Is a tankless hot water heater right for you?

tankless water heaters, Cooper Plumbing of IdahoWhen you consider all your appliances, your hot water heater is the key. Whether you are washing dishes, taking a shower, or doing laundry; it all starts with the ability to get quick, efficiently heated water to do the job right. Water heating is the second largest expense in your home, attributing up to 18% of your utility bills every year. The average home uses sixty-four gallons of water every day and the average cost is four to six hundred dollars to heat that water each year. With these facts in mind, it is very important to make the right decision about which hot water heater to install in your home.

The first consideration is how much water your family uses. This includes peak use such as evening dishes, laundry and shower time. If your household schedule makes it necessary to combine several major hot water events within a limited time, you need to consider ways to keep up with that need. The second thing to factor is your power options, gas versus electrical is important to compare. The third is the overall run of your pipes. Do you have bathrooms or utility rooms that are on opposite sides of your home? And finally, how long do you expect to keep your home?

To answer these questions let’s start with the types of units available. The storage tank, which is what you probably grew up with, has the down-fall we have all experienced, when the water heated in the tank runs out. Now you must wait until the elements can heat up a new tank of water. Electric is not as fast as gas, however gas has become more expensive as a utility option and may not be available. If you have long pipe runs, the water will cool as it flows to a distant bathroom location. However, these are the least expensive to initially install. Life time is ten to fifteen years, so it is a good idea to consider how long you intend to keep your home.

Tank-less has become a popular option. This is a unit that does not store water so it is not continually heating a reservoir. This can save up to 30% in heating cost or a hundred dollars a year for the average household. It can be somewhat more expensive in the initial installation for the unit, and the need for a power source connection. The tank-less unit is installed near the final tap. This makes it very efficient for that tap but if it must run a secondary tap far away, and, multiple jobs such as laundry and dishes at the same time, it will reduce the flow to keep up, which can become an issue. The easy solution to this is to install more than one tank-less unit, each closer to the final tap. This initial expense is more but on the positive side a tank-less unit is expected to last over twenty years, an important cost consideration if you plan on keeping your home.

Because your hot water heater is such an integral component in your home needs, it is worth calling your plumbing professional to go over all the options.

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