Water Heaters: Should you go tankless?
By now you’ve probably heard that tankless water heaters are the way to go. Tankless, or “on demand,” water heaters heat water only when there is a demand for it. There’s no storage of hot water with the resulting heat loss so your energy costs are reduced.
When the hot water is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the heater unit. Depending on your type of tankless water heater, either an electric element or a gas burner heats the water.
Tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water, but you may need multiple heaters to adequately service your home. Otherwise, running the washing machine while taking a shower could be a problem.
When deciding on the tankless water heater you’ll need, consider where you want to supply hot water as different locations require different flow rates. Lavatories have a low flow rate while dishwashers’ flow rates are much greater. Also factor in the climate where you live as the heater will need to increase the water temperature more where the incoming water is colder.
To maximize the energy savings, use a qualified contractor for installation and follow the maintenance instructions recommended by the manufacturer. With the proper care, tankless water heaters can last 20 years, as compared to 10 to 15 for storage water heaters.