Buying a Tankless Water Heater? What You Need to Know
Are you in the market for a new water heater? If you’re looking to replace your conventional storage water heater with something a little more energy efficient, you might want to learn more about tankless, or demand-type, water heaters.
According to Energy.gov, if you and your family use less than 41 gallons of hot water per day, switching to a tankless water heater may save 24 to 34 percent more energy than a conventional storage water heater. If you’re looking to learn more about these demand-type water heaters, watch as home maintenance experts The Handyguys explain the pros and cons of tankless water heaters.
PAUL: Hi. Welcome to The Handyguys!
PAUL: And, today, we’re going to talk about this water heater.
PAUL: We’re all familiar with one of these … most homes have them.
PAUL: This is a gas-fueled hot water heater, but Brian, we’re also all familiar with another problem that you sometimes get with these and that’s that they’ve run out of hot water.
BRIAN: That’s right.
BRIAN: They usually only have 40 or sometimes 50 gallons are typical and they won’t last for a very long time.
PAUL: So, is there any solution to that?
BRIAN: Yeah, so look at this, Paul, this is kind of a newer thing in the United States: tankless water heaters and there’s a number of advantages but there’s also a few disadvantages.
PAUL: Alright, so let’s talk about the pros and what you mentioned that these are new in the United States but they have actually been around a long time, especially in Europe and one of the great advantages of these is that they are very energy efficient.
BRIAN: The reason they’re energy efficient is because they only heat water when you need that water heated unlike this you’re keeping 40 or 50 gallons of water hot all the time whether you need it or not.
PAUL: Yeah, whether you’re home or not.
PAUL: And the nice thing is that Energy.gov says that you get a lot more efficiency in a gas-burning tankless water heater like this then you would a traditional heater like this because again it’s just not as efficient.
PAUL: You’re losing heat out through the chimney and you’re burning it when you don’t need it.
BRIAN: That’s right.
BRIAN: And, also look at the small size of this, Paul, so this takes up a lot less room in your utility room than your big old water heater.
PAUL: So, you can hang this up on a wall in here.
PAUL: I could clear out some space or maybe in a laundry room if you needed to put it there and a closet.
PAUL: I know in some southern climates they put it outdoors.
BRIAN: That’s right.
PAUL: You know, so that’s great, so it takes up less space.
PAUL: Of course, you have to get it professionally installed and still sized appropriately for your house … proper ventilation.
BRIAN: The biggest pro of all and we alluded this is endless hot water, Paul.
PAUL: Ah, that’s my favorite so if it’s sized correctly for your house it’s going to just continue providing the hot water you need.
BRIAN: On demand.
PAUL: OK, so it’s not perfect though.
PAUL: There are some downsides to a system like this so let’s talk about some of the things that you may have to face in the issues and the cons.
BRIAN: Well, right off the bat is going to be cost.
BRIAN: If you’re going go to something like this, your upfront cost is going to be higher.
BRIAN: It may be double, three or even four times the cost of one of these and it’s going to depend on a number of factors the style you choose of this and whether you have some special piping requirements, special gas requirements and that’s another con.
PAUL: Yeah, and that leads us into the other con and that is the components are usually different so, for instance, if I have a gas-fired hot water here like this.
PAUL: I may need a bigger gas line for a tankless system because it’s going burn gas quicker or I may need a different exhaust.
BRIAN: That’s right. You’re going to need it like this one has a completely different system for exhaust than this old system did.
PAUL: So, cost of the components are different.
PAUL: You have to figure that out and lastly what is the other con: water.
BRIAN: That’s right, so if you’re in an area that has hard water then you’re going to need to treat that water before it enters this system.
PAUL: Right. It can cause scaling in here and you either need to pretreat it as you mentioned or you’re going to have to regularly get this thing descaled or else it’s going to cause problems on a heat exchanger.
BRIAN: So, a water softener or more regular maintenance on the unit.
PAUL: Alright Brian, so there you have it so what do you want: the traditional hot water heater or tankless like this? What would you prefer?
BRIAN: I’d go with the tankless.
PAUL: Alright, so you can save energy and have unlimited supply of hot water and a nice long shower.
PAUL: But, talk to your local professional to see if this is right for you.
BRIAN: Alright, thanks for watching.