Instant Water Heaters 101
So, your water heater is aging, looks like it may have been originally installed during the Reagan administration, and runs out of hot water halfway through the first shower in the morning. Clearly it’s time to start looking for a new one. You may have heard about ‘tankless’, ‘instantaneous’ or ‘demand’ water heaters; these can be a great way to save money on energy, and they’re worth considering if you’re thinking about buying a new water heater.
Benefits of an Instantaneous Water Heater
Traditional water heaters with a storage tank are considerably less efficient than a tankless heater. That’s because they work by storing a large quantity of ready-to-use hot water all the time. As the heat slowly escapes from the storage tank, the heater has to keep turning on to bring the water back to temperature–even when nobody is home or using any hot water.
A tankless water heater only makes hot water when it senses water moving through the pipes. This means that you’re only using energy to heat the water when you’re actually using it. This can result in a savings of up to 34% on energy for the water heater, depending on how much hot water you use every day. The less hot water you use each day, the more savings you will get from an instant heater.
Instant water heaters can also be used as boosters in bathrooms that are far away from a traditional water heater. This is also good for saving water, because you won’t have to run gallons of water down the drain waiting for the shower to get hot. Some people also install a supplemental tankless water heater when they put in a large bathtub–that way filling the tub won’t use up all of the hot water for the rest of the house.
With an instant water heater, you will also never have to worry about running out all of the hot water for the next person taking a shower–you can’t run out, though if you start taking hour-long showers you might not see the energy savings you were initially looking for!
Things To Keep in Mind
While there are numerous benefits to using an instant water heater, there are also some drawbacks. One of the most important to be aware of is that there is a limit on the gallons per minute of hot water that they can generate. Depending on the size of your household, you might wind up having to install additional heaters in parallel, to keep up if more than one person is taking a shower, or if the dishwasher and washing machine add to the competition for hot water. A plumber can help you determine how much capacity you need.
The best aspects of both a water heater with a storage tank and a tankless water heater are available in Hybrid Water Heaters, check back next week for information on these high-tech new energy savers.