When a water heater breaks, then it can be devastating for your household.
You will have to do without some of the essentials that make modern life worth living: hot baths, washing dishes and having showers are all out of the window.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on new equipment to get back in business.
The average tankless water heater costs very little. But there are ways to save money when installing one.
These tanks are greater in energy efficiency, which will save you money on your bills.
This is great if you are looking to reduce the amount of money that you’ll be spending because you are from a low-income household.
If you want to install a tankless water heater, you should know what type of system is best suited for your home.
There are two types of systems: gravity and pressure. Gravity systems use the force of gravity to push the water through pipes.
They are more affordable than pressure systems but they require a lot of maintenance.
Pressure systems use a pump to move the water through the pipes. These systems are more expensive but they last longer.
If you’re planning to install a tankless unit, you should consider this factor before making any decisions.
How Much Will You Be Looking To Pay For A Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless units come in different sizes. Depending on how much space you have available in your house, you may choose a smaller or larger model.
You also need to decide whether you want an electric or gas-powered tankless unit.
Electric tankless units are cheaper but they aren’t as efficient. Gas models are more efficient but they are more costly.
You should also take into consideration the size of your family. If you have children, you might want to look at a bigger unit so that everyone has access to hot water.
The average price of a gas tankless water heater (see also ‘Operating A Tankless Gas Water Heater Without Electricity‘) is around $3,500, whereas an electric unit will cost you slightly less at around $2,500 on average.
However, this does not include the installation. If you factor this in, then you could be looking to pay upwards of $5,000.
When you factor in the overall amount of money that you’ll be saving, we would consider one of these units a very worthwhile investment.
Tankless Water Heaters – The Complete Truth
A tankless water heater (see also ‘Cold Weather And Your Tankless Water Heater: How To Prevent Freezing‘) is a fantastic way to heat up your home quickly and efficiently.
However, it’s important to understand why people choose to go with a tankless unit over a traditional tanked water heater.
Here are five reasons why you should consider going with a tankless unit instead of a tanked one.
1. It’s Energy Efficient
When you turn on a tanked water heater, it takes time to warm up. As soon as you start using the hot water, you will notice that it gets colder by the minute.
With a tankless unit, however, you can enjoy the benefits of hot water immediately.
2. It’s More Affordable
A tankless unit is more affordable than a tanked one. In fact, the average tankless unit costs only about $3,500.
On top of that, you won’t have to worry about replacing the heating element every year or so.
3. It’s Easy To Install
Unlike a tanked unit, installing a tankless unit isn’t difficult. All you need to do is hook up the plumbing and connect the necessary wires.
Once everything is connected, you can simply plug in the unit and enjoy the benefits of hot showers and baths.
4. It Has Fewer Parts
Unlike a tanked unit, a tankless unit doesn’t have any moving parts. This means that there are fewer things that could break down.
Also, because there are no moving parts, you don’t have to worry about cleaning them.
5. It’s Environmentally Friendly
If you’re concerned about the environment, then you should definitely consider a tankless unit.
Because there are no moving parts involved, it’s easier for manufacturers to make their products eco-friendly.
How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
In order to get a better understanding of what makes a tankless unit so great, let’s take a closer look at how they work.
A tankless unit works by drawing water from the cold side of the system through pipes.
Then, the water is heated up inside the unit itself before being pumped back out to the hot side of the system.
There is no tank, as the name suggested. This means that the water is heated as it goes to your faucet, as opposed to stored and heated over the course of time.
A tankless unit will also be powered either by gas or electricity.
There are other types of fuel that you can use to heat your tankless unit, but we will talk about them more in-depth later.
How Does A Conventional Water Heater Work?
Conventional water heaters work just like tankless units. They draw water from the cold side through a pipe and heat it up before pumping it back into the hot side.
The difference between a conventional water heater and a tankless unit is that a tanked unit has an internal storage tank where the hot water is kept.
The main advantage of having a tanked unit is that you can store a lot of hot water.
You can fill up the tank, wait until the temperature drops below a certain point, and then pull some hot water out of the tank without affecting the temperature of the rest of the water.
However, if you want to save money, then a tankless unit may be a good option for you.
For example, when you first turn on a tankless unit, it will pump out a large amount of hot water.
If you plan on taking a shower right away, this might not be such a bad thing.
But if you plan on waiting a while before using the hot water, then this could be problematic.
Why Should You Get A Tankless Water Heater?
There are both benefits and downsides to picking up one of these water heaters.
