Ford or Chevy? Coke or Pepsi? Larry Bird or Magic Johnson? Ask any number of people on a given day and they will have an opinion on which is better. The same holds true for tankless water heaters versus the traditional tank type. Most everyone familiar with these two methods for heating water will have an opinion on which is preferable and why it is so.This type of direct comparison may not be fair to either product though, especially in the residential market. It may be beneficial to think in terms of comparing apples to oranges when it comes to water heaters. This is to say that each have specific characteristics as well as advantages and disadvantages that vary depending on individual installation requirements. Some of these differences will be discussed below in hopes that the reader will become informed enough to make the choice that will best suit their needs.
First off, we will look at some of the positives to having a tankless style water heater. Continuous flowing heated water is one. It is possible to run two to three fixtures at a time and not lose hot water. This means someone could fill a bathtub while doing their laundry and washing dishes simultaneously without the temperature of the water decreasing. Another plus is consistent water temperature. Most manufacturers offer a digital temperature control on their units for this purpose.
These kinds of systems also heat the water only when there is a demand, which eliminates the need of a standing pilot light and constant gas usage. Now let’s look at some of the negatives to continuous flow water heaters. The installation costs tend to be more than that of the traditional tank variety. This is due to the fact that on demand models are designed to operate on a ¾” gas supply line where as the others are set up for ½” gas supply. It is necessary therefore to re-size the gas line, which is added labor and cost. Another additional cost is the yearly maintenance required of tankless units.
They should be flushed out with specific cleaning solutions and checked for efficiency annually. Lastly, is the need for an electrical outlet in which to plug in to.
It may be necessary to have one of these installed if there is none existing where the assembly is to be placed. Here is yet another expense to be incurred. Next time, we will discuss the tank type water heater and will look at the pros and cons of them.