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Aug 25, 2016

Conventional water heater vs tankless water heater:

The question often brought up to me “Should I get a tankless water heater or stick with the tank type unit?”

There are a few factors when answering that question.

1. Is there natural gas or propane in the home?

If your home is only on electricity this is a costly hurdle. The average incoming water temperature in Bellingham and surrounding area is around 50 degrees F. Installing an electric tankless unit that will deliver enough hot water to supply a home requires a lot of power. Even the largest electric tankless units will only produce about half the hot water that a gas unit will deliver!

2. What do you want out of your water heating equipment?

  • Long service life- Tankless life expectancy 20-30 years Tank type life expectancy 10-14 years
    *Service life greatly depends on water quality and maintenance
  • Running multiple fixtures or large volume fixtures Tank type units deliver a higher volume of hot water and tankless units deliver endless hot water at a lower volume. Generally enough hot water to run two showers.
  • Space savings- If you are looking for more room in the garage or want to claim a closet back from a water heater, tankless is a quality option. Tankless units are about the size of a suitcase and hang on the wall.
  • Efficiency- This could be a sticky one. Yes the tankless run about 25-30% more efficient but we have found that longer showers soon take over when you don’t run out of hot water. Your gas bill may not change that much unless you keep your routine the same.
  • Installation cost- The cost of initial installation of a tankless unit generally is about double the cost of a tank type unit. The key factor is not having the expense of another tank change out at the 10-14 year mark.

Here is a checklist to help you determine if tankless water heating is your way to go:

  • Natural gas or propane to your home
  • Electrical outlet close to where you want the unit
  • City water supply or treated well water
  • High efficiency
  • Long shower time needs or several showers in a row

Email me your questions or comments to: don@sullivanplumbing.net

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