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Some Considerations about Tankless Water Heaters

tankless-water-heaterThe fall is the best time of the year to replace a water heater that’s showing signs it’s coming to the end of its service life. Fall is generally a slower time of year for plumbers and heating experts, making it easier to schedule the service, and you can spend some extra time making the choice.

“Wait, what choice?” you might ask. The choice of what type of water heater you want to have installed. There are more options today than the standard storage tank water heater, including the heat pump water heater and the increasingly popular tankless water heater. The tankless models are the subject of a lot of scrutiny because they offer many potential advantages, but they also make people a bit nervous because they’re unsure if a system that heats up water “on demand” (i.e. only when there’s a call for hot water at one of the taps or appliances) will end up meeting their needs.

Tankless Water Heaters Can Help You Save Energy

Let’s start with an important piece of information upfront about tankless water heaters: they cost more than standard storage tank water heaters. This can cause people to hesitate about making the purchase. But tankless water heaters have the potential to save immense amounts of money over their lifetimes and pay back the high initial cost long before they have to be retired. The reason is that tankless systems do not have to continually heat a container of hot water to keep it at the appropriate temperature for use.

Instead, heating coils (either electric or gas-powered), heat the water whenever there is a request from a tap or appliance in the house. This means the tankless water heater will only run a fraction of the amount a storage tank model does, resulting in significant savings. Because tankless water heaters last longer on average than other types of water heaters, they offer a longer period to rake in the savings.

Tankless Water Heaters Do Have Limits

One advantage of tankless units that’s often discussed is that they provide “limitless” hot water—no running out of hot water as with a storage tank system. But this isn’t strictly accurate. A tankless water heater provides a flow of about 3.5 gallons of hot water per minute. If a greater gallon demand is placed on the system—which happens if more than one appliance is running at the same time—it can overwhelm the system and can result in a drop in efficiency. Tankless systems are best for homes that don’t often have multiple taps running at the same time, such as homes with small families. However, it’s easy to install more than one tankless water heater for larger homes to make up the difference.

Tankless Water Heaters Work Best with Natural Gas

There are electric tankless water heaters, but natural gas is the preferred type. A house may need to have its electrical capacity upgraded for the power of a tankless water heater. After all, the water heater accounts for 20% of all the energy used in your house. If you don’t have a natural gas connection for your home, we recommend you look into a heat pump water heater as an all-electric option for saving money on a new water heating system.

We offer extensive services for all types of water heaters in Cincinnati, OH and the surrounding areas. Contact us today and we’ll see you have the right water heater to meet your needs.

Serving Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding Tri-State areas since 1972: Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc.

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