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Conventional hot water tanks may become a thing of the past considering all the modern-day advances now available. With the innovation of the tankless water heater, consumers are promised a quick and abundant supply of hot water anytime they need it. Are the cost and space savings beneficial enough for consumers to make the change?
Installation Costs of Various Tankless Water Heaters
First of all, consumers who hire a professional to install their tankless water heater can expect to pay either an hourly fee or a flat fee. The total installation cost may vary depending on the type of tankless water heater that is installed and the professional who installs it. Understanding what type of tankless water heater to install is the next step.
Consumers should choose the type of tankless water heater that is best suited to their needs. For example, a Noritz gas tankless hot water heater of 199,000 BTUs is sufficient for an average household with several bathrooms. Factors such as installing proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and completely changing the size of gas lines and fittings will take an average of 10 hours. Thus, labor costs may run higher for these models.
For consumers with low hot water demand, there are other tankless hot water heaters on the market that don't require as much time to install. Electric tankless water heaters such as a point-of-use mini-tank water heater that can be installed right under the sink by a plumber with electrical skills. An electrical timer, an electrical outlet and water supply lines are needed for the installation of this type of water heater. The average time to install this product is about two hours, so consumers can expect to pay a much lower installation charge for this model as compared to other models that are more complicated and time consuming to install.
Another factor that will affect installation costs is a reduction offered on certain tankless hot water heaters. Consumers can take advantage of a tax credit on products that qualify with Energy Star. Tankless water heaters that have the Energy Star symbol are energy-efficient appliances by government standards. The products are also highly rated in performance, quality and features.
Consumers will also need to figure in material and labor costs for other parts needed in the installation. The accessories needed for a tankless water heater typically include a termination vent kit, tankless gas connector kit, two-piece lead-free brass tankless water heater valve set, along with fittings and mounting hardware.
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Gas or Electric Tankless Water Heater?
Gas tankless water heaters are widely available in a large variety of models and sizes to choose from. Tankless gas water heaters also range in output from 140,000 BTUs to 380,000 BTUs and are available in residential and commercial grades.
Electric tankless water heaters are less expensive than gas models. Installation of this type of tankless heater is not as complicated when compared to gas models because there is no need to vent. They also are easier to maintain, perform very well and produce high energy ratings.
Electric hybrid model tankless heaters are initially high in cost but actually heat water quicker than standard electric models. These tankless heaters also do not need ventilation and are very economical. However, this type of tankless water heater is only available in models up to 8,700 BTUs.
Point-of-use electric tankless heaters offer a lot of attractive features such as the low cost of the product and ease of installation. They are also very convenient to use under sinks, in small areas and even near washing machines. This type of tankless water heater is an excellent option for people who need small water heaters for campers, boats and small bathrooms. They are non-corrosive, insulated, attractive and lightweight. The point-of-use feature helps to save water by conveniently providing quick hot water.
Choosing the Right Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters don't come in particular gallon capacity sizes like conventional hot water tanks. So how can consumers determine which one will fit their needs? For both gas and electric tankless water heaters, the demand of water needed at one time, known as the flow rate, should be considered.
The flow rate is calculated by measuring the gallons of water per minute, or gpm. To find a particular flow rate, consumers should find out which appliances and fixtures are used at the same time and then add those figures together to determine the maximum gpm required of the tankless water heater.
Washing machine ? 1.5 to 3.0 gpm
Shower ? 1.0 to 2.0 gpm
Bathroom faucet ? 0.5 to 1.5 gpm
Dishwasher ? 1.0 to 2.5 gpm
Kitchen faucet ? 3.0 to 9.0 gpm
Pros of Tankless Hot Water Heaters
One of the greatest advantages of tankless hot water heaters is the fact that water is heated extremely fast. Depending on the gpm of the tankless water heater, it will produce continuous hot water based on the consumer's needs.
Another very attractive pro is the savings tankless water heaters offer. Because water heating accounts for almost 30 percent of a home's energy bills, a tankless water heater can cut these costs by up to 50 percent savings. These savings amount to about $80 annually.
Tankless hot water heaters last an average of 20 years and are easy to maintain. They are also very small and can be put in many places that won't allow conventional hot water tanks. The average size is about 28 inches tall by 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep.
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Cons of Tankless Hot Water Heaters
The biggest con of tankless water heaters is the initial cost of the purchase and installation, which is higher than the total cost of conventional water heaters. Even with energy bill savings, it will take about 20 years, which is the lifespan of the product, for consumers to make up the initial cost.
Another con about tankless water heaters is inconsistent water temperatures. Customers state that faucets do not produce an instant flow of hot water as they expected and that this feature resembles conventional hot water tanks.
During power outages, tankless water heaters will not work to produce hot water. Unlike conventional water heaters, there is no backup water source in emergency situations.
Consumers who have hard water must install a water softener to their tankless water heater in order to avoid problems that can occur from calcium buildup. The life of the water heater can be greatly shortened if it is not annually maintained.
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