Do you ever find yourself standing in the isle of your local hardware store, mulling over the choice between a tankless hot water heater and a traditional hot water heater? Don’t worry–you’re not alone. It’s common for people to have difficulty choosing a new hot water heater for their homes.
Here are a few things you should consider when deciding on your next hot water heater purchase.
What is a tankless hot water heater?
A tankless hot water heater is exactly what the name implies: a hot water heater without a tank. Instead of storing hot water for use, it heats the water to the desired temperature as you need it. It does this by running the water through a series of high-powered burners rather than a gas flame.
You can find a tankless hot water heater in electric, propane, or natural gas models. The propane or natural gas models are most common in large homes where multiple faucets heat at the same time. Electric versions, on the other hand, are ideal in mobile homes or to heat the water in a pool or guesthouse.
A tankless hot water heater is much smaller than a traditional hot water heater. You can place it in the same places as a traditional model as long as it is properly vented. Certain models can be set up on an exterior wall of your home, taking up even less space.
Hot Water Readiness
The tankless hot water heater heats water as you need it. A traditional tank system, on the other hand, holds heated water on standby for use. Having water on standby can be great as it’s ready to go when you need it, but the energy required to keep the water hot can quickly drive up electricity bills.
You may experience a small lag with a tankless hot water heater before the hot water reaches the faucet. However, the supply of hot water once it is heated is endless. On a traditional hot water heater you have a set amount of water stored in the tank. This makes dueling for the first shower in the morning a pain in large households.
A tankless hot water heater can last up to 15-20 years of use. That’s five to ten years longer than your traditional hot water heater. The tankless hot water heater also takes up less space than a traditional hot water heater. This means you can place it in tighter spaces or free up more of your garage than you would have otherwise.
The benefits to your monthly and yearly water-heating bill are significant when using a gas-powered tankless hot water heater. You can expect to save on average 20% over a traditional hot water heater. Electric models of tankless hot water heaters use quite a bit of electricity to operate and aren’t meant for whole-home use.
Without a tank to hold the water, you eliminate the risk of flooding your attic or garage with water. When something happens with your tankless hot water heater, the fix is as simple as a part replacement–as opposed to an entire floor or ceiling replacement.
A tankless hot water heater has gas units that will need to be serviced annually to function at their highest efficiency.
What’s the Purchase Price?
Tankless hot water heaters typically run anywhere between $1,000-$3,000. The least expensive version you can buy is the electric model. Keep in mind that electric models are only good for small spaces such as mobile homes or guesthouses. The most expensive version available is a whole home gas-powered system. A gas-powered system is the most common tankless water heater system.
Keep in mind that if you don’t currently have a tankless water heater in your home, you’ll need to factor in the cost of converting, with new installation costs ranging in the neighborhood of about $5,000.
Is it worth the investment?
Tank and tankless systems are both great options.
Tankless systems can cost up to three times as much as traditional hot water heaters. However, because they last longer and lower your energy costs, they are often well worth the initial investment. Some buyers get the added satisfaction of knowing that tankless systems are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
Whichever style of hot water heater you decide on, make sure it’s the right move for you and your family before making the switch.