Which is better hot water heater or tankless?

Tankless water heater on a wall

Choosing the right water heater for you

Let’s talk about tankless water heaters. How does a tankless water heater work if it doesn’t have a tank? A tankless water heater heats water directly with either an electric element or a gas burner, same as with a traditional water heater. The difference is the tankless water heats the cold water as soon as it arrives in the unit; it doesn’t have to store the water in a tank and heat it up before sending on to the faucet.

You know how you get ready to take a shower on Sunday evening after working in the yard all day, only to be hit by cold water? Because everyone else has bathed, somebody has been doing laundry and washing dishes, there is no hot water in the water heater tank. A tankless water heater delivers a constant hot water supply, so you never have that happen again.

Can you run out of hot water with a tankless water heater?

Before that question can be answered, an explanation about how a tankless water heater system works is needed. The conventional storage tank water heater system does just that: It stores water at a high temperature until you need it. The downside to that is when all that water in the tank is gone, more water needs to heat. That takes a while whether you have an electric water heater or gas water heater. 

The tankless water heater system doesn’t have a tank full of water to keep hot or heat. It heats upon demand as soon as it detects movement of water in the water lines. The heat exchanger kicks in and heats that water that very moment and will keep heating water until the faucet is turned off.

So, to answer that question, can you run out of hot water with a tankless water heater? No, unless the water is turned off, no, you will not run out of hot water with a tankless water heater system.

Can a tankless water heater fill a tub?

Well, it depends on a few things.  How big of a tub do you have? Are there other appliances using hot water at the same time? Do you have the tub faucet on full blast? What size of unit is your tankless water heater?

You won’t run out of hot water because the tankless water heater isn’t heating up the water. You’ll have an endless supply of hot water with the tankless water heater system.  Allow us to further explain: If two people are showering, the dishwasher or washing machine are all running simultaneously, a tankless water heater won’t be able to keep up, and lukewarm water is the result. There are solutions for this scenario:

  • Buy a larger tankless water heater unit that will put out more heat.
  • Stagger your hot water needs like showers, washing clothes or dishes by a few minutes.
  • But two tankless water heater units.

So, yes, you can fill that bathtub up with hot bubble water! Just don’t run other hot water appliances at the same time. To further clarify, you can fill an oversized bathtub when you have a tankless water heater, but not when another appliance or fixture is using hot water. Turn the faucet force down too will help the system keep hot water coming because you’ll be putting less force on it. Before you buy a tankless water heater, make sure you’re getting the size that is appropriate for your family’s needs and usage.

Where should a tankless water heater be installed?

Install your tankless water heater anywhere inside your home. They are small compared to the conventional water heaters, making them unobtrusive. They can fit in a pantry, under a sink or under stairs, almost anywhere that is out of your way, even outside, but yet easy to get to for maintenance.

Tankless water heater works best when it is closest to the appliances and faucets that will need hot water the most often. If the bathroom is where you use the most hot water, then have it installed near the bathroom. The further away from the places you’ll use it, the less efficient it will be. Homeowners often find that having more than one tankless water heater installed, placing them in zones, gives them the ultimate performance.

 Installing a tankless water heater outdoor is okay in a mild climate that doesn’t see winters below freezing. If you must install it outside, makes sure it has a 12 inch clearance away from any door or window and have an outdoor vent cap installed on the unit.

Do not install a tankless water heater near air vents or dryer vents and if the installation is between building, it will need a two foot clearance. Never install a tankless water heater near a window or across from a door or window that is facing a wall. If installing your tankless water heater above pavement, it should be vented seven feet above.

How long do tankless water heaters last?

Like any appliance in your home, maintenance is key to having a long lifespan from your tankless water heater. With proper maintenance as instructed by the manufacturer, you can expect your unit to last twenty years. They have parts that are easily replaced when needed that can extend their lifespan.

tankless water heater installed on wall

Is a tankless water heater worth it?

The tankless water heater benefits may not be a lengthy list, but they are powerful in their benefits:

  • Energy efficiency is a money saver over time
  • A longer lifespan than conventional water heaters with tanks – as much as double the lifespan
  • They take up less space than the conventional water heater
  • With proper size and planning, they provide unlimited hot water on demand versus the time it takes a conventional water heater to heat the water inside the tank

There are few caveats with the tankless water heater that you should consider before making this investment.  A tankless water heater with pump for recirculating the water is available already in the system or can be added on later. They can increase the price by as much as a $400, but if you’re making the investment, it may be worth it for your household. The purpose of a recirculation pump is to keep the water continuously circulating, returning it to the tank to be heated again. This definitely minimizes the energy efficiency of the unit, but it will keep the water hot. 

A tankless water heater without water softener may not last as long as one with a water softener installed, but the same is to be said of the conventional water heater. A water softener improves the water supply to keep the tank or tankless water heater from becoming corroded with mineral deposits that are found in water. Call 817-244-4370 today for your tankless water heater installation in Fort Worth, TX.