Posted on: 14 December 2016Share
Tankless water heaters are no longer as disreputable as they were a few decades ago, so you shouldn't automatically disqualify them when you're searching for a reliable water heater replacement. Nowadays they can actually be steady sources of hot water for homeowners who have little space and are ready to make an investment in the future. Here are a couple of helpful questions to ask yourself when you're considering buying a tankless water heater instead of just replacing the one you've got with the same model.
Can you afford it?
You'll need to make a cost-benefit analysis on this one. Even if you've saved up enough money for the unit itself, installation costs are likely to be much higher because it doesn't connect to the pipes the same way your old water heater did. Of course, that'll be a one-time cost, unlike the price of the unit. The unit is likely to last much longer, though, meaning the higher initial cost will be offset by the longer working lifespan of your water heater.
After you install it, you'll save energy because the unit doesn't keep a tank of water hot all day. But these savings can take quite a long time to build up when compared to the hundreds of dollars you spent on installation. If you're confused by all these factors, talk to your plumbing contractor about whether or not your situation is likely to benefit from the cost savings a tankless heater can afford.
How much hot water do you use at once?
With a traditional hot water heater, the question is "how much hot water do you need between now and whenever the hot water tank will be full again?" But with a tankless heater, the question is "how much hot water do you need per minute?" This means you'll have to calculate your needs differently. It's nice because if you overuse your hot water, the tankless heater can have more ready almost instantly, but it can also be inconvenient if you overstep the limit because you may have to wait until someone gets out of the shower to have enough hot water available for another purpose.
These questions will help you think through your situation and your need for a hot water heater so that when you start shopping and requesting quotes from contractors you'll know what you're talking about and will be able to discuss your needs intelligently.