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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Tankless Water Heaters: 4 Advantages, 4 Disadvantages

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 @ 02:26 PM

For many households, tankless water heaters offer a smart way to increase energy efficiency and reduce monthly utility bills. Instead of storing water in a large tank, which can lose heat and energy, tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand. Like any type of home comfort equipment, however, tankless water heaters come with advantages and disadvantages.

Among their benefits:

  • advantages of tankless water heaterTankless water heaters eliminate the energy waste associated with traditional storage-tank water heaters. In a tankless heater, an electric element or a gas burner heats cold water that travels into the unit when you turn on an appliance or faucet.
  • They're money savers. If your household uses no more than 41 gallons of hot water a day, a tankless heater could be 24 percent to 34 percent more efficient that a tank heater, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Savers program. If you use 86 gallons a day, a tankless heater would be still as much as 14 percent more efficient.
  • There's no waiting around for a tank to refill with water after a previous use. Tankless heaters provide the water you need when you need it.
  • Tankless heaters offer flexibility. You can install multiple units in parallel to boost water flow. You can install dedicated units in bathrooms or laundry rooms or for individual appliances, such as the dishwasher or hot tub.

Disadvantages of tankless heaters:

  • They offer limited water flow rates. That's why some homeowners install more than one. It is important to match the size of the unit to required water flow needed. This often means that some engineering is required to make sure you have enough capacity in the tankless heater to meet the demand.
  • You need to make sure that you have enough electrical capacity or gas service to support the added load of the tankless heater. Often this is overlooked and there can be significant added cost required to add the needed capacity.
  • Some gas-fueled units can waste energy if the pilot burns constantly. Some heaters feature an intermittent ignition device to combat this problem.
  • While tankless water heaters often lead to significant energy savings, they usually cost more upfront than traditional water heaters.

To explore whether a tankless heater is right for your home, work with a qualified contractor, who can consider your family's typical hot water use and help you calculate your potential savings. In the Cleveland area, contact the professionals at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.

Schedule a home performance assessment with PK Wadsworth

Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: energy costs, water heater tank, tankless water heaters

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