Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nuts 'N Bolts - Going Tankless

Back again with another edition of Nuts 'N Bolts. Today, I'm talking about Tankless Water heaters and why we decided that getting one was the right choice for us.

Much like going ductless, going tankless can help lower your monthly bills and make your home a little greener. When Kerry and I began discussing opening up some more space in the basement we were throwing around the option of getting a tankless water heater in addition to removing the furnace. Thus opening up what used to be the former utility room and creating more usable space in the basement. 

We did our research and discovered that many of the companies, who sell tankless units, will also rent them to you and install them for FREE. After making some calls and finding the most favorable monthly rental fee, I set up an appointment for a consultation. Following our meeting I had to take a day off for the company to complete the installation and over the course of 4-5 hours the installation was completed.

I must say I was a little disappointed in the fact that they did not upgrade my piping from a 1/2" to a ¾” feed to and from the water heater like I had requested during the consultation, however they did extend my gas piping and place it in the spot I wanted for no extra charge. Later I would discover when I installed my PEX piping upgrades, I should have demanded they do it since it probably cost me another $150 in piping and fittings. However I was able to do it exactly the way I wanted it and it made for a much cleaner installation than the way they would have done it.

The main advantages to having a tankless unit is that it only is running and burning fuel when you are in need of hot water. There is no constant heating of a tank even when you are not home, it will instantly fire up when it senses that water is flowing through it and the unit will send the hot water to the tap in almost the same time as it would take for the conventional tank to do so. 

However, one drawback is that if you are turning it on and off constantly (like I do when I shave in the morning) the water will not stay hot, it needs to be constantly running or you will get drop offs in temperature as the system fires up and cools down. This might seem like you are wasting water, but the cost of that small fraction of water is highly outweighed by the savings you will have on gas over the course of a year. 

The other main advantage of the tankless is that you can set the temperature digitally, to be the exactly what you desire for showering.

A typically tank heater will heat the water to an extremely high temperature and then you will have to cool it back down by mixing in cold water at the tap. The precise nature of the temperature setting will allow you to calibrate the temperature to that of the people showering and set it as hot as possible without having to cool the water down, and wasting energy.

I look forward to having our second eco-energy audit where we will also receive a hefty rebate for replacing our tank with the tankless unit. If we planned on staying in the house for years to come we would have purchased the unit outright but with the rebates, it was in our best interest to rent. I’m thrilled we have gone tankless, and I’m sure you would feel the same.

So how about it people. Have you switched over? If so, what do you think about going tankless? If not, have you been thinking about it, or do you have reservations? Would love to hear other people's takes on the tankless water heaters.


  1. Yup We switched and LOVE it! I don't think I would have it any other way in the future.

  2. hmmm, i didn't know about the switching it on and off and getting cold. that's something to think about! when we need a new one, we are definitely going this route.

    thanks so much for your comment on my fall getup. i didn't see acorn vase filler anywhere! now i need to go look again, lol. i bet you are going to fill in the jar on your newly styled bookcase, right? it all looks great already!


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