Today's household hot water needs may go far beyond what a traditional tank heater can handle. No one likes to have to schedule a shower around running the dishwasher or a load of laundry. (And some just want a hot shower, period.) Furthermore, most of us would prefer to save on monthly utility bills (water heating makes up about 20 percent of a home's energy costs).
Tankless water heating could be the answer to all of these issues.
About the same size as a carry-on suitcase, the tankless water heater eliminates the bulky storage of 40 to 80 gallons of water. By design, a tankless unit not only avoids running out of hot water, but also avoids a faulty tank flooding your floor. Even better, a natural gas tankless unit outfitted with battery backup can heat water during a power outage (a blessing in the aftermath of a hurricane). Finally, tankless units are particularly durable, with a lifespan twice that of a traditional tank — most last 20 years with proper maintenance.
By heating only the water you need when you need it — instead of heating and reheating gallons that sit in a storage tank — you save more than 40 percent in energy costs over traditional tank water heating.
Typical annual energy costs based on average Florida utility rates:
Electric tank $330
Natural Gas tank $175
Natural Gas tankless $128
How a tankless unit works
•When hot water is needed, cold water flows into the tankless water heater from the inlet pipe at the bottom of the heater.
•The natural gas flame ignites and heats the heat exchanger; the flame will adjust as necessary to ensure the temperature set point is maintained.
•Water is heated as it passes through the heat exchanger and exits from the hot water outlet pipe, then travels through house pipes to the fixture where the hot water is needed.
•When the fixture shuts off, cold water stops flowing into the unit and the flame extinguishes. The tankless water heater is now off until the next time hot water is needed.
Things to consider
When selecting a natural gas tankless water heater, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Proper sizing and installation. Avoid operational and performance issues by working with a licensed contractor trained to size the tankless unit according to household needs, and to handle all plumbing, natural gas, electrical and venting aspects of the unit.
Location of unit. Free up to 15 square feet by removing the bulky tank and installing a tankless unit on a wall inside or outside your home. Select a wall that is nearest to the area where hot water is used most.
Venting. Interior models can vent vertically through the roof or horizontally through an exterior wall. When installing a tankless unit outside, venting is typically not needed. Talk through your options with the installer.
Recirculation technology. Special tankless models with recirculation ensure you're not waiting on or wasting hot water, regardless of your plumbing configuration.
If tankless water heating sounds appropriate for your home, call 1-800-235-4427 to discuss your options with a TECO representative. TECO Peoples Gas offers an easy payment plan of $24.99 per month or a rebate of up to $675 for residential natural gas tankless water heaters. Learn more at peoplesgas.com/tanklessoffer.