A tankless water heater uses 30 to 50 percent less energy than units with tanks, saving an average family about $100 or more per year, depending on the amount of water they use. Tankless units (also called “on-demand” units) heat water only when the faucet is turned on. They typically operate on natural gas or propane. The central advantage is that they eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water heated in a storage tank, so you consume less energy overall. They also offer a constant supply of hot water, which is ideal for filling a large hot tub or a whirlpool.
They are more compact than a standard water heater and are mounted on the wall.
The primary drawback is the initial cost. The smaller units that you usually see won't produce enough hot water to operate most households. They'll only serve one faucet at a time— which can be a problem if you want to shower while the dishwasher is running. Larger units that can handle the demand of a whole family can be costly but will save you money in the long run.
Because tankless systems have high-powered burners, they sometimes have special venting conditions (a dedicated, sealed vent system, which needs professional installation). Natural gas burners often need a larger diameter gas pipe, which can add to the initial installation cost.
The bottom line: When you're assessing the cost of a unit, be sure to get an estimate or firm bid on installation costs. We provide this service, free of charge to anyone in the Boise, Meridian, and the Treasure Valley. This is not a do-it-yourself project unless you have professional experience. So give us a call today and we can give you the information to make your decision easier.