3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters

3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Thinking about a tankless hot water system for your home or business? See what the pros and cons are!

Whether you are in Tuscany, Canyon Meadows, or Parkland, living anywhere in Calgary makes your situation unique when it comes to picking a hot water system.

What!? Why?

Calgary has a high elevation which means our gas appliances perform differently. High efficient tankless hot water heaters even have a dip switch which reconfigures how it will burn the gas to compensate for our altitude.  If your new tank is not set up correctly, you could be reducing the efficiency, and voiding your warranty.  Caught your attention?  Keep reading for more important facts about tankless hot water.

TANKLESS PROS

There are many reasons to buy and install a tankless hot water system. Here are my top 3. 

#1 – 96%-98*% Efficient!  You simply will not find anything else this efficient when it comes to heating your water. The advanced system that tankless heaters use, especially when compared to typical hot water tanks, revolutionized the amount of energy and cost needed to get hot water in your home or business. Plus, it only activates when you need hot water. Tankless hot water tanks consume energy only when needed. This is why some people also call the system an on-demand hot water system. They are super efficient because they produce warm water when you need it, or as you demand it. Combine these two facts, super efficient energy use and only working when you need it, and you have by far the best way to efficiently heat your water. (Tanks average mid 60% to low 70% at best.)

#2Size.  You can replace up to 2 full size hot water tank heaters with one tankless unit that hangs on your wall out of the way.  If you have a tight mechanical room, this is a quick way to gain storage space once the water heater(s) are removed. Imagine the added space you can gain in your utility room by removing 1 or 2 water tanks and replacing it with a simple unit on your wall? No matter the brand you choose (Rinnai, Navien, Rheem, Noritz, John Wood and others), you will experience a cleaner, more open space in your basement or utility room.

#3Long life.  Compared to the 10 year average life of a tank, a tankless heater can last over 20 years if properly maintained. That means a tankless hot water system can last up to twice as long as a typical hot water tank. Even the warranty on most units is 15 years on the heat exchanger, which shows that the suppliers know their products are designed to last for a long time and produce hot water consistently. And if you think 15 years as a warranty is long, on some newer models, it’s up to 25 years! When you invest in a tankless hot water system, you can feel confident that it will reliably provide hot water for the long run.

TANKLESS CONS

There are a handful of reasons why you may not want to choose a tankless hot water system. Here are my top 3.

#1 Cost. – The overall cost to remove a water heater tank and convert your system to tankless is costly.  Once done, it is quite comparable to replace a tankless as it is to replace a tank in the future, but the work and materials required to initially install it, will put you at 2 to 3 times the cost of replacing a water heater.

#2 Service. – Unlike a tank, you really do need to service the tankless annually and provide good water quality to the unit.  If you don’t you will void your warranty and risk failure in the first 2-3 years. The good news is, it is easy to do on your own, or get help from professionals like our Team at Aquality who will even train you how to do it yourself.

#3 Lifestyle Changes. – Yes you get “Unlimited” hot water with a tankless when sized right, BUT only to a certain amount of gallons per minute (GPM).  This means you cannot run a tub, a shower, wash dishes, and another shower all at the same time.  Typically, you can run 2 showers at once as a good rule of thumb and in months when the inlet water temperature is higher, you could even wash dishes too. The good news is, once you adapt, you can stay in that shower for as long as you want and never run out.

skdla 3 Pros and Cons to Tankless Hot Water Heaters

How do Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work?

Technology has come a long way to get warm water to your desired faucet or fixture faster than ever with tankless heaters. This happens with built in recirculation pumps.  They are quiet and provide precise temperatures. You can even get them linked to your smart phone and change the temperature setting from your phone! They can also provide enough hot water for your comfort to your faucets and fixtures, as well as to your floor heating systems with incredible Combi units.

Some people also choose tankless because they provide hot water endlessly for as long as it is needed. Typical hot water tanks hold hot water until you need it, which is great, but this means that once the tank or tanks are empty, that your home is out of hot water until the tanks can regenerate warm water. If your home or business has periods of time that require large amounts of warm water usage, a tankless unit might make sense.

If you are interested in more information on tankless heating, let us know and we can set up a virtual meeting, or come meet you at your home.  If you are getting pricing on a tankless installation and you currently have a water heater, ensure this is customized to your needs.  A quote over the phone is not recommended, as there are too many factors to consider in each home.  Don’t get caught paying for things that are not required at your home.

Installing a Tankless Hot Water Unit in your Calgary home 

Our first question usually is, “How long will you be expecting to live in the home?”  If your answer isn’t 4 years or more, we likely will tell you that this is not the product for you. An honest attitude is what drives our business, and we look forward to learning what your needs are and helping to share our expertise and educate you on what is best for you, your budget and your home.

Installing an important investment such as a Rinnai or Navien tankless system in your Calgary home, can be a complex project and getting expert advice is a good idea. For example, because our water is so hard in Calgary, we always suggest adding a water softener to ensure your tankless system can function properly. If you don’t, and we’ve seen it in real life, the hard water minerals will build up in your unit and it won’t last as long as it should and will void your warranty.

