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Should You Install A Tankless Hot Water Heater?

by Ryan Wright

If your current water heater is nearing the end of its useful life, you've probably begun to investigate alternate options. One type of water heater that is soaring in popularity is the tankless heater. Will this water heater work in your home and with your lifestyle? Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the tankless hot water heater.

What is a tankless heater?

Traditional water heaters are fairly large and cylindrical. They keep a constant supply of hot water at the ready, allowing you to enjoy warm or hot water within a few seconds after turning on the tap.

However, the ability of these heaters to keep water warmed constantly comes at an energy cost. If your hot water heater is located in a basement or garage that is not well-insulated, it can require a great deal of electricity to keep the hot water at a constant temperature. In addition, if your family uses a great deal of hot water in the winter, the tank is constantly replenishing its store of water.

Tankless or "on demand" hot water heaters operate in a very different manner. These heaters don't hold warm water, but instead heat the water as soon as a faucet is turned on. Like traditional hot water heaters, tankless heaters are available in various capacities, from small heaters for those who don't use much water, to large heaters ideal for families or homes with multiple bathrooms.

What are some of the advantages of a tankless hot water heater?

Because a tankless heater heats water only as it is needed, it consumes significantly less electricity (or gas) than traditional hot water heaters. These heaters also take up much less space than other types of water heaters, and can be unobtrusively installed in a closet or laundry room. 

Tankless heaters also require less maintenance than traditional water heaters, which can often become clogged with lime or calcium deposits in homes with hard water.

What are some disadvantages of these heaters? 

Most tankless heaters, even those designed for large households, have maximum capacities -- so if your typical morning or evening routine involves doing a load of laundry or a load of dishes while one or more family members is taking a hot shower or bath, you may find your hot water in short supply. You may need to alter your routine somewhat to ensure that you're not overloading your heater.

Tankless heaters can also be pricey -- however, the heater itself and any installation costs can generally be recouped via lower utility bills over the next few months or years. Contact professionals, such as those from Wright Total Indoor Comfort, for additional information.

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