In a previous post, we discussed several different ways in which tankless water heater installation can improve your quality of life and save you money. Unlike traditional water heaters, which require a lot of space and energy to provide your home with hot water, tankless water heaters are compact and use 30 to 40 percent less energy. They accomplish this by superheating water as it’s demanded by the tap, rather than simply keeping a giant tank of water heated to 140 degrees at all times, just in case. We also discussed the fact that several natural gas providers offer attractive cash rebates to any homeowner who chooses to go tankless. Despite these benefits, it’s important to know that tankless water heaters aren’t without their drawbacks. Keep reading to find out whether the cons outweigh the pros for your budget and lifestyle.
High Upfront Cost
One thing that tankless water heater manufacturers are reluctant to admit is that the upfront cost for installation is quite a bit higher. Depending on where you shop and the energy-efficient rating, a traditional water heater can be purchased for between $300 and $600, minus the cost of installation, of course. The cost of purchasing a top quality tankless water heater is quite a bit higher, with quality units starting around $700 and going all the way up to thousands of dollars for larger units that can handle the demands of a busy family. And again, that’s before installation.
One Faucet At A Time
Another major drawback of tankless water heaters, and something that often gets missed when people hear claims about “continuous hot water flow” is that they only provide hot water to one faucet at a time. Let’s say you’re washing some dishes in the kitchen sink. When you open the tap, your tankless water heater will be triggered to start superheating water, and yes, true to the claims it will continue providing that hot water for as long as the tap is open. But let’s say that while you’re washing dishes, your husband decides to hop in the shower. Now we’ve got a problem because the water heater can only supply continuous hot water to one tap at a time. Looks like hubby’s in for a chilly shower. To be fair, some of the more powerful tankless water heaters can overcome this problem, but again, you’ll have to pay for the convenience.
Special Venting Requirements and Custom Piping
You might be attracted to tankless water heaters because of their compact design, which is easy to tuck away in the corner of the basement or a main floor closet. However, you should be aware that tankless water heaters utilize high-powered burners that have very specific ventilation requirements. In some cases, this could mean cutting through walls and a portion of the ceiling to make sure things are properly ventilated. Additionally, the type of natural gas burner used by tankless water heaters will sometimes require a larger natural gas line to supply the unit with enough fuel.
If you were excited about the possibility of tankless water heater installation in your new construction or existing home, we hope this hasn’t discouraged you too much. They’re still an extremely energy-efficient technology that will only get better over time. But here at Premier Heating & Air, we believe in making sure our customers have all the facts. Contact us if you have additional questions!