What Size Tankless Water Heater Will Work Best For You?
When it comes to heating water for your home, there are many options to consider. A tankless water heater is one of the most popular choices in recent years. Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless models only heat water as needed, resulting in greater energy efficiency and potentially lower costs. However, choosing the right size tankless water heater can be tricky. In this article, we will explore the factors you need to consider to determine what size tankless water heater is best for your home.
Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters
Before we dive into the specifics of choosing a tankless water heater, it’s important to understand the differences between tank and tankless models. Traditional tank water heaters store and heat a set amount of water, typically 40-50 gallons, and maintain that temperature until it is needed. On the other hand, tankless water heaters heat water on demand using a heat exchanger. This means that there is no storage tank, and water is only heated when a hot water tap is turned on.
One of the primary benefits of a tankless water heater is its energy efficiency. Since water is only heated when it is needed, there is no standby heat loss, which occurs when heat escapes from the storage tank. This can result in significant energy savings over time, especially in homes with low hot water demand.
Gas vs. Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters can be powered by either gas or electricity. Gas-powered models use natural gas or propane to heat water, while electric models use electricity. There are pros and cons to both options.
Gas-powered tankless water heaters tend to be more powerful than electric models, so they can provide hot water at a higher flow rate. This makes them a good choice for homes with high hot water demand. However, they also require venting to remove exhaust gases, which can be more complex and expensive to install than an electric model.
On the other hand, electric tankless water heaters are typically less expensive to purchase and install than gas models. They also don’t require venting, making them a good choice for smaller homes or apartments. However, they may struggle to keep up with high hot water demand and require significant electrical upgrades to your home’s electrical system.
Sizing Factors to Consider
As mentioned, one of the primary benefits of a tankless water heater is its energy efficiency. However, not all tankless models are created equal in this regard. When shopping for a tankless water heater, look for models with a high energy factor (EF) rating. The EF rating measures the heater’s overall efficiency, considering both the energy used to heat the water and the standby energy loss.
A higher EF rating indicates greater efficiency, which can translate into lower energy bills over time. However, keep in mind that a more efficient model may come with a higher purchase price, so it’s crucial to weigh the long-term savings against the initial cost.
Another benefit of a tankless water heater is its compact size. Since there is no storage tank, tankless models take up significantly less space than traditional water heaters. However, still consider the space requirements of a tankless model before making a purchase. The amount of space available to you will factor into what size tankless water heater will work best for you.
Hot Water Demand
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a tankless water heater is your home’s hot water demand. This refers to the amount of hot water you use on a daily basis. Homes with high hot water demand, such as large families or homes with multiple bathrooms, may require a more powerful tankless water heater or multiple units installed in different locations. On the other hand, smaller homes with low hot water demand may get by with a smaller, less powerful unit.
To determine your home’s hot water demand, consider how many people live in your home and how often hot water is used throughout the day. For example, a family of four with two bathrooms may require a tankless water heater with a flow rate of 6-8 gallons per minute. This can ensure that there is enough hot water for everyone to shower, do laundry, and wash dishes without running out.
Purchase and Maintenance Costs
When considering a tankless water heater, it’s essential to factor in the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance costs. Tankless models can be more expensive upfront than traditional water heaters, with prices ranging from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the model and installation requirements.
However, it’s important to remember that a more expensive model may have a higher energy efficiency rating, resulting in lower energy bills over time. Additionally, tankless water heaters have fewer components than traditional models, so they may require less maintenance over their lifespan.
Speaking of lifespan, tankless water heaters tend to last longer than traditional models. While a traditional water heater may last 10-15 years, a tankless model can last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. This can make them a good long-term investment, especially for homeowners who plan to stay in their homes for many years.
Finally, it’s worth considering the environmental impact of your water heater choice. Traditional water heaters can be significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, using natural gas or propane to heat water. In contrast, electric tankless models do not produce any emissions during operation.
However, note that electric models may rely on electricity generated from fossil fuels, depending on your local power grid. Additionally, the production and disposal of any type of water heater can have environmental impacts, so consider the full lifecycle of the product.
What Size Tankless Water Heater is Best
Choosing the right size tankless water heater for your home requires careful consideration of several factors. By taking the above-mentioned factors into account, you can make an informed decision that meets your hot water needs while also considering your budget and environmental impact. Call America’s Plumbing so we can help you install and choose the right size tankless water heater for your needs! Don’t forget to check out our Google reviews!