Tankless water heaters have grown in popularity in the last decade. Homeowners are able to enjoy several advantages traditional tank units don’t offer. Although standard water heating systems are still widely used, the trend toward tankless heaters is due to savings on energy consumption and little to no corrosion on the unit itself.
Tankless water heaters work more efficiently than traditional tanks. Also referred to as an “on-demand” units, tankless water heaters are designed to provide heated water as needed, as opposed to constantly using energy to store heated water in the tank. An increasing number of homeowners are switching to tankless water heaters because of low energy usage and endless supply of hot water.
Here are a few reasons why upgrading your water heating system is the smartest choice for your home:
- Cost-Efficiency – Switching to a tankless water heater means using 30 to 50 percent less energy than traditional tank heaters, saving you about $100 or more each year on your utility bill (depending on water usage). Tankless units do not need to store 50 gallons of hot water in the tank. They work “on demand” as the hot water is required. This eliminates “standby” losses, which occur when heat starts to dissipate through the sides of the tank.
- Space Saver – On-demand units can be installed indoors or outdoors and are mounted on the wall. They take up very little space with most units measuring about one fifth the size of a traditional water heating tank.
- Reliability – The correct size of a tankless water heater can provide homes with a continuous water supply at a preset temperature level. It can deliver as much as five to seven gallons of hot water per minute immediately. There is no waiting regardless of the amount of continuous usage.
- Longer Life Span – Standard water heaters last around 6 to 13 years. However, hard or mineral-rich water can eventually solidify, form limescale, and build upon the bottom of the tank. This creates a layer between the burner and the water inside the tank. This makes the heater work harder and longer to keep the water warm enough when you need it for showering, washing dishes, or doing the laundry.
- Clean and Safe – Conventional water tank heaters can contaminate the water with accumulated rust and scale. Water contamination is not an issue with a tankless heater because these systems provide your family with clean and safe water.
- Eco-Friendly – It usually takes about two to three minutes for conventional tank heaters to produce hot water, and 20 to 30 minutes to refill the tank. Tankless water heating systems are more energy efficient because they eliminate waiting time and allowing you to enjoy a warm bath as soon as you turn on the faucet. When less water is used, it cuts down your monthly utility bills.
Electric vs. Gas Tankless Water Heater
A tankless water heater operates on either electricity or propane gas. To determine which one is the better option depends on your home and individual circumstances. What is better for one household may not be right for another.
Consider the following factors when deciding which type of tankless heater is best for your needs:
- Availability of natural gas or propane, or sufficient supply of electric to support a high-output appliance
- Installation cost
- Water usage habits and needs
- User preference
- Differential cost between gas and electricity
- Preferred installation location
Here are some comparisons between electric and gas tankless water heaters:
- Initial Cost: Gas tankless water heaters can cost between $1000 to $1200. Non-condensing units have a lower price, but are more expensive to install because of the venting requirements. Condensing units are more sophisticated and expensive to purchase, because they eliminate venting requirements. Electric models cost approximately $500 to $700.
- Installation Cost – Installing a tankless system may not be easy. It requires the expertise of a qualified professional to do it correctly, without changing too much of your home’s infrastructure.
Gas tankless water heaters are more complicated to install (specifically the non-condensing units). This is due to their complex venting and air combustion supply requirements, especially when there is limited space.
Electric tankless water heating systems are smaller in size (about one-fifth the size of the gas tankless models), and do not require ventilation for exhaust gases. They can also be installed in any location in your home (e.g. in the closet, under the sink, in a crawl space).
- Operating Cost – Although natural gas/propane is more affordable, its price tends to fluctuate more dramatically than electricity rates. Gas prices are expected to rise significantly in the future, whereas electricity prices will remain relatively stable, as they are projected to rise at a slower rate, at least in most states and provinces.
- Maintenance – Gas tankless heating systems require frequent maintenance and annual inspections by a licensed technician to assure they are operating properly. General maintenance tasks include flushing mineral scale buildup and regular cleaning of the water inlet for optimal performance. Electric models require minimal maintenance, including occasional cleaning of the water inlet screen filters and an annual flushing of the unit. Electric tankless water heaters are also easier to diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair.
- Availability of Energy Source – The availability of sufficient natural gas/propane or electricity plays a crucial factor in determining the type of tankless water heater needed for your home. Because electric tankless water heaters are high power devices, a home should have 200 AMP, 208 to 240 volts to operate. However, an upgrade may have some unexpected costs, especially in a house with inadequate electrical power supply. On the other hand, it could be unwise to install a gas tankless water heater in a house that does not have existing natural gas or propane services.
- User Preference – Some homeowners prefer using electric tankless water heaters over gas models because of the availability of energy, environmental reasons, and the feeling that they are safer than gas units. Electrical tankless models are highly energy efficient, supplying more than 98% of energy to the units to heat the water, while gas tankless water heaters supply less than 85%.
There are a number of reasons why a tankless water heater might be worth your investment. The availability of hot water “on demand” is a great perk to have in your home. Before choosing between a gas or electric tankless water heater system, carefully evaluate the pros and cons for each to determine which one best suits your needs.
For information on tankless water heating systems in Brampton, call Align Heating at (647) 217-9601. Our team of specialists offers 24/7 full emergency installation, repair and maintenance on residential, and commercial heaters. We help our customers feel warm and comfortable in the frigid fall and winter months.