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Do Tankless Water Heaters Make Sense for a Large Home?

Tankless water heater in Columbus, OH

Owning a large home certainly has its advantages. With more space to relax and enjoy your hobbies, it makes sense to buy the largest house that you can comfortably afford. Sometimes, though, large homes can present challenges to the homeowners. One such challenge involves the use of tankless water heaters. If you have heard about the advantages of tankless water heaters and want that convenience in your own Columbus home, you may wonder if a tankless water heater is up to the task. To help you separate fact from fiction, your friends at Apex Plumbing Pros want to offer this in-depth look at using tankless water heaters in large homes.

An Introduction to Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are all about simplicity. Rather than heating water and then storing it in a tank like traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters heat water on the spot using large amounts of natural gas or electricity. The burner or heating element in a tankless water heater only uses a small amount of energy when it's not in use and can ramp up its energy usage quickly to provide hot water when you need it. Tankless water heaters are available in various sizes, including sizes large enough to handle the demands of a large home.

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Since tankless water heaters don't have to keep water warm when you're not using it, tankless heaters typically use a lot less energy than tank-type water heaters. Another advantage of tankless water heaters is that they can provide essentially limitless hot water since they heat the water in real time. If you're tight on space in your utility area, you'll also love having a tankless water heater because it is far smaller than other types of water heaters. In fact, you can often mount a tankless water heater on the wall, allowing you to have more space to easily maintain your home's comfort equipment.

Multiple Outlets

One potential challenge of using a tankless water heater in a large home is that most large homes have multiple plumbing fixtures connected to the hot water supply. If your family is using multiple fixtures at the same time, it may be hard for a tankless water heater to keep up with the demand. Even large tankless water heaters have a limit as to how much hot water they can provide. Typically, a water heater that stores water is only limited in its ability to provide hot water by how much water it can store. As long as you don't exhaust the supply of water in the tank, you can still get hot water. That's why Apex Plumbing Pros recommends installing the largest tankless heater that will fit in your budget.

Waiting for Hot Water

Another potential drawback of using a tankless water heater in a large home is that it can take some time for the hot water to arrive at fixtures that are far from the heater. This problem occurs with tank-style water heaters as well, since the hot water in the tank has to replace the cold water in the hot water supply line. This process can take slightly longer with a tankless heater because it takes a few seconds for a tankless heater to get incoming water to the desired temperature. Thus, you could end up waiting extra time for hot water and wasting extra water in the process.

Retrofitting for a Tankless Water Heater

To take water from cold to hot in only a few seconds, a tankless water heater requires a lot of energy. Whether you choose a tankless water heater powered by natural gas or electricity, Apex Plumbing Pros will need to run heavy-duty energy supply lines to the location of your water heater. If your utility area is difficult to access due to the size of your home, running these energy supply lines could be a somewhat long and complicated process. However, don't let this deter you from taking advantage of a tankless water heater.

Recirculating Pump

The good news is that our plumbers at Apex Plumbing Pros have a few different solutions to help address some of the potential challenges of using a tankless water heater in a large home. To help ensure that hot water is available as soon as you turn on the faucet, you can use a recirculating pump. This pump helps mix the water in the hot water supply line so that it doesn't get cold as quickly. Additionally, you can program your tankless water heater to detect the temperature of the water in the hot water supply line. When the water falls below a certain temperature, the heater will kick on to keep the water warm. While this approach uses more energy, it can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to get hot water at a particular fixture.

Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heaters

If you have one or more plumbing fixtures in your home that are exceptionally far away from your water heater, there is another option to help increase the speed at which you receive hot water. A point-of-use tanked or tankless water heater can provide hot water right where you need it most. These devices typically install directly below a sink. The hot water output on a point-of-use water heater runs directly to the adjacent plumbing fixture. Small water heaters like this can't provide a lot of hot water, but they can provide hot water quickly when and where you need it. You can use multiple point-of-use water heaters in your home to eliminate any delays in receiving hot water.

Water-Saving Fixtures

Aside from installing a second tankless water heater, one great way to overcome demand issues is to utilize only water-saving plumbing fixtures throughout your home. Water-saving dishwashers and washing machines can help reduce background hot water demand, while low-flow showerheads and faucets can help reduce sudden spikes in demand. In some cases, you may be able to use less water using the fixtures you already have. Apex Plumbing Pros recommends reading the instructions for all of your current plumbing fixtures to see if they have any water-saving modes that you could put to use.

The Final Verdict

While using a tankless water heater in a large home does have its challenges, Apex Plumbing Pros ultimately recommends them for homes both large and small. As long as you understand the potential challenges going in, you'll be able to design a plumbing system that will meet your family's needs. You can also use a combination of tankless and traditional water heater systems so that you never have to worry about being surprised by a cold shower.

Upgrading Your Home's Comfort Systems

At Apex Plumbing Pros, we take pride in helping our customers improve the comfort of their Columbus, OH homes. That's why we work hard to perform all of our plumbing services with excellence. We can install tankless water heaters and Sump pumps, remove drain clogs, detect and repair leaks, inspect sewer lines, and much more. Our customers love our commitment to integrity, which is why we are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and are a Home Advisor top-rated service provider. To learn more about tankless water heaters, contact us at Apex Plumbing Pros today.