Are Tankless Water Heaters Better for the Environment?

Since a young age, I have always been interested in ecology, being green, and preserving the environment. After all, I live on an island where resources must be sustained. This concern extends even to the type of appliances I elect to buy. Recently, I was looking for a new water heater and got to talking to Gus who runs the hardware store. He is pretty knowledgeable on this subject as he was once an installer and repairman in college on the mainland. He counseled me to go tankless and feels that there are more pros than cons after reading I couldn’t even imagine any cons. They are the newest generation of this ubiquitous household necessity. No doubt great thought has been given to their design and functionality. I also predict that they cost more, but it is hardly a con if it is offset by the pros of energy and water conservation.

I believe in technology despite my insistence of planting my own garden and growing food. I walk or bike as much as I can. You feel close to the land when you live near the watershed. I wouldn’t even consider a tankless system if it weren’t better for the environment. I had to overcome an initial objection that this type of unit serves one faucet at a time. In effect, if there are several members of a household, they may have to take turns. This will not be a problem for me, but it is definitely something you will want to take note of. What if you want to take a shower while the dishwasher is running? It means an organized life.

I like the way the compact device mounts on the wall and leaves me more space for storage. The old tanks were huge and bulky: ugly tin monsters that leaked. You constantly had to light the pilot. I was terrified the thing would blow up. An additional con about the tankless style is that you must buy a system large enough to service all the people in your home. If you do, no problem. Also, since it has a high-powered burner, you need to address the venting requirements (meaning a sealed system). A natural gas system involves a costly larger diameter pipe.

Despite a few negatives, there is the big upfront pro: a tankless water heater uses thirty to fifty percent less energy and saves at least $100 on water usage for a typical family of four. I see that they are called “on demand” units which sounds promising and practical. When you turn on a faucet, you signal the device to begin working. You don’t need to keep forty or fifty wasteful gallons in the storage tank. You get as much hot water as you need, even if you have a hot tub. If you had thought about it in advance, you would have selected the jumbo size.