Do you have a conventional water heater and are curious about the hype surrounding a tankless water heater, wondering if it’s right for you? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Finding the right water heater for your home can be a daunting task, which is why we’ve created content to make this process easier.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What a tankless water heater is
  • How a tankless water heater works
  • Benefits and drawbacks of a tankless water heater
  • Who a tankless water heater is right for

We here at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric are trained and certified with some of the top tankless water heater manufacturers like Noritz and Navien. Since 2007, we’ve helped thousands of clients across the Los Angeles area with their tankless water heater needs including helping them decide if a tankless water heater is right for them. Now, it’s your turn!

What is a tankless water heater?

A tankless water heater is a water heater that heats your water without the bulkiness of a tank. Unlike a conventional water heater that is storing the water inside the tank, a tankless water heater has nowhere to store water and heats the water as it moves through the heat exchanger, ultimately providing with you an endless supply of hot water.

Some of the popular brands of tankless water heaters include Noritz, Navien, and Takagi.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

Now that you know what a tankless water heater is, we’ll walk you through how it works.

  1. Cold water enters your tankless water heater from the mainline and passes through the flow sensor.
  2. The flow sensor alerts the computer board that water is entering the water heater.
  3. The computer board then turns the fan on, and the gas valve opens. You may hear a clunking sound as this happens.don’t worry, this is normal!
  4. Once gas flows into the unit, the burner roars to life.
  5. The cold water enters the heat exchanger and goes through a series of tight bends in the pipes to get up to the temperature set on the control panel.
  6. After the water reaches the correct temperature, it exits the heat exchanger, passes through the bypass valve, and comes out of your fixtures.
  7. Once you turn your fixture off, the water in the hot water pipe eventually cools down

Your tankless water heater will go through this process each time you use hot water in your home.

With all the hype around tankless water heaters, you must be wondering what are the benefits and drawbacks of having a tankless water heater?

Benefits and Drawbacks Of Tankless Water Heaters

Some of the benefits of having a tankless water heater include:

Benefits

  • Space Needed
    One of the biggest pros of having a tankless water heater is that it’s much smaller than a conventional heater and can help open up a space if you need it.
  • Life Expectancy
    A tankless water heater is going to last twice as long as a conventional water heater with the proper maintenance. If installed properly and taken care of, a tankless unit can last anywhere between 20-to-25 years. Check out this article here to learn more about what factors affect the lifespan of a tankless water heater.
  • Gas Costs
    As a tankless water heater owner, you will not be spending nearly as much on gas. This is because a tankless water heater only heats water as you need it as opposed to a conventional water heater that is constantly heating water in its tank.
  • Rebates
    If you have a conventional water heater and are looking to go tankless, there are rebates in Southern California for qualifying tankless water heater models including federal tax credit. Check out this article here as we go into more detail about the rebates offered in Southern California for tankless water heaters.

With all the good, it would be unfair to leave out the bad when it comes to tankless water heaters. Some of the drawbacks of having a tankless water heater include:

Drawbacks

  • Cost
    Tankless water heaters have a higher upfront cost compared to conventional water heaters. While conventional water heaters can cost $1900-$3300, tankless water heaters can cost anywhere from $4800-$7500 including installation. While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is higher, the warranties and life expectancy of a tankless water heater can save you money in the long run. Check out this article here as we dive deeper into what affects the cost of your tankless water heater.
  • Larger Homes
    While most tankless water heaters have no problem keeping up with hot water demands, the larger your home is, the larger the demand. If you live in a large home or business, you may need to install more than one tankless water heater to make sure you’ll always have endless hot water.
  • Yearly Maintenance
    With the tankless unit, yearly maintenance is highly recommended for homes that have hard water. Yes, both tankless and conventional tankless water heaters require maintenance but if maintenance is not kept up with a tankless water heater, you can experience early breakdowns with your system and could have a lack of hot water. Read more about the kinds of maintenance your tankless water heater requires in this post here.
  • Hard Water Issues
    Lastly, hard water is not a fan of the tankless water heater or really any of the fixtures in your home. If you don’t have water filtration installed on your tankless or on any of your fixtures in your home, scale will begin to build up on your fixtures and it can very likely cause early breakdowns or a leak. Because water is heated up through the heat exchanger, hard water will create scale build-up inside of your tankless water heater, which can cause your tankless water heater to work harder to heat your hot water and shorten the lifespan of your tankless water heater. Check out this article here to learn more about hard water and how it affects your tankless water heater.

Is a Tankless Water Heater Right For You?

Tankless water heaters are popular among homeowners but are they for you?

You should consider getting a tankless water heater if:

  • If saving money, in the long run, is a key objective, getting a tankless water heater is the way to go since the long-term savings balance out the upfront investment over time.
  • If saving on energy costs is high on your list, a tankless water heater is a solid option since they don’t have to continuously heat a tank of water, meaning less energy waste.
  • If your daily hot water consumption falls under 40 to 50 gallons, a tankless water heater ideal for you since the lower flow rate won’t be noticed.

You should avoid getting a tankless water heater if:

  • If your budget is a concern, a tank-style water heater will serve you better since they usually pose a lower upfront investment.
  • If your water consumption is higher than the aforementioned 40 to 50 gallons, a tank-style water heater will be better for your home, thanks to its higher flow rate.

Continue your tankless water heater knowledge with the links below as we give you a full beginner’s guide to tankless water heaters, as well as a complete comparison between tankless and conventional water heaters so that you can choose which water heater is best for your home and needs.

Tankless Water Heaters: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Differences between Tankless and Conventional Water Heaters

We here at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric are dedicated to giving you all the information you need on tankless water heaters so that you can make the best decision for you and your home. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in purchasing a tankless water heater, hit the “Book” button below. Or if you have any other questions regarding your tankless water heater needs, feel free to call us at (424) 622-4228, and one of our call center representatives would be happy to help you.

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