Tankless water heaters are a topic of much discussion many different circles, from plumbers to conservationists. This is because people have grown so accustomed to having a large tank to hold and heat water that they are unsure how a small little box could possibly do the same job. So when you describe this kind of solution to someone, they instantly want to know if it really works and how much it costs compared to the traditional heater.
A lot of people will struggle to get past the upfront price tag since the tankless water heater will cost more than a traditional tank.
There is a lot more to saving money, though, than just the upfront cost, and tankless water heaters are an investment that pays off in the long term. The government, for example, will often give tax breaks for buying these, so you get back a bit of the cost in your taxes, but the majority of the savings are accrued over the years of using these heaters versus the bigger, bulkier, less-efficient models. There are different aspects of a tankless version that make it a great option for saving money and space.
The main savings from a tankless water heater are in energy costs. Older models use a lot of energy to heat the water that is held in the tank so it’s warm and ready when you need it. This means that these models are using a lot of energy around the clock.
The tankless models heat the water on demand very quickly, meaning you will typically save 40% in energy. (Although this might depend on other factors such as the climate in which you live. If it’s colder throughout the year, more energy is used to keep your water at a constant temperature.) The amount of energy you use this way can have a surprisingly large impact on your utility bill.
There are different tankless water heaters styles, brands, and sizes to fit the many types of homes and sizes. When you are looking at the options, you’ll see that the description says right up front how much energy they use so you can estimate your bill each month. If the idea of calculating those kinds of numbers on your own makes you nervous, don’t worry. The government has an energy cost calculator to help you estimate just how much you will spend and save when you switch to either an electric or gas tankless water heater.
The Space Advantage
Tank heaters are big and bulky, which is fine for some homes. Smaller homes, condominiums, apartments, and other small dwellings don’t have as much room for their utilities. Most tankless water heaters are the size of a suitcase and are mounted on the wall, which means there is more room for storage.
Saving money on operating costs and gaining more floor space are not the only advantages of a tankless water heater. Here are just a few more to consider:
A longer life. Tankless water heaters can also potentially save you more money in the long run because the average lifespan of these models is 7-10 years longer than storage tank heaters. If you are replacing the heater less often, you are spending less money over the time you spend in your home.
Cleaner water. Water might end up sitting in your tank for a long time, and if it is really old, it can build up scale and rust inside. Since the tankless heaters have no storage tank, there is less buildup, which means cleaner water.
Faster Service. If your water heater has ever broken or had the flame go out, you know it takes a long time for it to warm up again. A tankless model heats the water up so fast that you don’t have to wait around for the water to reach the right temperature.
This is especially beneficial if you have company at your home. Everyone trying to take a shower in the morning means that there is a limited supply of hot water with a traditional tank model. If you have a tankless version, your only concern is getting out the door on time, not wondering how cold your shower is if you are last in line.
Worth the Effort
No matter what your hopes are for a tankless water heater, it is worth looking into as an option. Once you take some time to research on your own, don’t forget to talk to a pro to get their recommendations for your current situation. This is probably the best way to make your final decision. Even if you don’t end up taking the tankless route yet, it is worth the effort to educate yourself on the subject for the future.