Three Things To Consider Prior To Installing A Tankless Hot Water Heater

Posted on: 24 May 2016

There is a lot being written about the benefits of a tankless water heater. These heaters are usually small, wall-mounted units that furnish hot water on demand. Not only will they supply an unlimited amount of hot water, but they can also save 30 - 50 percent of your energy costs by not having to continuously heat a tank of water that no one is using. Unfortunately, just like anything else on the market, tankless water heaters are not designed for everyone. If you have to replace your hot water heater, there are a few things that you may want to consider prior to going tankless.

What Is Your Budget?

If your standard hot water heater has quit working, you can quickly replace it with one like it by going to your local home improvement store and buying one. If you replace it with one that is approximately the same size, you will probably be able to use the same piping and plumbing that you used with your old tank. The average cost of staying with a standard hot water heater is approximately $940, but you may be able to do this job much cheaper if you are able to handle your own installation.

A tankless water heater, on the other hand, may require you to completely change out your plumbing, gas lines, and other fittings. Depending on where your tankless heater is being installed, it may have to be vented to keep it from building up carbon dioxide. To install one, you may need the services of both a qualified plumber, as well as an electrician, and this project can take a day or longer to get done.

Your exact installation costs will depend on the amount of work required, as well as the type and size of the unit you are going to install. Because of all of the upfront work required, the cost of installing a tankless heater will average approximately $1,525, but it can cost much more depending on your market. The good news is, you may be able to offset these additional costs with energy star credits, as well as other local and state tax credits, but you will have to pay the total costs upfront.

Do You Own The Property?

No matter if you install a small point of use unit that only serves one faucet at a time, or a larger unit that will supply your entire household, there will be a need to drill holes and run additional piping. Because of all of the structural changes that may be involved in installing a tankless water heater, you may need to get your landlord's permission prior to investing in a tankless model.

Of course, if you think you will be able to get your landlord to sign off on the installation, or install the unit themselves, it is worth asking. This is because if you are the one paying the energy bills, the energy savings that you will realize as a result of installing a tankless water heater will be passed on to you. 

Are You Willing To Perform Yearly Maintenance?

Unlike standard hot water heaters, most tankless heaters will require you to perform annual maintenance to flush the system and clean out any build-up of scale and other minerals. If you do not have hard water, this may not be required as often, and some tankless models on the market even have built in scale indicators that will tell you when this maintenance needs to be performed. To remember to do your annual maintenance, simply create a maintenance calendar and put it on your phone or on your computer. This way, you will be able to set up alerts to notify you days, or even weeks, in advance.

Overall, tankless hot water heaters can be a great investment. Not only will they provide you with a superior performance, but it will last anywhere from 15-20 years. That is much longer than the approximate 10 years that you will get from your tanked model. For more information and advice on whether a tankless option is best for your circumstances, talk with a plumbing company in your area, such as First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc..