Market research shows that the demand for tankless water heaters is on the rise, and showing no signs of slowing down. But for every homeowner who makes the switch, there are plenty who are understandably hesitant. After all, there’s a lot of information out there, some of which makes these devices sound impractically high-maintenance. So, how do you know whether to install a tankless water heater or stick with the standard?
As with any home appliance, there are pros and cons to each different model. But as your honest plumbers, we wanted to take the time to debunk a few of the out-and-out myths about tankless heaters so that you can make an informed decision for your household and budget.
Myth #1: Tankless Water Heaters Are Expensive to Operate
Tankless water heaters do have a higher upfront installation cost than standard water heaters. However, once they’re in place, they quickly start saving money. Though the overall cost of fueling the heater will vary depending on the heating method (gas is typically cheaper monthly than electric), most homeowners enjoy savings either way.
Typical households can expect a 24-35% increase in efficiency. Even homes that use a lot of hot water (over 41 gallons a day) can see an 8-15% increase. That’s because standard heaters waste energy maintaining the temperature of water that isn’t being used, rather than heating it only when needed.
Another cost-saving benefit of tankless heaters is their durability. Maintained well, a tankless water heater can last 20 years or more, which may be double the lifespan of a standard tank. So even though you’ll pay a little more upfront for making the initial switch, you’ll almost certainly save in the long run.
Myth #2: Water Temperatures Will Be Inconsistent or Dangerously Hot
Here’s the thing: any hot water heater carries some risk of overheating. But tankless versions are much less likely to encounter this issue. Most modern systems have overheating sensors that automatically shut down heat exchangers if temperatures rise too high. And because they’re controlled by a thermostat, water temperatures are easy to change and regulate if they feel too hot to you.
Tankless heaters are also generally safer to have around the house. They don’t have hot-to-the-touch tanks, open flames, or explosion risks. Though explosions are rare, standard tank heaters are vulnerable to pressure spikes that can lead to catastrophic damage. Because there is no tank for pressure to build up in, tankless heaters are generally a safer choice.
Myth #3: They Don’t Supply Enough Hot Water — Or Water Pressure
One of the most persistent myths about tankless systems is that they’ll run out of hot water. Fears about cold showers abound. But that’s why water heaters come in different sizes to match the unique needs of your household. When the unit(s) are sized and installed properly, you should never run out of hot water.
Average tankless systems can supply 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. But if you think you’ll need more, there are models with higher flow per minute rates, stronger heating elements, and other features that help you get the most out of your investment. Ask a professional for help with sizing your tankless water heater to ensure you always have what you need!
Myth #4: Tankless Water Heater Maintenance is Complicated and Costly
Though repairs can occasionally be more complex, tankless water heaters generally require fewer of them than standard heaters. Standard heaters are also prone to leaking and flooding, which can cause extensive damage to the home. When you choose a plumbing pro with extensive knowledge and experience with all heater types, you ensure that any water heater repair calls you do have to make will be taken care of quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
Of course, scale and mineral buildup happen to all hot water units, but this process is slower for tankless varieties. And thankfully, because most of San Francisco doesn’t have hard water, many local homeowners can opt for maintenance every few years instead of annually. If you do live in an area with hard water, an annual inspection is recommended.
Myth #5: Any Model Of Tankless Water Heater Should Work Fine For My Home
We’ve established that tankless water heaters can be a wonderful upgrade to Bay Area homes, but here’s one final word of caution: not all systems are created alike. There are a few factors to consider to ensure that you choose the right model, size, and number of heaters for your home:
- The number of fixtures in your home
- The flow rates of those fixtures
- The average temperature of the water coming into your home (to calculate how much heat will need to go into the water)
- Your home’s layout and the placement of fixtures
- The fuel source (gas or electric)
Is It Worth Getting a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heaters are space-saving, energy-saving, and long-lasting, making them a popular choice for homeowners in the Bay Area. But if this decision feels overwhelming, call George Salet Plumbing! Our experts are happy to help you identify the type of water heater that would work best for your property. With decades of experience behind us, we can help you choose, install, and repair any type of tankless hot water heater, now and in the future.
George Salet Plumbing: Tankless Water Heater Repair & Installation in the San Francisco Bay Area
Whether you’re interested in making the big switch to tankless or simply need an experienced set of eyes on a water heater repair, call the Plumbing Pros! We’ve been serving the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years, and pride ourselves on being your skilled, clean, and honest plumbers. Get in touch online or call to schedule your service today: (415) 234-0733 for San Francisco or (650) 557-3883 for the Peninsula.