The idea of on demand unlimited hot water can be a tantalizing proposition for homeowners, but there are a few things to know before you go tankless. Heating water can account for up to 30% of a home’s utility budget, that statistic is what leads people to consider this tankless option, for utility savings. The marketers for tankless water heaters have done a great job creating a buzz around their product, and the potential energy savings, but when you really look at the facts does tankless water heater make sense?
First if you are looking to save money on heating water there are some inexpensive options. Turn off the water heater when you leave; that’s right, if you are leaving for a weekend or week turn the temperature gauge on your water heater to VACATION mode, the pilot light will stay lit but the tank will not waste energy heating water. Second, you can install a programmable thermostat onto your water heater, so if you do not need hot water during the day when no one is home you can program the water heater schedule to not run during the day, but still have hot water ready when you come home. Finally, recent updates to the efficiency standards for all water heaters have made traditional water heaters more efficient than ever.
Electric and Gas Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters can be gas or electric. If you go electric you may need to upgrade your entire homes electric because of the power required by the rapid heating unit. Tankless electric also means if there is a power outage you could be without hot water. Gas unit installations are more straightforward because that is what the majority of homes infrastructures are configured for now. Ventilation used to be an issue requiring timely retrofitting or sometimes completely installing new venting but the newer models are redesigned to allow for more conventional venting options. Yes there can be a yearly utility savings, but the initial cost of a tankless system can cost 3X more than a traditional water heater. Possible downsides are that some home owners have experienced a reduction in hot water pressure after switching to a tankless water heater, and tankless water heaters will need regular maintenance in the form of descaling calcium deposits inside the system.
Getting the Process Started
The first step is to determine the correct size tankless unit your home will need. This is calculated by counting the number of fixtures in the home that require hot water, including kitchen and laundry appliances, and deciding how many of these faucets will need hot water at the same time. That information plus specific details about your homes square footage and distance to the farthest faucet will provide system sizing information. You will also need to have a plumber evaluate your current infrastructure for compatibility with a tankless water heater system. Still have questions? Give us a call at 630-964-1700.
Written by Eric Rickert