One summer I was on a vacation and there were six of us staying in one house, with one bathroom and one shower. This made the rush for the first shower not only a race to be all ready first, but it was also a race for the hot water. If you were number six, you had better plan on being cold. Despite the fact that the temperatures raged outside and we did heat building activities such as mountain climb, the cold water never felt good.
In my opinion, hot water heaters are fantastic. I am so grateful that I do not need to boil my water for a bath and that my dishes are squeaky clean. However, one of their downfalls is that they only heat a set amount of water and when that water is gone, it is gone. On the flip side, if one does not use all the hot water in the tank then it just sits there. What happens when hot water sits? It does not stay hot. Therefore all of that energy and heat used to heat up that water is wasted. This is known as standby loss.
The good news is that there are other options than a typical 40 gallon tank water heater. There are tankless water heaters. Basically, instead of heating up water to store, the tankless water heater heats up water as it is needed. The tankless unit is much smaller than a typical water heater and is mounted on the wall. When a faucet is turned on, cold water enters the unit and travels through a series of pipes and tubes that heat the water up. It then travels to the sink, shower, washing maching etc or wherever it is needed. When the faucet is turned off, there is no standby loss because there is no place to store the water.
As far as racing for the shower goes, a tankless hot water heater is the best because there is an endless supply of hot water. The water could run for a month straight and stay hot (though I don’t recommend this experiment; it would be very costly and you would not get much out of it). In addition, because there is no standby loss of hot water just sitting around and losing heat, this system is much, much more energy efficient and cost effective than a traditional water tank.A tankless hot water is an especially good choice if you have a larger family because the more people means more showers, more laundry, more dishes etc… The hot water will not run out. It is important to realize that, though that it is endless hot water, it is not instant hot water. A tankless hot water heater, is a higher initial investment and the installation is more labor intensive than that of a traditional water heater. However, that investment will usually be paid off with the savings. If at the moment you are not sure you are ready to make this financial investment or you do not need a new hot water heater, another way to save money is through installing low flow shower heads. These will use up less water in the tank, allowing more showers per tank of hot water.
Questions, concerns or comments? Interested in learning more about a tankless hot water heater? Contact Flame!