Should I Install a Tankless Water Heater? 7 Pros and Cons
Most homes in the United States have storage tank water heaters. Americans are comfortable and familiar with this technology. Unfortunately, this makes many people hesitant to even consider more energy-efficient alternatives. For example, tankless water heaters save energy while providing limitless hot water. Of course, they aren’t without their flaws, or every home in America would have one.
If you’re thinking of replacing your water heater with a tankless model, it’s important to consider all the facts. Here are seven tankless water heater pros and cons you need to know.
The Pros of Tankless Water Heaters
- Lower energy bills: The biggest reason most people switch to tankless is to enjoy lower energy bills. Supplying hot water on demand means there’s no standby heat loss, a significant contributor to high water heating costs. A tankless system can cut your monthly bill in half by quickly heating water as it flows through the unit rather than keeping water hot 24/7.
- Endless hot water: Conventional tanks take 20 to 60 minutes to reheat after using a lot of hot water to shower, run the dishwasher, or do laundry. Tankless water heaters have no reheating time because of their on-demand functionality. Therefore, your family can enjoy back-to-back showers without running out of hot water.
- Longer lifespan: The average storage tank fails within eight to 12 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters don’t operate 24 hours a day, so they experience less wear and tear and can easily last 20 years or more.
- Longer warranty period: Manufacturers know that tankless products last longer than their storage tank cousins, so most offer generous warranties for your peace of mind. Be sure to take warranty coverage into account when choosing a tankless water heater for your Fort Collins home.
- Smaller unit size: When space is at a premium, a small tankless water heater is a welcome addition. Instead of taking up significant room in your utility closet, a unit about the size of carry-on luggage mounts inconspicuously to the wall. This reduced footprint also makes it possible to install point-of-use water heaters where you need them most.
- Electric and gas models available: The flexibility to power your tankless water heater with electricity or natural gas makes it an option for just about everyone.
- Safer operation: Water heaters may not seem dangerous, but storage tanks can expose your family to harmful minerals that build up in the tank. Then, they can cause serious water damage if they rust through. The tank could even explode if the temperature and pressure relief valve malfunctions! The dangers of tankless water heaters are next to none, with a lower risk of leaks and water damage, less exposure to toxic metals, and zero risk of tank explosions.
The Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
- Higher upfront price: Gas-powered tankless water heaters are the most expensive to purchase and install. Electric tankless water heaters are less costly, but they still require a larger investment than tank water heaters. However, thanks to their longer lifespan and lower monthly bills, investing in a tankless unit should pay for itself in a few years.
- More complex installation: Part of the upfront price is due to the complexity of installing tankless water heaters. If you’re replacing a storage tank, your home will likely need ventilation and power modifications to accommodate the new system. You may even need a building permit to make the upgrade. This is why tankless water heater installation is not a DIY job. It’s important to hire a professional, not only to ensure that the job is done correctly, but to remain safe and code compliant.
- Lower flow rate: Regular tank water heaters can pump out 7.5 to 9.5 gallons per minute (gpm), enough to perform multiple hot-water tasks simultaneously. On the other hand, tankless water heaters can only deliver 2.5 to 5 gpm, limiting your hot water use to one or two activities at a time. If you have a large family, you may need to install multiple tankless water heaters side-by-side to keep up with demand. You can also dedicate point-of-use water heaters to specific areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.
- Inconsistent water temperature: Because the flow rate is lower, you’ll definitely notice if someone starts the dishwasher or washing machine while you’re taking a shower. It’s also difficult to achieve a lukewarm temperature because of the strict flow requirements to keep the heating element on.
- Slower to heat: Despite the nickname “instantaneous water heater,” tankless units do not provide “instant” hot water. In fact, it actually takes several seconds longer for the water to heat up at the tap because of the unit’s delayed reaction time when you call for hot water.
- Cold-water sandwich: If you turn off the water for more than a few seconds or decrease the flow to a trickle, the water will become cold before it feels hot again. This is due to the on-demand functionality of tankless water heaters. To avoid cold-water sandwiches, you may need to keep the water flowing even when you don’t need it, negating some of the savings you hope to enjoy.
- No hot water if the power goes out. Because tanks store hot water 24/7, you can usually squeeze one shower’s worth of hot water out of it during a power outage. This is not the case with a tankless unit.
Install a Tankless Water Heater in Fort Collins
The bottom line is that if you can make the initial purchase and tolerate a few minor inconveniences, you can expect to lower your utility bills, enjoy endless hot water, and benefit in other ways with a tankless water heater. To learn more, please reach out to Allen Service. We’re your go-to source for tankless water heater services in Fort Collins. Call us today at 970-484-4841 or contact us online to request an installation estimate or discuss your financing options.