Love a hot bath? Enjoy endless warm-water showers? Dream about washing clothes at the same time as a family member has a hot shower? Looking for ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption?
Look no further! You can upgrade your home’s hot water situation and you can make the right choice between a standard hot water tank or a tankless water heater.
Here are 5 key points to consider when deciding between a hot water tank or a tankless water heater:
- How long will you be living at this residence?
This is our first question when considering tankless water heaters because if you are not going to reap the benefits long enough to pay back the added expense, or you aren’t a die hard environmentalist, and space saving isn’t vital, then you do not need to read any further because a tankless is not for you.
Based on the cost, we’d like to know you will be sticking around for at least a few years (we say 4 or more) to ensure you are getting value from your decision. Remember though, if you value making the right choice for the environment, you can skip ahead to point #4.
- Where do you live?
If you live in Calgary, like I do, you will need to address the water quality. If you live in a city or town with soft water, then this is one consideration you don’t have to factor in.
There are 2 options for those who have hard water. First, you can install a scale remover before the tankless unit; or secondly, you can get the whole home on a water softener. There are huge advantages to having soft water, and it is imperative to maintain your warranty on a tankless system.
A tankless water heater system, (also called on demand water) is a great investment for your home, but it is an investment. We want to ensure that our customers know up front that if your home has hard water like most homes in the Calgary area do, that before installing a tankless water heater, you will have to consider how you will address the water quality. Keep in mind, if you install a water softening system to your whole home, not only will it support your new tankless system, but it will give you so many other terrific benefits too. You can read more about the benefits of water softeners on our website.
- Annual Maintenance of Tankless Water Heaters
Be aware that maintenance is required with your tankless and some plumbing companies will argue both ways on tanks. Flushing the tankless and having it serviced are your key to a valid warranty. Typical hot water tanks can live without annual maintenance, especially in a clean dust-free area.
With tankless, if you have hard water, it will scale on the inside and this added hard scale will reduce efficiencies down to approximately 70% efficient levels. See point #4 to compare how unfortunate it is to reduce your efficiency levels this low.
Plumbers secret and hint for you: If you have soft water, be sure to change your Anode Rod every 4 (maximum 5) years or you will see your tank start to leak prematurely at about year 6 or 7. You’re welcome.
- How efficient is the tankless heater compared to a hot water tank?
There is no comparison. Period.
It’s incredible how efficient tankless models are. Most tankless models will operate at 96%-98% efficiency. This is incredible and should be celebrated for many reasons including the efficient use of energy, the efficient use of your money when you pay for your home’s energy usage, and the engineering plus the craftsmanship that goes into creating tankless heaters.
The concept of a high efficient residential hot water tank isn’t as true as it is marketed, especially living in Canadian climates like Calgary. From what we know, an efficiency rating of 67% is typically all you will get on the variety of hot water tanks typically installed.
Factor in that tankless only heats water when you open a faucet; compare that to a giant tank that is constantly trying to keep 40, 50, sometimes over 100 gallons in some homes, hot 24/7.
Without a doubt, the tankless water heater is the clear winner here.
- Will your lifestyle adapt?
A tankless option will never run out of hot water.. sort of. It will never run out of hot water, BUT only at a certain amount of gallons per minute (GPM). If you exceed the amount of gallons per minute, it will go lukewarm or cold. Generally though, endless hot water is one of the main features that people love about a tankless water heater. Rather than singing one or two songs in the shower, you’ll be able to sing the whole album!
If your lifestyle can adapt to using less gallons per minute (typically 2 or 3 faucets, as the GPM per faucet will vary) to align with what your tankless was specified for, you will love it!
A typical hot water tank has a reserve of all those gallons we mentioned earlier so running out of hot water works differently. It may handle more gallons per minute at first, but once your hot water tank is drained, with limited recovery potential, you can expect to be waiting a while for hot water again. The tankless will be ready to go instantly if you keep your GPM within its means.
Hot Water Tank Warranty Specialists
In the Calgary area, Aquality Plumbing and Heating is actually designated as the plumbing technician of choice to handle all the warranty calls, repairs and replacements for several top hot water tank brands. We know a lot about hot water systems and we have seen how they look and function when they are new, partly used and on their last legs. If you ask us about your home’s hot water situation, you are guaranteed to get an honest and helpful answer based on our many years of experience.
We hope this helps you make the right decision for your situation. If you have more questions, we welcome you to reach out to us at: email@example.com or call our office at 403-205-2782.