Every house, business and property in the lower mainland benefits and relies on having consistent hot water. Tankless water heaters or a traditional hot water tank are the two options property owners have. Getting consistent hot water is simply a luxury that most people can’t live without. However, most people don’t really understand how they get their hot water and the process behind it. We’ve broken down classic hot water tanks before but in this blog we’ll tell you everything you need to know about tankless water heaters.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
A tankless water heater is just like a traditional hot water tank in the sense of its end function, which is to bring hot water to your faucets. Either way, when you own a hot water tank or tankless water heater, they deliver hot water when you ask for it, but the way in which they do so, is much different.
Tankless water heaters heat water only when demanded. Therefore, when you demand hot water for a shower, the unit heats the water at that same moment and sends it to your shower. Contrary to a hot water tank which heats and holds a large amount of hot water, then sends it when needed. There are many benefits to tankless water heaters, but the biggest one may be the fuel needed. Since tankless water heaters only heat the precise amount of hot water needed, there is much less fuel and energy needed to heat the water. This saves you tons of money on your gas or electric bills throughout the years.
You can compare tankless water heaters and hot water tanks to different ways of ordering pizza. Using a hot water tank would be like asking your local pizza parlour to make you several pizzas throughout the day and keep them all warm, and whenever you want one, he’ll have it ready to send out to you. This works because you still get a pizza when you want, but the poor pizza parlour is working hard all day to make you pizzas that you likely won’t even eat. Not to mention the amount of oven space and energy it’s taken him to keep all those pizzas warm, just in case.
Now, a tankless water heater is like calling the pizza parlour when you know you’re hungry and want pizza. The chef will quickly whip together a fresh pizza, hot out of the oven and deliver it to you right away. Again, you still get your pizza, this time you maybe waited a couple extra minutes for him to make it perfectly fresh, but you got it on time, and did not have to pay him for working all day preparing you pizza, just in case. Tankless water heaters compare because they only deliver you hot water when you need. It can sometimes take 1 extra second for the hot water to arrive, but you haven’t paid for the energy taken by a hot water tank to store and heat your water all day.
How does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
You’re probably thinking that this tankless stuff is sounding pretty fancy! Surprisingly, tankless water heaters are pretty easy to understand for most homeowners.
It all starts when you demand the hot water. Whether it’s your kitchen sink or shower, when you flip on the hot water, your tankless heater will kick into gear. A flow sensor can tell when hot water is demanded at a fixture. The sensor will send a message to the control panel which turns on a fan to draw in air from outside. The outside air comes in and a small burner is ignited.
Once the burner is ignited, a heat exchanger takes heat from that flame and applies it to the water travelling though piping. Different sensors along the way will monitor the temperature of the water and make any adjustments necessary before it finds it’s way to your fixture. More flow regulating valves along the way will also help deliver your hot water at the optimal pressure. Finally, the hot water arrives at your faucet or showerhead, and you have access to unlimited hot water!
This all sounds tremendously complicated and complex, people wonder if that will take ages to happen and for their hot water to arrive. However, this all happens in a matter of seconds. Just like the human body, it takes a lot of complex muscles, nerves and coordination to catch a ball but it all happens in less than a second. Similarly, your tankless water heater will be working hard to get your hot water, but is incredibly efficient at getting the job done!
Tankless Water Heater in Maple Ridge BC
Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters
They Last a Long Time
Tankless water heaters can last up to 20+ years! For a unit to last that long, it must be properly maintained and takes some seasonal maintenance, but they are known to last much longer than their hot water tank counterparts.
Endless Supply of Hot Water
When you use a tankless water heater, it heats the water as it comes. Unlike a hot water tank which has limited space to hold and store hot water, a tankless unit will never run out of hot water. This is one of the best features of tankless heaters, because who doesn’t want unlimited hot water for their home.
On-demand water heaters are tiny in comparison to a massive hot water tank. Choosing the right size tankless unit for your property will still be important, but no matter which way you go, it will take far less of your precious square footage.
Tankless water heaters are efficient! This is great for many reasons and most importantly, it’s great for the planet. They’ll burn less fuel, making them healthy and safe for the environment. Tankless water heaters installed by Mr. Swirl, the Friendly plumber ENERGY STAR certified!
Saves Money on Monthly Bills
Another reason why their efficiency is great, is because that saves you money! Whether you power your tankless water heater with gas or electricity, either way you’ll save a considerable amount on your gas or electric bill compared to using a hot water tank.
Although hot water tanks aren’t usually the loudest thing in your house, many homeowners are shocked with how much quieter tankless water heaters are. That gurgling and firing sound that hot water tanks make will no longer interrupt you or your phone calls at home!
Easier to Repair
For many reasons, tankless water heaters are easy to repair! They’re small, compact and everything is in the same place making it easily accessible for friendly plumbers. Also, hot water tanks don’t have near the lifetime of tankless units and have many more parts and things to go wrong. Some seasonal maintenance should be the only thing your on-demand unit needs.
Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
Honestly, there are not many cons to owning a tankless water heater! They’re the best method for creating and distributing hot water to your property.
The only decision property homeowners face when picking their hot water system is the upfront cost. Tankless water heaters will cost a fair bit more than a gas or electric hot water tank, but they are worth it in the long run. Depending on your living situation, you may or may not find value in the purchase of a tankless water heater. For example, if you are only planning on living in your home for another 5 years, you will likely go with a hot tank which is the inexpensive way. If you’re moving into a family home or business that you plan on keeping for 12+ years, you will absolutely find value in choosing a tankless water heater.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
One of the best parts of tankless water heaters, is the little maintenance they require. The only type of maintenance that your tankless unit will need, is flushing. A tankless water heater flushing should be performed once a year. Depending on a few factors, a tankless flushing should be done every 8-20 months. That may sound like a lot of work, but tankless flushing’s are fairly easy and are inexpensive if performed by Mr. Swirl!
Tankless water heater flushing’s are great because they can actually double the lifetime of your unit, if performed routinely! If you’re still curious, read all about it in our tankless water heater flushing’s blog.
Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth It?
Well, as we just discussed, this is a great question. In most situations, a tankless water heater is absolutely worth it! Unless you are in a temporary living situation, a tankless water heater will definitely save you money.
Due to the savings on gas, electricity and water, all your monthly bills will be diminished. It’s been said that tankless units can save you 25%-50% of your monthly fuel costs, not to mention water. The units will also save you money on your monthly water bill, because a tankless water heater will only use water when you demand it, hence the name on-demand unit.
Mr. Swirl the Friendly Plumber highly recommends tankless water heaters to most of our customers. However, we’re the friendly plumbers, and will be upfront about where the best value can be provided.
We hope that by now, you’re a tankless water heater expert! You know the pros, cons and maintenance required for on-demand units and are ready to make a decision. When that time does come, know that Mr. Swirl is here for you! Mr. Swirl has been installing tankless water heaters in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Poco, White Rock, Langley, Burnaby, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Surrey, Port Moody, Mission and the entire Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver Area since 1999 and have tons of experience in the area. When it’s time for a new hot water system, come to the experts at Mr. Swirl, the Friendly Plumber.