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Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

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There is a trade off when choosing an energy efficient Tankless Water Heater. Is it worth the extra expense? What are the benefits? Well here are list of real benefits:

  • 290 million gallons of fuel oil a year saved
  • 164 million gallons of propane a year saved
  • 6 billion hours of kilowatt electricity a year saved
  • Save 20%, on average, off your annual energy costs

So, there are some real benefits to installing a Tankless Water Heater on your wallet and the environment. However, though these systems do provide the aforementioned benefits there are some negative aspects and split opinions on just how “well” these systems actually perform.

Heating water accounts for up to 30 percent of the average home’s energy budget. Most makers of gas-fired tankless water heaters claim their products can cut your energy costs up to half over regular storage heaters. Does this mean you should go out and upgrade your system?

Well not necessarily. It depends on your specific needs and total house annual hot water consumption. Gas tankless water heaters, which use high-powered burners to quickly heat water as it runs through a heat exchanger, were 22 percent more energy efficient on average than the gas-fired storage-tank models in our tests. That translates into a savings of around $70 to $80 per year. 1 But due to the fact that tankless water heaters cost considerably more than storage water heaters, it can take up to 22 years to break even—longer than the 20-year life of many models. Also, installation costs and actual energy savings seem to vary with users of tankless water heating systems.

Manufacturers of tankless water tout their products’ ability to provide an endless amount of hot water. But inconsistent water temperatures are a common complaint among owners of tankless systems. When you turn on the faucet, tankless models feed in some cold water to gauge how big a temperature rise is needed. If there’s cool water lingering in your pipes, you’ll receive a momentary “cold-water sandwich” between the old and new hot water. And a tankless water heater’s burner might not ignite when you try to get just a trickle of hot water for, say, shaving.

Do tankless water heaters deliver hot water instantaneously? No, it takes time to heat the water to the target temperature, and just like storage water heaters, any cold water in the pipes needs to be pushed out. And tankless models’ electric controls mean you’ll also lose hot water during a power outage.

Tankless Water Heaters cost on average around $1,200, compared with $350 to $500 for regular storage-tank types. Other additional costs may include adding electrical outlets for the fan and electronics, upgraded gas pipes, and a new Flue exhaust system, which makes the total cost around 3 to 4 times more expensive then storage tank models. Another potential scenario with Tankless Water Heaters is depending on the number of bathrooms and distance from your heater you may need to install more than one unit within your home. This, of course, increases up-front costs considerably.

During our long-term testing, an indicator on the tankless model warned of scale buildup. We paid $334 for special valves and a plumber to flush out the water heater with vinegar. Many industry professionals recommend that tankless models be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Calcium buildup can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow, and damage tankless models. Experts suggest installing a water softener if your water hardness is above 11 grains per gallon. Ignoring this advice can shorten your warranty.

So, Tankless Water Heaters do provide energy efficiency and cost savings as well as provide a positive environmental impact but on your specific needs and total possible annual hot water consumption can have a significant impact on whether a Tankless Water Heater is the better choice for your home.

1 Based on 2008 national energy costs.

Did you know?

Did You Know?

Beginning in 1910, toilet designs started changing away from the elevated water tank into the modern toilet with a closed tank and bowl.