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Tankless water heaters: myths and cost-effectiveness

December 20, 2023 Author: Bekhruz Nagzibekov

In the realm of plumbing system design, the consideration of water heating appliances and their associated costs is of paramount importance. As budget constraints often shape decisions, the debate between tank water heaters and tankless water heaters frequently arises. Unfortunately, misconceptions and myths about tankless water heaters persist, with one common belief being that they are expensive to purchase and install. This article aims to shed light on the affordability and advantages of tankless water heaters, allowing you to make an informed choice.

Affordability of Tankless Units

One prevalent misconception is that tankless water heaters are a significant financial burden. However, over the years, the pricing of these units has become increasingly competitive, rendering them an attractive option for many households. The diminishing price gap between tankless and traditional tank water heaters can be attributed to the rising costs of manufacturing materials, which have been exacerbated by global economic conditions and supply chain disruptions.

However, the true value of tankless water heaters extends beyond the initial purchase price. The long-term cost efficiencies, including energy savings, space savings, and product longevity, make tankless water heaters an economically sound choice for plumbing systems.


Energy Savings

One of the most compelling aspects of tankless water heaters is their exceptional energy efficiency. Traditional tank water heaters typically exhibit a thermal efficiency of around 60-65 percent, leading to significant energy wastage. In contrast, tankless water heaters achieve an impressive thermal efficiency of approximately 85 percent. This heightened efficiency translates into reduced fuel and energy consumption.

Furthermore, the improved thermal efficiency of tankless water heaters often makes them eligible for rebates from local governments and energy providers. These incentives further lower the overall cost of ownership, reinforcing the financial attractiveness of tankless water heaters. 


Space Savings

Another notable advantage of tankless water heaters is their compact form factor. These units are typically no larger than a suitcase, which substantial space savings, particularly in scenarios where multiple heaters are required. Tankless water heaters can be wall-mounted or even installed outdoors, making them especially valuable for residential new construction projects where optimizing space is crucial.


Lifespan Savings

The longevity of water heaters is a pivotal consideration, as replacements can entail significant expenses and disruptions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional tank water heaters tend to last for 10-12 years. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/tankless-or-demand-type-water-heaters 

In contrast, tankless water heaters offer a substantially longer lifespan of up to 20 years. Moreover, the key components of tankless water heaters can be easily replaced, further extending their lifespan and reducing long-term maintenance costs.


Cost-Effective Installation
Manufacturers continuously endeavor to streamline the installation of tankless water heaters, making it more accessible and cost-effective. In the past, a considerable expense was incurred due to venting, with costs ranging from $200 to as much as $1,000. This high cost was primarily due to some tankless units being compatible with only 3- or 4-inch PVC venting, which was more costly compared to the 2-inch PVC option.


In conclusion, tankless water heaters provide a cost-effective and energy-efficient solution for water heating requirements. The myth that they are costly to purchase and install is debunked by their competitive initial cost and numerous long-term advantages. With their energy savings, space savings, extended lifespan, and cost-effective installation options, tankless water heaters represent a wise choice for both residential and commercial plumbing systems. When evaluating your options for water heating, consider the affordability and long-term savings that tankless water heaters can bring to your plumbing system.

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