Is There A Tankless Water Heater In Your Future

Is There A Tankless Water Heater In Your Future

As a realtor, there are usually 2 to 3 questions that always come up from prospective home buyers when they start getting serious about a property.  In no certain order:

1. How old is the roof?
2. How old is the air conditioner?
3. How old is the hot water heater?

All three are super important and a failure in any one of these areas can be costly and, at the very least, uncomfortable.  Which brings us to todays topic of hot water heaters and, specifically the popularity of "tankless" hot water heaters.  Now in Texas, homebuilders normally tuck the hot water heater away in a hall closet, the garage, or in the attic.  Let's face it, the traditional 50 gallon hot water heater is not a work of art so out of sight/out of mind is a good way to go until it fails and, it WILL fail at some point.  Water heaters do one of two things when failure occurs.  Hopefully, it just quits working and the most discomfort you will experience is the shock of a nice hot shower going suddenly and permanently cold.  The other is not so nice and thats when the unit bursts and the water will spew out causing damage to walls and floors, in addition to,  making a huge mess.  When the latter occurs, you're actually happy that your builder put it in the garage for damage control.  Most manufacturers will state that the life expectancy of a traditional unit is 8-12 years.  Usually it's easy to find either the manufactured date or the installation date right on the unit. 

If you're thinking you would like to proactive and replace your unit before it meets its fate, then here's some good information on "tankless" hot water heaters for you to consider:

A tankless water heater produces hot water only when you need it. When you turn on the faucet, water is heated on the spot as it flows through capillary-like pipes heated by either a powerful gas burner or electric coils. (There are no oil-fired on-demand water heaters on the market.)

By bringing hot water close to where it’s needed, you reduce energy loss and increase efficiency by 50% over a conventional hot water tank system, about $165 in annual savings for an average household.

What’s the Downside? Although a tankless water heater can pump hot water all day, it can’t produce a large amount all at once. And it can snap you out of a hot-shower bliss with the “cold water sandwich effect,” a sudden splash of cold water that results from turning the hot water faucet on and off repeatedly.

A traditional tank heater puts out 7.5 to 9.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM), enough to shower, run the dishwasher, and do a load of laundry all at the same time. The typical tankless water heater, however, puts out only 2.5 to 5 GPM, enough to handle only two uses at a time.

Be warned: Not all flow rates are calculated the same. Energy Star measures GPM based on a 77-degree increase in water temperature needed to heat water, while some companies list their GPM flows at 35- and 45-degree rises. The more heat the water requires, the slower the flow rate.

How Much Do They Cost?

Gas-fired tankless water heater: This system costs $1,500 to buy and install, nearly double the price of a conventional gas water heater, and $575 more than a high-efficiency tank model. In addition, while a conventional water heater typically uses a half-inch gas line, a tankless water heater requires three-quarter-inch pipe. That plumbing change costs from $25 to $40 per foot, potentially adding many hundreds to initial costs. 

On the bright side, your new energy-efficient unit may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $300 on purchase and installation through 2013.

Electric tankless water heater: Much cheaper. It can cost as little as $400 installed. But it doesn’t qualify for a tax credit because it is less efficient than gas and is better suited for point-of-use applications, such as instant kitchen hot water, rather than a whole-house system.

More About Energy (and Money) Savings
  • According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, a tankless water heater is more efficient and uses less energy than a conventional water heater, providing a $25 to $107 in annual savings.
  • If your hot water use is low (less than 41 gallons per day), a tankless water heater will be 24% to 34% more efficient.
  • If your hot water usage is high (about 86 gallons per day), a tankless water heater is 8% to 14% more energy efficient.
  • Installing an on-demand unit at each hot water faucet gives an energy savings of 27% to 50%.

For a free, no obligation, evaluation of your homes market value, please call or email Mark Mulch at 972-841-2324 or  Start the search for your next home at


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Phone: 972-841-2324
Dated: August 26th 2014
Views: 1,055
About Mark: An accomplished Realtor, small business owner, and Ironman triathlete, Mark excels in delivering a h...

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