Tankless water heaters are often considered as a potential option for homeowners. First, I want to talk about some of the disadvantages:
Con #1: Upfront Cost
A tankless water heater will simply cost more than a tank water heater. That upfront cost can be a significant challenge to overcome.
Con #2: Installation in All-Electric Homes
If you don’t have LP gas or natural gas in your home, it’s really not a good option to go tankless with electric. There are some electrical tankless water heaters that we put in, but a home’s environment will very rarely allow it to happen, usually due to the size of the home or limitations in the electrical supply’s power output.
Con #3: High Complexity
A tankless water heater is definitely much more of a complex system than a tank water heater. Therefore, it takes a trained, competent individual to work on it. If it breaks down, you can’t just go to the nearest Lowe’s and swap out a replacement part.
That being said, I have a tankless water heater in my home and I love it. There’s a tremendous amount of benefits in making the decision to go tankless:
Pro #1: Space Savings
Tankless water heaters can potentially free up a large amount of space. For instance, because I have a tankless water heater on the wall in the mechanical area of my home, I can do other things with the floorspace in this area.
Pro #2: Endless Supply
Probably the biggest benefit from my perspective is the fact that no matter how much hot water we use, and no matter how many times we want to use the shower, we’ll never run out of hot water. It’s an endless supply as long as you have power and fuel going to the heater. When guests are staying or the kids have friends over, we really love how handy this is.
Pro #3: Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of a tankless water heater is going to be much longer than a tank water heater. After all, there’s no storage tank that could rupture due to expansion and contraction.
Pro #4: Total Cost of Ownership
Even though a tankless water heater has a higher upfront cost than a tank water heater, it has a much lower total cost of ownership. Let’s compare a 50 gallon electric water heater, which will cost about $600 per year to operate (in terms of electricity). The tankless water heater will cost about $190 per year, which comes out to $410 yearly savings. In terms of energy efficiency, that’s a really big deal. The savings aren’t as great going from a gas tank to a gas tankless system, though—you might see a yearly savings of about $150 to $200. The bottom line is, electric is the most inefficient way to heat water. LP or natural gas is much more efficient than electric, whether it be tank or tankless.
With high BTU appliances, we have to make sure the gas line is sized properly and externally vented. But aside from those two requirements, we can pretty much put them anywhere if a home is equipped with LP or natural gas. The Navien brand tankless water heaters we install do a really good job of making it easy to retrofit in homes, so it’s possible to install in a lot more situations than it was ten years ago. If you want to learn more about choosing a water heater for your home, reach out to the team at Wisler Plumbing & Air by contacting us online or giving us a call at 540-483-9382.