Whether your building a new home or simply replacing an old outdated hot water tank, a tankless water heater can be a smart and economical solution. Tankless water heaters, often referred to as on-demand hot water heaters, are a great option when building a new home. On-demand systems can also be easily retrofitted to existing plumbing when the time comes to replace that old rusting tank that's hiding in the basement. There are many benefits to switching to a tankless on-demand system versus a typical hot water system that stores a large volume of preheated water in an over-sized insulated tank.
The biggest advantage to going tankless is energy efficiency. The typical hot water tank is continually heating water 24 hours a day, whether there is a demand for hot water or not. When there is zero demand for hot water, a hot water tank experiences stand-by heat loss (which contributes to a higher energy bill). A tankless system only heats water when there is a demand, for instance someone taking a shower or doing laundry. When the demand for hot water has been met, the tankless water heater shuts off until the next demand for hot water arises. The net gain in efficiency can result in a 30% or greater savings on your home energy bill.
NEVER-ENDING HOT WATER
There's nothing worse than showering after someone who just spent the last 20 minutes singing in the rain locker (shower). Chance are you experienced water temperatures that were at best lukewarm, and more than likely freezing. Tankless systems provide a never-ending supply of hot water. When a shower, sink or faucet is turned on cold water cycles through the tankless water system and is heated continuously until the demand for hot water has been met. Depending on the type of system, the water is heated by electricity, natural gas or liquid propane.
The typical hot water tank has a life span of 8 to 15 years compared to the average tankless water system that is designed to last 20 years or more. Some electric tankless water systems are designed to last 30 to 40 years which is outright amazing. Tankless systems are also less susceptible to corrosion. When a typical hot water tank corrodes, the internal pressure that the large volume of water inside the tank exerts on the tank wall can eventually lead to a tank wall failure. The resulting water damage can be catastrophic.
Most on-demand tankless water systems are much smaller than your customary residential hot water tank setup. Tankless systems designed for the whole house are more often than not wall-mounted, which translates into a savings in available square footage for the homeowner. An additional 8 to 10 square feet can be gained. Additional space-saving can be achieved by utilizing individual tankless units that are mounted in areas of high hot water demand such as a laundry room.
GO GREEN AND GET A TAX CREDIT
When selecting an on-demand tankless water system for your home, whether it's a whole house system or an individual unit, be sure to select a system that's Energy Star approved. You'll save money and qualify for a $300 federal energy tax credit. Be sure to ask about any product rebates that might be available from the manufacturer.
A WORD OF CAUTION
If you live in an area of the country that has hard water, be sure to read your owner's manual regarding proper maintenance and cleaning of your tankless unit. Hard water can quickly lead to scale buildup inside the unit which is a notorious killer of electrical heating elements.