Hotels also experience high demand but for limited blocks. They typically see a peak in the morning for bathrooms and sporadic usage in the afternoons for laundry. A tankless heater will ensure a full house never runs out of hot water, yet save energy when guest volume is down.
Switching from a traditional water heater to tankless can yield a 30% savings on the water heating portion of your utility bill, says Jason Fleming, marketing manager of Noritz America, a water heater supplier. Note that ROI is highly variable depending on rates and you might have a higher water or energy bill if your consumption increases to meet demand, adds Stebbins.
“If you only focus on payback, you’d have to use the tankless unit in the same way as your original heater. But that’s not the point of the technology,” Fleming stresses. “Factor in the soft advantages of unlimited hot water instead.”
3) Save Space
There’s no denying that water heater tanks are voluminous contraptions. Tankless units have a small footprint compared to their traditional counterparts. They’re lightweight enough to wall mount, which means you no longer need a dedicated mechanical room for water heating, says Fleming. You could save 12-15 square feet per unit or approximately 100-150 cubic feet of storage by switching, Stebbins notes.
You also don’t have to retrofit them in the same spot as the original tank. These units can be tucked away in utility closets, basements, attics, or even outside.
Most water heaters receive little upkeep and consequently have to be replaced at the first sign of failure. Rather than a total replacement, individual parts of a tankless heater can be exchanged to extend its life, says Houston.
“The heat exchanger is the most important component,” Fleming notes. “A total flush is needed periodically, which could be annually or every three to five years depending on water hardness.”
The chamber of tankless units that use flash heating should also be cleaned or descaled, Stebbins recommends.
Periodic flushing should be done once a quarter or every year depending on water quality, says Houston. You can use inexpensive products such as vinegar or a lime-and-rust remover. You should also perform a full drain.