I have been looking for more ways to try to pare down our monthly expenses and maybe go a little greener in the process. With those two things in mind I started to research on demand hot water systems to see if they would be an advantage or not.
Here is what I found:
First off, the hot water on demand system is about 3 times the price of a conventional hot water tank, about $2000 vs $625. Second, the hot water on demand still uses electricity, natural gas or propane to heat the water but can be coupled with a solar hot water heater. If you do this, it can provide a very efficient water heating system.
Energy savings are achieved by eliminating having to heat water that you might use and only heating the water that you do use. Some studies suggest that we could save as much as 24% to 34% on our water usage based on 40 gallons or less per day and between 8% and 14% for homes that use 86 gallons per day. I hope we don't use that much!
This information comes from a study done by the U.S. department of energy. They also estimate that if we all switched to the tankless systems we could eliminate 91 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. That is a lot of Co2!
Some manufacturers are estimating that their tankless systems have a life expectancy of 20 years and that they have readily available repair parts. Tankless systems should only be installed by someone who is qualified but it appears that once they are in, they are (for the most part) trouble free and long-lasting.
The on-demand system takes up less space than a hot water tank. The one disadvantage I could think of is that because you never run out of hot water with that system, some people might never get out of the shower. I don’t worry about that with my family because everyone is pretty conscientious of their water use already.
My research indicates that the tankless system may cost more initially but if you can afford the initial investment, the savings over the years will really add up and you can feel good about doing something more to protect our environment.