How Does A Tankless Water Heater Work & Are They Worth It In Iowa?
August 23, 2021
Hot water in your home is not a luxury — it's a necessity. Hot water is needed for showers, baths, laundry, dish washing and more. Because we tend to use so much of it, having a cost-efficient and effective way to heat water makes good financial sense. There is a wide range of water heating units available, including tankless models.
Like the name suggests, a tankless water heater does not store its water in a tank or reservoir. Instead, it heats water on demand. Traditional storage water heaters feature a tank that holds water that is kept heated. Traditional water heaters are typically powered by electricity or by a boiler.
When your living situation doesn't require constant use of hot water or your hot water needs are generally low, traditional water heaters aren’t as efficient. For example, the hot water needs of a retired couple are likely much lower than those of a family with four children.
There are some scenarios in which a tankless water heater is the most efficient and affordable method of getting hot water, but a tankless water heater isn’t right for everyone. Read on to find out more about the benefits and drawbacks of tankless water heaters.
What Is A Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or spontaneous water heaters, provide hot water without storing water in a large tank. Tankless water heaters are energy efficient and take up less space than traditional water heaters. There are two main types of tankless water heaters — gas-fired and electric.
Types Of Tankless Water Heaters:
Gas-fired tankless water heaters run on natural gas or propane. They are typically more complicated and more expensive than electric tankless water heaters. Some may also require a complex venting system to provide adequate airflow for combustion.
Electric tankless water heaters are hooked up to a house’s existing electrical system. In contrast to gas-fired units, electric tankless water heaters are smaller, less expensive and less complex.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Tankless water heaters use either an electric element or gas burner to warm the water as it travels through a pipe and into the unit. This enables an essentially endless supply of hot water — no need to wait for a storage tank to fill up.
Image Credit: Department of Energy
Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth it in Iowa?
Just like with every piece of household HVAC equipment, there are important tankless water heater pros and cons to consider. On one hand, tankless water heaters can provide an unending stream of hot water almost instantly and they can be more economical than traditional water heaters.
On the other hand, some buyers say it’s more difficult to get a consistent water temperature with a tankless system. We’ll explore some more tankless water heater pros and cons below.
What Are the Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater in Iowa?
An endless, nearly instant supply of hot water is one of the main benefits of tankless hot water heaters. Other benefits include efficiency, longevity and a lower cost to maintain the unit.
Tankless Water Heaters Provide Effectively Unlimited Hot Water
As we’ve already mentioned, the obvious, primary benefit to a tankless water heater is that it can supply hot water on demand, and the hot water never runs out. This is a great perk, especially in Iowa and other places with a very cold climate in the winter. Endless hot water is also a great benefit for larger households where there is a greater demand for hot water.
Tankless Water Heaters Are More Energy Efficiency
Tankless hot water heaters help you save on energy costs because no electricity or heating oil is required to maintain water temperature within the storage unit. Tankless water heaters operate only "on demand," which requires less energy than maintaining the temperature of a tank of water.
Tankless Water Heaters Have A Longer Lifespan
On average, traditional storage tank water heaters need to be replaced after ten years. An electric tankless water heater can last about the same amount of time, but a gas-fired tankless unit can last up to twenty years.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Is Less Significant
Water heaters without storage tanks are less prone to mechanical failure than standard storage units. This means you’ll spend less over time on tankless water heater maintenance as you continue to enjoy a consistent supply of hot water.
What Is The Downside To A Tankless Water Heater In Iowa?
Despite the many benefits of tankless water heaters, there are still some downsides to consider. A tankless water heater is a great option for many homes, but it won't be the right fit for everyone.
Smaller Tankless Water Heaters Won’t Heat An Entire House
Smaller, cheaper tankless water heaters will likely only allow for one water source to be heated at a time. For example, if you install a small tankless unit, you may not be able to take a shower while running the dishwasher. Larger units will allow for multiple sources to be heated simultaneously, but larger units are also more expensive. Be sure to explore the limitations of any tankless system before you install it to make sure it will work well for your household’s needs.
Tankless Water Heaters Have Different Ventilation Requirements
Because of their more powerful burners, tankless water heaters have important ventilation needs. This can make installation more difficult if you don’t already have a tankless unit installed in your home.
Tankless Water Heaters Are More Expensive To Purchase & Install
Although a tankless water heater could save you money over time, the upfront cost is more than traditional storage tank water heaters. You’ll need to weigh whether the long term potential for cost savings outweighs the initial investment or not.
Interested In A Quote For Tankless Water Heater Installation? Call Lozier!
If you think a tankless water heater could be a great solution for your household, contact Lozier Heating & Cooling today! We can help you find a unit that will fit your needs and provide an estimate for purchase and installation.
If you already have a tankless unit installed in your home and you need tankless water heater maintenance or repairs, we can help with that too! Schedule an appointment or give us a call at 515-267-1000.