According to energy.gov the average household uses 64 gallons of water every day and spends $400 – $600 per year to heat water. The amount spent to heat water accounts for 14 – 18 percent of a homeowners’ annual utility bills and is the second-biggest utility expense.
When it comes to water heating and cost efficiency, two options to consider are tankless water heaters and traditional water heaters.
Tankless Water Heaters vs. Traditional Water Heaters – How They Work
Tankless water heaters don’t use a big, bulky storage tank to provide your home with hot water. Instead, these systems heat water directly and when the hot water tap is turned on cold water enters the unit from a pipe. These systems typically use gas or electricity to heat the water.
A traditional water heater uses a large storage tank to preheat usually 30 – 50 gallons of water stored in the tank. This hot water is then used for laundry, washing dishes and showers.
To decide which is best for your home you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of both types of water heating.
Tankless Water Heaters
With tankless water heaters, you can save money in the long run. Energy.gov also notes “homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand (tankless) water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water — around 86 gallons per day.” Depending on the amount of water your home uses each day you could save at least $100 per year in utilities costs.
If space is an issue a tankless water heater makes sense since the unit is a lot smaller, and provides more flexibility when it comes to installation, than the tanks used for traditional water heaters. A tankless water heater can also be installed outside.
Tankless water heaters also have a long shelf life and can last 20 or more years, almost double the amount of time you’ll get out of a traditional water heater.
Tankless water heaters are also good for remote bathrooms or hot tubs and as a booster for clothes washers, dishwashers or solar heating systems.
As for the downside of tankless water heaters, they are more expensive to install than traditional water heaters. And if you’re looking to swap out a traditional heater with a tankless system installation could get tricky, and you might also have to make upgrades to gas or electrical systems.
There’s also a limited flow rate with tankless water heaters so if someone is showering while the dishwasher is running it could stretch the system to its limits.
Traditional Water Heaters
With traditional water heaters, the initial cost is lower, and installation could be nearly half of what it costs to install a tankless system. The installation process is also less complicated than tankless water heaters.
Flow rates are also typically better with traditional water heaters, and one storage tank is usually sufficient for most homes. Make sure to look for a tank with good insulation to reduce heat loss and lower operating costs.
Traditional water heaters though can bring higher utility costs since they reheat water at a pre-set temperature regardless of your water needs. You could see a higher increase in your utility bill during the cold months.
So before you decide which system to go with consider your budget, water usage, short- and long-term objectives. You’ll also have to take into account any upgrades your gas or electrical system might need.
We know there are a lot of questions surrounding these two options and we want to make sure we here at Hearth and Home want to help answer these questions.