Tankless Water Heaters and Your Gas Bill
Tankless water heaters offer “on demand” water-eating service to the home. Often, they are confused with instant hot water heating. While tankless water heaters do provide endless hot water, they do not deliver instant hot water to every tap. They are still bound by their tank-style counterparts in that if a tap is further away, it may still take some time for hot water to reach the tap.
Many homeowners opt to install a recirculating pump or instant hot water heater to assist in saving time when heating water and delivering it to larger homes.
So how does a tankless water heater affect your natural gas utility bill? It is all in the way in which a tankless water heater functions.
So How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
Tankless water heaters heat water only when it is needed; there is no storage system constantly heating water that is not in use. This makes them more energy-efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters.
When you turn on the hot water faucet or shower, your home's pressurized water flows through the tankless unit and is heated by a gas burner or electric heating element. As the water heats, it is then circulated to the fixture in use, and in reality will continue to deliver hot water for as long as the tap is in use. This is what makes tankless water heating systems more efficient.
In terms of their impact on gas and utility bills, tankless water heaters can help reduce energy consumption and save homeowners money in the long run. Because they only heat water when it is needed, tankless systems use less energy overall than traditional storage tank systems, which must maintain a constant supply of hot water.
How Much Do Tankless Water Heaters Cost?
The initial cost of a tankless water heater can be higher than traditional tank systems as installation may require modifications to your home's plumbing and/or electrical systems. When converting to a tankless water heater, uniform plumbing code requires a larger size gas pipe, and depending on the home’s electrical, some electrical upgrades may be in order.
When deciding on a tankless versus a tank-style water heater, homeowners will want to consider current energy consumption uses. Tankless energy savings come from using less natural gas to heat water but still consume natural resources.
Ultimately, the potential energy savings and other benefits of a tankless water heater depend on a variety of factors, including household hot water usage, the size and type of unit, and local energy rates. A professional plumbing technician will perform a thorough analysis of the homeowner's needs and design the perfect system to meet expectations and budget(s).
What Are Some Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater?
There are many different benefits to a tankless water heater versus a traditional storage tank. Benefits for one homeowner may be different than another, so it is always recommended to consider what is desired from a home’s water heating system. Most homeowners find the following highlights of a tankless system to be worth the switch.
Endless Hot Water: For larger households, tankless water heaters make great sense. Since they only heat water as it is being used, and do not rely on a finite storage amount of water, a home can support multiple hot showers, loads of laundry, dishwashing, and more. Homeowners can utilize as much or as little hot water as desired.
Energy Efficient: Tankless water heaters can save homeowners money if used wisely. Since they do not continuously heat water that is not in use, tankless water heaters are very efficient.
Space Saving: Tankless water heaters are about the size of a small suitcase and can be installed on an interior or exterior wall making them great for smaller spaces where a large tank-style heater would dominate the area.
Longer Lasting: Tankless water heaters typically last longer than traditional water heaters, with an average lifespan of 15-20 years compared to 10-12 years for storage tank systems. Additionally, tankless systems can have components repaired or replaced much easier than traditional storage tanks.
Overall, a tankless water heater can provide long-term cost savings and improved performance compared to a traditional storage tank system, making it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.