Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters: Are They Worth the Investment?

In this article, we will explore the benefits of tankless water heaters, as well as potential drawbacks, to help you determine if this investment is worth it for your home.

We’ll also compare them with conventional tank-type models and provide a list of pros and cons to help you make the right decision about switching.

Rinnai tankless water heater
(photo: amazon.com)

Top 15 Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters That Will Make the Difference in Your Comfort

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, have become increasingly popular due to their energy-efficient, endless hot water supply, and space-saving benefits. Unlike traditional tank-type models, they heat water only when needed, eliminating the need for a large storage tank.

As you go through the listed tankless pros and cons, you will be able to answer the question “which one is better, tankless or tank-type,” and make the right choice.

Benefits of tankless water heaters:

  1. Small and lightweight
  2. On demand water heating
  3. Endless hot water supply
  4. Saves energy
  5. Rebates and tax credits available
  6. Eco-friendly
  7. Various brands available
  8. Various models available
  9. Easy maintenance
  10. Flexible installation
  11. Advanced technology and components
  12. Ideal for high-demanding homes
  13. Safe
  14. Long life and warranties
  15. Adds value to your home

Tankless Water Heaters Are Small and Lightweight

Tankless water heaters are highly regarded for their compact and lightweight design, making them an ideal choice for homeowners who are looking to save space in their homes. Compared to traditional tank-type models, which can take up significant space due to their large storage tanks, tankless models are significantly smaller, some models being only 10″ X 20″ X 30″. This makes them ideal for homes with limited space.

In addition to their small size, tankless water heaters are also much lighter than traditional models that can weigh hundreds of pounds. Their weight of 30 to 70 pounds makes them much easier to install and maneuver, especially in tight spaces.

Despite their small size, tankless water heaters are still powerful and efficient, providing a steady supply of hot water on demand. Their compact design also means that they can be installed in a variety of locations, such as under a sink, in a closet, or even outdoors.

Overall, the small and lightweight design of tankless water heaters is a significant advantage for homeowners who value space-saving and ease of installation.

Tankless Heats Water on Demand

On-demand water heating refers to the process of heating water as it is needed, rather than storing hot water in a tank. Tankless water heaters are a type of on-demand water heating system that have become increasingly popular due to their efficiency and convenience.

Unlike traditional tank-type models, which heat and store a large amount of water in a tank, tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat water as it flows through a heat exchanger, putting less stress on the components and providing fresh and clean hot water for less. This means that they only use energy when hot water is needed, and can provide an endless supply of hot water without the need for a storage tank.

One of the main benefits of tankless water heaters is their energy efficiency. Because they only heat water as it is needed, they use less energy than traditional models, which can lead to significant cost savings on energy bills over time.

Tankless Delivers Hot Water in an Endless Supply

Tankless water heaters can provide hot water on demand, which means that they can deliver an endless supply of hot water as long as there is a supply of cold water and fuel to heat it. This is different from traditional tank-type water heaters, which have a limited supply of hot water (usually from 20 to 100 gallons) that can be used before the tank needs to be refilled and reheated.

Tankless Can Save More Energy

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than traditional tank-type models.

This is because they only heat water as it is needed, whereas tank-type models constantly keep a large amount of water hot in a storage tank. This means that tankless models use less energy overall, as they do not have to constantly maintain the temperature of a large amount of water.

In addition to saving energy, tankless water heaters also save money on energy bills over time. The initial cost of a tankless water heater may be higher than a traditional model, but the energy savings can offset this cost in the long run.

According to the US Department of Energy, tankless can save up to 50% more energy compared to traditional tank-type models. The most efficient gas-powered tankless water heaters on the market, such as those made by Navien, Rinnai, and Noritz can achieve up to a 98% efficiency rate.

This means that nearly all of the energy consumed by the heater is converted into hot water, resulting in significant cost savings on energy bills.

Tankless Are Eligible for Rebates and Tax Credits

It has been proven that tankless water heaters can save over 40% on gas bills, while those that utilize condensing technology are even more efficient, providing greater savings for their owners.

Many states and utility companies offer rebates and incentives for installing energy-efficient appliances, including tankless water heaters.

They may be eligible for federal tax credits, allowing homeowners to claim a tax credit of up to a certain percentage of the cost of their tankless water heater installation, up to a maximum credit specified in the program.

To qualify, the water heater must meet certain efficiency standards and be installed in the homeowner’s primary residence. It’s always a good idea to check with your state and local governments and utility companies to see what rebates and incentives are available in your area.

If you are buying a new unit, check if it is eligible for your local utility company’s saving programs and federal tax credits, which can help offset the high purchase costs.

Tankless Are “Green” or Eco-Friendly

Most high efficient tankless water heaters are equipped with eco-friendly gas burners so they use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional models, which can reduce carbon emissions and help to conserve natural resources. Additionally, because they do not have a storage tank, they take up less space and can help to reduce waste. Some models are made with eco-friendly materials and are designed to be easily recyclable at the end of their lifespan.

Less Waste Onto the Landfills

Every component inside a tankless water heater can be replaced, which extends its lifespan and prevents the need for buying a new one every 10 years or so. In contrast, with tank-type heaters, certain components such as the storage tank cannot be replaced, necessitating the replacement of the entire system.

Variety of Brands Available

The North American market is already familiar with the top three domestic brands: AO Smith, Bradford White, and Rheem. However, there are also some imported brands that have been present on the market for many years and are truly amazing, such Rinnai, Takagi, and Noritz.

Variety of Models Available

The tankless water heater market offers a wide range of options to suit various needs. These options include gas-powered and electric-operated models, condensing and non-condensing units, point-of-use or whole-house systems, as well as power-vent or direct-vent models.

