Ask a Plumber Blog: Guidance from a Master Plumber

The Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

What do I need to know before switching to a tankless water heater?

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t give a lot of thought about the source of your hot water unless it’s time to give your hot water heater its yearly checkup or perhaps one day you notice that your hot water just isn’t getting as warm as it should.

If everything is going fine, then no need for concern. However, the longer you live in your house, the better the odds are that sooner or later it’s going to become time to replace your old water heater with a new one.

You may think that when that time comes, you’ll switch to a tankless water heater or what is sometimes known as an on-demand water heating system, but before you do, there are some things you need to consider.

Let’s take a look.

Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

Before we get started, if you need more info about tankless water heaters, here are 3 articles that explain What is a tankless water heater? And an in-depth article on How do tankless water heaters work? and if you have questions about tankless water heaters, we’ve compiled a helpful list to answer your top 7 questions about tankless water heaters.

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The Pros of Having a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are more efficient than regular water heaters

Since a tankless water heater only heats water when a faucet is turned on instead of having to keep 40 to 50 gallons of hot water in a tank, the units will generally use about 30 to 50 percent less energy than a traditional type of water heater. This means that a typical family can expect to save around $100 or more a year by using an “on-demand” unit.

Tankless water heaters are small in size

One of the main things most homeowners love about tankless units is that they are a lot smaller and more compact in size than traditional water heaters. They not only take up very little room, you can even mount them on a wall so that you don’t lose valuable floor space.

Longer lifespan than a regular water heater

Although a tankless water heater does require annual maintenance to ensure that it continues to work properly, they generally have a lifespan of more than 20 years. When you consider that a regular water heater only lasts 10 to 15 years, this could be a big bonus if you’re going to live in your house a long time.

A constant stream of hot water

Unlike regular water heaters that have only a limited amount of hot water stored in their tanks, a tankless water heater heats the water right as it flows through the unit, so there is always a constant stream of hot water.

That being said, keep in mind that a tankless water heater may not have the ability to supply enough hot water if you are trying to use hot water in two different places at the same time.

As an example, if you are filling the bathtub with hot water while you are simultaneously trying to use hot water in the wash machine, you could find that you don’t have enough hot water to do both.

Longer Warranty Period

Because tankless water heaters do have very lengthy lifespans, they also have longer warranties, some of which can even run up to 15 years.

Therefore, if something goes wrong with the tankless water heater, the homeowner does not have to worry about repairs or paying for a replacement for a very long time.

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The Cons of Having a Tankless Water Heater

Higher initial cost

The primary disadvantage of changing over to a tankless water heater is the initial cost. Although there is a clear advantage with the tankless water heater lasting longer and having lower operating costs that will over time offset the higher purchase cost, the upfront price of the unit is significantly more than it is for a traditional water heater.

This is because even though the unit is small and easier to install, it does require a special type of dedicated sealed vent system, so it’s a little more complicated to install.

Inconsistent water temperatures

According to Consumer Reports, one of the biggest complaints from homeowners is that there are sometimes inconsistent water temperatures. This is usually because the water heater cannot heat and send enough hot water to different outlets at the same time.

In some cases, there may even be a lull where there is a shot or two of cold water before the water becomes heated again. This can make things quite uncomfortable if you’re in the middle of a shower when this lull occurs.

That being said, this “cold water sandwich” as it is sometimes called, can usually be solved by using an internal buffer tank.

Inadequate hot water supply for larger households

As mentioned above, tankless water heaters do produce a steady stream of hot water, but they just can’t keep up if you need the hot water for multiple uses all at the same time.

This typically isn’t an issue, however, if the correct sized unit Is selected for the homeowner’s water needs. Trinity Plumbing always works to address this issue by tailoring the best fit for the property and the customer.

Other blog articles about water heaters you may be interested in reading:

Tankless Water Heater – a feature in our Luxury Plumbing Series

Is there a way to NEVER run out of hot water?

Do I Need More Than 1 Tankless Water Heater?

Trinity Plumbing – Tankless Water Heater Specialist

If you need a new water heater and are considering making a change from a regular water heater to a tankless water heater, contact Trinity Plumbing to schedule service.

We not only provide free estimates before we do any work, we’ll take the time to discuss all of your available options, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Robert (Master Plumber)

Robert (Master Plumber)

Owner of Trinity Plumbing, LLC
Residential & Commercial Plumbing

Serving: Acworth, Dallas, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, & surrounding Metro Atlanta areas

Full Bio & All Author Posts
Robert (Master Plumber)

Robert (Master Plumber)

Owner of Trinity Plumbing, LLC
Residential & Commercial Plumbing

Serving: Acworth, Dallas, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, & surrounding Metro Atlanta areas

Full Bio & All Author Posts