Within the trend of home improvement, one of the changes that has been slow to catch on in North America is the use of tankless water heating systems, also known as on-demand hot water systems. These have been the standard in Europe and Asia for a while, but North Americans haven’t shown the same high adoption rate. This is strange because tankless systems are both more convenient, and more efficient.
You will often pay a high lump sum when putting the tankless heater in and updating the plumbing, but your monthly bills will be significantly less than they were before. This is attributed to not needing to spend money idly heating water. As the name suggests, tankless heaters have no tank, so no water is constantly being heated for potential use. Instead, the heater warms up the water nearly instantaneously.
This solves three problems. First, you can now get as much hot water as you want without exhausting your hot water tank. Second, now that you have no 60 litre tank in your basement, there is a ton more space available. Finally, you never have to worry about your hot water tanking blowing out and flooding your basement, because your tankless water heater doesn’t store any water.
There are a few downsides to tankless water heaters and it is good to understand them before installing one. A tankless heater can only provide a limited amount of hot water at a time. The throughput is limited, but unlike a water tank, it can consistently supply that hot water rather than needing hours to heat more up. Another issue with water heaters is the energy requirement. The instantaneous energy requirement can be up to four times more demanding than a water tank, so you should ensure this upgrade is possible before undergoing the change.
The cost of a tankless water heater is generally around $2,000-$4,000, but their lifespan can be up to 20 years, which means you get a significant amount of extra value out of it. As always, make sure to get a few quotes for the switch to tankless before you say yes, as this will save you lots of money in the long-run.
Tankless water heaters are available in a variety of fuel sources, electric, natural gas, and propane gas. Your choice will depend on costs of the unit, cost of the fuel, availability of fuel service, and the location in your home where the unit will be placed.
The process of replacing the water tank can take as little as a day, but first look into any other retrofits that might be necessary to do before you install the heater. Installing the tank is quite simple, but you will want to hire a professional who has experience with tankless water heaters, not just any plumber.
Furnace and boiler technology has evolved significantly over the last twenty years, but water tank technology hasn’t. If you don’t feel like making the change today because you are afraid of the high expenses associated with the switch, just wait until your water heater is up for a change and replace it with a tankless heater instead. The monthly amount you’ll save will quickly pay you back and you won’t regret the convenience factor of always being able to get warm water.