With any product, there are potential upsides and downsides depending on the situation. There are two types of tankless water heaters: electric tankless and gas tankless. One of the downsides is that there are very few times when it would make sense to select an electric unit. So if a home doesn’t have LP or natural gas, a tankless water heater probably isn’t the best solution.
Another potential downside of tankless water heaters is the fact that they deliver hot water on-demand, meaning that the water is heated as it flows through the system. For that reason, it requires a large amount of energy during times of increased usage. Although it is very efficient and doesn’t use much energy overall, it will use a significant amount of gas in a span of a few minutes if people are taking multiple showers. Therefore, we find that we have to be very careful about where we install the tankless water heater. We must make sure the gas line is sized to provide adequate volume of gas for the heater to run properly.
Poor water quality is bad for all water heaters, regardless of whether they are tankless or tank systems. However, one of the downsides of a tankless water heater is that it may not even function at all with poor water quality. Additionally, the owner’s manual will list certain requirements for water quality that must be met in order for the warranty to be honored.
In some situations it could be more expensive to retrofit a tankless water heater into a home (e.g., for a finished basement). During the finishing process, there might be a water heater in the middle of the basement that would need to be relocated. The whole hot water system would need to be converted to that style of installation.
If you have any questions about the potential downsides of installing a tankless water heater in your home, reach out to the team at Wisler Plumbing and Air by contacting us online or giving us a call at 540-483-9382.