There’s a trend in the water heater on the scene and it’s more important than ever for homeowners to fully understand their options. Before, it was upright tank heaters that were the standard, now tankless water heaters are giving them a run for their money.
But…is switching to a tankless water heater always a good idea? From a comparison of the upfront costs to how much energy each uses, here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of tankless water heaters. Let’s start with the pros.
They take up less space: One of the most popular things about tankless water heaters is that they require much less space because of their small size. They’re about the size of a suitcase and are usually mounted on the wall.
Lower utility costs: One of the biggest differences of a tankless water heater is that it only heats the water you need when you need it (so you no longer have to pay the extra energy costs for it to heat all the water in the tank.
Federal tax credit: Tankless water heaters have been promoted by the government as part of their “green” objective since 2005 (thanks to how they promote lower energy costs). Depending on the tax bracket you fall in, you can receive up to a $1500 tax credit.
Now, let’s look at a few cons of the tankless water heater….
Bigger upfront costs: If you’re short on change, one of the biggest drawbacks of a tankless water heater is that it usually costs around 3 times as much as a standard tank water heater (for the initial purchase). While the long term energy savings can help balance this out, the higher price of a tankless heater is significant.
No reserve hot water: If you live in an area where the power goes out frequently, whether because of inclement weather or a not-so secure power grid, a tankless water heater can be a headache, since they don’t keep reserve hot water. However if you don’t mind not having hot water on-hand if your power goes out, then a tankless heater can work.
Requires more natural gas: Standard tank water heaters require natural gas to operate, but tankless water heaters require significantly more; around 3 times as much.