Tankless Water Heaters – Gas or Electric? You Decide!
If you have been contemplating installing a tankless water heater
in your home, you have made a smart decision. Tankless water heaters are becoming an increasingly popular choice among homeowners for many reasons, the most obvious of which is the performance that is afforded by their use. A tankless water heater provides a non-stop supply of hot water, on demand, and as needed. Unlike old tank-type water heaters that keep gallons and gallons of hot water heated twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, tankless water heaters only use energy to heat water as it is being used. This means that there is no wasted energy, which not only lowers your utility bills, but will also minimize the effect that heating your water will have on our fragile environment.
Gas or electric, which is the best choice when purchasing a tankless water heater? Choosing the right one for your household or business depends on your individual situation and your needs. When deciding between the two, you should consider:
- the total cost of installation;
- the ready availability of a source of natural gas/propane/electrical supply;
- the difference in cost between the two (electric and gas)in the size of water heater you need;
- desired location to install the water heater;
- the difference between the cost of gas versus electricity in your area;
- anticipated needs and anticipated water usage;
- personal preference.
Initial Costs Tankless Water Heaters
The most inexpensive option in terms of initial costs is the electric tankless water heater. A whole house tankless heater that operates on electricity typically runs from $500-700, while a gas powered tankless heater may cost $1,000 or greater. However, if you purchase a tankless water heater (both electric and gas) from a reputable brand like Takagi with a great warranty, you will soon find that the significant savings that you will see on your utility bills will allow the heater to pay for itself in a short number of years - which makes either type of tankless water heater a good investment.
Efficiency and Operating Costs of Tankless Water Heater
Gas tankless water heaters are slightly less efficient (85%) than their electric counterparts (98%). When deciding between the two, many homeowners determine that gas is the cheapest to operate, which with most appliances this is true. However, regardless of gas' cheaper fuel input as compared to average cost per BTU of electricity, electric tankless water heaters offer the highest efficiency, as well as a typically longer life and a more affordable installation, including purchase price. What's more, gas prices historically fluctuate more so than the price of electricity, which generally stays stable or shows a slight rise. All in all, homeowners can expect to spend around 15% more to operate a gas powered tankless water heater than a similarly sized electric model. This figure, of course, is an estimation that could vary more or less depending on the geographical location in which it is installed.
Tankless Water Heater Installation
When considering a gas tankless water heater, it is important to know in advance that installation may be more than if you go with an electric model because of the complexity of the venting system requires and the air supply requirements for combustion. It is advisable to find out beforehand if your current venting ducts and gas supply lines can be used, which often is not the case. For this reason, many homeowners opt out of the gas tankless water heater and choose an electric tankless heater. An electric tankless heater is usually around 1/3rd the size of the gas variety, and can often be located much closer to where they will be used than larger gas heaters, thus reducing the cost of installation. And because there are no exhaust gases to ventilate, there is no need for an intricate ventilation or air supply system. Some homeowners may need to upgrade or service their current electrical system to install an electric tankless water heater, but many find that their existing systems are fully appropriate to accommodate the installation.
Maintenance of Tankless Water Heaters
Between the two options, the electric tankless water heater requires less maintenance than gas models. With the only maintenance to the electric tankless water heater being an occasional cleaning of the inlet filter, this system is nearly free of upkeep. Gas tankless water heaters should be inspected each year by a trained professional to ensure safe and dependable usage.
Tankless Water Heaters and Water Usage
Gas powered tankless water heaters often have a bigger capacity to provide for larger demands, especially those that might be required in a business setting or for large families. The average family can depend upon four to eight gallons of water per minute from an electric water heater, making this type generally sufficient for their needs, all things considered.
Homeowner Preference in Selecting a Tankless Water Heater
Each homeowner should weigh the pros and cons of both types of tankless heaters before deciding on the one that is right for them. By weighing in the purchase price, installation costs, operating costs, efficiency, and water usage needs, the electric tankless heater is often the best choice for the average household. However, those who demand a larger capacity of water may be well-suited to go with the gas powered tankless water heater. Whatever choice you make, going with a tankless water heater as opposed to an energy-sucking tank model is a step in the right direction that can put money in your wallet and take more carbon emissions out of the environment.