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Why Consider a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Jun 6, 2008
Tankless water heaters are moving into the mainstream as more homeowners calculate the costs and see the advantage of dumping their traditional water heater. Why should you think about installing a tankless hot water heater?

There are several pros and few cons in using an instantaneous, or deman water heater. One factor is an increase in your energy effeciency, and a the lowering of your energy bill. This is because a traditional hot water heater is always turning on in order to heat the water in the tank, whether you are home or not. It doesn't matter if you are using hot water at all, as the water cools and energy is lost. The hot water heater has to turn on to heat it back up.

This is referred to as standby loss, the energy escaping from the water sitting there in the tank. Households generally will save about 20 percent off their monthly water heating bill by switching to a tankless hot water heater. Current estimates say the water heating part of your energy costs about 15 percent of your total energy used, so you can see how this is a quite a monthly cost.

Another consideration with a tankless hot water system is access to unlimited hot water. The heating in a tankless hot water heater is activated by the flow of water, so when your house demands hot water, the tankless heater can produce it for hours on end if need be. The only limit is due to the size of the tankless heater you install. Whole house water heaters can offer between 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. Quite a difference that a 35-50 gallon traditional water heater in most homes.

There are two kinds of tankless hot water systems, gas and electric. Electric tankless water heaters are usually small, and designed for a point of use installation. That means is can be used for one small area in the house, like a kitchen sink or a washer. Gas tankless water heaters cost more and require a different installataion. They can be used for the entire house, if a large enough heater is installed. On demand water heaters like this are powered by propane or natural gas, and should be professionally installed.

Your cost consideration is another factor. Tankless hot water heaters usaully cost 2 to 4 times as much as a regular hot water heater. Install fees are higher too, and this should be added in to your budget. But the higher start-up cost is offset over the years by a lower energy fees. Tankless hot water dealers can add up the total costs for you based on your current energy bill. Dealers can also give the homeowner information on what the manufacturers such as Titan, Noritz, Rinnia and Bosch have as far as various units. Most households save $55-110 every year when using a tankless hot water system designed for the whole house.

The nice thing with most tankless systems is that they will last more than 20 years. That is another advantage over traditional water heaters, which have a life span of 15 years at most. This is certainly another thing to consider when looking into tankless hot water heater.
About the Author
Aaron Wilson is a plumber with 10 years experience helping people with tankless water heaters.
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