Okay, so you’ve decided you want a tankless water heater. But how does it work? Should you choose gas or electric? A tankless water heater provides the wonderful benefit of never running out of hot water. In addition, this device saves you space and money. To help you pick a type of heater, we’re going to break down how tankless water heaters work, why they’re beneficial, and the advantages and disadvantages of gas and electric heaters.
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What is a Tankless Water Heater?
A tankless water heater, or demand-type water heater, is engineered to instantly heat water as it travels through the system. Tankless water heaters only provide water when necessary, and unlike tank heaters, this type of system does not need an insulated tank to heat and store water for use. Now let’s get into how it works.
How Tankless Water Heaters Work
A tankless water heater works by heating the water directly as it is needed each day. This type of water heater does not feature a storage tank. When you turn a hot water tap on, cold water will move through a pipe and into the tankless water heater. This is where, depending on the type of heater you choose, either an electric element or gas burner heats the water. Tankless water heaters are resourceful because they can provide you with hot water without needing to be filled. With this being said, tankless water heaters do have restrictions—flow rate being one of them.
On average, a tankless water heater will source hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons (7.6-15.2 liters) per minute. A larger gas tankless water heater may generate a higher flow of warm water. But even then, a large gas tankless water heater may struggle to supply enough hot water simultaneously in multiple areas of the home. For example, you could be running hot water for the laundry, while another member of your household is using hot water for a bath. This can push your tankless water heater to its limit, and cause permanent damage to your system.
To counteract this, you can invest in two or more tankless water heaters. For larger homes especially, this will meet your hot water demands. You can even install separate tankless water heaters for certain appliances that use a lot of water including the dishwasher, clothes washer, and bathroom.
Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Advantages & Disadvantages
Are you still deciding on if you should get a gas or electric water heater? Both systems work similarly. Though they work much in the same way, there are a variety of external factors to consider. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of tankless water heaters so you can decide what works best for your home.
When it comes to upfront pricing, a gas tankless water heater is usually higher than an electric tankless water heater. On average, gas heaters run between the $1,000-$1,200 range. An electric unit can be purchased between $500-$700. Though both work similarly, gas tankless water heaters are able to generate a higher hot water flow.
A gas tankless water heater will be more expensive to install. This is due to the complexity of the system and the estimated home modifications it may require. In most cases, a licensed technician is able to install and get a tankless water heater to work for less money.
Due to the ever-fluctuating nature of gas prices, upkeep for gas tankless water heaters will vary. Electric units are generally more stable, so you’ll experience more consistent operational costs. Electric units also do not require ventilation or frequent maintenance. Gas tankless units, however, require at least an annual tune-up. A gas tankless unit commonly accomplishes between 80 – 85% efficiency. An electric tankless unit commonly functions at an efficiency level of 98 – 99%.
Most tankless water heaters work for 20 years. This type of water heater features components that can be easily replaced to extend the life cycle of your system. In addition, both have easily replaceable components which may extend their lifespan even further. Between electric and gas, electric tankless water heaters are most likely to exceed its 20-year lifespan (if properly taken care of).
Electric tankless water heaters generally do not have a negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, gas tankless water heaters work by burning fossil fuels, which make them more of a safety issue in the event of a natural disaster.
Tankless Water Heater & HVAC Services
When deciding on investing in a gas or electric tankless water heater, let our specialized team help. If you are still unsure about what a tankless water heater is, our team of licensed technicians offer plumbing and HVAC repair services for malfunctioning tankless heaters, broken air conditioners, inefficient furnaces, cracked water lines, and sewer backups. Give us a call by phone at (732) 201-3305 or book an appointment on our site to receive emergency heating or cooling support.