Tankless Water Heater Pros And Cons You Need To Know

If you’re in the market for a tankless water heater then you’ll want to check out these best tankless water heaters. But if you still don’t know why tankless water heaters are the way to go or if you even want one, then this is your page. 

Today, we will go over what a tankless water heater is, how it compares to others, and finally, the pros and cons of a tankless water heater. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and find out what it is a tankless water heater is for. 

What Is A Tankless Water Heater?

tankless water heater pros and cons
Image from Steele Consulting Group

A tankless water heater is a heater that heats cold water travels that travels through a pipe and into the tankless water heater unit. The water is heated by a gas burner or an electric element. This way, you have a constant supply of hot water.

The average tankless water heater heats about 3 to 5 gallons her minute. Since most showerheads will put out 2 to 2.5 gallons per minute, this is more than enough hot water. Especially since most people won’t have their shower blasting full heat.

Since a shower uses more hot water than just about anything else, due to the constant flow, you can safely assume that a tankless water heater will get the job done. So it is a viable option, that we know. But what else is there to know?

Other Types Of Water Heaters

Other Types Of Water Heaters
Picture from Greg Lizotte Designs

Before getting into the pros and cons of a tankless water heater, we should briefly go over the other types of water heaters. Any type of water heater can work for your home. It all depends on your climate, how much money you have to spare, and what you’re looking for. 

Each type of water heater has its own set of pros and cons, but right now, we’re simply going to briefly go over what each of them is. Our main focus is the tankless water heater, but here are the other types of water heaters. 

Storage Tank Water Heater

This is the most common type of water heater and is likely the type that you have now. This type of water heater has a tank that holds water that is heated. It’s okay to have this kind of heater but there’s one major problem.

The size of the tank affects the amount of hot water that you have. So if your tank is too small or you use a lot of hot water one day, you’ll run out. When this happens, you’ll have to wait a while before using more. 

Solar Powered Water Heater

A solar-powered water heater is powered by the sun. Surprise! You will need solar panels for it to work, but if you are already planning on getting them for a different reason, then power your water heater with them.

While this water heater is the most energy-efficient, it also needs a backup. On particularly cloudy days or long nights, solar-powered devices aren’t ideal. However, if the power goes out elsewhere, you’ll still have hot water. 

Condensing Water Heater

This water heater uses unused gas fumes to heat water. Natural gas is plentiful in many homes, so this can be a marvelous option. The downside is that it is still a tank heater, it simply uses less energy than a standard tank heater.

It really does use recycled gas from your home, so if you never have problems with tank size, then it’s a better option than the traditional tank heater. If you do have tank problems, it won’t solve any of them. 

Heat Pump Water Heater

This is also known as a hybrid water heater. This type of water heater uses heat in the air and in the ground to heat water. So electricity isn’t used to heat the water but simply to move the water. This makes it quite balanced.

They use nearly 60 percent less electricity than traditional styles of water heaters. However, it needs a lot of space since the pump is quite large and it may not be as energy efficient as a tankless or solar-powered water heater.

Pros And Cons Of A Tankless Water Heater

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There is always a list of pros and cons that you should take with you when shopping for something important. A tankless water heater is important, as any water heater is, so making sure it is right for you is crucial. Never make a decision unprepared. 

However, just because there are more cons than pros, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad choice. It is the specific pros and cons and how they relate to you that matters. Pros and cons are generalized, but your decision shouldn’t be. 

Pros

  • Uses Less Energy – tankless hot water heaters use less energy than tank water heaters. This is because they only heat water as it is needed rather than keeping a large amount ready at all times.
  • Continuous Supply – because it doesn’t need a tank and heats on-demand, there is always hot water ready. This is especially true if you are only using one source of water at a time. We’ll talk more about multiple sources later. 
  • Compact – because it doesn’t use a tank or pump, it can fit almost anywhere. This is amazing for small spaces and it’s such a relief to not need a special water heater closet just for the hot water heater. 
  • Longhaul Costs – in the long run, a tankless water heater is cheaper. You will save money each month and each year on bills. It also seems to last longer than a tank heater, which will need to be replaced regularly. 
  • More Desirable – if you’re planning on reselling, a house with a tankless water heater has a higher resale value. People see it as a desirable amenity so getting one can make your house sell faster. 
  • Doesn’t Waste Water – because it doesn’t store hot water by the gallons, you won’t be wasting as much water as you would with a tank heater. Heat only what you need, which is much more environmentally-friendly 
  • Preheat Settings – many tankless water heaters can be hooked up to an app on your phone. This allows you to preheat water or even turn the water heater off. This can work with kids or if you want a hot bath when you get home from work. 

Cons

  • Upfront Cost – the upfront cost for a tankless water heater is quite high. Some people will take over 20 years to make up for the cost with the amount saved each month from a tankless water heater.
  • Can’t Always Multi-Task – although a tankless water heater is great at heating one water source, it isn’t the best at doing two at a time. So running the dishwasher and taking a shower at the same time may not work.
  • Needs Special Piping – a tankless water heater will need to be installed by a professional. Especially if it is a gas water heater, which requires unique piping to be done safely and efficiently to work correctly. 
  • Hard Water Is A Problem – hard water can ruin a tankless water heating system. If you have soft water, it should work great, but hard water isn’t ideal and can end up ruining your water heater, costing you a ton of money.

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Soft Vs. Hard Water

Since hard water is a problem with tankless water heaters, it may be best to invest in a water softener. Water softeners can improve the quality of water in your home and can ensure that your plumbing lives its full life. 

Hard water is hard on tankless water heaters, but a water softener can help. It is installed at the main water line so that when water comes in, it immediately comes into contact with the water softener.

Related: Check The Quality Of The Water With A Test Kit for Your Home

The water softener tank consists of tiny resin beads that attract hard water minerals and retain them in the tank. Then, the soft water will exit the tank and continue on through the heater. The process is phenomenal. 

The water softener will need to be cleaned regularly, but the instructions should be on the package or told by whoever installs the softener. This is always a good investment and again will save you money over time. 

Find out more about water softeners with this amazing water softener guide. You’ll even find out how to install your own water softener and which ones are the best water softeners to buy for your home. 

Is It Time To Upgrade?

Most people consider a tankless water heater an upgrade. Sure, it has its downsides, but if you can afford it, it does pay off in the end, in many ways. So, if you can afford a tankless water heater, then get one.

Whether you are upgrading because your old heater is at the end of its life or because you want something better, it can be time. Just shop around and make sure you find the tankless water hater that was made for you.