Most of us are familiar with the storage tank style of water heaters, which have been around for almost 100 years. Many homes and businesses still have these kinds of water heaters, but they are prone to problems and can be very inefficient at times. In recent years, the tankless water heater has been developed, providing hot water only when it’s needed and saving people money on their bills. So what exactly are the advantages of the tankless heater when compared to the traditional storage heater?
Perhaps the main benefit of the tankless heater is that it only heats water when it’s required. By eliminating a storage tank for hot water, energy efficiency is greatly increased. A water heater accounts for around 20% of a home’s total heating costs. However, with a traditional water heater, between 20 and 40% of the energy produced is wasted as a result of radiant heat loss from the storage tank. Since there’s no storage with a tankless heater, the savings are considerable and energy isn’t wasted.
A situation we’re all familiar with is the conventional tank running out of hot water following continuous heavy use. There is then a waiting period before hot water is available again. Tankless heaters aren’t restricted by a predetermined water supply. They can provide more than four gallons of hot water per minute and no refreshing or recovery time is needed.
Safety can sometimes be a concern with hot water in the home. Traditional heaters are usually set at a very high temperature, so that after heavy use the hot water supply recovers relatively quickly. However, this also means that there can be a risk of scalding, particularly for elderly people and younger children. Digital temperature controls on tankless systems eliminate this danger and also save the homeowner money by not maintaining the water temperature at an overly hot level.
If space is a consideration, in condos and apartments for example, tankless heaters are a great alternative. Conventional water heaters take up a lot of space, whereas a tankless heater is much smaller and can be installed in just about any room, freeing up space for storage.
Since conventional hot water tanks store water and heat it for extended periods, hard water scale can form on the inside of the tank. This can eventually affect the heater’s efficiency and cause leaks, reducing the life of the tank. Tankless heaters are not as prone to these issues. They’re also more durable than traditional water heaters, which last for between six and twelve years. Tankless heaters on the other hand can be expected to last for more than 20 years.
For convenience, durability, and both energy and cost savings, the tankless water heater really is a very attractive option.