Spurred by rising utility costs and conservation issues, homeowners across the country are turning to tankless water heaters for relief. It's important to know the differences between tankless and conventional storage tank water heaters, in order to understand why one may be better for your situation than the other.
Conventional water heaters, the type you likely grew up using and probably still use today, employ a tank from 20 to 80 gallons in capacity. They’re powered by either gas or electricity and have relatively simple operations. They keep water heated in the tank, reheating as needed, regardless of whether anyone is using it. This leads to the inefficiency of standby heat loss, especially in older models that don’t come insulated.
Tankless, or on-demand, water heaters come in different sizes, too, with the smaller models sometimes referred to as point-of-use tankless water heaters. They don’t keep heated water in a storage tank but rather use gas or electricity to heat water within the pipes before it gets delivered to your faucet, shower, dishwasher or whatever. Tankless units are often installed near where the demand for hot water is situated, for example under a sink. Consequently, no water is wasted while you’re waiting for the hot water to arrive, and power is used only when the actual heating occurs.
Tankless water heaters might not provide all the needed hot water for high or multiple usage situations, however. In those case, you may need one whole-house tankless unit supplemented by one or more point-of-use tankless heaters. Besides the cost of the individual tankless unit, installation and plumbing costs add to the cost. With gas models, venting must be taken into consideration. After the start-up costs are recovered, the operation of the tankless system can save utility dollars over the long run.
Ideally, tankless models are more efficient for small household but they work very well as heaters for remote bathrooms, hot tubs, or just devoted to a dishwasher or washing machine. Otherwise, if you have a larger household, you’ll likely need more than one.
For more information on tankless water heaters, please call us at (503) 994-9924 or contact us online.