November 26, 2015

Kitchen and Home Appliance Forum : tankless water heaters (for beginners)

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tankless water heaters (for beginners)


4:09 pm
May 21, 2011




Electric and gas tankless water heaters are totally different animals. If you have gas, tankless is a great option for you. You could save anywhere from 60-90% on energy costs over a standard tank model, depending on usage. Installation is not a do-it-yourself project, however, and can get pricey. Know whether you have natural gas or LP (propane), and make sure the area is well ventilated. Your copper gas supply lines have to be 3/4″ to accomodate the larger flow of gas- most tanked models run off of 1/2″ lines- so you may need to have your gas lines replaced. If it seems weird installing bigger gas lines to save gas, just remember that it's drawing a lot of gas at once, but only when you need it, whereas the tank sucks gas at a slower rate 24/7. There are many different models to choose from, depending on gallons-per-minute recovery rate (i.e, how much hot water you need to use all at once). Try to get one with electronic or hydronic ignition- they won't have pilot lights, so they are much safer.

Electric tankless is a different story. Most models draw 120 amps or more when they're running- considering that the average American house has only a 200 amp service, this is a huge draw. If most of your hot water usage is confined to 3-4 hours a day, you will see some savings, but don't expect too much. Electrics don't heat up instantly (think about the pasta pot on your electric stove), so you will waste some water as it heats up. Gallon-per-minute ratings on even the best models are about the same as a 40gallon tank, so 2 people taking showers at the same time will probably max it out. However, unlike that small tank, you will never run out of hot water. Again, install is not for the do-it-yourselfer- get a qualified plumber or an electrician.

Another option you might want to consider if you're stuck on electric is a heat-pump tank, such as the GE GeoSpring 50gallon. In this type, most of the heat required is pulled out of the air, kind of like an air-conditioner in reverse. If usage is high, standard electric heating elements kick on to make up the difference. It's still keeping 50 gallons of water hot 24/7, but depending on your settings, it can do it as much as 90% more efficiently. Plus, it throws off cold air, so your basement gets air-conditioned as a bonus! This type of water heater is great for people who need a lot of hot water all at once, or are using their hot water all day long. They install just like a standard tanked water heater, but they are pricey- the GE goes for $1599 at Lowe's.

Hope this helps!

Vicki- Appliance Specialist, Lowe's #2405.

11:52 am
August 4, 2010


New Member

posts 3


i have a gas tankless water heater in my home, just installed it a few years ago. the cost is really roughly the same and honestly it is SOOO much better. for one, you never run out of hot water. our electric bill went down about 20/month. if you have gas in your home, or LP, I would highly recommend it!

5:41 pm
May 21, 2010


New Member

posts 1


i dont know if i am in the right forum.  or even if there is a forum for this question, but…my husband is all excited about a tankless water heater and i am unsure about them.  everything i have been reading online seems to be saying that they are a good investment and can save money in water and heating costs.  but i wonder if i should go with the electric or gas model.  electric seems to be more expensive to run as electrical resistance isnt the most efficient way to heat water (much the same as with electric ranges), but i am convinced that gas prices will continue to rise up to the point that most cars will be electric or we are all riding bicycles.

so is buying an electric tankless water heater no better than buying a tanked one as far as the cost of running and maintaining it?



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