Instant or Tankless Water Heaters?
Things to Know.
Most of us have grown up with a standard tank type water heater. As such we are used to the way our hot water system works. Switching to a tankless water heater will have an affect on the way your hot water system works.
With a tank type heater, when you turn on a hot water faucet, the hot water, typically 140 degrees, immediately begins flowing through the pipe to get to your faucet. As the water travels through the cold pi pe, it cools off until the piping material warms up. That is why your hot water doesn’t instantly go from cold to hot; it has to warm up the pipes first.
Some homes have hot water circulating systems that circulate the hot water through the pipes to obtain instant hot water at every sink. Circulating systems can save a lot of water. They are wasteful of energy though, since the water heater will fire up more often to replace the heat being lost through the piping which acts like a big radiator even if the pipes are well insulated.
There are also pumping systems that pump the hot water to the fixture from the heater only when you want to use hot water and you don’t run any water down the drain. You still save the water and time, but you don’t waste water.
Tankless water heaters are being promoted as providing endless hot water and as being energy saving over traditional water heaters. While both of these facts are true, there are other things to consider.
If you are considering replacing your tank type water heater with a tankless unit, and you have a typical house, make sure you get one large enough to do the job. Since you are heating water as you use it, you must heat it much more quickly than a tank type heater so you need to add heat much more quickly.
For a gas type heater this means you will be using a lot more gas volume/ minute than with a tank type heater. Your exhaust flue may need to be larger and the gas line might need to be upgraded. For electric units you might have to have special wiring put in to handle the high amperage loads created by an electric tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters are typically much smaller than conventional tanks and are hung on the wall, resulting in a significant space savings.
Tankless water heaters can save you a modest amount of energy, typically around $20.00 – $40.00 a month. They are also eligible for home energy Grants and Rebates provided by the Government to aid in a speedy transition from the old energy consuming conventional tank to this new efficient technology.