Tankless Electric Water Heater Pros & Cons: Should You Buy One?

by Jessica Sawyer | Water Heaters

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Is your current water heater letting you down? If so, then you may have come across tankless electric water heaters in your search for a replacement. Like any other household appliance, it’s important to consider the tankless electric water heater pros and cons before making the investment.

In this article, we’ll break down the benefits and drawbacks of this hot water delivery method to help you determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

What’s the Difference Between a Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heater?

First things first: why would you opt for a tankless water heater over a more traditional one, anyway? What’s the difference here?

Well, traditional water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, typically consist of a large tank that can hold and heat a large amount of water. This water is continuously heated to maintain a set temperature, which means that it’s consuming energy even when you’re not using it.

People often opt for a traditional water heater because they’re known to be reliable and relatively inexpensive upfront. But it’s important to note that these heaters can become less efficient over time, not to mention the fact that they can take up quite a bit of space.

A tankless water heater though, as the name suggests, doesn’t store hot water. Instead, it heats water on demand as it flows through the unit. This on-demand heating mechanism eliminates the need for a bulky tank and can lead to energy savings due to their advanced technology.

How Tankless Electric Water Heaters Work

Indeed, tankless electric water heaters use advanced technology to heat water instantaneously. See, when you turn on a hot water tap, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, where electric elements heat it up. And since the water is heated only when needed, these systems are often more energy-efficient than their traditional counterparts.

You can break down the key components of a tankless electric water heater into three main parts: the heating elements, a flow sensor, and a control panel. The flow sensor detects water flow, which triggers the heating elements to warm the water to the desired temperature. Then, the control panel allows you to set and monitor the temperature, so you can ensure both optimal performance and safety.

Pros of Investing in a Tankless Electric Water Heater

Now, you may have already picked up on some of the potential benefits of a tankless electric water heater, but we’ll go into some more detail on them below.

Energy Efficiency and Lower Utility Bills

One of the best things about tankless electric water heaters is their energy efficiency. Since they heat water only when you need it, you don’t get the same kind of standby energy loss that you do with traditional water heaters. 

This efficiency can translate into lower utility bills, especially for households that use a moderate amount of hot water.

Space-Saving Design

Another thing to like about tankless electric water heaters is that they’re compact. You can even mount them on walls, freeing up valuable floor space. 

So, if you have a smaller home or apartment, you’ll likely find this space-saving design is particularly beneficial, as every square inch counts.

Longevity and Reduced Risk of Water Damage

Tankless electric water heaters generally have a longer lifespan than traditional water heaters, often lasting up to 20 years opposed to around 10. At least, if you’re keeping up with proper maintenance. 

Plus, you’re less likely to deal with water damage because there is no tank that can leak or rupture. This longevity and reduced risk can offer peace of mind and lower replacement costs over time.

Cons of Tankless Electric Water Heaters

As you can see, there’s a lot to like about tankless electric water heaters. But of course, they have their downsides.

Upfront Cost and Installation Considerations

The initial cost of purchasing and installing a tankless electric water heater can be significantly higher than that of a traditional unit. While the long-term savings can offset these costs, the initial investment can be a barrier for some homeowners.

Limited Hot Water Output

They may be known for their ability to provide hot water on demand, but tankless electric water heaters can struggle to meet that demand in larger households. If you use multiple outlets at the same time, such as running a shower and a washing machine, the unit may not be able to supply enough hot water consistently. 

To get around this, homeowners might need to install multiple units or consider a hybrid system, which can drive up that initial cost even more.

Requires Power

Finally, since they need electricity to run, your hot water supply may run out in the event of a power outage. Sure, this may not be a huge issue for most people, but if you live in an area that experiences power outages regularly, then an electric tankless water heater may not be right for you.

Is a Tankless Electric Water Heater Right for You?

In conclusion, considering the tankless electric water heater pros and cons is critical before making the investment. Sure, they offer some pretty great benefits, including energy efficiency, space-saving design, and longevity. But they also have some drawbacks that could be off-putting, such as higher upfront costs, limited hot water output, and power requirements.

When deciding whether a tankless electric water heater is right for you, consider your household’s hot water usage, budget, and long-term goals. For example, if you have a smaller home or moderate hot water needs, the energy savings and space efficiency that come with this type of unit may outweigh the initial investment.

But if you’re still unsure if a tankless electric water heater is right for your home, then feel free to contact us here at Water Pros Plumbing for a consultation. Investing in the right water heating system can lead to greater comfort, efficiency, and savings in your home, so it’s important to get it right the first time.

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