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One of the most expensive components of your Richardson, TX, home plumbing system is your water heater. You may be wondering if a tankless water heater is a better alternative to a traditional tank storage water heater for your home. When shopping for tankless systems, you need to be prepared to live with your purchasing decision, since most water heaters have an average life span of more than a decade. Let’s take a look at why it sometimes makes sense to go with a tankless water heater model and those instances when a standard tank storage water heater is a better bet for you.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater, Anyway?
As the name suggests, a tankless system or a so-called on-demand water heater does the job of a water heater without the storage tank. These units use high-powered heating elements to heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger. From there, water moves through your home plumbing system just as it normally would if you were using a traditional tank water heater. Tankless systems come in both electrical and gas models, and Consumer Reports says that they are up to 22% more efficient energy-wise than their tank-style counterparts.
How Do They Differ?
Most Richardson, TX, homes today have a traditional tank-style hot water heater. All of the components of the heater are located inside an insulated tank. These tanks normally hold as much as 50 gallons of water, and they hold it at an ideal temperature for you to use as you needed in the shower while washing the dishes or doing laundry. A pipe on the top of the tank heater routes the water you need to the taps in your home. The main difference between tank-style heaters and tankless systems is that you no longer have to keep the water that your household needs hot and ready. You simply heat water on demand, thereby reducing your energy cost and enjoying a nearly never-ending supply of hot water.
That’s not to say that every household can save 22% on their energy costs by switching to tankless heaters. If you have higher water demands in the household, then your savings may drop to as low as 8% over a tank-style heater.
What Are the Advantages of a Tankless Heater?
The greatest advantage for homeowners who choose to replace old storage style tank water heaters with tankless systems is their energy savings. Energy.gov recommends this type of heater for a home that uses 40 or more gallons of hot water each day. In fact, the energy savings of this type of water heater allow it to essentially pay for itself over its lifespan.
Some other reasons that a tankless water heater may be a good bet for your home include:
- A longer service life. Tankless systems tend to last from 20 to 30 years, which is twice the estimated service life of a tank-style heater. Other factors May reduce its lifespan, including use in an area where hard water is prevalent.
- Compact size. Tankless systems take up much less space than storage tank heaters. This allows for this type of heater to be installed in tight spaces, even on outside walls of the home if there is limited space inside for installation.
• Hot water when you need it. Tankless systems require no time to deliver hot water just when you need it. Most models can deliver up to 3 gallons per minute.
Are There Downsides to the Tankless Water Heater?
Like any other product, tankless systems have their issues too. For starters, it cost more to purchase a tankless heater than a storage tank heater. This means your initial cost is more to own this type of water heater. The cost comparison is quite staggering initially; a storage tank heater may cost $800 while a tankless heater may cost as much as $4,500. And because it requires more effort to install than a tank-style heater, a tankless water heater installation is pricier.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the tankless system is its capacity. For most homes, it provides a sufficient supply of hot water when occupants demand it. But for homes where there is a big demand for hot water, such as those households where there are multiple people showering at one time and other demands for water, some tankless systems cannot keep up. Discuss your particular water usage patterns with your plumber prior to going the tankless route.
It is also worth noting that the cost of repairs for the heaters also represents a big disparity. The tank-style heater is a common appliance in most homes, which means parts for these heaters are easier to obtain and therefore less expensive. By comparison, tankless systems are built in a more complex manner, and their parts can be more expensive, which inflates repair costs. The repair process for a tankless water heater is also more time consumptive, which means repairs are going to generally be more expensive for this type of water heater.
Which Should You Choose?
For a lot of consumers, the choice between a tank-style heater and a tankless water heater boils down to cost. If you can afford to install a tankless system, then you will definitely save money over the course of time as compared to a tank heater. Still, if you are on a budget that does not allow for any extras, it may be a better route for you to go to choose a traditional tank-style water heater. Contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas, your local Richardson, TX, plumbing professional to help you determine if one of the new generation tankless water heaters is the best for you and your particular needs and plumbing system.