A question to ask yourself "I Have a Small Home. Should I go Tankless?". You have a few minutes left in the shower, but then…the hot water runs out! It's a huge inconvenience running out of hot water. Many people are switching to Tankless Water Heaters believing they will solve all their hot water needs, but are they really the answer?
Professional Opinions of Tankless
Professionals and the public agree tankless water heaters are the future. They're significantly more energy efficient, can supply near infinite hot water, and even lets you get rid of that bulky tank taking space you could use. There are many more reasons to get a tankless water heater than there are to not, but buying and installing one can still be a big decision. What if you live in a small space? Is going tankless a good choice?
Whether you live in an apartment, duplex, or even a tiny home, we'll cover the pros and cons of small home tankless heating to help you decide if tankless is right for you!
Advantages of Tankless Heaters
The most amazing thing about tankless heaters is that they keep working the longer you need them to. That means the hot water keeps coming! Tank heaters take hours to reheat with a small burner once depleted. Since tankless heaters heat the water instantly and on-demand, you don't have to keep a ~50-gallon tank hot all the time! It just makes sense, and you heat it when you need it. Even better, as long as you're not overdrawing from your unit, you can take an infinitely hot shower. You might want to install a TV if you stay there too long.
Tankless heaters take up as little space as possible, which is more beneficial the less space you have. If you're already cramped for space or want to park your car in the garage, a tankless heater could free up just enough for you. Gas (propane or natural) powered tankless are, on average, about the size of a carry-on luggage bag or smaller. Electric tankless units can be even smaller, usually about the size of a shoe or tissue box – but they also don't necessarily produce as much flow. They even make micro tankless heaters that can fit under your sink for point-source heating, such as the Eemax MiniTank.
Smaller tankless heaters tend to be more efficient. That's good news for people in small homes. Water heaters are typically the second largest contributor to your energy bill, so getting more efficient heating will save you more than ever. Small tankless heaters can lower costs by as much as 34%, while larger units can only reach savings of up to 14%. This is a huge plus for the "go-tankless" argument since it greatly offsets one of their bigger drawbacks – the initial cost. These units pay for themselves in just a few years with savings like that.
The beautiful thing about small-scale tankless heaters is that you can add them to pre-existing systems without a problem. For example, point-of-use tankless heaters can be added to fixtures connected to a tank heater. There is no need to rip out the old system and buy a new whole house unit.
If it takes longer for hot water to travel to certain fixtures, leaving you to wait there with cold hands, check these out!
Disadvantages of Tankless Heaters
(Near) but Not Quite Infinite
Tankless heater brands heavily advertise that their products provide "endless" or "infinite" hot water. A bit of a disclaimer – this is not exactly 100% true. Because they heat water instantly when needed it seems an easy claim to make and is generally true if you size your unit correctly. BUT, tankless heaters work off of the flow rate they produce. If your heater produces 3 gallons of hot water a minute (3 gpm), but you are running the dishwasher, and laundry machine, taking a shower and washing your car all at once – you'll probably be taking a cold shower. Tankless heaters are infinite as long as you don't overdraw from them all at once, but that is not quite as good a sales pitch.
Initially More Expensive
Tank heaters are incredibly common in such a competitive market and are about as cheap to produce and sell as they can be. Though tankless have come down in price in recent years, they are still a bit more costly to purchase and install than basic tank heaters. They do save on your energy bill, paying for itself over time. Nonetheless, if you're looking for the most cost-effective option now, tankless won't be your first choice. A great way to reduce the initial cost of tankless is by checking local rebates and programs that help you save by being energy efficient.
Many don't care much since it does not affect their day-to-day, but in rare emergencies (power outage, natural disaster, etc.), having a spare tank of water lying around is a good thing to have. Unfortunately, you sacrifice this when switching to tankless, and you may be unable to access water if the power is out. It's one of those things that makes you knock on wood, and hopefully, it's a downside you'll never have to face. But if you do end up going tankless – maybe keep some extra emergency water on hand if you miss having the insurance policy that came with the tank.
Ready to go Tankless?
Do you run out of hot water when doing the dishes? Or find yourself in an abruptly cold shower much too often? Tankless water heaters can be the answer, especially if you live in a small place. The reasons to go tankless heavily outweigh the few downsides they have, and more so their disadvantages can be offset rather easily. If you'd like to solve all your water heating problems, talk to a local plumber to see what tankless could do for you!
Want More Tankless Water Heater Info?
Want to read more about Tankless Water Heaters? Read our other related blogs below:
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- How Long Do Tankless Hot Water Heaters Last?
- How Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work?
- Best Tankless Hot Water Heater for Off-Grid
- Which Tankless Hot Water Heaters Offer the Best Shower?
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