Imagine it’s a cold winter morning here in North Carolina. You go out to your car, start it up, and turn the heat on, running it for about 10 minutes until your car is nice and toasty.
Then you turn off the heater, go back in the house, and wait thirty minutes to go to work; by the time you get back in the car, it’s cold again, so you have to repeat the process (and pay for the gas to do it).
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Yet that scenario plays out more or less every day in your basement if you have a storage-type water heater.
A storage water heater works by heating water and storing it in a tank until you need it. The problem is that you might not need it for hours – and the longer that hot water sits waiting to be used, the cooler it gets (this is known as standing loss). Eventually, the water will get so cool that it will have to be reheated – just in case you need it later.
Of course insulating the water heater storage tank will help slow this process, but it won’t stop it altogether. To do that, you’ll need to take a different tack.
Enter the tankless water heater.
Now, imagine a different kind of water heater – one that doesn’t store any water at all. Instead, it heats the water you need – and only the water you need – when you turn on your appliance or hot water tap.
That’s exactly what a tankless propane water heater does. By operating this way, a tankless system provides you with:
As you can see, the advantages of a tankless water heater are pretty clear. So does it ever pay to chose a conventional water heater?
The answer is “sometimes.”
A tankless water heater can cost twice as much up front as a conventional storage water heater (sometimes even more), so that’s certainly a factor. Of course in the long run, the energy savings and equipment longevity could very well offset or even exceed that initial outlay. Tankless water heaters may also cost more to maintain, since they should be professionally serviced every year (a storage-type system is more forgiving in that regard).
With all of this in mind, here are some rules of thumb for choosing between a storage or tankless water heater:
A tankless water heater can be a great option – as long as it’s the right choice for your NC home, and as long as it is sized and installed by the pros at Parker Gas. Contact us today to talk with our water heater experts!