You’ll have to figure out which is the size of your home before you pick one up.
You’ll also have to figure out how much you’ll exactly save on your water bills.
The Pros Of The Tankless Water Heater
1. This unit will never run low on hot water – if you have used a tank water heater, then you can know how frustrating it is to wait for the water in the tank to reach the right temperature.
This can sometimes take hours. However, this is not the case with the tankless unit, as it heats the water directly as soon as it reaches the correct temperature.
2. It saves energy – because there is no need to keep heating water in a tank, you won’t end up wasting any energy.
This means that you can save a lot of money on your electric bill. A tankless unit is around 20% more efficient than the other unit.
You might not notice much of a saving in the short term, but as the time adds up, you will definitely notice the difference.
3. It saves space – since you don’t have to have a huge tank filled with hot water, you can make sure that your bathroom doesn’t become too cramped.
If you have a smaller bathroom, then you will be able to fit in one of these units a lot easier.
This is great for anyone who has a small apartment and is struggling to get everything in one space.
4. It saves money – because you aren’t paying for the electricity needed to power a tank, you can save a lot on your monthly electricity bill.
In fact, the savings can be anywhere from $10 to $30 per month depending on what type of electricity you use.
5. It will last a lot longer – because there is no tank to empty or replace, you can expect to see a lot less wear and tear on your unit.
With a tank, you will have to deal with leaks, rusting pipes, and all sorts of other issues.
These problems can cause a lot of damage over time. With a tankless unit, you should only have to worry about replacing filters and cleaning the coils once every few months.
These units can last up to 20 years, whereas the conventional units with tanks will only last around 10-12 years.
6. Tankless units are easier to repair – because they don’t have a big tank full of water, you won’t have to spend hours trying to find someone who knows how to fix them.
Instead, you can just call an expert at your local service provider, and they will be able to help you out quickly.
7. They are easy to install – unlike a tank, you won’t have to drill holes into your walls or ceilings. You can simply put them wherever you like.
8. They are safe – because they don’t store a large amount of hot water, you don’t have to worry about scalding yourself when using the shower.
9. They are quiet – because there isn’t a loud hissing sound coming from the tank, you won’t wake everyone else up while taking a bath!
10. They are eco-friendly – because they don’t waste energy by keeping a large tank of hot water, you can feel good about using them.
11. These tanks will supply you with reliable amounts of hot water – unlike the old tank models, which could start leaking after a certain period of time.
You won’t have to worry about the tank filling up and heating, which could see you waiting for hours at a time.
This is great if you like a hot shower and hate it when the temperature dips up and down.
12. Great warranties – most companies offer some sort of warranty on their products.
Some even provide free replacements within a year. This will give you peace of mind if you are unsure about these new types of units.
Okay, now that we’ve covered some of the main reasons why you should splash out on one of these tankless heaters (and there are quite a few, as you can see!), we’ll have a look at some of the drawbacks.
The Cons Of A Tankless Water Heater
1. Installation costs more than traditional ones – this is probably the biggest drawback of these units.
Since they don’t have a tank, you will need to pay for professional installation.
This means that you will have to hire a plumber who is experienced in installing these systems. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars.
2. The initial investment might seem high – but remember, you get what you pay for.
When you compare the price tag to the benefits listed above, you’ll realize that it’s actually worth paying a bit extra for a better product.
3. They aren’t always compatible with older plumbing systems – since they don’t use a tank, they may not work well with older piping systems.
In order to make sure that everything works properly, you will need to contact your local plumbers first.
4. Some tankless heaters do not consistently have hot water – although many people love the idea of having a hot shower without worrying about the temperature, others report getting inconsistent results.
It seems that every so often, the water will turn off unexpectedly.
Also, if you are running lots of different faucets or shower heads at the same time, then this might be harder to distribute all the water, making it harder to sustain a really hot temperature.
That’s everything covered when it comes to drawbacks of your model.
There isn’t much that will deter you from getting one of these tankless models, but it is worth bearing in mind some of the cons if you are going to hand over some cash.
What Other Features Will Make Your Tankless Heater More Expensive?
There are other features that you might want to consider before buying a tankless heater. Here are a few things to think about:
How big do you want the tank to be? This is important because larger tanks mean that you will need to replace them more frequently.
Also, if you live in an area where the weather gets cold, you will need to ensure that the tank has enough capacity to keep the water warm during the winter months.
The Fuel Type
You might also want to choose between natural gas and electricity. Natural gas tends to be expensive, but it doesn’t last as long. Propane is slightly cheaper, but it lasts longer.
