If you’re thinking of switching from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless water heater, you’ve probably got some questions. The team here at Herrmann Services has answers. We put together this list of frequently asked questions to hopefully address your biggest concerns. If you still have questions after reading this, just give us a call and one of our plumbing experts will be glad to answer them all.
How does a tankless water heater work?
When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the tankless water heater. A gas burner heats the water, which then travels to the faucet. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.
What are the advantages of a tankless water heater?
The biggest advantage is the endless hot water supply. Because a tankless water heater heats water on demand, as long as you have a cold water supply, it can change it into hot water continuously. This allows you to have more freedom because you don’t have to plan your activities around your existing water heater’s limitations.
Another advantage is that it saves space. Because a tankless water heater is about the size of a carry-on suitcase, it doesn’t take up room in your basement. It is mounted on a wall saving floor space.
Energy savings – According to Energy.gov, for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional tank water heaters. ENERGY STAR® estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater.
Longevity – on average, a tankless water heater lasts 20-25 years. A traditional tank water heater 10-15 years.
Does a tankless water heater supply instant hot water from the tap?
No. Whether you have a tank or a tankless style, you still have to wait for the water that is in the pipes from the previous use to run through before you feel the hot water after it. The only way to get instant hot water is to install a circulation pump
Do tankless water heaters require maintenance?
Yes. But they are very low maintenance. They require an annual or a bi-annual flush to remove calcium from hard water. If you have a water softening system, you may not require any maintenance.
With a regular water heater, it is recommended that you drain it and flush sediment buildup from the tank at least once a year. Sediment in your tank can affect hot water quality and also reduce efficiency because the layer of buildup insulates the burner from the water.
How many years does a hot water heater last vs.a tankless style?
As a general rule, a tank style water heater will last, on average, 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters will last 20-25 years. This is mainly due to the fact that they have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years.
Are there downsides to a tankless water heater?
There are few downsides to a tankless water heater. The biggest one is that it is more expensive than a traditional tank-style water heater. The average cost with installation: Tank – $1,200 (40 to 50-gallon tank), Tankless – $5,000.
The only other downside is that when you lose power, you also lose the ability to make hot water. With a tank, you will at least have some hot water for a little while until it cools down. However, we can install a battery backup for a computer to provide enough electricity for short term use.