Is A Tankless Water Heater A beneficial Choice?
If it’s time to get a new water heater and you want to know if switching to a tankless water heater unit will save you money in the long run there are a few things to consider.
Size Matters: If you live further north, your ground water will be colder than if you reside in the southern or western part of the country. The temperature of the water will affect the speed and flow. Here in the North East we install the largest size possible. A storage tank heater will need to be replaced again in about ten years…you’ll get roughly 20 years of use from your Tankless Water Heater. More if it is maintained properly.
Tankless units might need more care: Tankless Water Heaters are subject to scale buildup. Make sure the installer includes special valves to flush out the water heater with vinegar. This should be done once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless heat exchangers. One option is to install a water softener if your water hardness is above 11 grains per gallon. The installer should test for hardness before installation. In our experience 11 grains is considered very high even though some manufactures say it’s acceptable.
We install an inline mechanical device just before the Tankless Hater Heater that prevents the calcium from adhering to the pipes. It changes the composition of the calcium to aragonite which flushes out. It gives the benefits of soft water without the cost or care needed to maintain a softener. This alone can extended the life beyond 20 years. Also some cities and towns don’t allow back-washing of brine water into the sewerage system. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty. First let’s list the positive benefits.
The benefits are as follows:
- Commercial grade copper heat exchanger.
- They’re more efficient with no standby heat loss.
- They take up less space and usually are installed on walls or outdoors with an anti-freeze kit.
- Most Tankless Water Heaters come with a federal tax rebate of $300 or more.
- Endless and continuous hot water if sized properly. A standard tub holds 35 gallons, soaking tubs hold between 45-80 gallons.
- No possibility of flooding due to a ruptured tank.
- No hot water storage.
- Up to 25-35% energy savings according to Department Of Energy.
- Low NOx emissions.
- Electronically controlled. Water temperature setting is constant.
The Drawbacks are as follows:
- They cost up to three times as much to install as a tank water heater.
- They need a minimum flow rate of .5 GPM in order to operate. So a trickle of water will not turn on the heater.
- If there’s cool water lingering in your pipes, you’ll receive a momentary “cold-water sandwich” between the old and new hot water.
- 20 year pay back average.
- Requires 50-80 watts of electricity while running. No hot water during power outage.
Should I buy one?
On the down side, Tankless Water Heaters are a lot more expensive initially than conventional heaters. In addition, you’ll have to run a gas line into the house if you don’t already have a gas appliance.
Bottom line? Of the two options, go with a gas tankless model. Its advantages far outweigh its few problems. Just make sure to read the fine print. Make sure your heater will get water hot enough and deliver enough of it to suit your needs.