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Although storage water heaters are the most common type of home water heating system, tankless water heaters are quickly rising in popularity. Why? Tankless (a.k.a "on demand" or "instant") hot water heaters are energy efficient and can help you save money. Unlike storage water heaters, tankless water heaters only produce hot water when it's needed. This helps reduce your carbon footprint and lower your monthly energy bills. Contact us for a Free Estimate today!
Unlike a conventional storage water heater, an on demand water heater operates without a storage tank. When you or someone in your household turns on a hot water tap -- whether to take a shower, wash clothes, or wash dishes — cold water flows into the unit, and then a heating element (either electric or gas) heats the cold water for you and your family to use. While a storage water heater keeps up to 80 gallons of water heated at ~130 degrees Fahrenheit, an on demand water heater only heats the water needed for immediate use.
Tankless water heaters have a number of advantages over traditional storage water heaters. For starters, they are more energy efficient in that they do not produce the standby heat losses commonly associated with storage water heaters. On demand water heaters also deliver a steady supply of hot water, meaning that you don't have to wait for a storage tank to fill up before use. The average family uses about 40 gallons of water per day. For these homeowners, a tankless water heater is up to 33% more efficient than a storage water heater.
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Another advantage of tankless water heaters is that they tend to last far longer than storage water heaters. On average, a storage water heater lasts between 10 and 15 years, while a demand water heater can run efficiently for more than 20 years. What's more, tankless water heaters have replaceable parts that can easily be repaired or replaced by a certified technician. With the proper routine maintenance, a tankless water heater could last for decades!
This all sounds great, but how can you be sure that an on demand water heater is the right choice for your home? The one downside of tankless water heaters is that the nature of their design limits the flow rate of hot water. This means that, if your family often requires the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower at the same time, a tankless water heater may not be able to keep up. In general, tankless water heaters produce between two to five gallons of hot water per minute. This often isn't enough for large families.
Fortunately, there is a great workaround that can actually result in even more energy savings. If you have a large family (with greater than average hot water needs), technicians will recommend installing more than one tankless water heater in your home. You can install a separate demand water heater for each major hot-water appliance (i.e. washing machine, dishwasher), or you can connect two or more tankless water heaters in parallel for concurrent hot water demands. The choice is yours! For large homes with increased hot water needs, installing a tankless water heater at every hot water outlet in your home could reduce your energy usage as much as 50%!
Although most on demand water heaters have a higher upfront cost than storage water heaters, on demand water heaters generally have much smaller operating costs, saving potentially thousands of dollars over the life of the unit. Before purchasing a demand water heater for your home, talk with a certified technician about size, fuel type, and energy factor options. Larger families with greater hot water needs require larger tankless water heaters with a maximum temperature rise and flow rate. This will ensure that hot water reaches you when you need it.
Also inquire about fuel type. There are numerous water heater options, including electric water heaters, gas water heaters, propane water heaters, and solar energy water heaters. And finally, talk with your water heater technician about the energy efficiency (i.e. energy factor) of the system you choose. A tankless water heater's energy factor (EF) specifies the unit's overall energy efficiency based on its recovery efficiency (how efficiently the water is heated), standby losses (the percentage of energy lost from storing the water [this does not apply to tankless water heaters]), and cycling losses (heat that is lost as water circulates through the hot and cold water lines or pipes).
If you're experiencing storage water heater problems and are considering complete water heater replacement, now is the time to take a close look at a demand water heater system. A tankless water heater could save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy expenses, plus it's an eco-friendly way to provide hot water to your household. Of course, there are other ways to reduce water and energy bills. For example, you can install a low-flow shower head, or you can wash clothes in cold water. Combined with a demand water heater, these two simple, eco-friendly strategies can significantly lower your water and energy bills!
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