Tankless Water Heaters: Are They Right for Your Home?

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If you need a new water heater or are looking for ways to reduce energy bills, a tankless water heater may suit your needs. Tankless heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water without a storage tank, eliminating standby energy loss common to storage water heaters. There are several pros and cons to consider in deciding whether a tankless model is right for your home.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Unlike traditional water heaters that heat and store a large volume of water, a tankless water heater heats water on demand. A small box contains coils that route cold water through the unit. Systems are available as natural gas, propane or electric. When a hot water tap is turned on, water flows through the device. In a gas unit, a burner heats the copper tubing as the water passes through. In an electric unit, heat exchanger coils heat the water. The hot water exits through plumbing pipes routed to basins, showers or appliances.

Gas and propane models have a higher rate of flow than electric models, generally, 2 to 5 gallons per minute for gas compared to 2 gallons per minute for electric. Tankless systems are available as point-of-use and whole-house heaters. Point-of-use units are smaller and heat enough water for one or two sources. They can be installed near plumbing outlets, reducing the amount time it takes the water to reach your faucet. Electric models are efficient in this size. Whole-house units are generally gas and can heat enough water for multiple outlets including dishwashers, washing machines, and multiple bathrooms.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Tankless Heaters

Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of energy usage in an average American household. Demand water heating systems can cut energy usage for heating water by up to 50 percent, depending on groundwater temperatures, the target temperature for heated water and the flow rate. In western Arizona and eastern Nevada, groundwater temperatures are warmer than in northern areas of the U.S., so water reaches the desired temperature faster and uses less energy to do so.

Tankless systems cost more than conventional tank heaters but often last more than 20 years. Installation costs may be high if gas fittings must be changed to accommodate the new system. Using a professional company with experience in gas appliance installation is recommended to ensure that the unit is safely installed and vented.

About Ambient Edge

Ambient Edge is a full-service heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company serving Las Vegas, Kingman, Lake Havasu and nearby communities. We maintain offices in Kingman, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada, so that we can serve you more quickly. Our services include:

Installing a new water heater includes assessing your water needs and determining the best way to distribute hot water to outlets throughout your house. Our recommendations for placement, size, and type of systems accommodate your budget and lifestyle. If you would like to know more about tankless systems or other products, check out the heating and air conditioning products we carry.

 

Image via Flickr by roger_mommaerts