So you just got your latest water bill and realize you’ve been hit again with yet another rate hike. Your neighbors all have tankless water heaters in their newly renovated homes, and they all rave about the incredible savings on their water bill.
Is getting a tankless water heater really the right move, or just a lot of hype?
As with any home purchase, there are pros and cons to consider. Below are four key factors to keep in mind before you decide.
1. Cost of A Tankless Water Heater
Natural gas, electric and propane tankless water heaters are available from the top brands, ranging from $250- $2500. You can read these reviews of tankless water heater models for some examples of what you can get in each price range.
Each type of water heater has associated operating expenses and maintenance costs to consider. Propane and natural gas, for instance, are cheaper than electricity but may not be as readily available or reliable in your area.
2. Existing Home Or New Construction
Most new constructions are fitted with an on demand heater, but existing homeowners who inherit a whole house tank water heater may have an aged one that is increasingly inefficient at heating water.
With a new tankless water heater, existing homeowners can save between 20 – 30% on their annual utility expenses, depending on the rates. That works out to approximately $200 less each year.
If you own a new construction but find your current tankless water heater isn’t sufficient for the water use in your household, you might consider a smaller, point of use tankless water heater.
You can install it in your kitchen, or your bathroom to provide hot water on demand where it’s needed most in your home or apartment.
Benefits of A Tankless Water Heater
3. Installation Costs Of A Tankless Water Heater
Retrofitting your home to accommodate a tankless water heater can be fairly simple or very complex, depending on the type you choose. An electric tankless water heater is relatively easy to install, and your new model will include step by step instructions. Older homes may require rewiring to the electrical panel, in which case a professional should be hired.
Average cost of an electric tankless water heater installation: $800 – $1500
On the other hand, a gas tankless water heater installation is more complex. Your home may require additional work to accommodate the special piping and ventilation necessary for your tankless water heater. Unless you’re an experienced professional, we highly recommend you hire professionals to install your tankless gas water heater. Check out this article looking at the cost overview of installing a tankless water heater.
Average installation cost of a gas tankless water heater: $1000 – $1500
4. Flow Rate
Flow rate is one of the most important factors you should consider when searching for a tankless water heater. An insufficient flow rate will mean your water does not heat up to a hot enough temperature because the water supply flows more quickly than the heater can output BTU’s.
If, however, you have more GPM’s than you need, you’ll have scalding hot water and your device will likely auto shutoff to keep from overheating.
Gas and propane tankless water heaters generate higher BTU’s than electric, making them slightly more energy efficient as well. A large 3 – 3.5 bathroom home would be best served by a gas or tankless model
A 32kw electric tankless water heater can serve a 2 – 2.5 bathroom adequately, but you’ll notice a lag time as the water rises from room temperature to your desired level.
Look for an electric tankless water heater with a flow rate of 5- 6 GPM’s or higher for the best results.