Need a new water heater? Consider a tankless version

Shonn Thompson
Published on June 23, 2021

Need a new water heater? Consider a tankless version

The average water heater’s life span is 10 to 15 years, according to energysaver.gov. This is a general rule because not all water heaters fit that time frame.

Because many homeowners don’t understand that these appliances require annual maintenance, some water heaters poop out much sooner.

If you’re shopping for a traditional, tank-style water heater, do yourself a favor and compare them to tankless units. Read on to learn about the advantages and disadvantages.

The benefits of tankless water heaters

A standard water heater holds water that is constantly being heated. “That means you’re paying to have hot water whether you need it or not,” according to the researchers at consumerreports.org.

Tankless water heaters, often referred to as “on-demand” units, offer heated water only when you need it. They do this by flash-heating the “… water as it passes through the unit, using a heat exchanger to rapidly bring it up to temperature,” explain the folks at Consumer Reports.

This benefit alone saves homeowners from $70 to $100 a year on energy bills, depending on how much hot water is used.

Tankless water heaters last longer than the fuel-powered variety. Most will last more than 20 years while, as mentioned earlier, heaters with a tank have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years.

Additionally, tankless water heaters don’t contain the sediment and rust of their tank counterparts so they provide cleaner water.

Finally, with a tankless water heater, you’ll receive hot water on demand. No longer will you have to waste water waiting for the cold to turn to hot.

And, the downside

Tankless water heaters cost more than their larger cousins. “The average homeowner pays $2,811​ for an installed 150,000 BTU tankless whole-house gas water heater,” according to the researchers at fixr.com.

Installation charges vary, however, depending on size, whether it’s electric, solar or gas, whether you need additional gas lines added and other items. You’ll find many of these listed at homeguide.com.

Remember, though, that tankless units have longer life spans than traditional water heaters and they cost less in both energy usage and operating costs.

Learn more about tankless water heater advantages at energystar.gov and find out if rebates are offered by entering your ZIP Code here.

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