Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

A reliable hot water supply is essential to every household, no matter the season. While traditional water heaters using storage tanks remain popular, tankless units are quickly becoming the new preference because they provide water on demand to reduce electricity or gas bills.

But is a tankless water heater worth it? Yes, a tankless water heater may offer many benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, cost savings, and a longer lifespan.

However, you should research and compare different models before buying one. While there are pros and cons to each type of system, doing your due diligence will ensure your purchase brings long-term benefits.

This post will answer all your questions, including how tankless heaters differ from traditional ones, their types, and whether they are worth spending money on. Keep reading!

Difference Between Tankless and Storage Tank Water Heaters

Tankless and storage tank water heaters each come with unique perks, making it easier to select the right model for your home. For instance, tankless units are small, energy-efficient, and deliver an endless supply of hot water but can be more expensive than traditional water heaters.

Traditional water heaters, on the other hand, are more affordable and can hold a good supply of hot water, but their large size can be inefficient and costly on bills. To select the best option for your needs, consider your home’s energy consumption and budget.

Let’s go through both models so that you can decide which one’s more suitable.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

Traditional tank-style water heaters are found in most households, taking up considerable space in basements, garages, or backyards. These heaters can store between 30 and 80 gallons of water and run on either gas or electricity to continuously heat and store the water.

Unfortunately, these heaters can also increase utility bills due to their constant operation. Furthermore, tank-style heaters take around 30-40 minutes to refill after running out of water. For households of a large size, the tank may provide an ample hot water supply.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are equipped with high-powered burners for heating water. Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless units have a small footprint, are energy-efficient, and only provide water on demand. In other words, these units don’t store water continuously. Instead, they only operate when you turn on the hot water tap.

The water passes through the heat exchanger and enters the hot water faucets within 15 seconds. Since they have no tanks, you are free from the hassle of refilling and waiting. Tankless heaters will give a constant supply of hot water 24/7.

Types of Tankless Water Heaters

water heater on wall

There are two types of tankless water heaters: electric and gas tankless water heaters.

Electric tankless water heaters are an easy, affordable option, although they may be pricier than gas units in the long run. While easy to operate, they are not as suitable as gas models for high water demands. However, electric models can still be a good choice if you don’t have extensive water usage.

In terms of installation, electric tankless water heaters only require an electrical grid of 150 A, while gas models must be connected to natural gas or propane sources.

Furthermore, electric models demand less maintenance – they only need an inlet screen filter cleaned every once in a while. However, gas tankless water heaters must be inspected by trained technicians frequently for smooth operation. Gas tankless heaters also tend to weigh more than electric ones.

If you’re comfortable with both gas and electric tanks, paying more upfront for a gas tankless unit can save you money in the long run.

How Much Can Tankless Water Heaters Cost?

Tankless gas heaters can cost anywhere from $400 to $2000, depending on the size, features, and efficiency. For electric tankless water heaters, the costs can be anywhere from $90 to $1000.

Installation costs typically range from $1,000 to $1,500 for gas models and $800 to $1,500 for electric models. If you’ve hired a plumber to install your unit, expect to pay around $45 to $150 per hour. Note that your tankless unit may qualify for a 10% federal tax credit, which may help ease the installation costs.

Do Tankless Heaters Require Maintenance?

Like traditional tank-style water heaters, tankless units are easier to clean and maintain. However, since tankless versions have no storage tanks, you only need to flush the units and clean the filters once a year.

The cleaning is straightforward to manage with some basic tools and cleaning supplies like white vinegar. For those with hard water, it is recommended to have professional cleaning twice a year.

Life Expectancy of Tankless Heaters

Tankless gas water heaters come with a life expectancy of 20+ years if used and maintained correctly. Electric units’ lifespans can go down to 8 to 10 years.

Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

Tankless water heaters are a long-term investment with plenty of benefits, including energy efficiency, space-saving design, functionality, and lower energy bills.

  1. According to the US Department of Energy, tankless units save more energy than storage tank water heaters. Tankless heaters can also reduce utility bills by 30% because they don’t operate continuously.
  2. Tankless models are more compact than tank-style heaters. You can usually mount them to the wall like a huge clock in your basement or backyard.
  3. They are more durable and have fewer functionality issues.
  4. Tankless water heaters are easy to clean and maintain.
  5. You will get a quick and uninterrupted supply 24/7 if you buy a model catered to your family’s needs.
  6. Some high-tech models offer digital connectivity (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) to control the temperature through your phone.

Disadvantages of a Tankless Unit

Tankless water heaters are a convenient way to heat water in the winter, but they can have some drawbacks.

  1. Tankless water heaters have a high upfront cost when compared to traditional tank heaters. Installation can cost up to three times more when compared to a tank-style unit.
  2. A single tankless water heater can’t accommodate multiple hot water taps simultaneously. You may need two or more units for a large household.
  3. You may have to add extra vents or new gas lines to install gas tankless water heaters.

Conclusion

Is a tankless water heater worth it? The answer is yes, but keep in mind that it will take some time to reap the benefits. Though traditional models work fine, tankless water heaters will provide numerous benefits and be worth the initial investment.

It’s important to remember tankless models are not all created equal, so you should consider your needs before purchasing one. You should also read reviews to ensure you’re getting a model that’s right for your home.

Adam