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Is a Tankless Hot Water Heater Right For You?

Nov. 05, 2009

A homeowner wrote in with this question:

“What are the pros and cons of “no tank” water heaters for my residences? Thanks.”

We love tankless units. When sized and installed properly they are the perfect solution for instant hot water on demand, and not having to continuously heat a large reserve of water can significantly reduce energy costs. We also understand that each homeowner has unique needs and circumstances which we take into consideration to help you make the right decision.

There are pros and cons to consider when researching a switch to tankless water heating:

  1. Only heats water while hot water is being used. This “on demand” aspect means lower use which can equal lower utility cost.
  2. Because they don’t hold a supply of water, they are typically smaller than standard heaters.
  3. The supply of hot water is endless. No holding tank to empty.
  4. Some tankless water heaters qualify for a federal tax credit.

Tankless Water Heater Cons

  1. The initial cost and installation of a tankless unit costs more than a standard water heater, but over time you will recoup this cost in future energy savings.
  2. Tankless uses a lot of power at the time they are engaged, so your gas or electric lines may require upgrading to handle the volume.
  3. Some units are very strict on placement in the home; this sometimes makes it difficult to install/retrofit in an existing home.
  4. Some complain that they do not meet high demand (example: shower with washing machine and dishwasher running.) You can avoid this problem by using an experienced installer who will assess your home and suggest the right size for your daily needs.

Tankless water heaters originated in Europe and Asia after World War 2 when on-going energy limitations and space constraints forced people to look for more efficient ways to heat their water. With the recent increases in energy costs, Americans are now interested in more efficient and cost-effective ways of heating water.

Check out this video on how a tankless water heater works

The major contrast between the old and new tankless heaters is efficiency. Most of the heat created by the old tankless heater went up the chimney, and not into the water. During that time in our nation’s history, fuel was cheap so efficiency wasn’t an issue. The new tankless heaters make use of solid-state electronics and a variety of water and gas controls which result in most of the heat going into the water and not out the vent.

The decision to install a tankless water heater is a personal choice. The initial costs are higher than traditional water heaters, but the long term savings are substantial and the convenience is rewarding.

If you are considering replacing your water heater consult a professional that can assess your needs and help you make the right decision if you decide to go tankless, they require an experienced installer to assess your specific needs and give you the right size unit properly installed. Call us at 248.644.7810 or contact us here to get expert Thornton & Grooms professional to assist you.

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Thornton & Grooms
24565 Hallwood Ct
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 644-7810
MI Plumbing Lic. #: 8106666
MI Contractors Lic. #: 7100232
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