There are several benefits, including the convenience of having instant hot water and saving money, that come from switching to an electric tankless water heater. The U.S. Dept. of Energy reported that tankless water heaters use less energy and are more efficient than conventional water heaters, providing an annual savings of $25 to $107. That said, before you switch there are three things you need to know.
How an Electric Tankless Water Heater Works
These water heaters directly heat water without the use of a storage tank. When you have a tankless water heater, the hot showers you enjoy won’t be limited by the size of a storage tank. When the hot water is turned on, cold water will flow through a pipe into the unit. At this point, an element is going to heat the water, resulting in a continuous supply of hot water. The savings come into play because energy is only used to heat water, not to keep the water hot and store it. The problem is that with a tankless water heater, the output can end up limiting the flow rate.
Complications with an Install
While an electric tankless water heater can end up paying for itself because they can last up to 20 years and reduce your energy bills, there are additional costs that can come into play with installs that most consumers don’t know about. For instance, one of the most problematic issues is rewiring an electric system that’s not compatible. While tankless heaters can save you money because they only heat water when necessary, there are some homes with existing electrical systems that aren’t equipped to handle the required flow of energy. In some cases, especially with older homes, the system will need to be rewired to work efficiently.
The varying energy requirements of an electric tankless water heater can cause safety problems if they aren’t appropriately addressed. This is why some states require that an inspection is performed and that a permit is issued before a switch can be made.
Downsides to an Electric Tankless Water Heater
The problem is that even the highest capacity electric tankless water heater can’t supply enough hot water for multiple, simultaneous uses in large households. If your tankless water heater has a low flow rate, it’s not going to be able to provide enough hot water for your home. Before you buy one, make sure it meets your household needs. Choosing a large enough unit is crucial if you don’t want to run out of hot water. Another solution would be to install multiple tankless water heaters for heavy use appliances, including dishwashers and clothes washing machines. Because the tanks are small, they can be installed along just about any stretch of pipe in places like a crawl space, basement, attic or closet.
Make the Best Decision
If you’re considering having an electric tankless water heater installed, it’s important to make a well-informed decision. We can work with you to determine the best option for your home. Give us a call today.