A traditional residential water heater stores and heats water in a tank. The typical tank holds about 50 gallons. If you use that supply too fast, you’re simply out of hot water. There’s nothing you can do but wait for the system to heat back up. An on-demand or tankless system doesn’t store hot water. It heats it and delivers it as you request it. That approach provides a wide range of benefits.

Compatible With Both Well and Municipal Water Systems

Most homeowners expect that a tankless water heater will be compatible with their municipal water access. This isn’t necessarily true among homeowners with well systems. In fact, there’s a widespread misconception that tankless water heaters aren’t compatible with or suitable to a well. That isn’t the case. There’s no difference between the incoming water pressure of a municipal line and a well-functioning well. It’s true that there may be some additional concerns with scale buildup, and we’ll discuss those in the section on maintenance.

A Virtually Limitless Supply of Hot Water

The industry sizes tank water heaters by the capacity of their tanks in gallons. For tankless systems, we size them based on the flow rate they provide. Plumbers measure this flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). The average tankless water heater provides 5 GPM, and there are now systems that deliver 10 and even 11 GPM. As long as you don’t exceed that flow rate, you won’t run out of hot water. Even if you do exceed it, you’ll generally be dealing with low hot water pressure rather than having no hot water at all.

Easier to Meet the Needs of Multiple Appliances and Fixtures

It’s much easier to size a tankless water heater for multiple outlets. Picture a scenario in which several people are taking showers and you have the dishwasher and washing machine on. Most homes don’t have a water heater tank big enough to handle that kind of demand. With a tankless system, you just have to ensure that you have the total flow rate required.

The Ability to Meet Extra Demand

This limitation with tank water heaters also comes into play with increased demand. Many households deal with high hot water usage during the holidays when they have family stay with them. You could, in theory, size your tank water heater to handle this extra demand once or twice a year. It wouldn’t be practical because you’d be paying to heat all that extra water throughout the entire year. This isn’t the case with a tankless water heater. You may only need 5 GPM most of the time but opt for a 10-GPM system. It will cost you more upfront in the extra price of the equipment. It won’t cost you more throughout the year just because you’re using far less GPM than possible.

Reduced Operating Costs

Tankless water heaters are cheaper to run. This is because heating the water you need is a one-time cost with an on-demand system. That isn’t the case with a tank water heater. A tank water heater constantly uses energy to keep the water in the tank at the right temperature. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that tankless systems are between 24% and 34% more efficient for the average household. Even if you use more than 86 gallons a day, which is uncommon, they’re still 8% to 14% more efficient.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Homeowners can save hundreds of dollars annually. They can also reduce their carbon footprint. Tankless water heaters not only consume less energy but produce less greenhouse gases than traditional tank systems. The high-efficiency options are also more efficient overall. These are condensing units that reclaim heat energy in the gases they vent. Tankless systems are environmentally friendly in other ways as well. They reduce water consumption. They also reduce landfill impact due to their longer lifespans.

Longer Equipment Lifespan

Electric tank water heaters last between 10 and 15 years on average. Fuel-burning tank water heaters, on the other hand, last between 8 and 12 years on average. Tankless water heaters usually last at least 15 years and often upward of 20 years and beyond. Tankless systems also aren’t as prone to inefficiencies with age. Well-maintained older tankless systems can be just as affordable to run as they were when new.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

Tankless water heaters do cost more to purchase and install. That added cost is worth it because the longer lifespan and month-to-month savings result in a lower price in the end. It’s worth noting that homeowners in older homes may need to upgrade their electrical panels. That is a significant added cost. Still, the average homeowner will recoup that investment over the life of the first tankless water heater. They’ll save even more on subsequent installations.

Better Warranties

Warranties for tankless water heaters tend to be longer, a reflection of the longer expected lifespan. One of the best warranties available protects the homeowner up to 25 years or 15,000 operational hours. There isn’t a tank water heater warranty on the market that comes even close to that. Manufacturers tend to offer more robust extended warranty options as well. These systems require less maintenance and have less that can go wrong.

Smaller Installation Footprint

While tank water heaters have gotten smaller over the years, they still take up a lot of space. Many homes have an entire closet dedicated to the water heater. It’s also common to install the tank in a garage where it can really cut into your storage space. This isn’t an issue with a tankless system because it isn’t much more than a box on a wall. You can even have your plumber install it in your attic where it’s completely out of sight.

Less Maintenance

Tank water heaters require maintenance every six months to a year. Although many homeowners don’t, you should flush your system regularly and check the anode rod and replace as needed. If you have soft or moderately hard water, a tankless system can go five years without maintenance. If you have hard water, which is generally the case with well systems, it’s generally recommended you install a water softener. Repairs are generally cheaper with tankless systems too because there are fewer components involved.

Safer Operation

While tank explosions are uncommon nowadays, this risk doesn’t exist with a tankless system. Leaking is also much less of a concern. Due to all the water in a tank, a leak can lead to significant water damage immediately. Leaks in tankless systems are less common and generally just a drip. You’ll usually catch the problem long before it could cause substantial water damage.

Your Local Water Heater Experts in Frederick

If you’d like to install a tankless water heater in Frederick, Markool Heating & Cooling is here to help. Our licensed plumbers clean drains and repair sewer lines as well. We also have NATE-certified HVAC technicians that work with all types of ducted and ductless heating and cooling systems. Our team cleans ducts, and we offer a maintenance plan that can help you save while keeping your equipment on schedule. Call us today or message us online to schedule a plumbing service!

company icon