Do you think you want a tankless hot water heater?
They are also referred to as an instant hot water heater or an on demand hot water heater. The basic selling point is that they only heat water as it is needed so there is no energy used to heat a tank of water when it is not in use. But, there other things than energy saving you have to consider.
In a tankless water heater the water is heated directly by it passing through heating elements and there is no storage tank involved. When the faucet is turned on water enters the unit through the inlet tube. The water is then heated by element that is heated by gas or electricity. The water is heated as it is used and is not stored in a tank that has to be filled and then heated. The downside of a tankless heater is that the output is not as great as a storage tank type hot water system.
The average output for a tankless hot water heater is approximately 3-5 gallons per minute of heated water. For a larger family a tankless unit may not have the capacity to produce enough hot water for their demands. Gas tankless hot water heaters can produce more hot water than electric but, even gas units can sometimes not produce the hot water demands of a larger family. If you have two showers or a dishwater being used at the same time you may not have the hot water that would be needed. This situation can be overcome by having a tankless hot water heater installed for each shower, clothes washer and dishwasher that will require hot water. There would be a large installation cost upfront to have multiple units installed and that could be a factor in this type of solution.
The average life of a tankless hot water heater is normally about 20 years. The initial cost to have the tankless unit installed is more than that of a standard storage tank type system. But, overtime the cost can be offset by the energy savings and reduced operating cost. One of the main advantages to this type of unit is, they have more repairable parts which can give them a longer service life. A standard storage water heater has an average life span of 12-15 years so, a tankless unit can give you more years of service.
If your home uses approximately 40 or less gallons of hot water a day you can expect about a 30% energy saving on heating your hot water. For an average size family you can amount to saving of about $100.00 per year in energy costs.
So, is a tankless hot water heater right for you?