Going Tankless: The Dollars & ‘Sense’ of Tankless Water Heaters

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Ready to replace your traditional large-tank water heater? Wondering if ENERGY STAR® tankless water heaters are worth the initial costs involved? You’re not alone. These water heaters heat water only as you need it instead of wasting energy on a large tank full of water like traditional heaters do. And while tankless water heaters don’t have a holding tank, they deliver hot water continuously which makes them just as good as a traditional heater. But like a lot of major purchases, the final decision comes down to whether they make sense for your particular needs.

As ENERGY STAR reports, tankless water heaters increase energy efficiency and reduce annual water heating costs by 30% — for you, that could mean a savings of $100 annually. Those savings can increase if you have a big family that uses a greater-than-average amount of water.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Tankless water heaters use gas or electricity to heat water in the same way that traditional water heaters do. The big difference is that tankless systems only heat water as needed, near the point that the water is being used, instead of continually heating a tank full of water around the clock to feed your entire home. Besides saving you money in the short term, tankless water heaters can last two decades, easily “outliving” traditional hot water heaters.

Weigh The Costs of Tankless Water Heaters

If you’ve considered going tankless, don’t wait for your current water heater to wear out. Because of the potential costs involved — not to mention the impact on your plumbing — experts recommend that you start planning to switch to a tankless water heater as soon as possible. That means first checking with a professional to see if your home requires plumbing upgrades. Also, be sure to get the right size — tankless heaters are ranked by how many gallons per minute (GPM) of hot water they produce. If your household often runs several hot water appliances simultaneously, you’ll need a larger unit or multiple tankless water heaters.

Proper planning should include getting a bottom line estimate for installation before you start work. Cost savings can be high but so are your upfront costs. Payback times can take an average of 30 years. If you’ve done all the homework and decide this isn’t for you, here are some simple water heating tips to heat water the old way.

Do you have a tankless heater? How do you like it?  If not, would you consider buying one?


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