What are the Pros of Tankless Water Heaters?
Blue Frost Heating & Cooling sells and installs Navien Condensing Tankless Water Heaters. Only the best for our customers!
Gas water heaters are our most popular water heaters because of their ability to heat water effectively and efficiently. Tankless water heaters are designed to enhance your lifestyle, utilize advanced technology for energy-efficiency and supply a continuous flow of low-cost hot water on demand.
Katie’s Concerns and My Tankless Water Heaters Pitch
Katie asked if the temperature of her hot water tank could be the culprit behind running out of hot water after only ten minutes. After some repair work had been done, she noticed the temperature was set lower. She was concerned about turning it back up because she has small children. Here’s what I shared with Katie:
Storage Tank Hot Water Explanation
At least thirty minutes after high demand for hot water, let the water run straight hot in the kitchen until you are sure it has peaked (only 30 seconds or so). Next, fill a travel mug with the hottest water. Drop your poultry thermometer in there and see what the temperature is. It should be between 120 and 140 degrees. 120 degrees is safe, but 140 makes the hot water last longer. Basically, the safest thing for everybody is to set the temperature back to where it was originally. Then you are setting the handle in the same spot as you were before.
A shower head delivers water at a rate of 2.5 to 5 gallons per minute. I like to take a 2.5- or 5-gallon bucket and a watch with a second hand to the shower. I get it running, and when the second hand hits 12, 3, 6, or 9, I stick the bucket under the shower head. The bucket gets heavy, so I collect water for 30 seconds only. Then I pull the bucket away from the shower head and shut the shower off. If the bucket is not already marked for gallons, pour the water into an empty 1-gallon milk jug as many times as it takes to determine the amount of water used in 30 seconds. Now double it. This is the GPM of your shower head.
Hot Water Math
Let’s do some math: If you have a 40-gallon tank, your shower head uses an assumed 4 GPM. If your tank temperature is low and the water heater handle is opened almost all the way, you will have only ten minutes of 50-degree ground water to shower in. Raise the tank temperature so that the handle remains in the middle. Now you are using 2 gallons of hot water and 2 gallons of cold per minute, and you get 20 minutes of hot water. Get a good quality 2.5 GPM shower head and now you have, well, more minutes (and a headache from the math!).
Making Sense of It
Does it make sense how this all ties in? Storage tank water heaters have a recovery rate and actually provide slightly more water than my simplified explanation, but not much. The tragedy is that in order to get any length of time with hot water, you must overheat the water and store it that way 24 hours a day to use it for 2 hours a day while lowering the temp back down with cold water! Who the heck thought of this idea?
FYI – The USA is pretty much the only country in the world to have tanked water heaters. That’s because we used to subscribe to low up-front costs and enjoyed cheap energy! Tanked heaters are around $900 – $1,000 and last around 10 years. Tankless models require a little more maintenance, but last 20 to 25 years. They deliver endless hot water at the exact temp you ask for and only when you need it! When will we stop embarrassing ourselves with these tanked models?
With a tankless water heater Katie can adjust the maximum water temperature up or down to the perfect comfort level that’s just right for her family. Moms love this feature because it prevents water from getting too hot for their children and provides them peace of mind.
What are the Pros of Tankless Water Heaters?
Tankless water heaters offer both pros and cons, and the pros are terrific! Know them and what criteria to use when deciding whether a tankless water heater might be right for your home. When buying an on-demand water heater, consider the following:
How Tankless Water Heaters Work
Tankless water heaters heat water directly. No storage tank is involved. When you turn on the hot water, cold water travels through a pipe into the on-demand unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. No waiting for your storage tank to fill up and heat enough water for a hot shower or washing and rinsing the dishes. Tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water, but the heater’s output limits the flow rate. Check out this Energy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic.
Gas-fired tankless water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones. Sometimes even the largest, gas-fired model can’t supply enough hot water. When everyone is showering while Mom has a load of laundry washing AND the dishwasher running, this can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. To fix large hot water volumes, you could install two or more tankless water heaters, connected in parallel. Or you could install separate tankless water heaters, one for each appliance that uses a lot of hot water.
Fun Fact: The average family uses about 76 to 78 gallons of hot water per day. That’s 3 showers, 1 load of laundry, running your dishwasher for 1 load of dishes, turning a faucet on 9 times. That’s a lot of hot water each day.
What Makes Tankless Water Heaters a Great Choice?
Tankless water heaters are efficient but not necessarily economical. “Really? How so, Tom?” Man, I enjoy answering these kinds of questions! I’m really glad you asked.
Tankless Water Heater Pros
Tankless water heaters are also known as on-demand water heaters. Blue Frost Heating & Cooling published a little ditty on tankless water heaters. Read it here: Tankless Water Heaters: The Ultimate in Energy Efficiency. Call Blue Frost Heating & Cooling at (630) 444-0860 for more information on efficient water heating.
In this little ditty, we tell you about the terrific pros of Navien Condensing Tankless Water Heaters we recommend and install:
- Compact, space-saving
- 98% efficiency
- Unlimited supply of hot water. No more cold showers! (This pro is my personal favorite!)
- Heat the water only when needed
- Save you money. Tankless water heaters only use energy to heat water as it is needed. This means there is no energy wasted while there is no demand for hot water. You are in complete control over your water temperature.
- Last about 20 years. The Navien unit has a stainless steel heat exchanger that lasts about 4 times longer than competitor’s copper exchangers.
A few more pros:
Up to 30 percent of the average home’s energy budget is spent on heating water. Based on 2008 national energy costs, gas-fired tankless water heaters were 22 percent more energy-efficient than gas-fired storage tanks. This works out to a savings of about $70 to $80 each year.
Tankless Water Heater Cons
Now for the cons. They carry enough weight for consideration.
- Gas-fired tankless water heaters can deliver hot water as fast as a storage tanks. Many electric tankless water heaters cannot if the groundwater is cold.
- Up-front costs are high. Compare $800 to $1150 with $300 to $480 roughly. Tankless water heaters cost much more than storage tanks. Because tankless water heaters require upgraded gas pipes and a new ventilation system, the average installation cost can run $1200 versus $300 for storage tanks. It can take you as many as 22 years to save enough from the energy-efficiency of a tankless water heater to finally pay for its original costs.
- Inconsistent water temperatures are common.
- Hot water is not delivered instantaneously.
- If you own an electric tankless water heater, your hot water will turn cold during a power outage.
- They require more care and maintenance than storage tank models. If your water is hard, you’ll need to install a water softener. Your warranty will be shortened if you don’t.
Final Thoughts …
Your hot water needs are unique. Regardless of the size of your home or your hot water needs, consider all the pros and cons. Tankless water heaters are innovative and provide low-cost hot water whenever and wherever you need it. With today’s rising energy costs, a whole-home tankless system by Navien is a smart choice to limit energy and water waste. With a Navien Condensing Tankless Water Heater, you will never have to worry about running out of hot water no matter how much you use at a single time.
Consumer reports recommends conventional storage water heaters with a 9- or 12-year warranty, but it’s your call. If you aren’t sure one way or the other and you’ve got more questions about tankless water heaters, call Blue Frost Heating & Cooling at (630) 444-0860 today. We’ll help you weigh your options to make an educated decision with confidence. We’re here to serve and lovin’ it!
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