Today many sustainability-minded homeowners and homebuilders are choosing to replace traditional hot water tanks with tankless water heaters.
Like a hot water tank, tankless water heaters supply hot water for showers and baths, sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. But with one important difference.
Tankless water heaters provide hot water on-demand – quickly heating water from the municipal supply line strictly on an as-needed basis.
As a result, tankless heaters are being embraced as a more responsible, energy-efficient option for today’s environmentally conscious consumer.
How do tankless heaters work?
Unlike traditional hot water tanks, hot water is not stored until needed. Instead, water is heated when there is a demand for hot water. Within seconds it will reach the desired temperature and provide hot water at your faucet, showerhead or appliance. Top-rated units are capable of generating enough hot water to allow two showers to run at the same time.
When a hot water tap is turned on, a sensor in the tankless heater immediately ignites the fuel source (generally natural gas). This in turn heats the water exchanger to heat the water. As soon as the tap is shut off, so too is the flame. Natural gas is only consumed when there is a demand for hot water.
Water temperatures are set using a digital control. Many models include advanced controls which inform you if the unit requires maintenance.
On-demand means less waste.
Because water doesn’t have to be constantly heated throughout the day to maintain its temperature, tankless heaters are far more energy-efficient. They’ve been shown to cut fuel costs down by 27%-50%.
It is estimated that, 40-50% of the fuel used to heat a hot water tank is wasted through ‘standby loss’ (heat that escapes from the tank into the home). In a large city such as Calgary, that can add up. With tankless heaters, the problem of standby loss is practically eliminated.
Tankless water heaters provide long-term cost savings.
Tankless water heaters aren’t for everybody. Like any new technology, the upfront purchase price of tankless systems are noticeably higher compared to hot water tanks, which have been around for over 75 years. Tankless systems often involve more work to install.
That is why a tankless system should be viewed as a long-term investment in sustainability that will start to pay off in about 6 years. At this point, homeowners will have recouped their upfront costs and start benefiting from lower utility bills.
There is another advantage. Tankless systems have a longer expected lifespan: almost double that of a hot water tank with regular maintenance.
Go Green. Go tankless.
As more and more Canadians place greater value on minimizing their carbon footprint costs have been coming down, which is good news for consumers and the environment.
To find out more, speak to a qualified installer for advice on which system is right for you and your home.
Pros of Buying a Tankless Water Heater
- Greater energy-efficiency. Less waste.
- More environmentally responsible.
- Takes up less space in the basement.
- Never run out of hot water.
- Easier venting (side of home vs. chimney)
- Last almost 2x longer than a tank system
Cons of Buying a Tankless Water Heater
- Higher up-front cost
- Some units not compatible with hard water
- Annual maintenance is recommended to maximize service life