Understanding the Pros and Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

Blog | August 7th, 2019

Not to brag, the Pros are always going to win out over the Cons when a post focuses on Tankless Water Heaters. Being as objective and unbiased as possible, an impartial third-party can’t help but point a tankless appliance’s finest feature, a gift for discharging on-demand hot water. Better yet, there’s the knowledge that substantial energy savings are drawing near. Come on, let’s look a little deeper into the roots of these features.

Size Reduction Benefits

This is an easy one to figure out. There’s no storage tank inside the equipment casing, so it can be reduced in size. Made smaller, tankless water heaters are wall mountable. Sure, there’s a combustion chamber or electric element, plus a heat exchanger and a compact package of electronic modules inside the appliance, but there’s still no need for a large-capacity tank, so the gear shrinks down to accommodate smaller spaces.

The Positive Impact of On-Demand Heating

Using alternative water heating systems, interminable seconds are spent testing the temperature of the tap water. Waiting to get into a shower, somebody shivers while cloaked in a thick towel. It’s taking ages for the hot water to come through, says the impatient bather. Switching out the tanked system for a tankless unit, a high-velocity stream of cold water travels directly to a heat exchanger, which is warmed by a wrapped electric element or a gas burner. There’s no discharge-buffering water tank located in the middle of this active heating circuit, so hot water exits the system instantaneously.

All About High-Volume Drawbacks

Again, on-demand equipment is compact. This means it’s best suited as a shower or hot water tap source heater. The explanation for this rare negative point is fairly obvious. A heat exchanger does indeed provide instant hot water, but that mechanism works directly as in any-given-moment process. For a system that’ll heat baths, showers, laundry equipment and more, conventional tanked models are still the go-to solution here. There are tankless systems that can deliver those kinds of high-capacity hot water flow rates, but they’re prohibitively expensive, unfortunately.

Finally, tankless water heating systems are more expensive than other options, but the higher equipment and installation costs are soon offset. This is a Con that’s outweighed by the appliance’s lower running costs. Simply put, after running an on-demand system for a year or two, it earns back its initial outlay costs. By providing much lower than average energy expenditure rates, that initial drawback is converted into a major selling point. Incidentally, while still highlighting installation concerns, tankless units do require special venting requirements, so some light construction work will be necessary when installing that compact housing.

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