Water Heater Replacement Guide: Tankless Vs. Traditional

Tankless Water Heaters Cost More Up Front But Deliver Long-Term Cost Savings


Tankless water heaters are quickly becoming the standard for new home construction and major home renovations.

A tankless water heater is a water heater that instantly heats water as it flows through the device. This is in contrast to a tank water heater, which fills a tank with water and keeps it hot all of the time. 

If you are considering water heater replacement, it is worth looking at the benefits of the two systems so you can better decide which is right for you.

Demand for Hot Water

Tankless water heaters are relatively small wall-mounted gas or electric units that heat water on demand. They heat water as it flows through the unit, which saves you electricity since you do not have a tank that is constantly heating water that you may or may not use.

Tankless water heaters can take some getting used to. For example, they will not provide hot water in the event of a power outage, the water temperature can vary slightly based on electricity demand in your house, and you may not be able to take multiple showers and run a dishwasher or washing machine all at the same time. 

Other considerations include the power type and whether you will need natural gas repair before installing your system.

Up-front Cost vs. Long-term Return

The main disadvantage of a tankless water heater is its upfront cost, including the unit and installation.

Cost comparisons vary based on the size of your house and what sort of electrical upgrades you will need, but a good rule of thumb is that a tankless water heater will cost three times more than a traditional tank-style water heater. 

Energy Efficiency

One of the main benefits of tankless water heaters is their massive energy efficiency savings. Because they only heat water on demand, you are not paying money to heat water that you are not using.

Despite only heating water on-demand, tankless water heaters are more efficient to operate because they produce an endless supply of hot water – as long as the water is running through the unit and the power is on, you will get hot water.

How long do tankless water heaters take to pay for themselves in energy efficiency? That number depends on several factors, including what your current usage is like and what your energy costs are. 

In general, a tankless water heater can pay for itself in as little as 12 years, though that figure could be higher, as the more hot water you use, the faster the payback will be.

Tankless Water Heater Replacement in Birmingham, AL

Buying a tankless water heater is a significant investment. Obviously, the payback factor is just one thing to consider. Tankless water heaters also have the benefits of taking up less space and being less likely to leak and cause damage to your house.

To learn more about what sort of plumbing is required for a tankless water heater, call the pros at Stephens Plumbing today.

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