Choosing a Tankless Water Heater
You’ve probably had a family neighbor, co-worker, or neighbor talking about their recent tankless water heater installation. It is one of the latest upgrades homeowners are choosing today. But is it worthwhile? What are the benefits of a tankless water heater? It only makes sense before you go to the expense of a tankless water heater installation, to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, right?
The advantages you can expect are:
- Energy efficiency: This is the bottom line for most homeowners, to cut back their energy bills with the energy efficiency a tankless water heater installation will provide. These water heaters have proven to be over 30% more efficient for a household that uses a maximum of 40 gallons of water every day. This can relate to 0hundreds of dollars annually compared to using the traditional tank-style water heater.
- Extended life: A tankless water heater will offer a lifespan of up to 20 years versus a 12-year average for the traditional tank-style water heater. If your future plans are to sell within the next few years, then a tankless water heater installation may not be the right investment.
- Less wait time: No matter what type of water heater you have, the goal is to have hot water when you need it. With a tankless water heater installation, the water is heated upon activation, with no waiting for the tank to fill and heat up.
- Space-saving: The traditional style of tank water heaters takes up good amount of space, often a closet is built just for the unit. With a tankless water heater installation, you’ll gain floor space because most of them take up about a shoebox size.
- Safer: For a household with small children, safety is always a concern. A tankless water heater installation will provide a safe environment because there aren’t any knobs at a low level for kids to “play” with. Additionally, where the traditional storage-tank water heaters have been known to overheat and explode, tankless water installation removes that possibility.
Are there any drawbacks to tankless water heaters?
There are two drawbacks to a tankless water heater installation:
The first is higher upfront costs. Purchasing a new water heater is usually an unexpected expense for most homeowners. This isn’t something you usually plan and budget for, so when the time comes to buy a replacement, if you’re considering a tankless water installation, be prepared.
The cost differences between standard storage-tank water and a tankless water heater installation are significant, as much as three times more, with most of that being the installation costs. A common question a homeowner will ask is, “Is a tankless water heater expensive to install, how much does a tankless water heater cost?”
After the purchase price, between $99 and $900, a professional tankless water heater installation can start at around $200 and go up to as much as $2,000 with the average around $1,000. Tankless water heater installation often requires replumbing and rewiring, thus the expense. The ROI will come over time with lower energy expenses.
Another thing to remember is that it can slow down when a lot of hot water is needed at once. In a large household where you may have several demands for hot water simultaneously, there can be issues of one area not getting the hot water needed. An example would be running the dishwasher while somebody is showering. For a household with several occupants, it is recommended to have more than one tankless water heater installation.
Can you run out of water with a tankless water heater?
When a homeowner is spending $2,000 on a water heater installation, the last thing you want to be told is you could be short on hot water supply occasionally. No, technically, you won’t run out of hot water because there isn’t a tank to hold hot water.
However, because it produces hot water on demand, if too many units are demanding water at the same time, it can’t keep up. As we listed earlier when there are multiple demands, one of them will be shorted.
What size tankless water heater should I get?
One of the most asked questions and the most difficult to provide an answer. Like a standard tank water heater, a family of three will need a smaller tankless water heater installation than a larger size family. What makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact size is because of the variable water inflow temperature and how your water heater is powered, either electric or gas.
If you need to replace a 50-gallon water heater, and take about 10 minutes for your average shower time and use approximately 10 gallons, something that is about right for a household of 3 people, a rough estimate of the size of your tankless water heater installation should be about a 10 GPM gas tankless heater or 27 kW electric tankless water heater for areas in the northern part of the country and a 7 GPM gas tankless heater or 18 kW electric tankless water heater for areas in the southern part of the country.
Is a tankless water heater better than a gas water heater?
Whether you choose an electric-powered or gas-powered tankless water heater installation, you’ll save in energy cost and water waste over the standard water heater, electric or gas-powered. A tankless water heater uses under 41 gallons of water a day. This equals as much as 30% or more in energy saving compared to a standard tank water heater.
So, is it worth getting a tankless water heater? If you’re in your home for the long term, yes, a tankless water heater installation is well worth the extra expense. If you’re only updating your house with plans of putting it on the market, then stay with the standard water heater installation.