Make Your Plumbing Greener By Choosing A Tankless Water Heater

6 April 2016
 Categories: , Articles


If you are getting ready to remodel and you are looking for ways to save money, add value to your home, and help protect the earth, consider going green with your plumbing. One of the ways that you can do this is by installing a tankless or on-demand water heater. This will allow you to have a positive impact on the earth, all while making a positive impact on your home and family. 

How Much Electricity Is Your Water Heater Currently Using?

The second largest consumer of electricity in most people's homes is the hot water heater. On an average this unit alone accounts for an average of 18% of your electrical costs. Much of this energy is consumed and even lost while the tank is simply heating and holding hot water in the event that you or your family may need it. This is referred to as standby heat loss.

The total amount of electricity your tank uses depends on several different factors. These include:

  • How energy efficient your unit is
  • The size of your tank
  • How much water your family uses
  • The temperature of your tank
  • How well your tank is insulated

But let's look at an example of what your tank may be costing you.

If you have a relatively high efficiency water heater that is using approximately 4000 watts, and that heater is running for 3 hours per day, and you are paying $0.11 per kilowatt of energy, your hot water heater would be costing you $0.44 per hour, $1.32 per day, $40.15 per month, or $481.85 per year. You may be paying slightly more or less depending on what the average cost of a kilowatt of energy is in your area. 

How Will A Tankless Or On-Demand Water Heater Differ?

When you install a tankless or on-demand water heater, you do not have to worry about heating water that is only sitting in your tank waiting. When you demand hot water from a tankless system, your unit will circulate the cold water through a heat exchanger. This in turn will raise the temperature of the water to your preset temperature. Not only will you save the energy currently being wasted in standby losses, but you will also save water since you will no longer have to let it run before you are awarded with hot water.

These units can be found in two different varieties. They include:

  • Point-of-use heaters - These are normally very small units that are designed to only heat the water needed for one or two outlets. For example, you may install this type of unit under your kitchen sink. Because they are installed very close to the outlet, this outlet will quickly have hot water because there will be no lag time. The water will not have to travel through pipes to get to the outlet.
  • Whole-house heaters - These are designed to provide hot water to the whole house. These units are slightly larger than a point-of-use unit, but are still small and compact when compared to a traditional unit.

Tankless water heaters are:

  • Small - Most take up very little space and can be mounted under cabinets, in closets, and even on outside walls as long as you have the proper insulation.
  • Efficient - They will provide an endless supply of hot water. You never have to worry about running out of hot water again.
  • Durable - Most tankless heaters have a life expectancy of approximately 20 years. This is 5 - 10 years longer than a traditional model.
  • Safe - You never have to worry about water damage or flooding due to a busted hot water heater.

Unfortunately, there are disadvantages. Although they are coming down in price, a tankless heater can cost much more than a traditional model up front. Depending on your home's electrical wiring, you may need the services of both a plumber and an electrician for the installation. The good news is that the cost of your installation may be offset by federal as well as local incentives and tax rebates. But do your homework up front, as not all makes and models qualify.

Another disadvantage, depending on the model you choose, is that you may experience reduced flow rates and variations in your water temperatures if you are trying to use water in several different places simultaneously. Make sure that you purchase a unit that is going to be large enough to provide you with the gallons per minute that your family needs, as well as the flow rate in your home.

Why not try this out and talk to your plumber to see if a tankless or on-demand system would be right for you and your family. It may be one of the best plumbing decisions you will make for years to come.