Both electric and gas water heaters for residential home use tend to last a long time, with relatively little maintenance beyond periodic cleaning. In fact, according to information published by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, often referred to as InterNACHI, the average lifespan is typically estimated at ten years, depending on the quality of the product and the installation and how well the water heater was maintained. With many water heaters lasting at least a decade or beyond, homeowners who are shopping for a replacement model may find themselves confused by unfamiliar choices when the time comes to replace their current water heater. The tank-free water heater system is one of these unfamiliar options that homeowners will want to learn more about. If you are currently shopping for a new water heater and considering a tank-free option, the following information will help you make a more informed decision.
How does a tank-free water heater work?
Just as the name suggests, a tank-free water heating system does not store heated hot water. Instead, it uses a demand-driven process to instantly heat water as soon as a hot water tap is opened in the home.
What are the benefits of switching to a tank-free water heater?
Opting to replace a traditional water heater with a tank-free model can have benefits for many homeowners. Some of these benefits include:
- the potential to conceal the appliance in very small spaces because of their compact, wall-mounted design
- the potential to save money on the production of hot water because no tank of water must be continually heated to maintain temperature until used
- the potential to provide hot water in larger quantities than the capacity of a traditional water heater tank can produce
- the potential be installed as supplemental water heaters near a new or poorly served point of use
It is important to remember that tank-free water heaters do require adequate venting for safe operation. Additionally, some models may require a larger diameter fuel line to meet performance needs.
Are there any potential drawbacks?
Primary drawbacks to the installation of a tank-free water heater system include the initial cost of the unit and labor for the installation. This can be especially problematic for homes with large footprints, where it may be necessary to install multiple small heaters, instead of one large unit.
Before making a final decision on whether or not a tank-free water heater system is right for your home and family, homeowners should always discuss their situation with a trusted water heater installation expert in their area. Contact a company like Moon Valley Plumbing for more information and assistance.