Choosing a brand is an important step in the process and we are happy to offer our recommendations. There are many on the market such as Rheem, Rinnai, Navien, John Wood and Noritz. Each brand and style has its pros and cons and once we learn about your home’s water systems, your water needs, budget and other elements, we can share our suggestions based on experience and what you need.

You see at Aquality, our vision is to be the trusted plumbing and heating expert by building honest relationships. We feel this is a great way to start your relationship with us.  ~ David, from Aquality

5 Things to Consider when Choosing between a Hot Water Tank or a Tankless Hot Water Heater

5 Things to Consider when Choosing between a Hot Water Tank or a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Love a hot bath? Enjoy endless warm-water showers? Dream about washing clothes at the same time as a family member has a hot shower? Looking for ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption? 

 

Look no further! You can upgrade your home’s hot water situation and you can make the right choice between a standard hot water tank or a tankless water heater. 

 

 

Here are 5 key points to consider when deciding between a hot water tank or a tankless water heater: 

 

 

  1. How long will you be living at this residence?

This is our first question when considering tankless water heaters because if you are not going to reap the benefits long enough to pay back the added expense, or you aren’t a die hard environmentalist, and space saving isn’t vital, then you do not need to read any further because a tankless is not for you.

Based on the cost, we’d like to know you will be sticking around for at least a few years (we say 4 or more) to ensure you are getting value from your decision. Remember though, if you value making the right choice for the environment, you can skip ahead to point #4. 

 

  1. Where do you live?
    If you live in Calgary, like I do, you will need to address the water quality. If you live in a city or town with soft water, then this is one consideration you don’t have to factor in. 

 

There are 2 options for those who have hard water.  First, you can install a scale remover before the tankless unit; or secondly, you can get the whole home on a water softener. There are huge advantages to having soft water, and it is imperative to maintain your warranty on a tankless system. 

 

A tankless water heater system, (also called on demand water) is a great investment for your home, but it is an investment. We want to ensure that our customers know up front that if your home has hard water like most homes in the Calgary area do, that before installing a tankless water heater, you will have to consider how you will address the water quality. Keep in mind, if you install a water softening system to your whole home, not only will it support your new tankless system, but it will give you so many other terrific benefits too. You can read more about the benefits of water softeners on our website. 

 

  1. Annual Maintenance of Tankless Water Heaters
    Be aware that maintenance is required with your tankless and some plumbing companies will argue both ways on tanks.  Flushing the tankless and having it serviced are your key to a valid warranty. Typical hot water tanks can live without annual maintenance, especially in a clean dust-free area.With tankless, if you have hard water, it will scale on the inside and this added hard scale will reduce efficiencies down to approximately 70% efficient levels. See point #4 to compare how unfortunate it is to reduce your efficiency levels this low.Plumbers secret and hint for you: If you have soft water, be sure to change your Anode Rod every 4 (maximum 5) years or you will see your tank start to leak prematurely at about year 6 or 7.  You’re welcome. 

 

  1. How efficient is the tankless heater compared to a hot water tank? 
    There is no comparison. Period.It’s incredible how efficient tankless models are. Most tankless models will operate at 96%-98% efficiency. This is incredible and should be celebrated for many reasons including the efficient use of energy, the efficient use of your money when you pay for your home’s energy usage, and the engineering plus the craftsmanship that goes into creating tankless heaters.The concept of a high efficient residential hot water tank isn’t as true as it is marketed, especially living in Canadian climates like Calgary. From what we know, an efficiency rating of 67% is typically all you will get on the variety of hot water tanks typically installed.

    Factor in that tankless only heats water when you open a faucet; compare that to a giant tank that is constantly trying to keep 40, 50, sometimes over 100 gallons in some homes, hot 24/7.

    Without a doubt, the tankless water heater is the clear winner here.

  2. Will your lifestyle adapt?
    A tankless option will never run out of hot water.. sort of.  It will never run out of hot water, BUT only at a certain amount of gallons per minute (GPM). If you exceed the amount of gallons per minute, it will go lukewarm or cold. Generally though, endless hot water is one of the main features that people love about a tankless water heater. Rather than singing one or two songs in the shower, you’ll be able to sing the whole album!If your lifestyle can adapt to using less gallons per minute (typically 2 or 3  faucets, as the GPM per faucet will vary) to align with what your tankless was specified for, you will love it!A typical hot water tank has a reserve of all those gallons we mentioned earlier so running out of hot water works differently. It may handle more gallons per minute at first, but once your hot water tank is drained, with limited recovery potential, you can expect to be waiting a while for hot water again. The tankless will be ready to go instantly if you keep your GPM within its means. 

 

Hot Water Tank Warranty Specialists

 

 

In the Calgary area, Aquality Plumbing and Heating is actually designated as the plumbing technician of choice to handle all the warranty calls, repairs and replacements for several top hot water tank brands. We know a lot about hot water systems and we have seen how they look and function when they are new, partly used and on their last legs. If you ask us about your home’s hot water situation, you are guaranteed to get an honest and helpful answer based on our many years of experience. 

 

 

We hope this helps you make the right decision for your situation. If you have more questions, we welcome you to reach out to us at: connect@aqualityplumber.com or call our office at 403-205-2782.