Buying a tankless water heater is a smart decision. With a tankless unit installed, you can always be sure of having hot water on-demand. That’s not to mention the fact that the operational cost of a tankless unit is less than that of a tank unit which means you pay less in the long run. But that’s not to say that a tankless unit is 100% perfect. There are a number of possible issues that can be associated with installing and using one too. Here are some of the pros and cons of tankless water heaters to keep in mind before purchasing one for your home.
Pros of Tankless Water Heaters
High energy efficiency: Tankless water heaters are energy efficient especially when compared with the tank storage counterparts. A tankless unit can potentially save you about 30 to 50% on energy costs (which is about $100 per annum). This makes a tankless water heater a more economical choice as far as operational cost is concerned.
Additionally, you also get to save money on water consumption. A tank storage unit will take some time to get fully heated up and water is wasted in the process. This is not the case with a tankless water heater since it heats up water instantly and there is no waste of water at all.
Hot water on demand: one of the most notable advantages of installing a tankless water heater unit is that you can always have hot water on demand. You don’t need to wait till the tank gets refilled or wait for 30-50 gallons of water to get heated before you can have your shower. The water is heated up almost instantly which means no time is wasted at all.
Unlimited water supply: Since traditional tank units rely entirely on the water stored in the tank, it means that when the demand is high, you will most likely run out of hot water. Tankless units on the other hand can deliver an unlimited supply of hot water whenever you need it. You simply turn on the shower or faucet and you get your hot water on-demand.
Longer lifespan: an average tankless water heater has a higher lifespan compared to traditional tank units. All things being equal, your tankless water heater should work at optimum capacity for up to 20 years with regular maintenance. A tank storage unit typically lasts for 10 to 15 years.
Compact size: if you have limited space to spare or you simply prefer a portable appliance to a bulky one, then you will most likely be more inclined towards owning a tankless water heater. With a storage tank out of the way, a tankless unit is typically smaller than a tank unit of the same grade.
Cons of tankless water heaters
Installation is complicated: the installation process for a tankless water heater is more complicated compared to that of a storage tank unit. Many of them have high powered burners, special venting specifications, and a sealed venting system. Similarly, some also have special power requirement and you might have to change your gas pipes to one of larger diameter for a natural gas powered unit. Traditional tank units, on the other hand, have a less complex installation process. Bottom line is that installing a tankless unit is never a DIY project. You need to hire a professional for correct installation.
High cost of purchase and installation: compared to traditional storage tank units, tankless water heaters have a higher upfront cost. Although the maintenance cost for a tankless unit is less, a small unit can cost as much as $200 to purchase. Such units will only be able to supply water for a single faucet and will not serve a full household. You will have to spend more for a tankless unit with higher capacity. Also, since the installation process for a tankless water heater is complicated, it requires you to hire an expert which further drives the upfront cost even higher.
Fluctuating temperature: At different flow rates, a tankless water heater might not be able to deliver water at a constant temperature. This becomes a problem as it could lead to uncomfortable fluctuations in hot water temperature that your unit is able to deliver. This typically occurs in homes where the water pressure varies from one room to the other.
Power compatibility: because tankless water heaters have to heat water to the desired temperature as fast as possible, the power requirement of an electric tankless unit is usually different from that of traditional water heaters. The implication of this is that you might have to upgrade your home’s electric configuration to accommodate a tankless unit.
Like every other home appliance, there are several pros and cons to installing a tankless water heater. There are a lot of factors to consider and you should weigh both sides of the argument before making a decision to install a tankless unit.