You wake up on a cold morning and look forward to taking a hot shower. But as you turn on the water, you notice that it's freezing cold. You'll probably have to wait a long time for the water to heat up.
With instantaneous hot water systems, you can avoid this problem entirely. Instead of storing water in a tank, instantaneous hot water systems heat the water as it flows out for your shower.
If you're thinking of upgrading to an instantaneous hot water system, there are a few things you need to know.
1. They're Worth the Cost
Instantaneous hot water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters, typically cost more than conventional water heaters with tanks. But they'll probably save you money over time. After all, they can be up to 34% more energy efficient than conventional water heaters. This helps you save money on utility bills.
Tankless hot water systems also last longer than conventional systems-up to 20 years-so you won't need to replace them as frequently.
2. There Are Two Types: Electric and Gas
An instantaneous hot water system can heat two ways-either through gas or through electricity. Typically, it costs less to run a gas water heater. But gas water heaters may cost more initially, particularly if your technician needs to install a new gas line. An advantage to a gas water heater is that it keeps working even when the power is out.
Electric hot water systems are more energy efficient than gas systems. The most efficient electric heater contains a heat pump which extracts heat from the air to heat the water. While gas systems may not be as energy efficient as electric systems, instantaneous gas systems are more efficient than conventional gas systems. The most efficient gas heater contains condensing boilers which extract heat from the exhaust gases to heat the water.
If you're not sure whether to choose an electric or gas water heater, talk with a technician about your options.
3. You May Need More Than One
When you have an instantaneous water heater, you don't ever have to worry about a lack of hot water, right? Not quite.
You won't "run out" of hot water like you might with traditional water heaters. Still, tankless water heaters have a limited output. They produce about two to five gallons of hot water a minute, so they may not work for several functions at once. You won't be able to shower while running the dishwasher and the washing machine at the same time.
If your family demands a lot of hot water, you can install more than one water heater. You can purchase a separate water heater for each appliance, or you can ask your technician to connect these water heaters to each other.
4. Installations May Require Upgrades
We mentioned that if you choose a gas water heater, your technician may need to install a new gas line. An electric water heater may require an upgrade as well. You'll need a 220 volt outlet and corresponding electrical panel if you don't have one already. Ask your installer about installation requirements and associated costs.
5. You Need a Qualified Installer
If you've decided on a tankless water heater, you'll need a qualified technician to install it. Don't cut corners to get the least expensive installation job. Find a gas and electric company that employs fully licensed plumbers and electricians. These technicians know the best makes and models to choose from. They also have the experience and training to install your new water heater properly.
If you're ready to get hot water right when you need it and to save money over time, ask a gas and electric technician about installing an instantaneous water heater.