Would A Tankless Water Heater Work In Your Home?
Tankless water heaters are often touted as the answer to all your hot water problems. In some cases, they are actually a great choice, but not always. There are several situations where a tankless heater either can't be installed or won't work with your lifestyle. Here are the major items you should consider.
One Thing At A Time
A traditional water heater can handle a load of laundry and doing your dishes at the same time. The heater can't actually make hot water fast enough, but it uses the water in the tank to make up for this. Of course, once that tank runs dry, you are stuck with what the heater can do on the fly, which isn't that much. You are probably familiar with the fact that your shower will only stay hot for so long, and this directly correlates with the size of your hot water tank.
With a tankless heater, your shower will stay hot forever. The heater can't rely on a tank, so it must be powerful enough to heat water quickly enough to keep up with the demand. The opposite side of this is that if you ask more hot water than it can create at a time, there is no tank that it can draw from to help keep up. All it can do is send water that isn't quite hot enough yet. That means you either need to invest in a massive heater or only do one thing at a time that uses hot water. In most households this isn't a major issue, but busy households may find it difficult to coordinate.
Plenty Of Power
Being able to make hot water on demand takes a lot of power. This is why tank-based systems have become standard fare. Many homes simply don't have a gas or electrical system capable of handling that much load at one time, and some still don't. Upgrades to infrastructure are being made all the time, so even if your home couldn't handle this type of water heater before, it may be able to do so now.
If you are considering going with a tankless heater, you should contact your gas and electric company to find out what their limits are. If neither service can provide enough power, then you need to stick with a traditional water heater. If they can, it is an option, but you still may need to upgrade the gas or electrical lines between your house and the grid to connect up a tankless heater.
The Investment Is Worth The Savings
Tankless water heaters are expensive. Quite a bit more expensive than a traditional water heater. In fact, in most homes the savings will only be just enough to cover that additional cost. This makes it vitally important that you correctly calculate the real cost of installing a tankless heater against how much it will save you over the life of the heater.
However, the idea that a tankless heater won't save you enough money over time is based on average usage. If you only use a little hot water on a regular basis, you will save more than average as a traditional heater would keep heating the water in the tank even though you aren't using it. You also might consider this type of water heater as a backup for a solar system. Solar water heaters do use a tank, but it takes them a long time to heat water. Your tankless heater will only kick in when the solar heater's tank runs dry, which hopefully won't be very often.
If you can deal with these conditions then, yes, a tankless water heater water heater may be perfect for your home. It is a major investment and you want to be sure that it is the right one for your home and lifestyle. For more information on tankless water heaters, check out a company like H.R. Stewart Inc.