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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Pros And Cons Of Tankless Water Heaters

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 @ 10:24 AM

tankless hot water heaterTypical water heaters -called storage water heaters- come with a tank where heated water is stored until needed. While the heated water sits in the tank, though, it begins to cool and needs to be reheated — sometimes over and over again.

Tankless systems heat your water only once — right when you need it. By “instantly” heating water as needed, tankless systems use up to 34 percent less energy than the more-common storage heaters, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Here are a few other things you should know about tankless water heaters. 

  • Tankless water heaters need to heat enough water for your house: These systems can heat only a certain amount of water at a time. You’ll have to decide what amount of hot water your house needs. Be aware of the flow rate of any tankless water heaters you may be buying.  These units come in many different sizes and if you buy too small a heater, you run the risk of cold showers, etc.
  • Tankless water heaters don’t need as much room: Without the large storage barrel, tankless water heaters can be placed in much smaller locations. There are wall-mounted water heaters and other varieties, too.
  • There are still a variety of options: Tankless water heaters have just as many options as the usual tank type. You can get an electric-powered system that might heat a little more efficiently or a gas-powered system that might heat a bit more water at a time.  You will need to compare fuel costs and efficiencies to judge which fuel is best for your situation.
  • Maintenance is required- Like all mechanical systems, tankless systems need routine -usually annual- maintenance.  Left unattended, performance and efficiency will be hampered and potentially the unit can be damaged.  So review the requirements with your contractor before purchasing and make arrangements right up front to start off right with your new tankless heater.
  • Check the big picture- Often tankless heaters consume more gas while heating the water flowing through the unit than the old storage water heater did.  There is still overall savings because you are not constantly reheating water that is cooling off.  But often the gas piping connected to the tankless unit needs to be enlarged over the old storage water heater piping and in some cases the service to the house needs to be increased.  Sometimes this step is overlooked by some uninformed contractors.  The result can be less than rated performance or in some cases other gas appliances can start to have problems when operating at the same time as the tankless heater.
  • Energy Efficiency: You’ll find a lot of names attached to a lot of water heaters. For energy efficiency, look for the Energy Star label.

Tankless water heaters are great for saving money on your energy bills. They are more efficient and usually last longer than tank storage systems. If you have any questions about tankless water heaters, give the specialists at P. K. Wadsworth a call. They are always happy to help.

PK Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between.  To get started, check out our website.


Photo credit: Roger Mommaerts

Topics: heating water, fuel costs, hot water, storage water heaters, flow rate, tankless heater, annual maintenance, tankless water heaters, department of energy

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