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Tankless Water Heaters. Are they worth it?

A few years ago, tankless water heaters were relatively unknown in Canada.

Today, they have evolved into a home water heating option that more and more homeowners each day are considering for installation in their home. There is good reason why these tankless water heaters have become more popular as they are saving homeowners money and energy.

The Tankless water heater, also known as on demand water heaters are compact units that work on gas or electricity to heat your water as needed, which means that you’ll never run out of hot water!

With a tankless water heater, you will never have to wait again for your water tank to fill up with enough hot water for you to shower and run the dishwasher at the same time.  In other words, when you want, you’ll have it!

*Note* An important consideration though, is how your home plumbing is set-up. Is your home older, with many plumbing runs to lots of bathrooms and does it need the incoming natural gas line size increased for the heaters needs? Or is it a newer home with a long plumbing run for the kitchen? You may waste plenty of water getting the hot water to the place you want to use it. Also, where and how the unit will be mounted and vented is another big consideration.

I recommend you get an expert to assess your home for it’s suitability for a tankless water heater retrofit, before your spend the money on one.

Environmental & Energy Savings

Unlike traditional tank heaters which constantly heat your hot water, tankless heaters save energy by heating only the water that you need.  We all know that energy savings = money savings and so there are some big money saving advantages to the tankless water heater. With a traditional water tank, you are paying to heat your water 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Can you imagine the savings with a tankless heater?

In fact, you don’t need to imagine because it is estimated that some tankless heaters can reduce your energy output and energy costs up to 50%.  You will definitely start seeing some lower bills!

This is somewhat off-set by the need, here in Canada, to heat our homes for much of the year. The energy savings quoted might be a bit swayed, when you consider that some of the heat “lost” by a normal hot water heater actually helps to heat your home.

Electric vs Gas

There are several decisions to make when it comes to purchasing a tankless water heater starting with whether you choose a gas or electric heater.  Most plumbers will agree that an LP or natural gas fired heater is most cost efficient and the best choice because they provide higher flow rates than the electric heaters. But, it’s also important to consider your intended usage of the heater in determining your choice.  This is because tankless heaters offer you three main choices of heaters to meet your needs.  The first, called the Single Point Application is used just for one fixture, such as a kitchen sink. The second is called a multi point application where more than one heater is used in one room such as in a bathroom for a bathroom sink and a bathroom shower. The third is called the whole house application where a single heater is used for the entire house.  With that in mind, the rule of thumb is to go with a gas heater for a whole house application and for the other applications electric or gas depending on your preference. Make sure that you also check with you plumber to ensure that you have the proper gas setup and or electrical capacity for the tankless heater that you choose.

Location, location

Where you live also plays an important role in determining if a tankless heater is right for you as well as what type of flow rate you will need in your heater.  This is because the colder the incoming water temperature is, the greater the rise in temperature will be to heat the water up to your desired temperature. Therefore, it’s important to consider this factor while choosing your tankless unit.

Therefore, if you live in Grande Prairie, you may want to consider if a tankless water heater is best for you.

Costs

Tankless water heaters are not cheap!  Tankless heaters can be pricey BUT may well be worth the investment.  In the long run, you will be saving money and it won’t take you long to see that your investment was well worth it.

In conclusion, the next time you need to change your water heater and are able to spend the extra dollars, definitely consider the tankless option. It might be a feasible cost, environmental, and energy efficient alternative.

 

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