April 26, 2023

How to Install a Tankless Water Heater

Rather than storing 40-50 gallons of hot water until you need them, a tankless water heater creates hot water on demand. It’s an efficient system that uses less energy than a traditional tank water heater and also lasts longer – up to 20 years. There are pros and cons of a tankless water heater installation and choosing the right model for your home is crucial. 

To better help you make an informed decision about switching to a tankless water heater, we’ll walk you through what is involved. You’ll want to consider the fuel type, size, energy efficiency and cost of your appliance. And remember, no matter what type of water heater you install ALWAYS have a licensed professional plumber do the work. Your health and safety depend on the job being done properly and up to code. 

Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater works by sending cold water through a series of coils that wrap around a heat exchanger. This heat exchanger heats the water using either a gas burner or an electric heating element.  It may seem like a no-brainer to keep whichever heating source your current water heater uses but each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Let’s compare:

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Diagram of a gas tankless water heater.

Gas tends to be cheaper than electricity but prices can fluctuate more. A gas tankless water heater will cost you more up front but you may save on energy costs in the long run. Gas models can also produce more hot water than an electric heater. You will need to factor in the installation costs.  Gas models require a larger gas line and more substantial ventilation. Have a professional determine what upgrades your home might need. 

Gas water heaters are 80-85% efficient. They work well in homes with multiple family members where you might want hot water in several locations at once. If you want to shower while the dishwasher is running and someone is doing laundry, a gas tankless water heater is likely the better option. They do require more maintenance and should be serviced annually to avoid sediment build up. 

Electric Water Heaters

Diagram of an electric tankless water heater with three heating elements.

Electricity costs are often more than gas but they remain more consistent. An electric tankless water heater may cost less than a gas heater. They use a fair amount of electricity and if you have an older home, you might have to invest in an electric panel upgrade before you can install your water heater.

Electric tankless heaters are 98-99% efficient and require minimal maintenance. They are typically smaller than gas units – which gives you more flexibility with where you can install them. The biggest draw back with an electric tankless water heater is that it doesn’t produce as many gallons per minute of hot water as gas units do. Larger households may need to strategize when they use hot water or install multiple electric units. Because of their cost, small size and versatility, some homes will install dedicated electric water heaters in multiple locations such as a hot tub, dishwasher or guest bathroom. 

Is My Home Ready to Install A Tankless Water Heater?

Depending which type of heater you decide to install and what your water needs are, your home may already be equipped to handle a tankless model. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

If you’re installing a gas model, you will probably need an adaptation to your gas line. Most gas tankless water heaters require a ¾ inch gas line to provide the necessary fuel for instantaneous heating. Unfortunately, most homes are equipped with ½ inch gas lines and will need to be upgraded. A licensed plumber can perform this work as part of your tankless water heater installation.

Similarly, electric tankless water heaters require a fair amount of electricity to heat water rapidly. While they operate on a standard 120V system like most of your electrical appliances, they often need a dedicated 30 amp circuit. You may need to upgrade your electrical panel to accommodate the new demand so that you’re not tripping circuits when you shower. A licensed electrician can perform this work during your installation.

Is A Tankless Water Heater Installation Right for Me?

A tankless water heater install could reduce your utility bills and save you money while giving you a constant stream of hot water. If your current water heater is older than 10 years, talk to your local Applewood technician to see if a tankless replacement is right for your home. We can determine which type of heater would be best for your water consumption needs and advise you on what accommodations would be needed to install it. Schedule your tankless water heater appointment today! 

Call  303-328-3060

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