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Whole House vs. Point of Use Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heater

Love the idea of on-demand hot water? Then tankless water heater installation in Houston is a great option for you! However, it’s important to know your options when it comes to tankless water heaters. Two popular kinds include whole-house and point-of-use water heaters. These both have pros and cons, so make sure you choose the type of unit right for your home and family! We’ll discuss the differences to help you choose.

Tankless Water Heater Installation in Houston: Whole House vs. Point of Use?

As you’re shopping for a new water heater, you might be thinking about a lot of different things. For example, electric or gas-powered water heaters, which brand is the best, warranties, and so much more. Another thing to consider is whether you want a whole-house water heating system or point-of-use water heaters.

Both of these types of water heating systems use the same basic idea. Essentially what happens is when you turn on the hot water tap for a fixture or appliance, cold water surges into the unit, which heats the water with heating elements. Then, the hot water travels through the pipe to the fixture, like a faucet or shower head. 

Tankless water heaters of any type tend to be much more energy efficient than tank-style water heaters. This is because they’re only active when you want them to be. By contrast, traditional water heaters heat a tank of water over and over throughout the day, whether you need it or not.

Though these two types of tankless water heaters are similar, there are some distinct differences.

Whole House Water Heaters

Whole house tankless water heaters, also known as centralized water heaters, are exactly like they sound. They supply hot water to your entire house. Usually they’re located in an out-of-the-way area, like a laundry room or garage. The hot water lines run to every fixture or appliance where you would need hot water. For example, your shower, faucets, washing machine, and dishwasher. This is the most common type of tankless water heater installation in Houston, as most homes are already set up for a centralized water heater that supplies all your fixtures and appliances

Whole house water heaters can be either electric or gas-powered. Gas tankless water heaters tend to be more expensive upfront, but offer lower operating costs on average. They also tend to be a little larger than electric options, though they’re still quite compact. Electric options tend to be more efficient, but because electricity costs more than natural gas in most areas, it can be more expensive in the long run than a gas option. 

Point of Use Water Heaters

Unlike whole-house water heaters, tankless point-of-use water heaters supply just one fixture or appliance. These are typically installed as close as possible to the fixture to provide almost instantaneous hot water. This can help with both convenience and water waste, as you’re not running water for long periods of time just to get warm water. For instance, the average showerhead uses about two and a half gallons of water a minute. Waiting for hot water for 5 minutes can waste 12.5 gallons! With centralized water heaters, you may have to wait because they’re located further away from the fixture. Point-of-use (POU) water heaters are typically within a foot or so of the fixture for less (or no) waiting.

You can think of POU units as a type of miniature tankless water heater. Each unit needs a power source as well as inlet and outlet plumbing lines. While they can be either gas or electric, electric is the most common. This is because it’s not always feasible to install a gas line and vent at every area where you might need a POU water heater. However, this also means you’ll need electrical outlets near most of your fixtures (or have an electrician install them) to use POU water heaters throughout your home.

Pros and Cons of Point of Use Tankless Water Heater Installation in Houston

POU water heaters are becoming more and more popular as people are searching for both convenience and energy efficiency. They allow for fast hot water while saving energy. Individual POU units are also typically less expensive than whole-house options because they’re smaller and provide less hot water output. 

There are a few ways to use POU tankless water heaters. One way is to use them to supplement an existing whole house water heater. For instance, if you have a centralized water heater that’s still in good condition, but can’t keep up with the demands from a certain fixture or appliance, you might install a POU water heater. This can help provide hot water in that area and ease the burden on your whole house water heater.

Houston water heater installation for multiple point-of-use units does tend to take a little longer because it involves installing them at each fixture. In some houses, this can be quite the project. 

Also, costs for installing electrical lines next to each of your faucets and appliances could be quite costly depending on how large your home is. For instance, if you have several bathrooms, that’s a lot of electrical work! Not to mention the costs for multiple POU units and installing them. For new construction, this might be a little easier because you can explain the need to the electrician subcontractor before your home is finished. 

However, in some cases, POU hot water heaters might be just the thing for your home. If you don’t use a lot of hot water in a day and you have a smaller home, POU units can offer incredible energy efficiency and cut down on water waste by a lot!

Pros and Cons of Whole House Tankless Water Heater Installation in Houston

Whole house tankless water heaters are a great option to help you save on energy costs. These provide on-demand hot water to all the fixtures in your home. Also, unlike a tank-style water heater, there’s no “running out” of hot water. Instead, you can get a steady flow of hot water as you need it. 

There are a couple of drawbacks to this type of water heater. First, it might not be able to keep up with simultaneous needs. Now, some units certainly can supply hot water to a faucet and a dishwasher, for example. However, if you want to be able to use two showers, run a load of laundry, and use the kitchen sink with hot water, a single tankless water heater may not supply enough hot water for all of that at the same time. In these cases, you might have to install multiple water heaters connected together. 

In addition, just like with a tank-style water heater, you’re probably going to have to wait for hot water. The hot water has to travel through the pipes to your fixture, so cold water will come out first. The farther away the fixture is, the longer you’ll have to wait. Though, keep in mind it’s typically only a couple of minutes.

However, tankless water heater installation in Houston for a whole house unit is typically less expensive. This is because you only buy one unit and installation is typically much quicker. Also, it’s almost always the more effective and budget-friendly option for large homes or families who need a lot of hot water in a day.

Consider a Recirculation System for Instant Hot Water from Your Centralized Water Heater

So, what if you want instant hot water, but the cost and complexity of installing point-of-use water heaters isn’t an option? There is a solution that might work for you! In these cases, you can install a recirculating system. A lot of tankless water heaters even have this built-in for you.

When you turn on the hot water tap and wait around for the water to warm up, that water that’s coming out was warm at one time. The problem is when you turn off the fixture, the water stays in the pipe and cools down. Recirculation systems stop this from happening. Instead, they regularly send cooled-off water back to the water heater for reheating. This essentially prevents the water in the pipe from becoming cold. 

Now, this does mean that your water heater will be heating water more often. However, this option is still often much more efficient than a tank-style heater. Also, in many cases, the costs of the extra heating even out by preventing water waste as you wait for warm water. 

Houston Water Heater Installation Experts at Santhoff Plumbing

Water heating accounts for a lot of your energy bill each month, so if you’re ready to start saving money and reducing your home’s carbon footprint, consider tankless water heaters. At Santhoff Plumbing Company, we have the expertise you need to help find the right options for your home and provide high quality installation services. Whether you’re looking to replace your water heater for a more eco-friendly option or you need middle-of-the-night Houston water heater repair for a big leak, our team is here for you. Call us now at (713) 360-2185 to learn more and schedule an appointment!

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