Opting to install a tankless water heater is a decision that an increasing number of homeowners have made or are planning to make. But choosing to leave the old, familiar tank full of hot water behind is uncharted territory for many who have grown up with them. If you are ready to make the switch to a tankless water heater, the following information will help to eliminate some of the confusion you may be feeling about which type to purchase and what you can expect after the installation.
Electric or gas?
When the decision has been made to move from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless model, homeowners will first need to decide whether to purchase an electric or gas-powered model. This decision should take several factors into consideration, including the following:
- the local availability and pricing of electricity and natural gas or propane
- any difficulties that might be encountered when wiring electricity or installing gas piping to power the heater, including the presence of 220-volt power or the ability to easily vent gas fumes from the unit
- differences in the initial purchase price of the heater plus the cost to install it
Homeowners may also want to consider whether to install one large whole house model or a few small, point-of-use tankless hot water heaters. Average-sized homes with a relatively compact design may find that one central unit provides a satisfactory amount of hot water. Larger homes or those with heavier demands for hot water may benefit from multiple units throughout the home.
Ongoing maintenance issues is one of the most common concerns that homeowners express when considering the purchase of a tankless water heater. In actuality, most tankless water heaters require only periodic cleaning of a filter screen to remove sediment buildup.
However, in areas with very hard water, tankless water heaters may require more frequent filter cleaning, as well as additional descaling efforts. When discussing the installation process with their plumbing contractor, homeowners who live in hard water areas may also want to discuss whether the addition of a water softener system is also needed.
Most homeowners who have made the switch from a tank-style water heater to a tankless one are able to enjoy lower costs for hot water from a space-saving, compact appliance. Homeowners who have specific concerns about how the two types of water heaters compare can get the information they need from a reputable, local plumbing contractor.