When you are planning for a new water heating system for your home, you might come across the tankless water heater as an option. Although such heaters have been around for decades, they have gained a lot of popularity only in recent years, thanks to their energy efficiency, long operating life, and smaller footprint. However, like all other home appliances, tankless water heaters also have their pros and cons that you should consider before making a purchase decision.
Pros of a tankless water heater
1. Energy efficiency: Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than their traditional counterparts with storage tanks. They heat water on demand, so there is no standby heat loss, which can be as high as 20% in the case of storage tank heaters. This translates to significant savings in energy bills, particularly if you use hot water sparingly or have a small family.
2. Long life: Tankless water heaters have a longer operating life than conventional heaters, often up to 20 years or more, compared to only 8-12 years for storage tank heaters.
3. Space-saving: Unlike traditional water heaters with large storage tanks, tankless water heaters are compact and can be wall-mounted in a small space, freeing up valuable floor space in your home.
4. Endless hot water: Tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water, on demand. You will never run out of hot water, even if you have a large family or many guests.
Cons of a tankless water heater
1. High upfront cost: Tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install than storage tank heaters, costing up to 2-3 times more.
2. Limited flow rate: A single tankless water heater might not provide enough hot water flow rate to meet the needs of a large family or many fixtures running simultaneously. Consequently, you may need to install multiple units for adequate hot water supply, adding to the cost.
3. Additional installation requirements: Because tankless water heaters are powered by either electricity or gas, additional installation requirements must be met to ensure safety and proper performance. These requirements can add to the overall cost and complexity of installation.
4. Maintenance requirements: Tankless water heaters require periodic maintenance, including descaling and flushing to prevent mineral buildup, which can affect the efficiency and performance of the heater. This maintenance requirement can also add to the overall cost of ownership.
In conclusion, tankless water heaters offer a wide range of benefits over conventional storage tank heaters, ranging from energy efficiency to space-saving, to a continuous supply of hot water. However, they have their downsides, particularly their high upfront cost and limited flow rate, which should be carefully considered before deciding on a purchase. Ultimately, the decision to install a tankless water heater depends on your household’s hot water needs, budget, and long-term goals.