Are Tankless Water Heaters Right For You?

You don’t always have to move with the crowd or make uninformed decisions based on what your friends say. However, it pays at times.

With the advancement in technology, tankless water heaters are gaining popularity not only in the US but worldwide. The tanked models are still of great help. Don’t get me wrong.

As such, before going tankless, there’re a few things that you ought to know. These will help you weigh the matter in hand and know what decision to make.

Amongst other things, you should understand the difference between your conventional heater and the tankless models, the cost, how to install tankless water heaters, the likely benefits, and the downside associated with these types.

Most likely, water heating expenses come second accounting for 14-18% of all the bills. The tankless water heaters are gaining popularity because of their ability to conserve energy and water. As you’ll find out later, tankless units work quite differently from their tanked cousins. True to their name, they don’t have a tank. Consequently, they don’t store water in them. This means that they only heat water on demand and don’t have to use energy to keep the water hot.

Here are some of its main features that’ll help you make the right decision

Cost of a tankless water heater

Like any other appliance, the cost comes first when assessing whether tankless water heaters are good for you. Tankless water heaters are a little bit pricey compared to the conventional water heaters. This is always a setback for many. Though expensive, their high energy saving capabilities help in recovering the initial cost easily and end up to offer the best bang for your bucks.

Gas-fuelled tankless water heaters are pricier than electric water heaters. A good gas-fuelled tankless water heater costs around 1500 dollars which is double the price of a traditional water heater. An added advantage with these units, however, is that they are efficient and work all around the house without limitations to hot water.

On the other hand, an electric tankless water heater may cost around $400. The sweet spot with this type is that it’s quite inexpensive to install and also offers greater flexibility on where to place it.

How a tankless water heater works

As stated before, tankless water heaters heat water on demand. As such, they are also referred to as Instantaneous heaters or demand-types. Once you’ve turned on a hot water tap, cold water gets into the heating unit. This triggers the sensors which in return turn the heating process ON.

Unlike the traditional ‘tanked’ models, tankless units have no storage tanks. As such, they don’t store water. They have a constant supply of hot water. So, you won’t have to wait for a 40-50-gallon tank to fill and be heated before you can get some hot water.

This translates to greater energy efficiency, in that, there’s no energy being used to keep the water hot as it is the case with traditional heaters.

Proper maintenance of a tankless water heater

Maintaining a tankless water heater is easier and way inexpensive than a conventional water heater. Cleaning a conventional water heater can be tedious since there’s a full 50-gallon tank to empty and clean.

There isn’t a tank to deal with in the instantaneous models. This also means that there’s minimal limescale build-up. This leads to the easy cleaning time and greater heating capabilities.

For areas with hard water, installing water softeners will save you lots of cleaning trouble. An added advantage with the tankless water heaters is that replacement parts are easily available in the store near you. Again, replacement is quite easy as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s also relatively cheaper if a professional plumber has to do it for you.

Advantages of a tankless water heater

Energy saving

This is the primary reason why most people are shifting to tankless models. A traditional water heater uses a lot of energy when heating the stored water. It continues to use energy even when there’s no water usage since it has to keep it hot. On the other hand, tankless heaters only use energy when the hot water taps are turned ON.

You get hot water on demand and with no limitations

Typical conventional water heaters store water in the storage tank for use around the house. When there is no water in the tank, you will wait for the water to fill being getting hot water. Roughly, you will waste almost 20-40 minutes waiting. This is different from the tankless models since hot water is delivered on demand and with a constant supply.

Minimal cases of leakage

Since tankless heaters don’t store water in tanks, the risk of water leakage is favorably reduced. Though it happens at times, it’ll take up to 10 years. When it happens, the leakages are usually easily manageable and can be rectified without spending a fortune.

Compact design

Another great feature of these models is that they are compact in design. Therefore, they take up less space. They are easily mountable on walls and can also be placed in small unused areas like under the sink, on shelves, and even in closets.

The downsides of a tankless water heater

They are pricey

Tankless water heaters are quite expensive. A good demand-type heater costs almost twice as much as a 50-gallon conventional water heater. As such, you need to be ready to stretch your budget beyond its limits.

Additional installation costs

Another great setback is that many houses don’t have tankless heaters plans. Not unless you have a custom built house, you’ll have to use some more money to replace your traditional heater with the new model. Installation costs also vary depending on whether you choose the gas-fired heaters or the electric models. As expected, installing a gas-fuelled tankless heater is pricier than putting an electric model in place.

Coldwater sandwich

There is also a cold-water-sandwich effect. It’s not a serious problem, though. It occurs if you turn off your tankless water heater frequently. This results in cold water coming out in the middle of your shower. This happens when cold water in the pipes is pushed out through the tap.


As we’ve just seen, a tankless water heater has a boatload of advantages and only a few setbacks. However, the choice to upgrade your water heating system to a newer model or not is all yours.

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