We’ve all grown used to that big tank in our laundry rooms. You know the ones- about waist high, neutral in color and covered in slightly disturbing warning stickers. (To be fair, third degree burns are no joke!) Stored inside these drums is an ever-circulating, ever-warming supply of hot water. It waits, ready to flood through your pipes to whichever faucet happens to call upon it. As technology has advanced, the water-heating world wasn’t left behind. That’s precisely why now, in newer homes and remodels, you may find that those big water tanks have gone missing. There’s no tank-nabbing conspiracy here - just an efficiency-driven new way to fulfill your water-heating needs.
We’re talking about tankless water heaters.
Tankless Water Heaters: Pros and Cons
Prevents Standby Heat Loss.
Tankless water heaters differ from the old standards, mainly in their heating methods. As you read before, standard water heaters keep a tank of hot water on-call at all times. The new, tankless brethren use high-powered heat exchangers (powered by gas burners or electric elements) to heat your water only when you ask for it. This prevents the waste of the energy used to constantly reheat a tank of water (standby heat loss) and provides a substantial increase in energy efficiency.
According to The U.S. Department of Energy, homes that use 41 or less gallons of hot water daily can see a 24%-34% increase in efficiency. Even homes that use up to 81 gallons will still see an 8%-14% increase in efficiency. This can mean huge savings. (Especially because heating your water accounts for at least 15% of your home’s energy use.)
Safe & Green Option
Standard water heaters need proper maintenance for safe operation. Those water drums have been known to leak or even explode. Tankless systems remove the risk of water damage and the dangers associated with a bursting drum. While whole house systems are usually propane or natural gas, the less-expensive electric models are the more popular option for tankless units. Both energy efficient and green, electric tankless water heaters don’t produce any greenhouse gases.
Initial and Installation Costs
While you’re sure to save money on your energy bills, the savings are definitely long term. The initial costs of a tankless water heater far surpass that of a standard unit. Installing a gas tankless system can require homeowners to upgrade to their natural gas line and the install an expensive venting system. An electric system may require an additional circuit to handle the amount of energy needed to run them.
Efficient San Antonio tankless heaters will produce lower numbers on your energy bills, but can raise your home’s overall water consumption. This is due to the lag time between when you turn your faucet and when your water is finally hot. Your water will be running for a longer amount of time before it achieves a shower-friendly temperature.
During a power outage, a standard gas water heater will still have a supply of hot water for your home and doesn’t require electricity to continue to heat and distribute water (the thermostat is controlled by it’s own power supply). Conversely, homeowners with both electric and gas tankless water heaters will be without hot water during a power outage.