Just like Clark and Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you probably have family coming in from all over this holiday season. With all those relatives coming into town – be they cantankerous old grandparents or rowdy cousins – you’ll need every drop of hot water you can get.
Chances are you have the traditional kind of water heater: one with a storage tank that refills itself as needed and keeps the water content hot, even when you’re not using water from it. The downside to this kind of water heater is that with all the dishwashing, showers and laundry that out-of-town guests require it’s easy to run out of hot water fast.
But that isn’t your only option. In fact, today you have two clear and distinct water heater types to choose from: “tank-style” or “tank-less” water heaters. The latter have been available in the U.S. since the early 1980s and are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners across the country. Here’s why:
- Unlike tank water heaters, tank-less water heaters heat water only as it is used, or on demand.
- A tank-less unit has a heating device that is activated by the flow of water when a hot water valve is opened. Once activated, the heater delivers a constant supply of hot water.
- You can purchase “whole-house” models or “booster” units to increase the amount of hot water available in your bathroom or other areas in your home.
- Separate tank-less water heaters can be installed and inter-connected for separate uses, or to reinforce the total hot water supply available to you at any given time – keeping your guests’ showers from becoming as icy as the weather outside.
Select a tank-less water heater based on the maximum amount of hot water to meet your peak demand. By doing so, you’ll automatically cut down on your energy consumption and related costs. At Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric (www.ApplewoodFixIt.com), we can help you choose wisely based on average amounts of water used for showers, washing machines, dishwashers, and so on.
While tank-less water heaters typically cost as much as a new heating system to purchase and install, you’ll enjoy lower operating costs and an almost endless stream of hot water. Consider the following:
- Water heating accounts for 20 percent or more of your average annual energy bill.
- Yearly operating costs for conventional demand gas or electric storage tank water heaters average $200 or $450, respectively.
By switching to a tank-less unit, you’ll realize cost savings by not having to heat water continuously. Plus, the average tank-less system has a “shelf life” of more than 20 years. Compare that to 10-15 years for a storage tank system and consider the extra savings. So this year, before you begin your Griswold-style, old-fashioned family Christmas, think about the benefits of a tank-less hot water system and make the switch.