How Easy It Will Be To Set Up
Another thing to bear in mind is whether you prefer to set up the system yourself or would rather leave it to the professionals.
You might find that DIY is easier, but you might also find that you spend more money on hiring someone else to install it.
Should You Get A Tankless Water Heater?
If you are looking for a way to save money on your energy bills, then a tankless heater might be right for you.
However, there are still plenty of reasons why you should go ahead and buy one of these units.
1. Save Money On Energy Bills – if you can reduce your monthly heating bill by 10%, then you’ll see a significant reduction in your overall expenditure. That’s a lot of money saved.
2. Improve Your Home Environment – if you want to create a home environment that feels like a spa (see also ‘The 15 Best Sauna Heaters For Your Home Sauna‘), then you’re going to have to invest in a tankless heater.
These heaters are designed to provide consistent temperatures throughout the day, which means that you won’t have to worry about your bath water being too hot or too cold.
3. Reduce The Risk Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – if you live in an old house, then you know just how dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning can be.
If you get exposed to high levels of this poisonous gas, then you could end up with permanent brain damage or even death.
Fortunately, most modern tankless heaters don’t emit any carbon monoxide whatsoever.
4. Avoid Running Out Of Hot Water – if you’ve ever had to wait until the next day to take a shower (see also ‘ Best Shower Timer Shutoff ‘), then you know what I’m talking about.
With a tankless heater, you never run out of hot water.
5. Enjoy Peace Of Mind – if you own a business and you rely on having access to running water at all times, then you know what a nightmare it can be when you suddenly lose power.
Thankfully, most modern tankless systems have back-up batteries so they can continue providing hot water even when the electricity goes off.
6. Ensure Safety For Children And Pets – if you have young children or pets, then you’ll want to make sure that they aren’t exposed to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Luckily, most modern tankless water heaters come equipped with alarms.
Gas And Tankless Water Heaters – The Key Differences
When you are comparing tankless water heaters, it’s important to understand the differences between gas and electric models.
There are some key differences between these two types of units, including:
Most gas models are powered by propane or natural gas. They are usually installed using a pipe called a “pilot line” that runs from the main supply line to the unit itself.
This pilot line allows the installer to monitor the flow of fuel into the unit.
Some electric models are powered by electricity. They use either a battery back-up system or a generator as their source of power.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Gas Heater?
The cost of a gas heater will be more expensive than an electric model.
You could try and lower the price of your gas heater by shopping around, although it might reduce the quality of your gas heater overall.
If you are looking for a tankless water heater, then you should definitely consider installing one.
Not only do they save you money, but they also improve the comfort level of your home.
There are 3 models of gas heater that you should be aware of before buying:
1. Non-Condensing Tankless Models
Non-condensing tankless models are great because they don’t produce any harmful emissions.
However, they tend to be less efficient than condensing models. They can also be more expensive to install than the tanked models.
2. Condensing Tankless Models
Condensing tankless models are very energy efficient. They also work well in areas where there is a lot of moisture in the air.
Unfortunately, they can create a large amount of steam which may cause problems for people who suffer from respiratory issues.
These models are much easier to install than the non-condensing units.
3. Outdoor Models
Outdoor models are perfect for those who live in climates where temperatures dip below freezing during the winter months.
These do not require any ventilation, so they are the easiest models to install.
If you look at the tankless models, then you will see that they are quite inexpensive and will save you a lot more in the long run.
However, if you are living in a more antiquated house, you might have to update the electrical system in your house. This will cost you a pretty penny on top of the heater installation.
How Well Does A Gas Heater Perform?
A good gas heater will perform better than an average one. In fact, the best gas heaters are designed to last for years without needing maintenance.
If you purchase a high-quality gas heater, then you won’t need to replace it too often.
Even the most inefficient tankless systems will perform better than the conventional models. You will find yourself spending a lot less on electricity overall.
You should check out the EF rating on your water heater. The higher the number, the better the efficiency.
For example, a 90% rated heater would consume about 10% of the energy used by a 50% rated heater.
Which Is Better? Gas Or Electric?
Both gas and electric heaters are great options.
However, if you want something that is going to last, then you should go with a gas heater. There are many advantages to this type of heating method.
- Gas heaters are cheaper to buy and maintain.
- Gas heaters are safer to use.
- Gas heaters burn cleaner than electric heaters.
- Electric heaters take up more space.
You can also churn out a lot more hot water with a gas heater than you can with an electric heater.
