Is it time to topple the tank?


When you’re retrofitting an older home, take time to evaluate the hot water system. We all know we need to do our part to conserve energy. In the end of the day, experts say 30% of a home’s energy budget is consumed by heating water. That’s a lot of money left on the table.

 

A lot of older homes come with an old and rusted gas water heater with the tank in the basement… and it always seems to be on its last leg… or even worse, dead. The question is never “should we replace the system” but normally tends to be, “should we replace it with a tankless system?”

 

Old-style water heaters continuously heat water in the large tank, regardless of whether water is being consumed. Tankless designs heat water only when there is demand for it. Less water to heat means less cost—and a sleek compact design, optimizing basement storage space.

 

What we know:

 

Not all tankless units are created equal: Tankless hot water heaters can be purchased in single room or whole-home sizes. Think about all of your appliances or water fixtures that need hot water, and determine the best size unit for your home. In most cases, a whole-house system is necessary.

 

Fuel Type: Hot water heaters are available in either electric or gas (natural and propane) models. If you are considering electric, check for voltage and amperage requirements. The gas version will need some electric to operate, but venting will be the bigger issue.

 

Where do you live?: If you live in the north, your ground water will be considerably colder than people in the south. The temperature of the water will affect speed and flow. When you buy a tankless system, you expect rapid speed hot water. Contact your local HVAC contractor to see what works best.

 

Do you use more water that Niagara?: If you think you will need to run the washing machine, while someone else is showering, and third person is loading the dishwasher, assume you’ll need a large GPM rated tankless water heater to meet your overall hot water needs.

 

Dive into rebates: Utility companies have incentives, and you may be able to benefit from state and local tax credits as well. Heavily examine these programs to ensure that you’re eligible, then reap the benefits.

 

Understand your ROI: In general, a tankless hot water heater will cost you more upfront, plus more for installation. Weigh the cost of the tankless unit with your ongoing operating costs. Tankless water heaters are known to be 25% - 35% more efficient than any standard water heater.