Let’s Talk “Tankless”
Remember when you’d get into the shower after your older brother had finally – finally! – vacated the bathroom only to find out he’d sucked up all the hot water?
Yes, we do too. It’s a rite of passage for all of us who grew up with a hot water tank in the basement. But did you know that this particular industry has come a long way since then?
Introducing the Tankless Water Heater
If you’re building or renovating your home, you may want to take a look at a tankless water heater – yes! We do that. But be aware, tankless water heaters are not for everyone. Before you make a decision, get the facts.
Electrical vs. Gas Fired
There are two kinds of tankless water heaters, which as their name implies, heat your home’s water as you need it. Often called “on demand” heaters, these nifty units can either heat the water for the entire home or for a single fixture, depending on what you choose.
Tankless water heaters are either electrical or gas fired. At Instant Plumbing, we prefer the Naiven brand of gas heaters. Gas fired units must be vented outside and require a larger gas line than a conventional tank heater – make sure you check these factors out before making your decision. Electrical units need to be hardwired into your home’s electrical panel so there may be implications for your budget if your existing service isn’t large enough. Be sure to do your homework to avoid surprises down the line.
Pros . . .
What tankless heaters do very well is supply hot water as you need it – and not more than you need. Manufacturing claims vary across brands but greater energy efficiency – no need to store water and keep it hot – is the biggest selling feature for this new technology. And the good news doesn’t stop there. As they say, “But wait! There’s more!” You’ll also:
• Save space. With no bulky tank in the basement, you’ll finally have a spot for Junior’s hockey equipment and the treadmill you’ve been using as a clothes dryer.
• Longer lifespan. Again, manufacturing claims vary but tankless water heaters do last longer than the older tank-style. In some cases, over twice as long.
. . . and Cons
You knew this was coming. There are a few factors to make sure you consider as part of your decision.
• They’re more expensive to install. Ask yourself, how do you really use hot water? Are you empty nesters with modest needs? Or do you have a bunch of kids, a dog that regularly slobbers on the couch cushions and boot prints on the bedspreads? Are you running a dishwasher and a washing machine at the same time? While you take a shower? Your actual needs are the number one consideration.
• Need Consistent Water Softening. If you don’t currently use a water softener, your tankless water heater could be headed for trouble. You need to keep the elements inside the heater free from scale and build up for best results. A water softener is essential.
• If the power fails, you’re out of hot water. Because there is no storage tank, there is no hot water if you lose hydro. Even the gas-fired units require some electricity to work. No juice means no. . . um, juice.
Is A Tankless Water Heater Right For You?
Making a decision like this is definitely not something to take lightly. Give us a call – with over 40 years of experience, there is nothing we haven’t seen and no question we haven’t heard. We know this technology and we will absolutely be able to give you a clear, fair and unbiased opinion.