Tank-less water heaters are making a comeback - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Tank-less water heaters are making a comeback

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(02/22/12) - It's hot water when you want it, for less. The tank-less heater is making a comeback.

"You spend more now, you save more down the road, it's more efficient, it's a better piece of mind, and it's an endless supply of hot water," said Ryan Pepper of American Water Heaters.

As for how much going tank-less will save you, Pepper bases it around a household of four that spends 10 minutes in the shower every day.

"With your standard tank type, you're at about 30 cents a shower. With four people, you're at about $1.20 a day. With a tank-less unit, you're at about 20 cents. You're significantly less, about 33 percent. Over the course of a month, on average, you're probably going to save around $12."

That's a ballpark savings of $144 over the course of the year -- just on showers alone.

"Your dishwasher, your washing machine, there are several other applications that it would work with to save money," Pepper said.

Here's how it works -- think of the tank-less unit as providing hot water on demand. You take a hit on your energy bill only when you use it.

"The difference is the tank is always running and always heating, and with the tank-less, until you turn on the faucet, it doesn't run or operate with gas," Pepper said.

Tank-less heaters have been around for years, but they're more efficient than ever. Nearly 90 percent in fact. Hodges Supply Company in Flint Township is selling more every month. Kevin Golden says prices continues to fall, but they still aren't cheap.

"The standard 40 gallon water heater that most of us have in our house, a round figure, it'll cost you around $500. The on-demand, maybe $2,000."

Now, if you really want to splurge, there is also a hybrid. "It's both a tank and a tank-less. Much like you see with our cars, you have your hybrid, you have your battery with the gas. This is an easy way for customers to really eliminate any depletion of water. There's a 30 gallon storage tank of hot water. An on-demand in the front. It's an easy way to work together to make sure you have enough hot water for your home," Pepper said. "The price, you're looking at around $3,000."

It's an investment the experts say will take 7-10 years to pay off. Consumers Energy does offer a small rebate for making the switch.

"Absolutely. It's $100 dollars. That's two tanks of gas," Golden said.

Tank-less, hybrid, and on-demand. All of these innovations sound like great ideas, and they sound like they can save you a ton of money, but in reality, not all of these units will work for every home owner.

"If you're using something for like a whirlpool or hot tub, it's definitely not an application for you," Pepper said.

Now, keep in mind, there are also more costs that go along with maintaining those tank-less heaters, but they are guaranteed to last at least 15 years.

That's opposed to the tanks that typically last for six.

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