If your home's traditional gas or electric water heater is on its last leg, you might already be in the process of exploring your options for replacement. Rather than replacing your old one with another similar model, however, you might want to explore upgrading to a tankless water heater. By having a better idea of how tankless water heaters operate and the potential pros/cons of installing one, you can confidently decide whether this is the right choice for your household.
1. What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
The main difference between a traditional water heater and a tankless water heater, as the name implies, is that a tankless option does not require a large (usually 40-50-gallon) tank for storing heated water. Instead, a tankless water heater warms up water on-demand using either a gas burner or an electric heating element. The end result is an endless, on-demand supply of warm water throughout your home.
2. Advantages and Potential Drawbacks
There are many reasons to consider making the switch. For starters, you'll never have to worry about running out of hot water again. This is a common issue in households with traditional water heaters, especially in households with multiple people. Because a tankless water heater provides hot water on-demand, there's no need to space out showers.
A tankless water heater also saves space because there is no need for a large storage tank. In fact, most tankless water heaters can be mounted on an existing wall and thus take up no floor space whatsoever, This can free up valuable square footage in your home for additional storage.
For most homeowners, the main drawback is the cost; installation of a tankless heater can cost up to three times more than a traditional water heater. Many homes require some retrofitting to install a tankless water heater, as special ventilation is required. This can be costly, as the labor is time-consuming.
3. Deciding on a Water Heater for Your Home
If you can get past the higher initial cost of water heater installation, having a tankless water heater added to your home can be a great investment. This is especially true if you plan to stay in your home for many more years. If you decide to go this route, just be sure to find a local, reputable plumbing contractor who has plenty of experience with installing and servicing this type of water heater.