Top 3 Myths of Tankless Water Heaters
They Save Money
While these units are more energy efficient, many are 80% efficiency with some as high as 90%, the total savings per month compared to a tank heater, even an older one, could only be as little as $10 per month when the proper calculations are done. This may not be enough money to offset the cost of the unit coupled with installation (think financing) and the maintenance these units require. Which brings us to our next myth.
They Don’t Need Maintenance
Tank-less water heaters still need maintenance like a tank heater. They build up scale (think caked on minerals) inside the units piping that needs to be flushed every 6 to 24 months depending on water hardness and frequency of use. This task does involve some special equipment so, a licensed plumber experienced with tank-less water heaters should be contacted to help with this as it’s not something the average person wants to learn to do.
Instantaneous Hot Water
While tankless water heaters can provide a nearly endless stream of hot water, they still cannot provide it instantaneously without the use of another plumbing component called a recirculation pump. A tankless heater saves money by only heating water that flows through the heater when the water is turned on. However, if the water in the pipes has gone cold since the last use, the unit will take a few moments to push that water out from the lines before the hot will arrive at the faucet. A recirculation pump constantly removes the cold water from a pipe to allow new hot water to fill in behind it, therefore, providing hot water instantaneously. These pumps, however, are not part of a tank-less water heater.
All this being said, tank-less water heaters are still a good investment if you’re looking to install one. They should, however, be seen as more of a luxury/long-term energy efficiency item than an immediate cost savings item.
If you are in the market for a tank-less water heater, calling your local plumber who is experienced with tank-less systems is the best way to get more info. If you or a friend is purchasing a home with a tank-less water heater or are unsure of what kind of water heater the new home has a highly qualified, licensed and insured Panther Inspections home inspector can help you get the info you need.