Tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only when it’s needed, making them an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. However, like all appliances, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Our master plumbing pros helped to go through some of the pros/cons that they discuss with homeowners who are curious and thinking about installing a new water heater system.
Benefits of Installing a Tankless Water Heater:
- Energy Efficiency: Because tankless heaters only heat water on demand, they can be more energy-efficient than traditional tank-style water heaters, which keep a large amount of water heated constantly. This can result in significant energy savings over time.
- Lifespan: Tankless water heaters tend to last longer than their tank-style counterparts. While a traditional water heater lasts about 10-15 years, a tankless water heater can last up to 20 years or more if properly maintained.
- Space Saving: They’re smaller and can be installed on walls, or even outdoors, freeing up valuable floor space in your home.
- Continuous Supply: They provide a continuous supply of hot water, which is ideal for filling a big hot tub or a whirlpool. They’re designed to deliver instantaneous hot water, so there’s no need to wait for a storage tank to fill up.
Potential Downsides of Installing a Tankless Water Heater
- Upfront Costs: Tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install than traditional water heaters. The initial investment can be quite high, although this may be offset by long-term energy savings and longer lifespan.
- Output Limits: If your household has a high demand for hot water, you may need multiple tankless heaters to meet this demand, especially if you want to run multiple appliances (like the dishwasher and shower) simultaneously.
- Retrofitting Challenges: If you’re switching from a traditional water heater to a tankless model, there might be significant upfront costs involved in retrofitting your home for the new system.
- Inconsistent Temperatures: Sometimes referred to as “cold water sandwich”, you might experience a sudden burst of cold water during your hot shower if another appliance starts drawing hot water from the heater.
Remember, the best choice for your home will depend on various factors, including your budget, household size, and hot water needs. It’s always a good idea to discuss these factors with a professional plumber, like the pros at Seattle Plumbing Pros, before making a decision.