Tankless water heaters are designed for the purpose of saving money on your heating bill. The heater supplies hot water “on demand”. This means that the heater is only running when hot water is called for. Tankless water heaters are also small in size and hang on the wall thus saving sometimes valuable floor space in your furnace room. Like traditional water heaters tankless heaters can be hooked up to electric, natural gas and propane.A traditional water heater has water in a holding tank that needs to be constantly hot. This water sits in the water heaters holding tank and waits for you to use it. If the temperature of the water drops the heater turns on in order to keep the water hot.
PROS AND CONS: Why would anybody install a traditional water heater anymore?
The point of a tankless heater is to save you money but that doesn’t happen instantly. A tankless water is on average going to cost you significantly more to purchase and install than a standard water heater. There is more involvement with gas lines and venting. Tankless water heaters need a dedicated gas line due to the amount of BTU’s that it takes to heat your water that quickly. Tankless heaters are also power vented and thus need PVC venting to be run as opposed to traditional gravity venting. If you have a traditional heater that is gravity vented (metal vent pipe that is run through the chimney) it wouldn’t make sense based on cost to go to a tankless heater. You are probably not going to recover in gas savings the money that you spend to have a tankless heater installed in this situation.
It makes financial sense in these situations:
1) You have a water heater that is already power vented. In this case the vent piping is already in place for the plumber to use and traditional power vent heaters are not cheap to begin with.
2) You have an electric water heater and want to go to a gas heater. Electric water heaters are not vented through a chimney and obviously don’t have gas lines running to them.To convert to gas new lines would have to be run for gas and venting anyway.
3) You have an issue with your chimney (line is collapsed, your having the chimney removed..) and you won’t be able to vent into the chimney. In this case you need to convert to a power vent style heater and since the traditional models are not much cheaper then the tankless models you might consider this route.
4) New Construction. When building your home you have the options in place as to how the piping for gas and venting is run.
5) TAX REBATES FOR 2009-2010. There are tax rebates available for up to $1500 for installing a tankless water heater.
Not a huge deal but at least every 3-4 years a tankless water heater needs to be cleaned. Essentially you need to de-lime the inside of the heater. This is done according to the manufactures recommendations. Like I said not a huge deal especially considering that for a traditional heater the manufacturers recommend draining them once a year to flush out sediment.
CON: DIFFICULTY OF INSTALLATION
Installing a traditional heater should be a breeze for the experienced professional plumber but may be more a challenge for your everyday homeowner. Installing a tankless heater should really be left only to the professional. This is not a do-it-yourself project.
Tankless water heaters are significantly smaller in size and are normally wall hung. This allows for much more freedom as to where your heater is installed.
PRO: COST SAVINGS
As mentioned above this is based on your situation. It has been proven that a tankless water heater can cut in half the amount of money that you spend on heating hot water with a traditional heater.
PRO: ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
For those of us that are environmentally conscience a savings in gas doesn’t only have monetary benefits. It means less natural gas is used thus lessening our environmental footprint.