If you’re a latest-and-greatest kind of person or simply a tired-of-cold-showers type of person, then upgrading to a tankless water heater may be the way to go. Or, you may still prefer a conventional unit when it’s time for a new one if you haven’t experienced any problems or limitations with the one you have now.
A tankless unit, or instant heater, doesn’t store dozens of gallons of hot water like a conventional, or storage tank-style, unit. Instead, it instantly heats the water as it passes through the unit, and only when you turn on a tap or appliance.
In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of both of these options. You’ll want to know this stuff if you’re in the market for a new water heater. Or, if you are looking to reduce your water bill or run out of hot water a lot.
The latter is a common problem, especially down the shore. People with outdoor showers, especially, also often have a long line of people coming off the beach ready to shower all at the same time.
Benefits of Conventional Hot Water Heater
On the front end, a storage tank unit offers a lower price and more convenience. If you already have a conventional water heater, you don’t need to switch from gas to electricity.
Conversion is straightforward, but it’s still an extra step. With the tried-and-true, you just need to get the new one installed, and that takes less than a day.
They cost much less, too — up to three times less than tankless. There are a few considerations when it comes to the upgrade, and we’ll go over those later.
But, if you’re looking for a quick replacement and haven’t had any complaints about your hot water or bills, staying with a storage tank unit is inexpensive and easy.
Drawbacks of Hot Water Heater
Of course, you get what you pay for, at least up front. We consider tankless an upgrade because it alleviates many of the problems people have with their current units.
The big one here is running out of hot water. And, as we mentioned, it’s a problem that anyone last in line to clean off the sand knows all too well.
Residential tanks hold anywhere from 23 to 36 gallons for two people, to 56 or up to 80 for five or more people.
The numbers of people these accommodate are estimates, of course. And, the price goes up with the capacity.
Plus, the more water you’re holding at a time, the more gas or electricity you use to keep it warm.
Now, here’s the problem: Even if you have a larger tank for more people, you’re dealing with that sudden heavy usage. An 8-minute shower can use around 16 gallons.
Then there’s the peak hour demand: The amount of hot water you’ll get out of the system in an hour.
At the shore, more than one person may shower at a time, and maybe someone’s using a sink to wash up or prepare dinner. The amount of water you use in your peak hour is way higher than if all that was staggered.
Long story short: a storage tank unit can’t provide continuous hot water for too long. And, it costs a lot more to run because it has to continually keep dozens of gallons of water warm all the time.
Benefits of Tankless Water Heater
Going tankless offers solutions to those two big problems: too little hot water, too-high water bills.
This all comes down to the process: Tankless isn’t storing hot water for you to use up all at once. Instead, it’s warming it up when you turn on the tap.
So, you never run out of hot water! As long as water comes through the faucet, the system gets it hot moments before.
Now, you can have a conga line’s worth of people showering one right after the other. The last person will have just as much hot water than the first — even if it’s hours later.
This also saves you money. How often do you run the tap or the shower for a minute or two, waiting for the water to warm up?
Whatever your answer is, multiply that by a few gallons each time. Your sink puts out around a gallon and a half each minute. The shower uses two. And, you’re paying for all of it.
Unless, of course, you’ve gone tankless. Then the water is the exact temperature you want, right away.
Drawbacks of a Tankless Water Heater
The drawbacks of a tankless unit are the opposite of a storage-style unit’s benefits: Upfront cost and convenience.
Expect to pay more for a new tankless unit over another conventional setup. Then, there’s the question of how you power it.
Going electric is a little cheaper than a gas-powered unit. But, tankless units need 120 amps.
So, you may have to upgrade your circuit breaker or add a new outlet and wiring. That takes time and adds on to the cost.
Going from a gas storage unit to a gas upgrade gets you around that problem. But, those units are the ones three times as expensive as conventional.
Fortunately, however, you can take advantage of NJ Clean Energy rebates to reduce the cost of the more energy-efficient tankless models.
Water Heater Installations in Cape May and Atlantic Counties in New Jersey
Whether you’re looking for a conventional water heater or are considering an upgrade to tankless, Broadley’s has you covered! With nearly a century of service in South Jersey, we’ll help you find the perfect solution. And, we’ll install it quickly and correctly the first time.