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Water heaters are one of the most important appliances in any household, providing all the hot water needed to cook, shower and bathe, do laundry, and more. The concept dates back to ancient times, long before electricity, when people would heat large pots of water over open fires and use them for bathing.
Thanks to advances in modern technology, water heaters have come a very long way since then. There are two main types of water heaters available today: conventional water heaters, which use large storage tanks, and tankless water heaters. While tank-style water heaters have historically been the top choice of homeowners and contractors, that has shifted in the last several years. More and more people are learning about the many advantages of these water heaters and having them installed when it’s time to replace their old ones, which last 8-12 years on average in climates like Irving, TX.
If your conventional water heater will need to be replaced soon – or even if it has a few good years left but you’re wondering about your alternatives – tankless water heaters are an excellent option.
How tankless water heaters work
These water heaters utilize a coil or heat exchanger housed inside the unit to heat water in real time as it flows from point A (the water source) to point B (the faucet). Once the faucet is turned off and water stops flowing, the heating element immediately and automatically shuts off. This is why these water heaters are often referred to as on-demand, continuous-flow, and instant-on water heaters. The precise amount of requested hot water is delivered in a literal instant.
There are two different types of tankless water heaters: whole-house and point-of-use water heaters. As the name implies, whole-house water heaters serve an entire household. On the other hand, point-of-use water heaters are designed to serve a specific room or area in a home, such as an upper level that has two bathrooms.
Both styles of heaters work in exactly the same way, and each has its pros and cons. Point-of-use heaters are substantially smaller than whole-house water heaters, so most Irving, TX, homes require at least two or three to provide adequate hot water.
Benefits of tankless water heaters
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are approximately 24-34% more energy-efficient than conventional ones. That statistic is slightly less for larger homes that use a considerable amount of water, 8-14%. Aside from the energy savings, these water heaters have a number of other benefits including longer lifespans and taking up a smaller physical footprint.
Continuous, on-demand hot water
Because of the way these water heaters operate, your household won’t run out of hot water – ever. Although at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas we certainly don’t recommend it, you could theoretically take a bath and have the hot water running continuously for literally hours, and you would have hot water the entire time! This is an especially valuable benefit for larger families who use a lot of water.
It should be noted that there can be a delay of several seconds for these water heaters to deliver hot water. This is because the water is being transported through the system, rather than sitting in a storage tank ready and waiting.
Substantial energy cost savings
Conventional water heaters keep a large storage tank of hot water on standby, ready to use at any moment. That means they are constantly working to keep that water warm. As the heat dissipates and the water naturally cools, the water heater must constantly reheat it, using energy around the clock.
This constant use of energy, of course, is incredibly inefficient. It also amounts to a significant chunk of your utility bills. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that water heaters alone account for just over 17% of a home’s total energy usage, so any savings at all can make a noticeable difference.
Tankless water heaters are so much more energy-efficient because they don’t fire up – literally – until they’re in use, and then they immediately shut off when they’re no longer needed.
Takes up less space
The footprint of these water heaters is one of their most attractive features for many homeowners. Since they don’t store water, the large storage tank that conventional heaters have is completely eliminated. This allows these water heaters to be installed virtually anywhere.
When you think about your own conventional water heater, where is it stored? Many are in their own dedicated closets because they’re so large, but that isn’t the case with tankless water heaters! Most of them are comparable in size to an average laptop computer, allowing wall or cabinet installation where the unit is tucked away from view but still easily accessible.
Whereas you’d be lucky to get 12 years out of a conventional water heater, most of these kinds of water heaters last around 20 years. This is largely because they aren’t physically filled with water on a constant basis, so any erosion happens on a substantially slower scale. Modern water heaters are also much easier to maintain and it’s simpler to replace parts.
Less likely to leak
Easily one of the biggest downsides to traditional water heaters is that they leak. Even top-of-the-line units leak, which actually makes sense – they are literally always full of a large volume of water. These water leaks can cause major damage to homes, resulting in a host of other problems.
In stark contrast, there’s almost no likelihood of tankless water heaters leaking because they simply don’t store water. The potential problem is virtually eliminated.
Whether you’ve already decided to invest in a new tankless water heater or you’re still on the fence, feel free to contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas. We offer water heater maintenance, repair, and installation, plus much more, including 24/7 emergency services.