Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

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Is a tankless water heater right for you?
Tankless Water Heater Basics

Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?

Tankless water heaters are becoming more widespread and the right choice for more people and more properties now. There are pros and cons to switching to a tankless water heater for the first time. Is a tankless water heater right for you?

There are benefits to learn about, so you can see why it’s a fit for your home and family. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will help you know more about tankless water heaters and a decision.

It’s good to start with the main differences between conventional and tankless water heaters. Installation, cost, pros, and cons are all things to consider. Water heating and the related energy bill add up to 14-18% of utility expenses in an average house. Tankless water heaters can save water and energy.

Tankless Water Heater Basics


Like so many other major appliances or devices you buy, the initial cost and the cost over the life of using it is one of the major places to start. Most tankless water heaters are more expensive upfront than most conventional water heaters. The initial expense is important to know and factor.

If the initial and installation costs are fine with your situation and budget, then the energy-efficient savings of a tankless system can save money and be more budget-friendly over the course of months and years to come.

There are gas and electric tankless water heaters. Gas tends to be more expensive than electricity. The upfront purchase cost of a gas tankless water heater is more expensive than either an electric tankless model or a conventional tank model.

Tankless water heaters are relatively inexpensive to install and you have more flexibility with where to place them in your home, this is even more true with electric tankless heaters. The efficiency of tankless water heaters is great and their power has grown as the technology has improved, meaning a tankless water heater will provide hot water throughout a house.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand. There is no tank, so there’s no hot water waiting, or being held for hours or days. It produces virtually instantaneous heat and hot water very quickly when you need to at a fixture.

When you turn on hot water, water goes into the heating unit and is heated quickly. No tank has to fill before you’re getting hot water where you want it. This gives a tankless system better energy efficiency. No energy is used to keep water hot when it’s not being used.

 Tankless Water Heater Basics
Tankless water heaters heat water on demand.


Keeping a tankless water heater maintained is easier and less expensive. With a conventional water heater, you have cleaning which isn’t needed when there’s no tank. There’s very minimal chance of deposits or build-up anywhere in a tankless model or components.

If you live in an area with hard water, then have reasons to use soft water rather than hard water, you can use water softeners with a tankless water heater.

One more plus with a tankless system is replacement parts are available in many stores and, depending on your choice and effort, are ok DIY jobs. Replacements are simple as long as you stick to the manual and instructions. Any work you can take care of on your own is cheaper than calling a pro to do it.

Tankless Water Heater Pros

Fast, Unlimited Hot Water

A conventional water heater stores water in a tank and you could have to wait for the tank to refill or get lukewarm water for a while. With tankless heaters, hot water is sent around the house where it’s wanted on demand. The supply is always at the same level and speed.

Energy Efficient

This may be the number one reason people are picking tankless water heaters more often. A conventional tank water heater uses energy to keep hot water hot in the tank. Tankless water heaters only need to use energy, gas, or electricity, when the hot water is on and running. This is the primary factor in a tankless water heater “paying for itself” over a span of time once you’ve bought and installed it.

Leaks, Breaks are Rare

Tankless water heaters have no tank, I think we’re set with that idea now, and fewer components – which means fewer things can leak, break or fail. Tankless water heaters have an average span of 10 or more years. If there is a leak, it is generally a simpler, more localized, fix by yourself or a pro.


Tankless water heaters are small and most are getting smaller as models get better and more efficient. They can often be mounted in a bathroom, a laundry room, in a closet, near a kitchen, under a stairwell, or somewhere else where it’ll be out of the way, but easily accessible – and warmly, comfortably, and drily accessible.

Tankless Water Heater Setbacks


Tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and with the initial installation. Tankless water heaters can be two, three, or more times more expensive than simply replacing an old tank water heater with a new one. It’s smart to know your budget before making a decision.


An additional obstacle is many homes don’t have tankless heater plans. If you’re switching from conventional to tankless, there will be more cost to the installation. Going to an electric model is less work and cost generally than going to a gas tankless model.

A Cold Water Sandwich

This doesn’t happen often but can happen, with tankless water heater systems. A cold water sandwich is a burst of cold water in the middle of a shower or faucet running. It may happen when you turn the water heater on and off often, then use the hot water shortly after. This is the only situation where you might get cold water waiting in the pipes.

South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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