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  • The world is always advancing and Houston plumbing is no exception to this! Tankless water heaters have become quite the popular option everywhere you go. The question that is on everyone’s mind is, “Are tankless water heaters for me?” Let’s explore this option by looking at the pros and cons of having a tankless water heater versus a standard water heater installed in your home by the professional licensed plumbers.

What are tankless water heaters?

Having a water heater installed by a plumber near you is incredibly important. With that decision comes the option to choose a standard water heater or a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters (also known as instant water heaters) are compact units that only use the energy whenever you need them versus using continuous energy to store water in a large tank. 

In traditional or standard water heaters, a supply of water is held in a large tank to be dispersed after it is heated. For the tankless feature, water is dispersed on command. There are two ways to power a tankless water heater. One is using electricity by heating up the electrical heating coils. These are known as the electric tankless water heaters. The other is using a gas burner to heat the water for homes that have this available option. Once the water is quickly heated, hot water is delivered almost immediately to your tap.

How does having a tankless water heater benefit me?

Tankless water heaters come with a great deal of benefits. Besides being a well-sought after item in newly built homes, people have decided to upgrade their current homes with the tankless option as well. We already know that the heating elements produce hot water on command as an added bonus, but here are a few other reasons to choose tankless as well:

  • Energy Efficiency: By producing hot water only when needed, you can effectively save on your home electric bill. The standard tank water heater option will have to use continuous electricity by storing 40 to 50 gallons of water at room temperature. By not maintaining a water supply, your electric bill will see savings every month. Some statistics rank energy savings as high as up to 50 percent.
  • Instant Hot Water: Why waste minutes of your life waiting for your water to heat up, when you can have instant results and convenience? Cold showers are never fun and waiting to have them can be even less enjoyable. Those days are long gone with the tankless water heater option.
  • Unlimited Hot Water Supply: With larger households and many showers to take, hot water can end up in short supply if you don’t have a tankless water heater. With our lives becoming busier and hot water being in high demand throughout the household, it’s never convenient to wait for your hot water to regenerate once you run out.
  • Less Required Space: The average household generally has a 40 gallon standard water heater. For larger households, a 60 gallon water heater may be used and takes up tremendous amounts of space, especially with new regulations requiring extra insulation. For tankless water heaters, these units are generally wall-mounted as compared to a tank that takes up floor space. The difference in size between a tankless unit and standard unit is quite significant.
  • Less Risk For Water Damage and Leaks: Standard units are prone to leaks over time while tankless units do not hold large amounts of water to leak out. Standard tanks run the risk of leaks that could lead to substantial water damage if not found quickly.
  • Wi-Fi Capabilities: Some of the more advanced technologies are equipped in certain tankless water heaters. Having wi-fi capability enables the customer to have a customized experience with temperature adjustments, monitoring of gas usage in gas tankless water heater units, and even monitoring the usage of your hot water. 
  • Overall Safety: Tank Units can be prone to harboring bacteria if not properly maintained by a licensed professional plumber. Another great safety feature that comes with tankless water heaters is the sealed vents. This is great at preventing any carbon monoxide leaks into the home. 
  • Long Lasting: For the gas tankless water heater, the lifespan can be up to 20 years with regular maintenance. Electric tankless units are significantly shorter and last from 7 to 10 years if well maintained. 

The list of pros can seem endless especially when it comes to efficiency and safety. With the long list before you, it can seem like quite a difficult choice to make without weighing the complete pros and cons of a tankless water heater versus a standard water heater. So let’s begin with the next important question. 

What are the cons of owning a tankless water heater?

Although owning a tankless water heater can seem like an absolute dream, there can be a few drawbacks when compared to a standard water heater. No system is flawless, and a tankless water heater is no exception to this rule. Here are a few examples of common issues associated with tankless water heaters:

  • Overall Cost: What does a tankless water heater cost? The price is significantly higher  when compared to a standard water heater. Standard units can go up to $900 while tankless units can reach up to $3,000 when the price of installation is included. The units are quite a bit more complex and include a lot of expert wire and/or gas installation. This can only be done by a licensed plumber who is qualified and has experience with these types of installations. This is to ensure that there are no leaks, the vents are connected properly and the wiring is safely installed. Since standard water heaters are more common and more simple, the cost of installation is quite lower in comparison.
  • Higher Maintenance: To ensure the longevity of your tankless water heater, you’ll need annual maintenance. Maintenance that needs to be done would be checking the burner, checking the connections, checking the water filters, checking the air filters, and a flush to prevent mineral buildup. Mineral buildup, if left untouched, can begin to accumulate and clog the heat exchanger. This can turn into a costly repair. In order to address the mineral issue, most homeowners are recommended to install a water softener system. The cost for this can be quite expensive, especially with maintenance of a water softener system AND a tankless water heater can begin to add up. Some tankless water heater manufacturers even require a water softener system to be installed, otherwise the warranty can be voided.
  • Power Outage Issues: Electric powered tankless water heaters will not function properly with a power outage. 
  • Inconsistency: Another disadvantage is when multiple taps are in use, the hot water is not consistent in temperature. This can make a hot shower, a mild temperature shower if the dishwasher or washing machine is going at the same time.

Is a tankless water heater for me?

Now that you’ve seen the incredible benefits of a tankless water heater and weighed them against the drawbacks, it’s time to decide if it’s the right decision for you. This added luxury could very well be seen as a useful investment, or a planned future expense when the time is right. If you are heavily considering this option, you will want to begin your search by using the terms “licensed plumber near me” or calling Cooper Plumbing to speak to qualified staff who can guide you to the next step.