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Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

Residential water heaters are an integral component of modern comfort. Water heaters are often taken for granted when working well and become a glaring inconvenience when they are not. For most of the past century, choosing a water heater was relatively simple. Most options on the market were similar with the biggest factor being how big a tank you needed, which generally comes down to the number of occupants in the home. But tankless water heaters have emerged as a viable alternative to the traditional water heater with a tank. In fact, installations of tankless systems are on the rise in new residential construction, and real estate data reveals that tankless water heaters are a selling point. The day when tankless systems are more prevalent than traditional systems is likely not far off.

Hot Water Delay

A big reason that tankless water heaters are becoming more popular is that they make a home more comfortable and convenient. A traditional storage-based water heater requires anywhere from 15 to 25 seconds to send hot water to a particular outlet, and that is if the system is running well. If a system is older or the outlet is at a far point in the home, the wait can be longer. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, requires just several seconds or less. That is not an insignificant difference when you want to wash your hands or are taking a shower. Distance in the home can still be a factor, but even that challenge can be overcome with tankless by opting for a multi-unit configuration.

Water Supply

The other way that a tankless water heater can make your home more comfortable and convenient is the water supply. The usual water heater found in American homes holds between 30 to 50 gallons. While that is quite a bit, you can go through it rather fast if, for instance, you have an entire household taking showers and running faucets as they prepare for work and school. With a tankless water heater, this is never a consideration. Your supply of hot water is essentially limitless, and if the system is sized appropriately, you can run multiple showers and faucets and even a washing machine at the same time.

Lifespan

Another advantage of tankless water heaters is that they last longer and come with warranties that reflect that additional lifespan. Conventional water heaters typically last 10 to 15 years, and it is generally recommended that you replace a tank-based water heater after a decade due to the potential for leakage. Tankless water heaters are expected to last 20 years. They can last even longer with proper maintenance. In addition, as long as an older tankless system is efficient and running well, you can continue to use it until it fails without worry that it could cause substantial damage to your home.

Environmental Impact

Tankless water heaters are more environmentally friendly in a couple of ways. The first is that less water is lost, which is primarily due to the hot water arriving so fast. Fifteen seconds of wasted water with each use adds up to a considerable amount. More importantly, however, is that tankless water heaters have a smaller carbon footprint. The energy factor of a standard water heater is .60 whereas the energy factor of tankless water heaters is .80 to .99. This means that with a traditional water heater, 40% of the energy used to heat the water is lost in the process. The EPA estimates that the home will reduce energy consumption by 29% by converting from a traditional water heater to a tankless system.

Upfront Cost

While this may change in time, tankless water heaters are more expensive. The equipment costs more and the installation costs are higher, and there may be additional one-time costs if you are converting from a traditional to a tankless system. How much more? Well, this varies from region to region, but as a general rule, you can expect to pay twice as much overall for a tankless system, and if you do need electrical wiring and other ancillary services, then the cost for that first time could be as much as thrice overall.

Long-Term Cost

Tankless water heaters cost less in the long run, however, and that can make the increased upfront cost a good investment. Consider that a tankless water heater is expected to last twice as long as a traditional system and costs about $10 less a month when factoring in energy consumption and maintenance. Based on average U.S. costs, traditional water heaters cost about $200 a year over the course of their lifetimes, and tankless water heaters cost about $150 a year.

Real Estate Resale Value

Are you planning to move within the next 20 years? If the answer is yes, then a tankless system may be an even better value. The reason for this is recent real estate data from across the U.S. that reveals that homes with tankless water heaters sell at a higher rate than similar homes without, and they sell, on average, about six weeks faster. Residential real estate experts suggest that homeowners can recoup the entire investment, and many real estate agents have begun recommending tankless water heater installation as part of the upgrades made to a home in order to make it more appealing.

Space Requirements

Tankless water heaters require a lot less space. Whereas a water heater with a tank usually has a dedicated area, tankless systems can be installed practically anywhere. Many people opt to install them in their attics and on garage walls and so forth using space that would otherwise go unused. If you did have a dedicated water heater closet, that space can then be repurposed as a pantry or server room.

Leaks

All water heaters can leak, and it is recommended that you have a leak alarm regardless of your water heater style. But there is a difference in how they leak. Outside of a burst pipe, tankless water heaters that leak will generally drip. This is manageable until a plumber arrives to fix the problem. When water heaters with tanks leak, they can dump upward of 50 gallons on your floor, which can cause significant damage. This is the reason for recommending preemptive replacement at the 10-year mark.

Your Water Heater Experts in Atlanta

Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is proud to have served Atlanta and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years, and we look forward to many years to come. In addition to the installation, maintenance and repair of water heaters, we offer a broad range of plumbing and electrical services. You can also count on us to maintain and repair your heating and cooling systems, and we perform new installations and replacements as well.

Hiring us will give you peace of mind. We are BBB accredited with an A+ rating. Our company is Home Advisor Top Rated and has won an Angie’s Listed Super Service Award, and our technicians and plumbers are skilled, experienced, licensed and customer-oriented. Call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Atlanta today to schedule your appointment.

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