Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth the Cost?

We are all looking to cut down on our gas and electric bills, some ideas help, others make no difference. One of a homeowner’s largest utility eaters is their water heater. Whether it is fueled by gas or electric it makes no difference, a large portion of our utilities goes to heating our home’s water.
I have been installing the conventional storage type water heaters for 22 years and have seen them waste energy, but used correctly they are not the energy wasting pigs they have been portrayed as. Tankless style water heaters (also run by gas or electric) are the new green energy efficient model of choice for anyone that cares about the earth.

You will see the 2 styles of water heaters unfairly compared, never giving the storage type a fair chance to defend itself. There are several points to consider when trying to choose between storage and tankless style water heaters.

  1. In the northeast section of the US the average cost to install a 40 gallon, gas, storage type water heater is $750-$1,000, with a comparable electric being slightly less. The cost for a comparable tankless gas model starts at about $2,700- on upwards.
  2. According to the US Department of Energy website, the average lifespan of a tankless water heater is 20 years. Problem is that most tankless models are only a few years old, just hitting the US market in the last decade, so time will tell. Storage style water heaters do last on average 12-15 years, and I can say that is true.
  3. When installing a tankless unit you must take into consideration the need for a larger gas supply line, the venting requirements and moving the water lines. Electric models need a new electric supply that should be installed by an electrician. Usually with most storage type water heaters the gas and or electric, water lines and vent will not have to be moved or adapted at all.
  4. Using the average install prices for both models, a tankless water heater must save at least $160 a year, for 12 years, that is just to cover the extra install cost.
  5. Obviously a tankless water heater has no tank to store water. When you turn the hot water on at a fixture you must run the water for several minutes, before it will activate and heat the water. This in itself wastes water, might not sound like much of a downside, but it is another knock it its efficiency.
  6. Storage type water heaters are very reliable, if a part does need replacing they can usually be found rather quickly. There are so many styles and makes of tankless water heaters that if a part does need to be replaced, it may take several days or weeks to locate, this happened to a unit that I was servicing.
  7. Manufacturers have now started to outfit storage water heaters with “smart gas valves”, which will not allow the temperature to fluctuate and raises efficiency.
  8. By setting the temperature on storage type water heaters at 110-120 degrees, keeping all drafts away from the water heater, and keeping the area near the unit clear, your water heater will run at peak efficiency.

I always like to see new products and technology, but actually integrating them into the work world and into people’s homes is sometimes a rocky road. When making a decision, think about what you will be getting back from the different styles of water heaters and how their downsides will affect your lifestyle.

If you are looking for a tankless water heater installation in Fontana, look no further than Inland Cal Plumbing. Give them a call today at 909-303-1179.