Is a Tankless Water Heater Right For Your Carrollton Home

Signature Plumbing Company

Many customers ask if a tankless water heater the best bang for their buck?

Following are the upsides and downsides as expressed by Signature Plumbing Company. The traditional water heater lives in the garage and provides several gallons of hot water at one time. Byron Neuse from Signature Plumbing in Carrollton, Texas said an advantage of a traditional water heater is “they supply enough water to run the dishwater, wash clothes and shower all simultaneously.” However, he added, “when you have exhausted that supply of hot water, you will wait 30 minutes to an hour or so for the water heat to heat up another supply of water.”
A tankless system does not heat the water until you need it. When the faucet is turned on, tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat the water and cause immediate distribution of hot water through the applicable faucet.
There is a cost savings with reduced energy loss and an increase in efficiency with a tankless system by approximately 50 percent when compared to the conventional water heater. According to the Department of Energy, “for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24 to 34 percent more energy-efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8 to 14 percent more energy-efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water — around 86 gallons per day. Energy Star estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an Energy Star qualified tankless water heater.”

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is usually much greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters may last longer and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset the higher purchase price depending on how expensive your natural gas rates are. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10 to 15 years. Tankless water heaters can avoid the standby heat losses associated with the conventional heater. However, although gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, they can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. This can sometimes offset the elimination of standby energy losses when compared to a storage water heater. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light heats the water in the tank so the energy isn’t wasted. The cost of operating a pilot light in a tankless water heater varies from model to model. Ask the manufacturer how much gas the pilot light uses for the model you’re considering. If you purchase a model that uses a standing pilot light, you can always turn it off when it’s not in use to save energy. Also, consider models that have an intermittent ignition device (IID) instead of a standing pilot light. This device resembles the spark ignition device on some gas kitchen ranges and ovens.

So what are the downsides to a tankless water heater besides initial cost? It can generate hot water all day, although it cannot generate large amounts of hot water at one time. I have heard that tankless water heaters can spur-of-the-moment snap you out of a hot-water ecstasy and enjoyment with a sudden “cold water” splash if someone turns on the hot water at another sink location. Another disadvantage is that the tankless system generates a much smaller amount of hot water (gallons per minute) than the standard system.

Tankless systems take up a small amount of space and can even be mounted on a wall. A tankless system is less likely to rust and leak than the conventional water heaters.
If you are thinking of going with a tankless system, figure out what size unit you require. Tankless systems are rated by the gallons of hot water they produce per minute. The amount of hot water that you use in your home at any time will be the determining factor. The average rule of thumb is 3 to 4 gallons per minute of hot water for a family.
If your standard system is starting to show wear, now would be a good time to get it replaced – better now than when it stops working, because when a water heater fails there is a huge probability for a big wet mess, and the likelihood of being without hot water for an extended period of time.

For more information contact Signature Plumbing today for a specific cost comparison for your home of a tankless vs tank-style hot water heater.