Photo By BanksPhotos at istock
The water heater in your Marrero, LA, home likely sits somewhere out of the way—out of sight even—and you never think about it unless a problem occurs. But the entire time it’s in service, your water heater is busily working to provide you with a ready supply of up to 50 gallons of piping hot water each time you turn the tap. And although that sounds efficient, the truth is that keeping that much water ready for bathing, laundry, and dishwashing is not efficient at all, since it stays hot and ready 24 hours a day at your expense, even while you’re asleep or gone to work and have zero hot water needs. There has to be a better way, right? Luckily, there is. Enter the tankless system, the innovative way to heat water on demand as it’s needed.
As the name suggests, tankless water heaters heat the water your household demands without storing it en-masse in a tank. Water is only heated when it’s needed, so you’re not paying for electricity or gas to heat water that’s just sitting there waiting to be used. Still, tankless water heaters aren’t for everyone, and weighing the pros and cons of the tankless heater is a good way to determine if this type of hot water heating system is ideal for your particular situation and home.
The design of the on-demand heater is quite ingenious, yet a relatively simple and smart concept. When a tap is turned on in your Marrero, LA, home, the heater pushes cold water from your home’s water lines and delivers an unending supply of hot water quickly. There’s no bulky storage tank to contend with, and you get the water you need when you need it. Some of the advantages of going the tankless route include:
- No more cold showers. If your household needs for hot water are heavy, then you’ve likely experienced the cold shower phenomenon that usually plays out as you enjoying a steaming hot shower, shampoo in your hair, only to run out of hot water before you rinse. Not so with the on-demand setup of the tankless system.
- Longer lifespan than traditional tank-style heaters. Tankless water heaters tend to last longer than standard tank-style heaters, holding on to their useful service capacity for up to 20 years as compared to the standard unit’s 10.
- Lowered monthly costs. Tankless models are up to 22 more efficient than tank-style heaters, according to Consumer Reports. This can result in hundreds of dollars in savings each year, and thousands over the course of the heater’s service life.
- Versatile placement. The space savings of a tankless heater is worth it to some homeowners. These units are small and no-nonsense, and the lack of a cumbersome storage tank means they can be placed in a variety of areas, including wall-mount units. Smaller homes with limited square footage are particularly benefited from the space-conserving tankless system.
- Potential tax credit. Energy-Star-rated and other units may qualify homeowners for a special Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit of 22 to 26 percent of the purchase price if installed and placed into service by January 1, 2022. This credit can offset the initial cost of purchasing and installing your tankless system, making it even more cost-effective for many homeowners.
- Elimination of standby loss. As mentioned above, tankless water heaters eliminate the need to keep gallons and gallons of hot water standing ready for use. Regular water heaters have heating elements that continually re-fire and repeatedly, even when you don’t have a demand for hot water. This raises your energy costs as compared to tankless heaters.
- Multiple variations available. Like traditional water heaters, there are electric and gas models available on today’s market. For homes that use gas for heating, an electric model may provide a smart solution that doesn’t involve rerouting gas lines or paying for other costly and labor-heavy installations of a traditional tank-style heater.
- Extended warranty periods. Tankless water heaters are expected to last up to twice as long as standard water heaters. Because of this, it is oftentimes the case that manufacturers provide extended warranties with these units, oftentimes as long as 20 years. This means if anything goes awry with the water heater, you are not on the hook for its repair or replacement.
- Perfect for smaller homes. While a tankless system may not be an ideal solution for homes with truly heavy demands for hot water, smaller homes with modest demands stand to benefit for the design. A typical unit can easily keep up with the demand for instant hot water for up to three people, providing ample water at just the right temperature for laundry, showers, and more.
Like any product, there are some negatives to be aware of with tankless water heaters. Some of the most-lodged complaints to consider:
- Some buyers claim that the inconsistent water temperature of tankless water heaters is its biggest drawback. This usually results from multiple demands at once on a heater that’s inappropriately sized.
- The cheapest tankless system can be as much as double a traditional water heater’s cost.
- Additional labor for installation. There is a non-traditional setup for tankless models, which means installation is usually more expensive, especially if gas lines must be re-routed or vents added.
- Solar heaters are just as efficient as tankless water heaters and have a shorter period to recoup installation and purchase costs. Because these units heat your water with the power of the sun, they are more cost-effective over the long term.
- Additional maintenance may be required. In order to keep the unit’s warranty valid, annual maintenance is required, and some installations require running a water softener.