When to Choose Tankless Water Heaters – A Detailed Guide

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Bought/renting a new house? Either way, looking through the different types of water heating home appliances can be a challenge; especially for the untrained eye.

The cost of heating water comes up to about 18% of household expenses and hence you should select for an efficient and affordable choice.

Look no further! The following guidelines shall help you decide when you should leave the storage tank behind and install a tankless water heating system in your house.

What are tankless water heaters and how do they work?

Tankless water heaters are a type of water heaters that convert cold water to hot water instantly through a heating element, ready for use.

They usually run on gases such as propane and these gases are ignited by internal sensors when the heater is turned on. An exhaust leads the combustion gases to the outside.

This is part of the heating element and the flame heats up the water.

A thermostat regulates the temperature of the water and shuts the machinery down when the temperature reaches a certain value or the device is shut down.

Inbuilt fans convey combustible air to the ignition motors.

Hot water is provided as cold water comes in. Recirculation technologies allow timed use.

Internal sensors keep the concentration of minerals (deposited by the water) in the crevices on the machine and a maintenance light indicates when it’s time for a cleanup.

They work best with the energy source being natural gas, however, electric installation and upgrade are expensive. The life span could last up to 20+ years.

When to Choose Tankless Water Heaters - A Detailed Guide

When should you choose a tankless water heater?

Knowing how it works and comparing the appliance to its market counterparts, these are the following situations where you should choose a tankless water heating system:

Where you prefer to conserve space

In today’s day and age, compact housing and maximum utilization of space is all the rage. Hence, a water heating system should not take up too much wall space or surface area.

Storage type water heaters occupy a lot of space and floor surface area as it consists of the heating system as well as the tank.

The tankless system is much more compact and fits right on the wall as a clock would hence taking up little space for the heating element.

However, if you live in larger houses like bungalows or villas, space wouldn’t be a defining factor to switch heaters for you.

If you expect a good return for your money and can afford a higher-end budget

The initial installation costs for tankless water heaters are comparatively higher because of the circulation system than storage tanks however they also last up to 5 years more than the latter which makes it a long term and steady investment.

Some models are also self-cleaning and hence have a low maintenance cost post-installation.

If your daily hot water needs are extensive and need to be fulfilled swiftly

Tankless water heaters provide hot water almost instantly and can supply to several appliances at a time, of course only up to what it’s heating capacity can sustain.

However, hot water in a tank is used up quickly by different appliances like a dishwasher and a shower being taken at the same time, the cold water isn’t heated up quick enough and it takes a long time to bring it to the desired temperature.

During the time required for heating, no hot water is available. This is not desirable if you have a fast-paced lifestyle.

If your place of residence has no tight vents

Tankless water heaters are preferable in houses where there are no tight vents, hence in most urban settings are difficult to accommodate this type of heater, except USA, Japan, and Europe where it is getting increasingly popular.

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient option that saves resources and money

A lot of the heat energy is lost to the surroundings in tank-type heaters as a bulk of the water is heated together.

Energy is used instantly and efficiently in tankless heaters that make is 8-34% more efficient than storage tank heaters which could save about 100 dollars a year.

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option

Both storage tank and tankless heaters mostly run on natural gases and hence release greenhouse gases into the environment, however, if an electric tankless system is installed, it is the most energy-efficient option available and also will not release combustible gases.

It is also often used as a backup for solar water heaters.


How much do tankless water heaters start at?

Ans. After installation, $1000 to $2000. However, without installation cost only $340.

What are some advantages of tankless water heaters?

Ans. It can be used for several units as in dorm showers and can be used on demand with almost no heating time for example in vacation homes. It also saves space and is more energy efficient to its counterparts.

What are the disadvantages of tankless water heaters?

Ans. Sometimes, there are accidental pockets of cold water due to the inefficient heating element. It may be an impractical choice for urban settings with tight vents. It is not efficient in areas with hard water as it is often plagued by calcification.

What is the most important factor to consider while installing a water heating system?

Ans. Consider the capacity on the water heaters to satisfy your daily water needs as if this doesn’t work out, nothing else will fit. In today’s day and age, we need a system that supplies to various appliances without a break in doing so, at any given point in time such as tankless water heaters.

What would be the most long-running water heater?

Ans. Storage tank type, heat pumps and indirect water heaters all sustain for about 10-15 years whereas solar powered and tankless type last about 20+ years making them the longest running. (Keep in mind although solar powered heaters are most efficient they require a backup system for when the weather is unsuitable on a rainy day, which is usually a tankless system.)

What heater is best for low maintenance homes?

Ans. Tankless heaters supply hot water on demand and have maintenance warnings in case of mineral deposition. Some models are even self-cleaning.

Natural gas or electric tankless water heaters?

Ans. It depends on the availability of fuel but the fact is that installing an electrically powered tankless system in a house with tight vents is extremely difficult and also more expensive, however, to install heaters powered by gas there need to be resources available to accommodate for an exhaust for combustion gases.


A big chunk of household expense is water heating systems

. Water heaters are divided into two most popular options, storage tank type, and tankless type water heaters.

As the name suggests, the storage tank type offers a big, hefty machine whereas the tankless type is compact and provides hot water to demand.

Comparing the two, tankless water heaters seem to be the overall better choice for an urban house in the long run and hence could be the newest, efficient substitute.

Tankless water heaters are in some ways a more sustainable, efficient and a better investment with fewer environmental repercussions, which will also be a more easily accessible option once urban developers start employing these systems and integrating them into their housing societies.4

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