Plumbing FAQ: Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

There are a lot of different systems and appliances we use in our homes to live comfortably and conveniently. Few of these systems and appliances work quite as hard as the water heater. Whenever you shower, do the laundry, run the dishwasher, or simply wash your hands, you are counting on your water heater to provide you with the hot water needed. For precisely this reason, it is vital that you have the right water heater installed in your home.

There are more options than you may realize when it comes to water heaters. One system we recommend in certain situations is the tankless water heater. While tankless water heaters are not for everyone or every situation, they can benefit some homeowners greatly. Our Chesapeake, VA plumbing professionals have some information to share with you to help determine if a tankless water heater is the right system for your needs.

How Does It Work?

A tankless water heater, as you have probably determined on your own, is a water heater that does not use a hot water storage tank in its operation. If you are wondering how this is possible, the concept is actually quite simple. Rather than filling a tank with water, heating the water, and maintaining the water’s temperature throughout the day, a tankless water heater simply heats water as it is called for.

When you open a hot water tap or run an appliance that requires hot water, the cold water supply enters the tankless water heater. The water is heated as it passes through the system, and then continues on its way to the outlets/appliances where it is needed. The tankless water heater continues to heat water passing through until it is no longer needed.

The Pros

The major benefit of using tankless water heaters is that they work highly efficiently. This is thanks to their elimination of standby energy loss. When you store hot water in a storage tank, no matter how well insulated the tank is, some of the heat will pass out of the tank and into the cooler air surrounding it. This is called standby energy loss. With the elimination of the need for hot water storage, a tankless water heater eliminates standby energy loss.

Additionally, tankless water heaters last longer than tank water heaters. While tank water heaters will typically last between 10–15 years, tankless water heaters average more than 20! That is a great return on your investment—which actually brings us to the first con…

The (Potential) Cons

Like any other appliance, a tankless water heater may have drawbacks for certain consumers. The most commonly mentioned one is the price tag. Tankless water heaters simply cost more than tank water heaters. Considerably more, even. However, their combination of great efficiency and long lifespans mean that you can recoup the initial cost difference and enjoy serious energy savings over time.

In certain homes where there is often a high demand for hot water all at once–such as kids showering while the dishwasher and washing machine are all running–it is possible for the tankless water heater to be more easily overwhelmed than an appropriately sized tank water heater. When you work with us, we’ll discuss your hot water usage, help you to choose the right system, and size your water heater properly.

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