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Water Heaters, Traditional vs Tankless

Water Heaters, Traditional vs Tankless

August 18th, 2016

Heating the water in your home can account for almost 30% of your home’s energy bills, so it’s no wonder many of you are wondering if making the switch from a traditional water heater tank, to a smaller tankless unit is the right move for you.

So let’s start with the basic differences between the units:  a traditional water heater is basically a large container that holds anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 gallons of water and continually keeps that water at a heated temperature to use whenever you turn on the taps.  A tankless water heater is a smaller unit mounted to the wall that provides hot water on demand.  Meaning when you turn on the tap to hot the water supply runs through the unit and instantly heats the water to the desired temp.  Manufactures also promise an endless supply of water as unlike the traditional unit, as it can create as much hot water as you want and never runs out.

You can start to see right away why the Tankless Water Heater could potentially be more efficient, as it only heats the water you need, when you need it.   Although we agree this is a good choice for some homeowners, they aren’t for everyone.  Here are some things you should know before considering to make the switch:


Up-front costs are higher
Tankless water heaters can cost upwards of $1000 more compared to the regular storage-tank types. Tankless models need electrical outlets for their fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new ventilation system. That can bring average installation costs to approximately 30% more than the regular traditional units


Water runs hot and cold

Inconsistent water temperatures can be a common complaint we hear from customers. When you turn on the faucet, tankless models feed in some cold water to gauge how big a temperature rise is needed. If there's cool water lingering in your pipes, you'll receive a momentary burst of cold between the old and new hot water. And there’s a chance tankless water heater's burner might not ignite when you try to get just a trickle of hot water.  Tankless water heaters do not deliver hot water instantaneously. It takes time to heat the water to the desired temperature, and just like traditional water heaters, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out. Tankless models' electric controls mean you'll also lose hot water during a power outage.


Tankless units need more care

We recommend that tankless models be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless models. We also recommend installing a water softener if you have hard water. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty.


So if you are considering to make the switch, make sure you are aware of the Pros and Cons to ensure it is right for you and your home!

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