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What are tankless water heaters and why are they getting so popular? Here's what you need to know

"If you live in a poor-water area, we suggest maintenance once a year."

"If you live in a poor-water area, we suggest maintenance once a year."

Photo Credit: iStock

Tired of feeling your hot shower suddenly turn shockingly cold before you're done rinsing off? Homeowners can help themselves avoid this common issue while saving money and energy in the process. The solution: installing a tankless water heater. 

What is a tankless water heater? 

Tankless water heaters, also known as instantaneous or demand-type water heaters, provide a supply of hot water by using gas or electricity to warm the water until you turn off the faucet. 

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These setups can be installed to work in just about any region, but keep in mind that they often take a bit longer to heat water to your desired temperature in areas with colder climates.

Tankless water heaters offer a variety of perks, such as saving money on energy costs as they tend to operate between 80% and 99% efficiency, compared to traditional storage tank options with efficiencies between 40% and 60%, according to EnergySage.

The U.S. Department of Energy reported that tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more energy-efficient than storage-tank water heaters as long as you use around 40 gallons per day, according to Forbes. 

Additionally, tankless water heaters are smaller than water heaters with storage tanks, which makes them a fantastic way to make more room in your home. As an added bonus, they tend to last about five to 10 years longer than the usual life span of traditional water tanks, according to the DOE. 

Those considering a tankless water heater may also want to consider that they tend to have a limited flow rate for using multiple outlets at the same time. If you live in an area that suffers from frequent power outages, you would also be out of hot water for the time being. 

Finally, tankless water heaters typically require a larger up-front investment, per EnergySage, than traditional storage tank heaters, which can include upgrades to your home's water pipes or electrical wiring. So, homeowners will have to weigh the costs of the unit's initial purchase versus the long-term savings. Those thinking of installing a new water heater will have to account for the cost of regular upkeep. 

"If you live in a poor-water area, we suggest maintenance once a year," recommended Geno Caccia, a third-generation plumber who operates a family business in San Mateo, California, when speaking to Consumer Reports. 

How tankless water heaters help the environment 

By changing the way you use resources like gas and electricity, and using a tankless water heater to heat water only when it's needed, you can use less power to heat the same amount of water as traditional storage tanks. 

Higher efficiency means lower energy bills and cleaner air, making it a smart lifestyle choice that can benefit both your wallet and the planet.  

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