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Tankless Water Heaters

tankless water heaters
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The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

When it comes to heating water for our homes, tankless water heaters are all the rage as of late so let’s have a look at all the advantages, and more importantly, the disadvantages to using this type of heating system to supply hot water.

When it comes to tankless heaters they are either electric or use natural gas or propane, very similar to a traditional tanked water heater. The biggest difference is the energy savings from not storing the heated water in a tank and heating it constantly but rather, heating the water in an on-demand fashion. In most cases you can save 30-50% on electrical consumption by switching from a 50 gallon tanked heater to a tankless variety so in some cases tankless upgrades will pay for themselves if you plan to be in your home long term. So let’s begin with the good.

The Good

  • High energy savings
  • Endless hot water if the heater is sized properly
  • Huge space saver
  • Less chance of water damage due to tank failure
  • Longer life if properly maintained

The Bad

  • Requires high maintenance due to the high levels of calcium and magnesium in the water
  • If choosing electric, upgrades to the electrical system of the home are likely required up to and including circuit breaker panel replacement. This can make electric tankless water heaters very cost prohibitive to install.
  • If gas or propane type, new flue piping will need to be run to exhaust the carbon dioxide
  • If gas or propane style, carbon dioxide detectors will need to be installed

The Ugly

  • Many tankless manufacturers will not honor warranties unless water softening devices are installed on the home. When you super heat water, you also super heat the calcium and magnesium in the water causing it to stick to the heating elements. This is turn acts as an insulator for the elements making them get hotter than they should. The excessive heat produced by the elements can and will burn holes in the casing of the unit. If this happens, and you cannot prove that you have a functioning water softener on the home, your warranty will be null and void. If buying tankless read the fine print.

If you are considering a tankless water heater for the home I strongly suggest that you bring in the professionals versus buying it at a big box store and hoping for the best. A licensed plumber can evaluate your entire water distribution system and the needs of your home to make sure you get the right size and style of tankless water heater.

I have three dead AC systems in Ft. Lauderdale that require my attention, so until next time friends did you ever notice that proper punctuation can make the difference between a sentence that’s well-written and a sentence that’s, well, written.

House Whisperer out!!


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