Tankless water heaters are innovative, energy-efficient water heating solutions for today’s homes. These are great additions for homes with busy families that need enough hot water to do many loads of laundry, start the dishes, bathe kids, and still have enough hot water to enjoy a relaxing shower of your own. They are also great for vacation homes, remote bathrooms or hot tubs that only need to heat water on demand to help save on energy costs.
Traditional water heaters use a large storage tank to keep water heated at a certain temperature in anticipation of needing it at some point. Sometimes you can find yourself running out of hot water or with a large energy bill if you happen to use a lot of hot water regularly. Tankless water heaters heat the water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through the pipe into the unit where a gas burner or electric element heats the water instantly.
Before buying a tankless water heater, consider the size, fuel type and availability, energy efficiency, and cost of the unit you are thinking about. A local plumber can help you answer these questions and direct you to your best option. Makers of gas-fired tankless water heaters claim their products can cut your energy costs up to half over regular storage water heaters. To see if this will be true for you, estimate the water heater’s energy efficiency (EF) and annual operating cost. Then, compare costs with other more and/or less energy-efficient models to help you determine the energy savings and payback period of investing in a more energy-efficient model, which will probably have a higher purchase price.