Tankless Water Heaters Pros and Cons

Tankless water heaters offer a new way to supply domestic hot water to a home. What are the pros and cons of tankless water heaters?


Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

1. On-Demand

The key difference between tankless water heaters and conventional storage water heaters is that supply hot water on-demand. This is why they are sometimes referred to as instantaneous (as opposed to continuous water heaters) or on-demand water heaters.


2. Low Recovery Time

Conventional water heaters with storage tanks, depending on the size of the storage water tank, usually have a high recovery time. This means that if you spend all the hot water you have to wait for the hot water to come back. If you’ve ever been frustrated about the shower suddenly turning cold you know what I’m talking about.

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3. Low Lag Time

Water heater tanks are usually located in the garage or basement and transporting the warm water to the places where you use it, such as the kitchen or bathrooms, could take some time. This means that some of the thermal energy will be lost before it reaches its destination.

Several units of tankless water heaters can be installed at strategic locations throughout your house, ensuring that lag-time and heat loss is minimal. For this same reason, oversizing one unit instead of multiple smaller ones is usually not a good idea


3. Energy Efficient

With a conventional hot water heater, the water inside the insulated tank is kept heated at all times slowly wasting energy. A tankless water heater, made of compact metal cabinet, does not have the same need for insulation since the water will be heated and used in real-time instead of being always on.

Combine this with on-demand, low recovery and lag time you read about above all results in a much more energy efficient system:

A typical American household with a propane-based tankless water heating system as much as 60% less energy is spent.


4. Fewer Greenhouse Gases

This of course leads to significant fewer climate gases released into the atmosphere:

Replacing conventional water heater with storage tanks with a propane-based tankless water heating system reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60% in a typical American household.


5. Simple Installation

Installation of tankless water heaters is a relatively simple operation and can be done by a professional plumbing contractor in a day.


Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters

6. House Modifications?

Units that are installed on the inside require a sealed combustion direct ventilation pipe to bring in and exhaust combustion air safely. This might require modifications of your home.


The bottom line is this: Tankless water heaters save money, energy and water – a significant contribution in reducing greenhouse gases – without sacrificing comfort or convenience for homeowners.

Note that the numbers that we present in this article are based on a typical American household with a propane-based tankless water heater. These numbers will vary with household use, local utility rates, and many other factors.

Source: Propane Education & Research Council

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