Is A Tankless Water Heater Worth Your Time And Money?

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Image from Central Flow Line

In a previous article about fixing rust in your water, I mentioned the hot water heater as a possible culprit behind your plumbing woes, but there is a certain method in going about replacing the water heater. However, you don't need a plumber to do this, and it is a simple job that won't take much of your time. Hot water heaters can live up to a decade; but tankless systems can last much longer.

Pros

There are two types of water heaters. One is the traditional tank-like system, and the other is a tankless device that is eco-friendly. In a traditional heater, the tank heats idle water, and waits until it is used. With a tankless system, the water is heated as needed, fostering long-term savings. They may be more expensive, but most systems have quality ratings. The great thing about this system is that it can save you money, and it takes up less space regarding installation. Tankless heaters provides a constant supply of hot water, and it costs up to 20 percent less to operate. You can save up to $70-80 a year in costs, and it can last up 20 years. Cost for a tankless water heater for a sink or shower can cost anywhere from $120 to $200. A tankless system for the entire home can be in the range of $800 to $3,000.

Cons

The truth is that you're going to spend much more for installation, and this is where many feel uncomfortable installing a tankless system. If going the tankless route, you're going to need a 220V/240V outlet. Where things get costly is that you'll need larger gas pipes than in an average home, and the home requires a stainless steel ventilation system, which can add another $3,000 in costs to your budget. A standard heater can cost anywhere between $300-400. And although there are tankless systems for the entire house, you may still need multiple systems, if you own a larger home. For instance, you may need a separate smaller unit for a sink or shower.

Also, you don't need a tankless system if you don't plan on staying in your home many years to come. But one of the biggest drawbacks of a tankless system is the limited output. Tankless heaters supply a few gallons at a time, so you'll have think about how much how water you use (laundry, dish washer, showers, etc.) to find out if a tankless systems is truly worth it for you and your family. You'll be surprised how fast a few gallons of water can go, especially if you have a large family. A faucet typically uses .75 gallons per minute, while a dish washer or washing machine uses 2 gallons per minute.

For many people, standard systems is the best route to go, but if you are trying to save on your water bills, a tankless heater will be a good system to use, if thinking long-term.


From Quick Plumbing Inc.

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3 COMMENTS
Posted: 
March 21, 2014  •  10:21 AM
A tankless water heater, somewhat like a ground source heat pump, requires some learning how to use it properly. We've had tanks and tankless and although I strongly prefer tankless, it took a little bit to get used to.

In new homes I don't see any reason not to have them. In older homes, if you don't plan to live in the house for a long time then the investment may not be worth it.
 
Posted: 
March 21, 2014  •  12:10 PM
Good article. But I'm a little confused by the Con of the limited output. I thought that tankless heaters supplied unlimited amounts at a certain stated flow rate.
I looked into tankless about 10 years ago and it seemed impossible to justify. Even long term. Hopefully the price has come down.
I am currently staying in a large flat in Antwerp, Belgium. It has a 'Combination boiler' by Chaffoteaux et Maury that provides plenty of domestic water, as well as the central heating. The whole unit is about the size of dishwasher. It is essentially tankless, with less than 2 gallon expansion tank.
I will certainly revisit the tankless option when it's time to replace my current unit.
 
Posted: 
April 22, 2014  •  11:04 AM
We installed a tankless system primarily for the differentiation when we go to sell the house. It will not raise the price of the house but it will help close a deal quicker, we believe. The biggest con we have seen is that it doesn't kick in until about 10 or 15 seconds after the hot water tap is turned on, adding that much delay to getting hot water. My spouse hates that aspect.
 
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