Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on September 12th, 2023

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The 3 Downsides of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

Despite growing in popularity, tankless water heaters have a few downsides worth knowing about. While you decide if a tankless water heater is right for your home, take a moment to consider what the drawbacks are as you weigh it out with its advantages.

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When it comes to tankless water heaters, we at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air have been in the business for over 15 years, serving the homeowners of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. We've installed tankless water heaters from all the top manufacturers and have experienced all sorts of downsides associated with these systems. 

Here's a quick look at the drawbacks of tankless water heaters.

  • Upfront cost 
  • Limited flow rate
  • Additional water treatment costs

We'll dive into each downside and examine it further. At the end of this article, you will better understand the possible downsides of tankless water heaters and how you can prepare for them.

Let's jump right in!


What Are the Downsides of Tankless Water Heaters?

Despite having plenty of benefits, tankless water heaters have a few disadvantages. Homeowners can have an easier time deciding whether or not they want a tankless water heater by comparing the downsides of a tankless water heater with the benefits

One of the first hurdles homeowners must consider before installing a tankless water heater at their house is the upfront initial cost. 


Tankless Water Heaters Have a High Initial Cost

Tankless water heaters have a higher price than most conventional water heaters. The upfront cost can average between $4,500 to $8,500. The price range is affected by several factors.

Factors affecting the price include the tankless water heater unit's cost, labor, and installation. Tankless water heaters manufacturers recommend or require a certified technician or business to complete an installation. 

In some cases, modifications are necessary to accommodate an installation. Some homeowners may need to pay extra to upgrade or reconfigure any electrical or gas lines plus plumbing systems. 

The initial cost of a tankless water heater also depends on the brand itself. Some top tankless water heater brands include the following.

Investing in a new tankless water heater is a significant decision that homeowners should consider before purchasing. Even so, homeowners interested in a tankless water heater can prepare by setting aside a budget or finding a company that offers financing for their tankless water heater installation. To help offset the upfront cost of tankless water heaters, SoCal Gas offers special rebates for homeowners in Los Angeles and the surrounding area who install a tankless water heater in their house. 

Even if homeowners can overcome the initial price of installing a tankless water heater, they need to consider that this system may experience a limited flow rate. 


Limited Flow Rate

Depending on a couple of factors, homeowners can encounter a limited flow rate where they can experience a decrease in hot water flow in their available fixtures. If a house is running multiple fixtures, such as the laundry, dishwasher, and shower, then the tankless water heater may be unable to keep up with the high hot water demand. This can result in lukewarm water coming out of some of the hot water fixtures. 

The sizing of a tankless water heater is critical in ensuring that a home receives enough hot water simultaneously. When selecting a tankless water heater, homeowners should consider what their peak hot water demand times look like. 

Tankless water heaters are categorized by their gallons per minute (GPM) rating, which indicates how many gallons of heated water a tankless water heater can provide. GPM ratings range from 2 to 8 or higher. A larger residence with multiple bathrooms and hot water fixtures would experience limited hot water flow with a tankless water heater with a GPM rating of 2. 

In some cases, some homes may benefit from having two tankless water heaters to meet their hot water needs. Adding another tankless water heater is another investment homeowners must consider. 

Aside from possibly dealing with limited hot water flow rates, homeowners in Los Angeles may also have to include water treatment for a tankless water heater installation. 


Additional Water Treatment Investment 

Adding water treatment to a tankless water heater isn't mandatory but is highly recommended for homes that have hard water. Each home is different, so including water treatment with a tankless water heater installation is a topic to discuss with a technician. 

Water treatment additions with a tankless water heater installation can cost a few hundred to several thousand dollars. For a better understanding of water treatment pricing, it's best to review water treatment costs

Even though the final price of a water tankless water installation can increase with water treatment options, it's an investment that can help extend the lifespan of a tankless water heater while benefitting the people living in that home. 


Should I Invest in a Tankless Water Heater?

Although tankless water heaters are highly rated, they have a few drawbacks. These drawbacks may not affect every homeowner, but by knowing what they are, people can prepare themselves when it comes time to install a tankless water heater. 

At Monkey Wrench, Plumbing, Heating & Air, we've seen the value of tankless water heaters but understand that there may be better options for some homeowners in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. 

If you have any questions about tankless water heaters, contact us using one of the buttons below. You can also book an appointment with one of our tankless water heater technicians through our online scheduling system

Now that you are aware of the downsides of a tankless water heater, you can start considering other water heating options, such as a tank-style water heater. Learn more about a tank-style water heater's pros and cons to see if this system suits your home's hot water demands.