If replacement of your hot water tank is in order, another option to consider is a tankless hot water system. Typically, a tankless system is a larger investment, but it can provide many benefits above and beyond the standard hot water tank. These benefits include much more energy efficient operation, a continuous, un-interrupted hot water supply, space saving design for more closet space, and a longer life expectancy.There are also many state utility rebates and federal tax incentives available to help you offset the cost!
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless Water Heaters, also called Instantaneous or Demand Water Heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. Traditional storage water heaters produce standby energy losses that cost you money. We do not leave our homes heated while vacationing. We only heat our homes when there is a demand for heat. In the same way, a Tankless Water Heater is used only when there is a demand for hot water.
How do Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work?
Tankless Water Heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. In an electric Tankless Water Heater an electric element heats the water. In a gas-fired Tankless Water Heater a gas burner heats the water. As a result, Tankless Water Heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. Typically, Tankless Water Heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons (7.6 – 15.2 liters) per minute. Typically, gas-fired Tankless Water Heaters will produce higher flow rates than electric Tankless Water Heaters. Some smaller Tankless Water Heaters, however, cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a Tankless Water Heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install a "whole house" type Tankless Water Heater or install two or more Tankless Water Heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate Tankless Water Heaters for appliances—such as a clothes washer or dishwater—that use a lot of hot water in your home.
* With a Tankless, I can have Instant Hot water:
Don’t let the "instant" hot water fool you. Many people think that when you install a tankless hot water tank, that you will have instant hot water. That is not the case. The "instant" comes from the heating mechanism as described above. You must have a Circulating Pump to receive the true definition of "instant" hot water. An Air Assurance technician can discuss these affordable items with you as well, whether you have a standard tank or a tankless hot water tank.
* Tankless Saves you Big Money:
While a tankless hot water tank can save you up to 30% from a standard hot water tank, many people find that because of the capability of providing continuous hot water, their usage of hot water goes up, therefore savings aren't as pronounced as they would hope in the bottom line. Showers can now take longer without going cold, the Jacuzzi tub can now be filled full and re-filled again, laundry can keep going, dishwashers can be ran over again, etc. However, the trade-off is well worth it!