Should I Get a Tankless Water Heater? Part I

tankless water heaterMost of us can agree that hot water matters to a house. We need it to cook, clean, drink, and bathe. Imagine what life would be like if our warmest water at home was 60 degrees!

While many homes in Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville and Lisle (IL) have a water-heating system, some homeowners might not be aware of exactly how a regular water heater tank works. Let’s review how a traditional water heater provides hot water when you need it – as well as how current technology is making water heating more compact and efficient.

Traditional Water Heater: The Basics

Homes built in Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville and Lisle during the last several decades have typically included a conventional tank for heating water. While they can range from 20 to 80 gallons, most home tanks hold 40 or 50 gallons.

With tank water heating, cold water first enters the bottom of the unit. A gas flame under the tank or electric components suspended in the tank then heat the water. A thermostat on the unit allows users to adjust, maintain and regulate the water’s temperature. A pressure-relief valve also prevents too much pressure from building in the tank.

When we call for hot water with a faucet or an appliance, the heated water is forced out from the top of the tank and into the home’s hot water–supply pipes. As the water level in the tank goes down, more cold water flows in to replace it and the process repeats.

The drawback of tank water heating is that tanks hold only a certain amount of water for current use. As you may have experienced, this can become an issue during periods of high demand, such as when showers and appliances are running at once.

Tank water heaters also draw energy day and night to maintain the set temperature, even if the water is not being used. This is known as standby heat loss, which is energy that drains from a water-heater tank while storing the water. This energy loss can’t be prevented even when the unit is well-maintained.

Tankless Water Heater: An Increasingly Desirable Alternative

Tank water heaters are still the most common type of water-heating system, but tankless water heaters are rapidly gaining greater popularity.

A tankless water heater is exactly what it sounds like: a water heater without a large storage tank. It instantly heats water as it flows through the device and typically does not store water unless the unit includes an internal buffer tank.

A compact unit hung on the wall, a tankless water heater can be installed anywhere in the home and range from a point-of-use unit to a larger whole-house model. The tankless water heater provides limitless heated water as well as potential energy savings due to its draw of power only when in use (which also eliminates standby heat loss).

A tankless water heater is usually turned off, but water moving through it will activate its flow sensors. The unit then heats the water with copper heat exchangers warmed by gas or electricity. The exchangers also include small passages with parallel tubes or plates. The small size and multiple paths create a large surface area for quick heat transfer.

Because there is no stored amount to be emptied, the tankless water heater can maintain a continuous supply of hot water. Most units provide between two and five gallons per minute. Tankless units heated by gas will often produce higher flow rates than those heated by electricity.

Since tankless water heaters heat water on-demand from the external source, you could shower for a few hours and the water would be as hot as if you showered for just a few minutes.

Tankless Water Heater Installation: The Benefits

When you install a tankless water heater at your home in Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville or Lisle, you can benefit from both immediate and far-reaching advantages.

Since a tankless water heater is compact and attached to the wall, it uses much less space than a traditional tank does. Consider that a standard 40- to 50-gallon tank is 4.5′ to 5′ tall with a 20” diameter. By comparison, a typical tankless water heater is about 27” tall, 18” wide and 10” deep. It also is rectangular as opposed to cylindrical.

Because a tankless water heater does not have a large, cylindrical tank, it also does not carry the same risks of flooding and leaks. If you’ve ever had a traditional tank spring a major leak, you know what a potentially damaging mess it can be.

Then there’s the great difference in longevity. A typical tank heater may last an average of 8 to 12 years. Many tankless water heaters can operate for more than 20 years.

If you are building a new home or planning to stay in your current home, a tankless unit can remove a system replacement from your thoughts for quite some time. Replacing any needed parts is easy as well.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a tankless water heater is the long-term energy savings and efficiency, tax credits (see an accountant) and gas-utility rebates that you achieve, especially if your average daily hot-water use is 40 gallons or less. Note also that tankless water heaters work best when combined with a water softener, which some manufacturers may require to keep the warranty active.

Tankless Water Heaters: The Right Installer

Just as important as a steady and limitless supply of hot water is having your tankless water heater correctly installed and maintained. The trained, licensed and certified installers at Beery ensure that Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville and Lisle homeowners can enjoy the complete benefits of a tankless water heater installation.

To determine the optimal tankless water heater installation for your home, we will find out details such as:

how much hot water you use in an average day

how many people typically use water in the house

how many units might benefit your usage

where a tankless water heater’s location will best serve you

Here for Answers and Service

It is possible to enjoy an even greater, longer and less-expensive supply of hot water at your home in Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield, Oswego or Lisle (IL). If you’d like to further discuss the advantages of tankless water heaters, simply give us a call at (630) 585-6444.

We are available for tankless water heater installation for homeowners in Batavia, Sugar Grove, Yorkville, Plano and Montgomery.