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What Is A Tankless Water Heater & Can It Work In My Home?

Are tankless water heaters worth the price? Would one work in your home? Here’s what the professionals think.

If the last time you thought about your hot water heater was… never, chances are you’re nearing the time for a replacement or upgrade. Most residential water heating systems are “conventional storage,” but homeowners are beginning to take notice of efficient, long-lasting tankless water heaters.

Either way, this is a big investment in your home, so it’s worth taking the time to thoroughly weigh your options. After all, depending on the model, hot water heaters last for 8-12 years. You’ll want to purchase the one that makes the most sense for you and your family in the short and long terms.

There’s a lot to love about tankless hot water heaters (we’ll get into the specifics shortly), but they aren’t right for everyone. We’ll help you navigate the decision by talking through the pros and cons of each option. Plumbing can sometimes be a tankless — we mean, thankless — job, but we’re here to help you find the right solutions for your home.

What Are The Different Types Of Water Heaters?

There is a lot of variability in the different types of water heaters, if you take into consideration fuel type (gas, electric, or a hybrid model) size, and capacity. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll just discuss the basics:

Conventional Storage Water Heater

Many homes, especially older homes that still run on their original water heater, contain a conventional tank storage unit. This is exactly how it sounds: The water heater operates with a large, insulated tank that can hold on average 30-80 gallons of water. This system works by an internal temperature monitor that alerts the heater when the mercury drops. Then, the unit turns on automatically to heat the water; once it reaches optimal temperature, the unit kicks off and maintains temperature.

The benefit of this system is that your home has a ready-to-go supply of hot water, which makes it a great option for those with large families or a greater amount of water usage. The downside of a conventional storage water heater is that the passive, constant cycle of heat up-maintain happens even if you’re not home, or aren’t using the water. This may result in high energy bills, even if you don’t typically use a large quantity of hot water.

Tankless Water Heater

In contrast to conventional units, tankless hot water heaters don’t store a cache of ready-to-use water. Instead, water is heated on-demand in exactly the amount and temperature you want. Once you’re done using hot water, the unit turns off. The benefits of this are obvious: The unit does not run unless you need it to. This results in lower monthly energy bills, and it’s also a more environmentally-friendly option due to its lower net-fuel usage.

However, there are some “downsides” to investing in a tankless unit. The first is that it has a low flowing capacity. Unlike traditional units, a tankless water heater can’t heat water for your shower and sink full of dirty dishes at the same time. For those living alone or with a smaller family unit, this may not be a consideration — but it does require a little logistical planning about your hot water consumption. Another consideration is that these units often feature a higher initial price-point.

Are Tankless Hot Water Heaters Expensive?

Tankless water heaters are more expensive than traditional water heaters. Generally speaking, tankless units cost about double the price of conventional counterparts. The reason for the higher price tag is twofold. First, tankless hot water heaters can lower your monthly energy bill if use is monitored. Second, they last a lot longer than conventional storage heaters! In fact, some tankless units will maintain efficiency for up to 20 years, doubling the lifespan of their competitors.

What Are The Best Tankless Water Heaters For The NC Climate?

We’ve got some strong opinions about the best tankless water heaters for the NC weather! Both Rinnai and Bradford White brands make a superior residential water heater, be it tankless or conventional. There are a variety of water heaters for every budget: economy, ENERGY-STAR rated, gas- or electric-powered, and everything in between. These are the brands that Blanton’s uses on the job… and in our homes!

No matter which type of hot water heater you invest in, it’s important to work with trusted professionals. Here at Blanton’s, our team of highly-trained service professionals maintain strict safety standards, and do the job with a friendly smile.

Ready to discuss a water heater upgrade or replacement in your own Fayetteville or Raleigh NC home? Contact Blanton’s Air today to schedule an appointment, consultation, or speak to our trained team.

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