Save Energy With Tankless Water Heaters
Many homeowners today are considering the option to retire their old tank-style hot water heater and replace it with a modern tankless water heater. A tank hot water heater works by maintaining a supply of heated water in a tank, and the water is maintained at a high temperature regardless of whether it is being used or not. You may be gone at work for hours at a stretch or even on vacation for several weeks, and your tank-style hot water heater will continue to keep the water in the tank heated at a specified temperature. Tankless hot water heaters, however, offer energy savings with their innovative design.
The Tankless Difference
A tankless heater is also referred to as an instantaneous hot water heater. These devices do not heat water until water is demanded from somewhere inside the home. They heat water on demand rather than working to maintain water at a constant temperature until it is needed. By eliminating the cost of standby heating, they can save you money on your energy bills. It should be noted that the average life span of a tankless water heater is approximately 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and this is compared to about 15 years for a tank-style hot water heater. While many people consider buying a tankless heater to enjoy energy savings, the added benefit of a longer lifespan for the tankless models should also be considered.
Gas vs. Electric Models
Just as you can choose between a gas or electric tank hot water heater, these same options are available for tankless models. Gas models typically produce a greater volume of hot water per minute, but in some cases, a single gas model may not be enough to provide ample heat for a family’s needs. Two units may need to be installed in parallel fashion to meet the demands of the family. The up-front cost and heat used by all heaters needed should be considered. Electric models may have a lower flow rate, but they also use less energy because the pilot light for gas models will need to remain on constantly.
Factors That Affect Your Savings
While tankless water heaters are initially a more expensive option, it is important to understand the energy savings that you can enjoy and compare that to the additional up-front cost to purchase this type of hot water heater. First, you should consider the flow rate of the tankless hot water heater. The typical flow rate is about two to five gallons per minute, but this varies depending on the type of energy used by the heater. The cost of energy used by the units and the volume of hot water used by the household will also play a role in how much money a tankless hot water heater can save you. An average home may use about 41 gallons of hot water per day. Based on that usage level, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that tankless water heaters may provide up to 34% more energy efficiency than tank-style hot water heaters. However, you should analyze your home’s energy consumption now and estimate it based on the tankless model that you are considering to estimate your home’s savings.
While it may take several months or even years to recoup the additional up-front investment that these water heaters require, for many homeowners, upgrading to an energy efficient, tankless hot water heater is well worth it.