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Ask Charles: What you need to know about tankless water heaters

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There is nothing like a warm shower to start or end your day. And there is nothing as unexpected as a burst of cold water during that shower. Typically, water in a home heats with the assistance of a storage tank. The water is heated using energy, either gas or electricity. The heating occurs at a relatively slow rate, and the water and heat are stored for later use. However, a disadvantage to a storage tank over time is that it once the water cools down, it requires activation of the heating system to take place and time to heat that water back up again, costing money and energy.

As an alternative to storage tanks, many people decide to go the path of tankless water heaters, and there are many benefits to making this decision.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Tankless water heaters work when you turn on the tap for hot water and water is drawn through a pipe to the unit. Along the way, water heats through an electric or gas element. Because the water isn’t stored in advance, the hot water doesn’t run out, and therefore, hot water gets delivered at a rate of 2-5 gallons a minute. There is no real noticeable difference in the way you would use hot water in your home when you use a tankless water heater, except for some of the unique benefits.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

When you use a tankless water heater, your water is only heated on demand. Therefore, a tankless water heater eliminates the need for a storage tank along with any standby losses that come with consistently maintaining a tank full of hot water. Since there is no tank to store water, the risk of tank leaks and water damage is eliminated. Beyond minimizing water loss, tankless water heaters reduce the risk of energy waste because you don’t have to let the water run as you wait for the water to heat up.

Additionally, most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of about 20 years which is much longer than comparable tank water heaters. Tankless water heaters are compact in size, so they take up less space than a conventional water tank.

Downsides to Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters have many benefits, but there are disadvantages that you must know. Sometimes tankless water heaters usually cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous use, such as if someone is taking a shower and doing laundry at the same time. If a tankless water heater doesn’t have a modulation system in place for temperature control, hot water may not be a constant and can fluctuate uncomfortably. Some homes aren’t able to have tankless water heaters because they must be vented to the outdoors either with a vent or conventional exhaust flue, and they don’t have that kind of supporting architecture.

If you are interested in learning more about tankless water heaters or if you are ready to install one in your own home, contact Charles today. Call (315) 457-6911 today!