The Best Tankless Water Heater for Your Home
Since up to 20% of every household’s heating expenditures come from heating up water for use in the home, it is important to have a proper water tank. Some people prefer old style water heaters, which are big, bulky cylinder drums but the latest trend is to install tankless water heaters to use less space and run more efficiently. This helpful guide will help you choose the best tankless water heater for you and your household.
Tank-Style vs. Tankless
You may not be familiar with the workings of water heaters and how they make your life easier and more comfortable every day. There are two common types of water heater, tank-style and tankless.
Tank-style heaters are big cylinders which take up a fair amount of space, usually in your basement. They hold heated water on reserve for whenever you turn on your hot water. Tankless water heaters work on-demand and only heat water as you use it. They also outlast traditional heaters with a life span of about 20 years compared to 12 to 13 years.
Why Not Just Keep Renting?
You may wonder why you should cancel your rental contract for your current water tank and purchase your own when monthly rental fees are relatively low. Critics of purchasing your own tank argue that rentals won’t cost anything to fix and they are transferable to a new owner with no loss on your part. However, if you look at this from a different perspective you will see that an initial investment will be needed at first but then you will eliminate that monthly fee to a provider. As for repairs, it is very seldom you need work done on a tankless water heater but it is like any part of home maintenance. A tankless water heater could save you close to $1500 a year over renting and will add value to your home.
What to Look for in the Best Tankless Water Heater?
Every household will have differing needs in terms of how much hot water they use. How many fixtures are in use within the household is usually a good measure of how much water is being used and will help you determine what size tankless water heater is best for you. This video explains the different sizes and capacities and how to choose the right one.
Gas or Electric
Tankless water heaters are available in both gas and electric options. This means that the power element is controlled either by hydro or by natural gas. This is an important consideration since with an electric heater, should there be a power outage, you will not have hot water at all until your power is restored. With a gas option, you will have hot water even without hydro.
INSTALLATION: Installation of the tank is a very large difference between gas and electric water heaters. With an electric water heater, you can install it basically wherever you wish within your house as long as there is enough electric service. Gas units will need special installation with venting and can be costly, sometimes as much as the actual unit.
ENVIRONMENT: Environmental concerns may be of interest to you and your household and if they are then you will likely wish to consider an electric water heater over gas since electric doesn’t emit greenhouse gases nor does it waste important fossil fuels. With the electric water heater, there is also an option to use solar or wind power like you would electricity, making it a very environmentally conscious choice.
MAINTENANCE: A commitment to maintenance is an important consideration as well when it comes to the gas versus electric subject. Electric tankless water heaters don’t require any maintenance at all, whereas gas tanks will need to be inspected yearly to check on the fuel combustion and overall operation of the tank. Here is a video tutorial of descaling a tankless tank.
ALTERNATIVE: If neither option will work for your home or cottage due to unavailability of proper utility services, there is the option to use a propane tankless water heater. Usually they require electricity as well and will also require a propane tank.
Choosing to purchase a tankless water heater is a significant investment. You will want to not only research your options and talk to experts but also decide on what your budget will be for your new tank. This will help determine whether you will be looking at electric versus gas as well as size. The range in pricing for tankless water heaters is pretty vast from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Budget-friendly tanks usually run under $500, moderate from $500 to $1000 and upper range $1000+.
Flow rate tells you how many gallons per minute can be heated in one application. This number is important in telling you if the tankless water heater you are choosing will meet your household hot water needs. This helpful chart tells you the flow rate required for typical applications within a home.
Flow Rate in GPM at 60 PSI
1.5 to 2.0 GPM
Typical Bath Tub Faucet
2.0 to 3.0 GPM
Bathroom Vanity Sink Faucet
0.5 to 1.5 GPM
Kitchen Sink Faucet
1.0 to 2.2 GPM
1.5 to 3.0 GPM
Most households use a maximum of two applications simultaneously so it is easy to determine your own required flow rate for your family.
Five of the Best Tankless Water Heater Choices
The best tankless water heater is determined by your specific household needs and of course, the services available to your home. If you don’t have natural gas in the house you wish to install the unit, then you will obviously have to choose a propane or electric tank. Having said that, of these five choices I would select the EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater with Patented Self Modulating Technology as the winner.
The EcoSmart is a super budget-friendly selection and fits the budget of most people, while at the same time saving money on their overall water bill when all is said and done. It is true that the flow rate is lower in colder climates, but this is true of most tankless water heaters. Even at 3 GPM this tank can heat two showers and one faucet running simultaneously. Although professional installation is recommended, the budget wise price of this heater allows a little more room in the budget for a pro to come in.
Because there are not very often power outages that last great lengths of time, this shouldn’t be an issue for the most part. The lightweight, compact design fits easily and neatly into your home.
Hopefully this has been informative and has helped you decide on which is the best tankless water heater for yourself and your family. Please leave a comment and let us know your thought—we love hearing from you!