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Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters - What you need to know

Tankless water heaters have been around for awhile and are sometimes called on-demand water heaters or instantaneous water heaters.

How do tankless water heaters work?

Tankless water heaters do not store any water – hence, the word tankless. Instead, they heat water directly and push it through the pipes once a hot water tap is turned on. Of course, there will be a small period of time where you first get cold water coming out of the tap. But it’s probably a few seconds at most.

Once the flow of water starts, the tank’s heating apparatus will activate and start to instantly warm the water going through. When you turn the tap to off, the heating apparatus immediately turns off as well, aka being on-demand.

The two biggest objections to getting a tankless water heater installed are price and performance.

Tankless water heater price

The cost to install a tankless water heater is substantial. On any given day, installation costs will run you anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000.

There are a few things that will impact how much you pay:

  • A licensed professional Winnipeg electrician will have to make a hole in your concrete foundation wall to accommodate the venting system, which needs to exit your home.
  • You’ll need specific venting material.
  • If you don’t have an electrical supply where it’s going, you’ll have to get that installed as well.
  • You more than likely have to modify the water lines
  • Installation of a wall bracket to support the water heater
  • If your existing gas line doesn’t meet the size requirements for the tankless water heater, you’ll need to get a new gas line installed that goes from the heater to the gas meter.
  • Check the amps the water heater requires. If it’s at least 80 amps, you may need to install an electrical sub panel.
  • Before you buy the tankless water heater, check the maintenance requirements. They are usually more maintenance heavy than traditional water heaters.

Tankless water heater performance

Although there are periodical advances in tankless technology, one of the biggest considerations is environment.

For example, with Winnipeg winters, on some of the colder days you may experience a lower water pressure as the system compensates for the cold by slowing the flow of water to heat it more. The other thing to consider is how many people are in your household and how many things are using hot water at once. If you have two showers and the dishwasher running all at the same time, it’s not going to be a good experience. But if you’re a smaller family or bachelor, it might be worth installing.

tankless water heaters

Benefits of a tankless water heater

While the installation cost is relatively high and the performance needs to be looked at before deciding, there are some benefits that you should be aware of.

  • Longevity: Most brands are built with rugged materials and as such have a long life expectancy. Operating costs are fairly low as well and it’s easy and affordable to replace parts.
  • Hot water without end: While you may not be able to run three different heat-needed water appliances at the same time, you’ll also never run out of hot water like in a tank system. No more rushing to see who gets to shower first.
  • Energy conservation: The moment water sits in a tank, it starts to lose heat. Traditional water tank heaters are constantly turning on and off while keeping the water heated. Since tankless water heaters only turn on when hot water is needed, it’s more energy efficient, which lowers your monthly energy bill.
  • Saves space: Traditional water tanks heaters are big. They take up a lot of space in the basement, or wherever if you don’t have a basement, and are usually in a most inconvenient place. Imagine what you could do by replacing a tank that’s five feet tall and two feet wide with a tankless system that hangs on the wall.
  • More environmentally friendly: Not only do they use less energy, but they are also easy to repair with replaceable parts. Traditional water tank heaters normally need to be replaced once they malfunction.

Cons of a tankless water heater

Even though the benefits outweigh the cons, the cons are still relevant and need to be discussed.

  • Installation costs: As discussed above, the cost to install a tankless water heater is high up front. However, once the initial cost is covered, you immediately start seeing savings on your energy bill. And if you ever need to replace the system, the infrastructure is already in place.
  • Water output: No one can deny that a hot water tank has its advantages in that a sixty gallon tank can service two showers and a dishwasher at the same time. At times, with heavy use, you’ll experience a lower water pressure. Of course, you could always install more than one.

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