Tankless Water Heater Pros And Cons: Is It Worth The Cost?

Tankless water heaters are a growing choice over standard water heaters for both new and existing homes. The difference with a tankless system is that there is no tank to store the hot water: hence the name. These units are usually wall-mounted and supply hot water only when you turn your faucet on, as opposed to having hot water stored up 24/7.

According to consumer help site, ConsumerSearch.com, tankless water heaters offer both pros and cons– it’s a smart choice for some, but not right for all homes:

Advantages of Tankless Water Heater Systems:

  • Energy efficient. No one uses hot water non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So by eliminating the energy needed to store hot water at all hours, you save fuel.
  • Space-Saving Design. Tankless systems are smaller and require less space.
  • Longer Lifespan. These water heaters tend to last 20 years on average. They can also be repaired to extend their lifespan.
  • Ideal for new homes. A tankless water heater is a great choice for a new home, as it is the same cost to install as a regular water heater. Plus you can plan for the right plumbing setup to accommodate it.
  • Best when powered by natural gas. Since natural gas heats water more quickly and more efficiently, it’s the preferred fuel choice for tankless systems. Plus, only gas-powered tankless water heaters are efficient enough to qualify for ENERGY STAR® certification, required for federal tax credit eligibility.

Drawbacks of Tankless Systems:

  • Higher Cost. While a tankless water heater will lower your gas-powered energy bills by at least 19%, according to ConsumerSearch.com and their industry source, Fine Homebuilding magazine, the installation costs to replace your traditional water heater are steep. According to their research, editors estimate a new system installation costs between $1,500 and $3,000, with estimated payback of roughly 20 years. However, federal tax credits and local/state incentives can shorten that payback time considerably.
  • Variable performance. They also caution people that not every home is a good candidate. If you live in colder climates or have longer pipes in your home, you may find tankless water heaters unreliable or frustratingly slow. It’s important to consult a contractor with extensive tankless water heater experience who can evaluate your home, plumbing and locale to determine feasibility and fit.

Standard or tankless…TotalProtect® keeps your water heater in peak condition:

Our budget-friendly systems warranty plan covers water heaters, along with plumbing, electrical plus your heating and air conditioning. Or, choose coverage for your major appliances…or both!

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.