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Is a tankless water heater worth it?

Posted: August 19, 2019

tankless water heaterWhy should you pay to re-heat the water in your home?

That’s the question that the first generation of tankless water heater designers asked themselves back in the 1930s – and it’s the same question that informs the designs of today’s super-efficient and sophisticated propane-fired models.

Rather than storing hot water in a tank (where it slowly cools as it sits waiting to be used), a tankless propane water heater simply heats water instantly using a powerful heating element the moment you open a hot water tap or turn on a hot water appliance.

By operating this way, a tankless system gives you some important benefits, including:

  • Continuous hot water – With a right-sized tankless water heater, hot water will flow for as long as your main water line continues to supply water to the tankless heating element.
  • Dramatically better efficiency – By working on demand, eliminating a continuously operating pilot light, and never having to reheat water, a tankless water heater can improve efficiency by 40 percent or more compared to an electric storage-type water heater.
  • Greater durability – The more durable components of a tankless water heater system fail less often, and can often be repaired rather than replaced.
  • More placement flexibility – Since it lacks a storage tank, a tankless water heater is only about the size of a small suitcase. That means it can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closet and crawl space walls.
  • Greater equipment longevity – The primary culprit in the limited lifespan of a conventional water heater is the corrosive water stored in its tank. Because it doesn’t store water, a tankless water heater will last an average of 50 percent longer than its storage model equivalent.
  • More value for your home – A tankless water heater will improve your Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and LEED scores, which means a home with a propane water heater will be worth more if you plan to sell it.

Why choose a storage-type water heater?

As you can see, the advantages of a tankless water heater are significant. The question is, why would anyone choose a storage-type water heater?

Mostly, it comes down to the upfront purchase price, which can be twice as high as a conventional storage water heater or more. For some, that’s a deal breaker…but remember that in the long run, the energy savings and equipment longevity that come with a propane tankless water heater could offset or even exceed that higher up front cost.

Another consideration is maintenance: a tankless system should be professionally serviced every year, while a storage-type system could be a bit more forgiving if you skip your tune-up.

With all of this in mind, here is some guidance for choosing between a storage or tankless water heater:

  • For singles or couples – If you don’t use large amounts of water and are replacing a storage water heater, investing in a conventional water could be a better choice.
  • For new construction, or for larger families and efficiency-conscious / space-challenged homeowners, tankless heaters are absolutely worth the investment. Just make sure to get a professional to help you size and install your tankless heater for years of trouble-free service.

A tankless water heater can be a great option – as long as it’s the right choice for your North Carolina home, and as long as it is sized and installed by professionals like the ones you will always find at Rand Wade Oil. Contact us today to talk with our water heater experts!