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Are Tankless Water Heaters Any Good?

A photo of a tankless water heater installed outside

There are a variety of reasons you may want to consider a tankless water heater. But whether it be space savings, energy efficiency, or the idea of having hot water at all times, there are more things to consider when making your decision.

As a licensed plumber who has installed hundreds of tankless water heaters in Denver, my team has a lot of firsthand knowledge about these appliances. First, I will list the advantages associated with a tankless water heater, but it is important to consider the cons as well, so please read through the entire article.

The Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Savings

Heating the water in your home is typically the third-largest expense, and accounts for roughly 14% to 25% of a home’s energy usage. Tankless water heaters can save roughly 50% of your water heating costs.

Never Run Out of Hot Water

A gas tankless heater can deliver a steady supply of hot water at a rate ranging from 2 gallons to 5 gallons per minute. Essentially, the units never run out of hot water as long as hot water demands stays below the heater’s output.

Durability and Versatility in a Small Package

Tankless water heaters are durable as they have a life expectancy of over 20 years.

The unit can also go almost anywhere in the house, and can also be installed outside on a wall. Tankless heaters are much smaller than conventional heaters. So, there is considerable space savings when you choose tankless.

Cons for Tankless

Higher Unit Cost & Installation Cost

Tankless units cost roughly twice as much as traditional storage tanks.

In addition to the higher unit cost, installation for the system and the necessary piping is also increased. There is also a need for adequate venting, which is also an added cost. In other words, when installing a tankless heater in an existing home where there used to be a conventional water heater, there is much work to be done that adds costs that need to be considered.

Will a tankless water heater ever save enough energy to justify its higher cost purely from a financial standpoint? Best answer: Probably not.

Not Enough Output

In the advantages to tankless systems listed above, never running out of water is mentioned. That is not entirely accurate. If demand exceeds the unit’s output (someone is in the shower, while another person is washing dishes, and the washer machine is running all at the same time*) there will be a shortage of hot water.

*Please note that each unit’s output varies by specific model and very well may be able to meet and exceed your specific demands.

Quick Summary

Depending on what weighs heavier on your decision, a tankless water heater may be a perfect choice for you, but it also may not be a great fit for you.

If energy savings tops your priority list, then tankless is for you. But if economy, and times of peak demand are of more importance, then you may want to approach purchasing a tankless water heater with caution.

If you would like some help making your decision, request an appointment with my team at Done Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electric today, and we will be happy to assess your specific needs.

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