flow rate, which usually means they have to be powered by gas.
Now that you know what each type of tankless system does, you are probably wondering why you should switch.
Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
The main reason is the added efficiency. As mentioned above, a tankless system will never waste energy reheating the same water over and over. You will only be heating water when you use it. Depending on your hot water use habits, this may translate to more savings.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that installing a tankless system can save around 30% for households that consume less than 41 gallons of hot water a day. If your family is using more than 80 gallons of hot water a day, your savings may only be about 10% or so.
Overall, your month to month costs will likely decrease if you switch to a tankless system. The cost of installation will eventually pay for itself and tankless has the added benefit of lasting a few years longer than a storage tank system.
If your traditional system is over 10 years old, you should start looking for a new system and switching to tankless could be right for you. Even just installing a point-of-use system for your most-used hot water appliance could extend the life of your current water heater and save money on your month-to-month bills.
If you think a tankless water heater may work for your home, give us at Rooter Works, a call at (614) 412-3324 or fill out one of our online contact forms.