A tankless water heater is designed to give you hot water whenever you need it. Every homeowner in Cross Plains WI and around southern Wisconsin wants unlimited hot water, right? And if you can do it while replacing bulky old hot water heaters with sleek, space-saving tankless systems what could be better? Especially when you couple a space-saving, high-efficiency water heating system with a water treatment system to deal with the area’s hard water.
Tankless water heating systems heat just enough water for your shower or to wash the dishes efficiently, on demand. Does it make sense to keep 30 gallons of hot water on “standby” when you’re going to use 10 gallons or less? Or when you need 50-60 gallons of hot water for multiple showers, dishes and laundry puts a real strain on a standard water heater tank. A modern tankless hot water system provides whatever you need, no limits.
If that sounds good, consider the additional benefits:
- Long life span – most tankless systems, with proper maintenance, outlast standard water heaters with tanks. Not only do tankless units last up to twice as long, most come with much more extensive warranties, too.
- Space-savers – since there’s no large tank to take up floor space a tankless heater is more convenient for a wide range of installations.
- Avoid leaks, water damage – with no tank there’s less risk of leaks.
- Energy-efficient operation – you only heat the water you need so that giant 30-gallon (or larger) tank doesn’t need to maintain hot water for days or weeks even when you’re not using much or any water. A U.S. Department of Energy report suggests a tankless installation can be as much as 34% more efficient than a traditional system with a heated water tank.
Tankless Water Heater – Not A Perfect Solution
With all these great benefits, why doesn’t everyone have a tankless system installed? This technology comes with many glowing reviews, but it has drawbacks, as well. Among its less desirable attributes are:
- Initial Cost – the biggest disadvantage is initial cost. Even though they last longer and cost less to operate than traditional water heating systems, a tankless installtion cost significantly more than a traditional one. In addition, it takes time to record savings in energy costs that benefit isn’t measured in large dollar savings immediately.
- Limited hot water flow – if a major advantage is “instant hot water” how can you say there’s limited flow? It’s true, a tankless system can deliver hot water to your faucet or showerhead almost immediately but it might struggle with volume. If you have a dishwasher and washing machine going when you want to take a shower a reduced water volume isn’t unheard of. (On the other hand, a heater with a tank may just run out of hot water and you get a cold shower!)
- Maintenance and installation requirements – a tankless water heating system requires special venting and installation often includes rerouting a gas line or power source.
- Not hard water friendly – In areas where hard water is an issue an additional water treatment system aides efficient operation.
Most plumbing professionals suggest that if you have a hot water heating system with a traditional tank and it’s serving your needs, don’t change just to change. But when you need a new hot water heater or are planning a new home, a tankless water heating system is worth considering.
Dealing With Hard Water
Hard water is a fact of life in southern Wisconsin. Hard water decreases the efficiency of water systems of all kinds. It is can be a real challenge to water heaters. When water is rich in calcium and magnesium it dramatically limits any unit’s ability to heat water. It adds a mineral scale inside tanks that takes years off a heater’s lifespan. If you live in southern Wisconsin you can bet you have hard water, but the only way to be sure is water test. Is knowing for certain you have hard water, or how hard it is worth calling in an expert? Consider the potential damage to your home’s pipes, fixtures and appliances. The Upper Midwest is reported to have the “hardest water in America.”
Hard water’s threat to water heaters, fixtures and pipes is lime scale. As water gets hot minerals separate out and become solid. These minerals fasten to the sides of water heater tanks, pipes and appliance water lines. Allowed to build up long enough it reduces water flow and appliance efficiency. Eventually lines and tanks leak.
Like dishwashers, ice-makers and washing machines, tankless hot water systems are very sensitive to hard water. The heat exchanger inside a tankless system is overworked when scale builds up. When it cannot transfer heat properly, the unit itself can overheat.
Water conditioners and water softeners are a big help. In areas like southern Wisconsin they’re almost a must. Modern water conditioning products work well either with city or well-water.
De-scaling Service Extends Water Heater Life
A routine de-scaling rids a home’s water lines, water heater and fixtures of mineral buildup. Routine professional service allows you to get maximum life and performance from a tankless system.
For maximum efficiency for a new home, a remodeling project or a water heater replacement, consider your available fuel source. Typical installations will use natural gas, propane or electricity. If alternative power is the goal, solar-powered units are available. Electrically-powered units are popular because they work anywhere. Natural gas is available throughout the area so it, too, is a popular source. Propane is an excellent option in rural areas or for lake-side homes where natural gas may not be available.
Tankless Water Heater – Choose Wisely
Sauk Plains Plumbing features tankless water heaters installed and serviced by
factory-trained technicians representing Noritz and Rinnai tankless water heating systems. When you need a new hot water heater call Sauk Plains Plumbing at 608-798-2121 and make an appointment to have us evaluate your home’s hot water delivery system. We’re ready to provide everything you need from a new heater to parts and repairs. Our certified plumbers can install a tankless water heater to deliver hot water throughout your Cross Plains WI, Verona, Waunakee or Middleton WI home.