Tankless water heaters are not a new invention, but there are still many Long Beach homeowners who have not yet made the switch from a tank-style water heater to a tankless version. Just like any home improvement project, there are many factors to consider. Here are the pros and cons of installing a tankless water heater in your Long Beach home.
The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters over Tank-Style Heaters
There are several great benefits to tankless water heaters that make people favor them above traditional tank-style water heaters. First of all, people love the fact that hot water comes out of the faucet almost instantaneously. With seemingly constant water shortages in Long Beach, having a water heater that gives you instant hot water is a great feature—no more water running down the drain while you stand there waiting for your shower water to heat up!
Second, tankless water heaters give you an endless supply of hot water. With a tank-style heater, a household can only use the amount of hot water that the tank holds—typically 30 to 60 gallons. This may sound like a lot, but if multiple household members like to take long showers in the morning, plus run the dishwasher or clothes washer, the hot water in the tank could get easily depleted, leaving someone with nothing but cold water for their shower. This will never happen with a tankless heater, since the water is heated on demand.
Eco-minded homeowners also appreciate that tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts. Since the water is heated on demand, energy is only used when hot water is needed. In contrast, a tank-style water heater is constantly heating the water in its tank—even if no one is home.
A final benefit of a tankless heater over a tank-style heater is the smaller size. A typical tankless water heater will be about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, while a traditional tank is much larger. If you want to reclaim some space in your home or garage, trading out the large tank for a smaller tankless unit is a great place to start. A tankless heater can be mounted on an outside wall, taking up no floor space at all.
The Downsides of Tankless Water Heaters
The main downside of replacing a traditional water heater with a tankless version is the upfront cost. Tankless water heaters can be significantly more expensive to purchase and install than a tank-style heater—about three times more expensive, on average.
Although smaller in size, tankless water heaters have more technology built in, making them more costly to purchase. Electric heaters are typically a bit less expensive than comparable gas heaters, but they will still run a Long Beach homeowner more than $1,000, and possibly up to $5,000, depending on the brand and the flow rate. And then there’s the cost of installation. A handy homeowner could potentially install a traditional water heater on his or her own or hire a handyman to do so. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, should be installed by a professional, which will drive up the cost even further. It’s a similar situation with repairs. Tank-style heaters that break are often easy to fix, while tankless heaters require a little more expertise. The components needed to repair a tankless water heater may be a bit harder to come by, which means you may be without hot water for a few days while you wait for the parts to arrive.
Some of the costs associated with tankless water heaters can be offset by energy-saving rebates from utility companies and/or tax credits from the federal government. In addition, Long Beach homeowners will see monthly savings on their energy and water bills once the unit is in use, and tankless units tend to last longer and have better warranties than traditional heaters. In general, a Long Beach homeowner can expect to get about 10 years out of a tank-style heater, while a tankless heater can last as long as 25 years. When you factor in all these things, the cost of a tankless water heater can be well worth it in the long run, but that doesn’t change the fact that you still have to come up with a good chunk of money up front.
When to Make the Switch to a Tankless Water Heater
The best time to switch to a tankless water heater would be when your current water heater is reaching the end of its life. If your tank-style water heater is ten or more years old, consider upgrading to a tankless heater, rather than just replacing it with another tank.
Another good time to upgrade to tankless would be when there are generous tax credits available for energy-saving home upgrades. A good place to start looking for these is the federal government’s ENERGY STAR website or your utility companies’ websites.
Finally, you can incorporate a water heater upgrade into a larger home remodel. Your Long Beach architect can include a tankless heater in the new design of your home, as well as any other energy-efficient upgrades you want to make.