Easy Maintenance

Compared to tank-type water heaters, which often require drainingflushing, and emptying of the large storage tank to address issues such as bad odordeteriorated anode rod, or sediment buildup, tankless water heaters are much easier to maintain.

Typically, tankless maintenance involves cleaning the parts and occasional flushing. If the water in your area is not particularly hard, you can go without maintenance for a few years.

Tankless Provides Flexible Installation

Tankless water heaters offer more installation flexibility compared to tank-type water heaters. Depending on the model, tankless water heaters can be installed either indoors or outdoors, while tank-type water heaters are typically installed indoors only.

Additionally, tankless water heaters offer a variety of venting options, including horizontal and vertical termination, power venting, and direct venting, which can make installation easier and more flexible. The length of the piping required for installation is also typically shorter for tankless water heaters, further adding to their installation flexibility.

Tankless Water Heaters Are Designed With Advanced Components

Tankless water heaters are designed with advanced components that allow them to operate more efficiently than traditional tank-type water heaters. Some of these components include high-efficiency burners, advanced heat exchangers, and digital controls.

The high-efficiency burners in tankless water heaters use less gas to heat the water, reducing energy consumption and saving homeowners money on their utility bills.

The advanced heat exchangers in tankless water heaters transfer heat more efficiently, further increasing their energy efficiency. 

Digital controls allow for precise temperature settings, making it easier to maintain the desired water temperature and reducing the likelihood of wasted energy.

Also:

  • Electronic control board: This allows for programming, computer monitoring, control, and diagnostics of the unit.
  • Recirculation system: This system enables faster water delivery and reduces water waste.
  • Advanced electronics: This makes the heaters smart, as they can use Wi-Fi and voice recognition technology, and can be integrated into a home management system.
  • Electronic ignition: This replaces the old pilot lighting system for better flame control, reliable operation, and longer lifespan.
  • Multiple sensors: Tankless heaters are equipped with several sensors for safety, efficiency, and reliable operation.
  • Remote controller: This feature brings convenience, allowing users to have better control and comfort.
  • Modulating gas control valve and power: This makes water heating efficient, as only the needed power is used for the current water flow and demand, reducing energy waste.

Cascading Option Available for More Power and Water Flow

Many tankless water heater manufacturers offer the option to connect multiple units together, allowing for increased power and water flow. This feature makes tankless heaters ideal for high-demand applications and homes that require a continuous supply of hot water to multiple showers and appliances simultaneously.

Tankless Are Safe

Tankless water heaters are generally safe to use due to their built-in safety features. They are equipped with several sensors that monitor the operation of the unit and ensure that it is working within safe parameters. For instance, there are temperature sensors that monitor the water and the unit’s temperature to prevent overheating.

In addition, tankless water heaters have sensors that monitor the flow of gas and air to ensure that the unit is burning fuel efficiently and not producing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Unlike tank-type water heaters, tankless models do not have a storage tank, which eliminates the risk of tank leaks that can cause water damage or even flooding.

Moreover, tankless water heaters are less prone to issues such as sediment buildup and rotten egg smell, commonly associated with tank-type water heaters.

Longer Life and Better Warranties

Tankless water heaters generally have a longer lifespan compared to tank-type water heaters. With proper maintenance and regular cleaning, tankless units can last for up to 20 years or more. This is because they do not have a storage tank that can corrode or develop leaks, which can significantly reduce the lifespan of a tank-type water heater.

Additionally, tankless water heaters are designed with advanced components, such as electronic control boards and sensors, that help to extend their lifespan by improving their efficiency and safety.

While tankless heaters can have warranties of 12 to 15 years on the heat exchangers and up to 5 years on other components, tank-type heaters typically have warranties of 6 to 12 years.

Adds Value to Your Home, Making Them a Great Investment

Tankless water heaters can add value to your home, making them a smart investment.

Since they are energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than tank-type models, they can be an attractive selling point for potential homebuyers.

Additionally, since they take up less space and have more flexible installation options, they can be appealing to homeowners who value space-saving and versatility.

Drawbacks

  • High purchase price and installation costs.
  • Water temperature can fluctuate, making an unpleasant “cold water sandwich” effect.
  • They cannot deliver water during a power outage.
  • Tankless cannot start if the minimum required water flow is not met.
  • They are powerful but also require a lot of energy.

Conclusion

By getting familiar with the benefits of tankless water heaters, choosing the best type and model for your home is now much easier.

Buying a cheaper or low-efficient heater, which can also heat the water, is not always the right choice.

Knowing that one household consumes approximately 20% of the entire home’s energy use is not something to neglect. Modern homes are using large bathrooms, hot tubs, whirlpool tubs, and multiple showerheads, so the demand for hot water is rising, and with the higher fuel prices, the expenses are increasing every year, making a significant impact on your wallet.

So, make a smart choice – buy a tankless. If you are looking for the best, get one of these: Rinnai RUR98, Takagi T-H3, or Nortiz NRCP, all of them condensing, ultra-efficient and ultra-low NOx.

In conclusion, tankless water heaters are a great investment for homeowners who value energy efficiency, reliability, and convenience. While they may have a higher purchase price and installation cost, their long lifespan and energy-saving features make them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

They provide unlimited hot water on demand, take up less space, and have a lower risk of leaks and water damage compared to tank-type heaters. Additionally, the advanced technology and safety features of tankless water heaters make them a safe and reliable choice for any household.

Overall, investing in a tankless water heater is a smart choice that can add value to your home and improve your quality of life.

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