Thankful for Tankless Water Heaters

May 30 09:33 2011 Anna Woodward Print This Article

Unless you like cold showers, dirty dishes, or a complicated schedule for household hot water usage, tankless water heaters are the best things since, well, conventional water heaters. Read on to learn more.

While tankless water heaters have been growing in popularity for the past decade,Guest Posting most Americans are still using the largely less efficient conventional models. If you're one of the unlucky many, perhaps you feel embarrassed by your privileges, already; after all, what would your Depression-era great-grandmother say? So you stick with old unfaithful. If you've owned a home for 10 years or more, you've probably had to have the bulky piece replaced. If not, your day is coming: These babies only last a dozen years, at best. But since you're not willing to upgrade to a tankless model or take cold showers, you've had to endure these monstrosities.

What? You've had a cold shower or two? How could that be? Even an efficiently running hot water tank has capacity limitations as well as a long timeframe for heating up new liquid. Some sources recommend a 30-gallon tank as a minimum for a home with only one bathroom. For homes with two full baths, a 50-gallon tank should do.

So let's go through your day with a conventional 50-gallon hot water tank. (Warning: this will require some math.) A shower generally uses up 10 gallons of water per minute. Assuming your water is a 50/50 mix of hot and cold, that's 5 gallons per minute. So for a 5-minute shower, that's right, you've used up 25 of your 50 gallons. If a second person in your family takes a 5-minute shower, too, your tank is ... what? It's empty. 

Now, if you're the one who manages your household cleaning tasks, you're in for quite the scheduling dilemma. Let's start after breakfast, when there are dishes that won't just clean themselves. A dishwashing cycle takes 6-10 gallons of hot water that's already been used for showers. (Hand-washing them will take closer to 16 gallons, so there's no savings there.) You realize the breakfast dishes will have to wait until after dinner.

After work, you know your hot water heater has had time to work its wonders, so you have a fresh 50 gallons of water at your disposal. First, you do the dishes. Your dishwasher is efficient, so it takes only 6 gallons. The breakfast dishes are finally clean, and now you're ready to do just one load of laundry. Your new front-loading model uses less than 15 gallons. Then your son gets home from baseball practice, traipsing dirt across the carpet. "I'm taking a shower," he calls.

"No!" you bellow back, but it's too late. You close your eyes and float away to your hoped-for happy ending to your day. You'd planned to stand in the shower, letting the hot liquid drip down your body, taking the day's cares with it, down the drain? Well, too bad. Your hot water tank won't let you.

If you want to realize your dream, you'll need a tankless water heater. Since they heat water on-demand, there is no gallon limit. You can have clean clothes and dishes and take your showers, too. Don't think of it as being spoiled; just think of it as one more thing for which to give thanks. Soon you'll find being thankful for your tankless water heater substituting for being angry at your old one. Wouldn't that make Grandma proud?

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Anna Woodward
Anna Woodward

Now, if you're looking for a place that'll set you up with some Chicagoland tankless water heaters for your home, you're in luck. You can find more information at

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