Do I Need a Tankless Water Heater (in my Edmonton Home)?
As the technology of tankless and on-demand water heaters has improved, more and more people are considering tankless as an option in their home. They are a bit more expensive than their more common counterparts, but far more energy-efficient and less invasive (taking up much less space). Figures from the U.S. Dept. of Energy indicate that a tankless water heater is about 30 percent more efficient than a tank-style heater in homes using less than 41 gallons of water per day.
On-demand units don’t yet have the lifespan to match their predecessors and with more moving parts, they can cost more in maintenance and replacement. In short, there are pros and cons to owning either design. Whether you should make the switch will depend on your usage, expectations and budget.
The Cost of Energy
Tank-style water heaters apply a low level of energy to keep a large volume of water heated and ready for you when you need it. Since the insulation of the tank is not perfect, a low level of energy—by way of electricity or gas—is applied to offset the loss and maintain the hot water.
Tankless models on the other hand apply a large amount of energy when called upon. In doing so, they do not expend excess energy compensating for heat loss, meaning they’re more efficient.
Of course, this efficiency doesn’t come without a price. You’ll pay more upfront for a tankless heater. They also cost more in upkeep, maintenance and still have a shorter average lifespan than tank models. Of course, the idea is that you’ll recoup your losses over time in energy savings, and while this is generally true, it’s not the case for everyone.
What You Should Know
There are a few things you’ll want to consider before you make the switch to tankless.
- Consider the cost of fuel. On-demand units come in gas and electric-powered models, so the cost and availability of these energy sources is an important consideration.
- It may cost more than you think. To heat on-demand, a tankless water heater requires much more energy than a tank-style heater in order to work. For this reason, they don’t always make for a simple one-for-one switch with your old water heater, and may require additional electrical lines, breakers or gas lines to be installed.
- You may need more than one to replace your tank. Unlike tank heaters, the flow rate for tankless models is capped by the energy they can apply or the volume of water. If your family’s peak hot water usage exceeds the flowrate, the hot water runs out until the flowrate drops. To remedy this, you may need to purchase two or more on-demand units. The upside to this is that the more units you have, the more efficiency. For example, installing an on-demand heater on each of your home’s hot water faucets can be 50 to 80 percent more efficient than tank-style water heaters.
It’s a good idea to consult a licensed plumber, who can install the unit or help you select a tankless water heater setup that works for your needs. The experienced staff at Always Plumbing & Heating can help assess your needs and weigh your options. Call 780-489-8118 (Edmonton) or 587-601-1253 (Fort McMurray) to schedule an appointment today!