Tankless water heaters are just what they sound like—hot water on demand without the need for a tank. Instead of heating water and then storing it in a large tank until you’re ready to use it, a tankless water heater heats on-demand, allowing for a steady flow of hot water whenever you need it. Tankless water heaters definitely offer some advantages over tanked heaters, including increased energy efficiency, a constant supply of hot water, and the ability to have multiple units in one house to maximize hot water production (a good idea if you have a busy kitchen or more than one bathroom!)
Tankless water heaters can be installed just about anywhere—because there’s no tank, it takes up little or no floor space. Typically, however, the unit will be installed in your basement. Many homeowners will have it mounted to the wall in the same location as their previous tank water heater to reduce the installation costs of extra plumbing.
The unit itself consists of a gas-powered or electric heating coil surrounding the water pipe that activates when the hot water tap is turned on. Cold water is diverted to this pipe and is heated on demand. This way, hot water is available shortly after activating the tap, at a flow rate that easily manages one or possibly multiple outputs at the same time.
Deciding on the right water heating system for your home will depend heavily on your household’s needs. One of the biggest pros of a tankless water heater is that it’s more energy-efficient, because it only uses energy to heat the water you actually use, as opposed to heating in bulk and then storing. If your family uses fewer than 41 gallons of hot water per day, a tankless water heater can be up to 34% more energy efficient than a conventional tank water heater, and if you install a tankless heater at each tap, that could increase to up to 50% more efficiency. The savings on energy—and therefore on your energy bill—are even more marked if you choose electric water heaters rather than gas; gas heaters use a bit more energy to power a constant pilot light, though they can be more effective at immediate heat production.
Because there is so much variety in the size and style of tankless water heaters, you are able to customize a system that works best for your household, whether that’s numerous small units throughout the home or a larger, whole-house system. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation or putting in a new bathroom, it’s a good time to assess your hot water needs as well and think about upgrading to a modern system. Regardless of the configuration you choose, the spatial footprint is much smaller than a tank water heater, which means it won’t take up as much floor space, freeing up even more valuable space in your home.
Tankless water heaters often have a higher initial investment than conventional boiler water heaters. However, the longevity and efficiency of tankless water heaters will contribute to offsetting the initial cost. If you’re on municipal water, it’s likely that your water bill will be lower since your water usage with a tankless water heater will be reduced. Additionally, you can expect to see savings on your energy bill. If paying for a new water heater upfront is preventing you from making the upgrades you need, ask your contractor if they offer financing options so you can have hot whatever whenever you need it for low monthly payments, instead.
Depending on the choice of gas vs. electric heaters, it is worth noting that a power outage may impact your ability to access hot water. This is nothing new if you have had a conventional boiler system in the past, however, it should be noted that tanked water heaters often retain a small supply of hot water that can, for short outages, make the difference between a warm or a cold shower. That being said, that same quality—retaining a supply of heated water available at all times—also contributes to less energy efficiency, as maintaining a heated supply requires consistent power use.
Whether you choose to go tankless or tank, a qualified contractor from our network of trusted pros can help you make the right decision for your home, install your new water heater, and make sure you get the best deal possible.
Interested in finding out more about your water heating options? At MyHomeUpgrade.ca, our team of expert advisors can help you explore your options, provide you with a free on-the-spot estimate for your project, then connect you with a recommended contractor in your area to do the work. Call us at 1.833.527.1149 to get started and start renovating your home like an expert, today!
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