According to the Department of Energy, water heating accounts for as much as 25 percent of the average home’s energy expenses – and in some cases even more. As a result, more homeowners are on the lookout for energy-conserving hot water solutions.
What is a tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters (also known as instantaneous or demand water heaters) are currently the most popular energy-efficient, eco-friendly option for water heating.
Like the name suggests, tankless water heaters are able to provide an almost endless stream of hot water while occupying a much smaller space than traditional tank units.
Unlike a conventional tank that maintains a reservoir of heated water 24 hours a day, a tankless water heater only heats the water you use – which translates into lower overall energy expenditures.
Some things to consider before going tankless…
Cold Climates – Not all electric tankless water heaters perform well in cold weather. A professional with experience installing tankless units will be able to identify the best water heater for your household needs.
Energy-Efficiency – Not all tankless water heaters are energy efficient. According to Energy Star, the most efficient unit has an energy factor of about .67, but some go as high as .95. However, because tankless units aren’t in use 24/7 they still result in less energy use than more efficient conventional water heaters.
Total Cost – An average tankless unit costs between $700-$1,500, compared to $300 or less with a conventional water heater.
Power Outages – Tankless water heaters still need electrical power to work – so if you experience a lot of power outages, it might not be the best fit for your home (unless you find cold showers refreshing).
Venting – Proper venting is essential to save on energy. To operate at peak efficiency, tankless units should be installed close to gas lines. This may require retrofitting to accommodate venting flue.
Home Size – If you live in a large home, you may need more than one tankless unit to meet your water heating needs.
Professional Plumber – Because there are so many nuances involved with the installation process, you should always hire a licensed plumber to install your new tankless water heater.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons