So you’re tired of running out of hot water in the shower and want to replace that old water heater storage tank………hold on there. You may want to consider the trade-offs before you really decide that “Tankless” is the way to go for you.
I (Bill Brink) personally have one of these in my house and they really do provide endless hot water. However, are they REALLY an energy saver? Let’s take a look.
Tankless Water Heaters work by directly heating water on demand, as required. Unlike traditional hot water heaters using a storage tank, the tankless units have no storage tank and thereby, have no standby heat loss. Standby heat loss is the heat lost and energy wasted by heating water only to store it in a tank and is characteristic of traditional hot water heaters. Avoiding standby heat loss is primarily how tankless water heaters make their claim of being energy efficient.
With that being said, the old traditional-style tank heaters work at about 62% efficiency and the new tankless operate at about 80% efficiency. Overall, a household that uses the same amount of hot water can save between 30-60 % of their water heating costs assuming they do not change their water usage habits. However, that’s where things typically change!
“In my house the kids now take longer showers and the large built-in Jacuzzi tub is now used often and that’s a lot of hot water!” “Having the old tank run out of hot water was an energy- saving feature!”
The footprint of a tankless unit is much smaller and is often used to free up space for added closets in the garage or house.
Tankless units can often last 20 years as compared to a tank heater lasting 12-15 years. However, both products require cleaning.
You might have to pay for special valves and a plumber to flush out the tankless with a solution like vinegar and many recommend annual service by a qualified technician. Calcium can build up and decrease efficiency, restrict flow and cause damage. It is suggested that a good water filter be installed to address hard water conditions like we have here in San Diego.
In some cases, homeowners may be able to recover the additional installation cost of a tankless heater by increased value of the home. Tankless water heaters cost $800- $1,500 compared with $300-$500 for tank heaters. Of course Tax incentives are available for tankless; ask us for details.
Traditional water heaters with tank storage in high efficiency and high performance models are available, and have a much lower cost of installation without the need to upgrade the gas line or install new venting. For example: the A.O. Smith Vertex water heater can offset the additional cost of the heater's high performance with an annual savings of $70.00 per year with the benefit of thicker insulation, bigger burners and better corrosion-fighting anode rods.
Want to save hot water? A good idea is to change out the pre-1992 faucets and shower heads to the current 2.2 GPM models. You’ll save water and possibly the tank heater is just fine.
Brinks Features the Following Manufacturers' Hot Water Heaters and Tankless Units:
Call Brinks to Find Out Which Solution is Best for You!