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Should you switch to a tankless water heater? Why one of your most important appliances might deserve an upgrade.

Have you ever had the entire family shower before you in the morning, and you’re left with only cold water? 

You could switch to a tankless water heater and never have that problem again.

But is having continuous hot water at your disposal enough of a reason to switch? 

Well, let’s look at it this way. Which are the most vital and expensive appliances in your home?

You may have guessed it. Besides your HVAC system, your water heater is one of your most vital appliances. 

Water heaters typically account for nearly a quarter of your monthly energy bill (the next highest is usually the HVAC system), making it one of the most expensive appliances to run in your home. Aside from giving you hot water on demand, tankless water heaters can:

  • Save on your monthly energy bill
  • Use less natural resources
  • Increase space in your basement, closet or attic


What makes a tankless water heater unique?

Conventional, tank water heaters simply fill up a tank of water and heat it up. This means your water gets heated up, regardless if you need it or not. By contrast, tankless water heaters, also known as “on-demand” water heaters, run water through a heat exchange when you turn on the tap. You get hot water on demand, for as long as you like. However, “on-demand” doesn’t necessarily mean immediate hot water arriving from your taps. Usually, it takes just as long or a little longer for the hot water to pour out, due to the water being heated as it passes through the exchange.


Tankless water heaters are also much smaller than traditional tank water heaters; about the size of a carry-on suitcase. Because of increased insulation and other improvements, new tank water heaters are often bigger than the old one you need to replace. If your old water heater was stored in a closet, attic, or small basement, a tankless water heater might be your best option to switch and free up that space for other uses.


Aren’t tankless water heaters really expensive? 

On average, the upfront expense of tankless water heaters cost more than conventional tank water heaters. Suppose you’re switching from a tank-style water heater. In that case, you’ll likely need to change out gas fittings and perhaps upgrade your electrical, making it more expensive to install than replacing your tank water heater.


However, most people make the switch to a tankless when they consider the long term investment. Tankless water heaters can be 40% more energy efficient than a typical tank water heater, which can have a dramatic effect on your energy bill. 


So, if you’re paying $200/mo on gas, and roughly 25% of that is your water heater, a 40% savings is around $250/year. It doesn’t take long for that kind of savings to more than cover the cost of your most essential appliance.


In fact, because they’re so energy efficient, most energy companies offer a rebate when you switch - making the initial investment a little easier to make. 


When you consider the investment over the standard life of a typical water heater, it's even more compelling. With regular maintenance, tankless water heaters typically last 2-3 times longer (or more depending on your water quality) than the average lifespan of a tank water heater. You might replace your conventional water heater 3 times before you replace a tankless unit.


So why shouldn’t I switch to a tankless water heater? 

Tankless water heaters aren’t for everyone.


If you don’t use that much hot water or have a small water heater and the shower is used only once in the morning, the investment of a tankless water heater might not make much sense. New, small-tank water heaters can be very energy efficient and may meet your needs just fine.


Another consideration is how you use hot water in your home. If your home does laundry and has multiple showers running simultaneously, you might think that a tankless water heater system would struggle to keep up with demand. However, with their high gallon per minute ratings, most modern gas tankless water heater systems can meet the needs of even the largest houses. 


How can I know for sure?

If you think you might want to go tankless, but still aren’t sure, consult a professional. They can understand your needs, help you determine the best system for you, and evaluate your home's installation requirements. Some installations require upgrading your electrical capacity, for instance, so it’s best to check with a pro.


If you want more information on what your exact needs are, give us a call. Our trained experts are standing by to help you walk through your options to make the best decision for replacing one of the most essential appliances in your home.

Contact us if you have any questions or want to get started with a tankless system.


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