If your family has several growing kids, you're probably tired of running out of hot water when everyone gets ready for work and school in the mornings. You've probably heard that tankless water systems never run out of hot water. That sounds very appealing when your shower runs cold before you get the soap rinsed off. However, these systems are not ideal for every family. Here's a look at the pros and cons of a tankless hot water heater.

They Produce Hot Water On Demand

The biggest advantage of a tankless system is the fact it creates hot water on demand, no matter how long the demand lasts. That means the last person to shower has just as much hot water as the first. Creating hot water when it is needed also is more energy efficient. A traditional hot water tank has to keep the entire tank of water hot and ready to go whether you use it or not. Keeping several gallons of water hot all day and night uses a lot of energy, and that is reflected in your power bill.

The Units Are Small

Tankless heaters are a lot smaller than the traditional hot water heaters that hold several gallons of water. You need to place the tank in a garage or basement so it is out of the way. However, you can place a tankless heater in a closet inside your house if you want to because it is so small. It doesn't store water at all, it only houses the heating unit that heats water as it passes through its internal coils.

However, a tankless water heater installation isn't necessarily an easy process. A plumber needs to retrofit the pipes for the new unit, especially if you move it indoors. Also, it's a good idea to use a water softener with a tankless heater if you have well water. Since softeners are fairly large, that takes away from the advantage of buying a smaller water heater.

Tankless Systems Have A Limited Flow Rate

The biggest problem with tankless hot water heaters is the limited flow rate. While one of these units can accommodate several people showering one after the other in the same bathroom, it may not be able to keep up with the demand if there are people showering at the same time in multiple bathrooms. Water has to flow through the heater at a specific rate in order to heat to the appropriate temperature. When multiple faucets are on, the flow rate increases and it is hard for the heater to meet the demand for hot water.

The Initial Expense Is More Than A Tank System

Another drawback to a tankless hot water heater is the initial expense. You'll have to pay quite a bit more for a tankless system. You'll get some of that money back over the years in lower power costs and because a tankless heater has a long lifespan. However, the high cost of installation may be enough to make you think twice about buying one.

Another solution to your cold shower problem might be to install a larger hot water heater, so the stored water lasts longer each morning. A contractor can help you determine the perfect size based on the size of your family and your water use habits. While hot water on demand sounds wonderful, be sure you understand the pros and cons of a tankless system before you buy, so you won't be disappointed. For more information on which type of heater is right for you, talk to a company like Two Men And A Snake.