Tankless water heaters offer many advantages over traditional models, but upgrading when your storage heater still works fine can seem wasteful. With the average water heater lasting ten or so years, it doesn't make sense to upgrade if your current unit is only a few years old. Fortunately, you can keep your old water heater while still enjoying the advantages of tankless electric units.
If you are interested in supplementing your home's plumbing with on-demand hot water, then there are generally two upgrade options available.
1. Install a Local Tankless Heater
Replacing a traditional water heater with a tankless model usually means installing a whole-house heater to service every fixture in your home. An alternative is to place local heaters close to points of use, such as in bathrooms or the kitchen. A single, smaller electric can supply one or two fixtures with on-demand hot water.
Depending on your goals, installing a small local unit such as this may offer a significant upgrade. For example, installing a heater in a bathroom can allow you to enjoy instantly available hot water for your shower. At the same time, the rest of your home continues to use your standard storage water heater. Taking this approach can extend the life of both heaters by reducing their overall usage.
In most cases, retrofitting a system like this can be reasonably straightforward. The local tankless water heater can tap into the cold water supply in the room it is used in, minimizing or eliminating the need to modify plumbing elsewhere in your home. As long as your electrical system can handle the demand from the tankless water heater, no more work will be required.
2. Install a Water Heater Booster
Point-of-use heaters are an effective way to get on-demand heating in a system that otherwise works fine. As an alternative, tank boosters can help to eliminate water heating or capacity issues in your existing system. These devices work by mixing hot and cold water to achieve the desired temperature, allowing you to set your storage heater's thermostat to a higher value.
Since water heater boosters mix hot and cold water, they effectively increase your tank's capacity by reducing the amount of hot water required for an equal level of demand. Higher tank storage temperatures can also help to prevent disease. If you're looking for a simple way to upgrade your existing hot water system, installing one of these devices may be a cost-effective solution.
Reach out to a professional who provides water heater installation services to learn more.