This will give you some of the best heat and water ratio, which is especially useful if you have a larger house with a lot of people using many faucets at the same time.
What Is A BTU?
The term “BTU” stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s a measurement of how much heat a unit produces. One Btu equals 1 pound of heat per hour.
So, if you want to know what size heater you need, you should multiply the square footage of your home by .25.
Then add 20 percent to that figure to account for the humidity factor.
For instance, if you have a 3,000-square-foot home, then you would need a 30,000 BTU heater.
What Is A Single-Point Heater?
Single point heaters are typically installed in bathrooms or kitchens. They are usually smaller than other types of heaters.
If you only have one point in your house that needs heating, then we would certainly recommend that you get one of these units.
We would generally recommend that you use a whole-house heater rather than a single point, as this will give you a lot more coverage.
What Is A Whole House Heater?
Whole-house heaters are the largest of all the different types of heaters available today. They are capable of heating large areas like basements, attics, garages, etc.
They are also known as radiant heaters because they emit infrared rays. These rays penetrate deep into the ground and warm everything around them.
If you have a large area that needs heating, then you should definitely consider getting a whole-house heater.
How Can You Keep Your Tankless Heater Working Correctly?
It’s important to keep your tankless heater working properly.
If your tankless heater is not working properly, then you might expect your unit to be susceptible to erosion and inefficient fuel running, as well as other issues.
Otherwise, you could end up wasting money on unnecessary repairs. Here are some things that you can do to help ensure that your system lasts:
Keep it clean. Dirty pipes can cause problems with your water pressure. Also, dirty coils can lead to corrosion.
Don’t overheat your water. When you turn on your tap, you shouldn’t see any steam coming from it. If there is any, then you probably have too high of a temperature setting.
Check the thermostat regularly. The thermostat controls when your heater turns on and off. Make sure that it’s set correctly so that you don’t waste energy.
Flushing your heater regularly will also prevent any minerals from building up. Minerals can block the flow of water through your pipes.
Get regular maintenance. Regular maintenance will make sure that your heater works efficiently.
We would also recommend that you flush out the limescale that can build up in your water heater. Limescale is a mineral deposit that forms inside your water heater.
This can eventually clog your pipes and cause damage to your heater. To remove the scale, simply run cold water through your heater until it stops dripping.
On the whole, electric heaters do not require as much maintenance as gas heaters.
However, it’s still recommended that you check your heater every six months. This way, you’ll avoid expensive repairs.
What Types Of Ignition Systems Do These Tankless Heaters Have?
Tankless water heaters come in 3 main varieties:
Standard Pilot Light
This type of pilot light has an igniter that uses electricity to ignite the burner.
It requires no additional source of power. It is kept running all the time, although the amount of energy you’ll need to maintain this will be very low.
Direct ignition systems use a thermocouple to detect when the flame reaches a certain temperature.
Once the temperature is reached, the thermocouple sends a signal to the controller which starts the combustion process. This might require an additional electrical system to work.
Hydro Power Ignition
This type of heater uses a turbine to start the combustion process. Unlike direct ignition, hydropower does not require an external source of power to function.
Which Type Is Best For My Home?
The best choice for your home depends on where you live. Some areas may benefit more from a standard pilot light. Others may prefer a direct ignition system.
If you’re unsure about what kind of system you should get, we suggest getting one that matches the size of your current system.
You can always add another later if you want to upgrade.
These units are similar to traditional tank-style water heaters, but they lack a condensing coil.
Instead, they rely on convection to move hot air around the room. They are generally smaller than their condenser counterparts and easier to install.
However, these types of units need a complex ventilation system. This means that they will generally be more expensive than other models.
Condensers are the most common type of unit used today. They have a large reservoir that stores water at high temperatures.
When the water needs heating, the pump circulates the water through the coils.
As the water passes through the coils, the heat transfers into the water. The heated water then returns back to the tank.
This will be a lot easier to install, and therefore cheaper than the non-condenser.
This is because there are a lot fewer moving parts than the non-condenser units.
Tankless Heater Installation
You can employ someone to install your tankless heater for you, although you might be looking to pay more significant costs.
If you choose to hire a professional, make sure they provide you with a written warranty.
Make sure that you get an estimate from a plumber first. This will be the estimated cost of installing your boiler.
You’ll also need to make sure that it has been rated with excellent customer service.
Our Final Say
We hope that our guide to tankless water heater installation has helped you decide whether or not you want to commit to such a purchase.