There's a lot of talk about tankless water heaters in the last decade, but how do you know if it is right for you? Well, only you can answer that question. My goal with this blog is to give you some information to help you answer just that. I will address some of the main benefits of tankless water heaters and explain them more
Endless Supply of Hot Water
You may be thinking, “I never run out of hot water…..”. Well, for most people this isn’t a daily occurrence. So why then do we need something to give an endless supply of hot water? My answer to that question is, we have taught ourselves to schedule around our water heater. Some of the members of your family shower at night while others shower in the morning to prevent the unpleasant experience of a cold shower. Then, there are the times when you have guests for the weekend and then it goes by the logic, the early bird gets...the hot shower. Or what about that huge soaker tub in your master bath? Most people don’t even use it because it gets about half full with hot water and then the water heater runs out and you have to fill the remainder with cold water. Wouldn’t it be great to fill the whole tub with hot water, even with a house full of guests? You can, with a tankless water heater.
How is a box that hangs on the wall able to meet the hot water needs of your entire house? The same way your furnace is able to heat your entire house, with heat exchangers. Your furnace heats the air as it is blown through the heat exchanger and then is disbursed throughout your house through your vents. Tankless water heaters work the same way, but with water. This means that the water is heated as you need it, instead of having a reserve tank waiting to give you hot water when you need it.
Lower Utility Costs
If you've done any amount of research on tankless water heaters, you are likely aware that one of the benefits is a decrease in your gas usage and subsequently your gas bill. How is it possible for an appliance that is capable of using 199,000 btu’s going to have a lower cost to operate than one that uses 40,000 btu’s? There are actually two answers to this question. First, tankless water heaters have a modulated gas valve inside, which causes the tankless to only use as much gas as needed to match the demand. For example, if you turn on your kitchen faucet, the tankless will typically only use 20,000 to 30,000 btu’s to heat the amount of water that is being requested from the faucet. Therefore, less demand for hot water equals less demand for gas. The second answer to the lower gas bill is, the tankless only uses gas when there is a demand for hot water. Tank water heaters have a pilot light that is always on and the burner will come on throughout the day even if you're not home, just to make sure the water is at the temperature set by the thermostat, this equates to a lot of wasted energy and resources. Which brings us to our next benefit, energy ratings.
Higher Efficiency Ratings
There’s a lot of talk now about efficiency ratings and Energy Star appliances, but what does that really mean? The easiest way for me to explain it is as follows. Think about every dollar you use to heat water, the efficiency rating which is typically expressed as a percentage or a decimal determines how much of that dollar is actually used to heat your water. Most standard tank water heaters have an efficiency rating around 60-65%, meaning that you are wasting 35-40 cents of every dollar that's used to heat your water. The most popular residential Rinnai tankless water heaters have an efficiency rating of 93-95%. Big difference!! How this is done is a little harder to explain through this outlet, but we would be happy to answer that question while giving a free estimate at your home.
Lifespan and Warranty
The last benefit we will discuss here is the lifespan and warranty of tankless water heaters. For a lot of people, this is the most important feature when deciding on water heaters, tank or tankless. A lot of tank water heater manufacturers offer different warranty options, but most of these options are prorated after a certain period. Meaning your 12-year warranty water heater that leaks at 11 ½ years only offers a small percentage of compensation through its warranty. The most common warranty for a tank water heater is 6 years and this offers the benefit of a new water heater at no cost, but does not cover the labor of replacing it. Rinnai tankless water heaters offer a 12-year warranty on the heat exchangers, and 5-year warranty on all other parts AND labor PERIOD. This means if anything happens to the unit in the first 5 years, you pay nothing.
We talked about warranty, but what about lifespan? Most people will agree that tank water heaters being manufactured now will get you 9 to 11 years. Rinnai tankless water heaters have a lifespan of 20-25 years. This is because every component inside a tankless is repairable and/or replaceable. That means if there is a problem with your tankless, the part that is defective can be replaced instead of replacing the whole unit.
So, to review we discussed the endless supply of hot water, the cost savings to operate based on efficiency and less gas demand, and we discussed the warranty and life of a tankless water heater. These are definitely not all the benefits of a Rinnai tankless water heater but are a good start to help you determine if it is right for you. We at Hometown Plumbing are always available to answer any further questions you may have or to come by for a free, in-home tankless consultation to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (678) 598-6528 and let us know how we can help you.