Are you thinking about a tankless water heater for your home? Not sure if a tankless water heater is right for you and your family? At ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing, we receive these kinds of questions all the time. In this blog, we’re going to cover all the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision!

Pros of Tankless Water Heaters

We’re focusing on natural gas/propane tankless water heaters specifically, as electric tankless water heaters don’t perform as well in our climate here in the Bellevue area. If you’re a homeowner with a standard 50-gallon natural gas/propane water heater, this is for you!

Endless Hot Water

Imagine never running out of hot water! No more staggering showers or yelling through the bathroom door for your kids to hurry up. No more stress when you have family in town or visitors over for the weekend.

Tankless water heaters will produce hot water from the moment you turn hot water on until it’s turned off (whether it’s only 30 seconds or 30 days straight, it doesn’t matter).

Options for Instant Hot Water

Who doesn’t like instant hot water? Waiting and waiting for hot water is for the birds! Some tankless models have built-in recirculating pumps, which work with a dedicated return line and/or return line through cold water supply.

Tankless water heaters have smart technology to program recirculating pumps to operate efficiently, keeping the hot water loop warm only as needed instead of all the time.

Energy Efficiency

Only heat water as you need it! Tankless water heaters are up to 96% efficient, meaning that 96% of energy being consumed is making hot water. No storing hot water overnight or when you’re not using it. In fact, tankless water heaters are up to 34% more efficient than storage tank water heaters.

Space Saving

Since these units are about the size of a large suitcase and mounted to a wall, they can easily fit in a closet or other small areas. Most people find ways to store items below them (oftentimes more junk…maybe this isn’t a good idea!). In homes where space is a premium, swapping out that big ol’ tank can be a big deal.

Longer Life Expectancy

Most tankless water heaters have 12-15 year warranties, which is more than double the average tank type warranty. A properly installed and maintained tankless should last at least 15-20 years.

WiFi Compatible

This is for the techies! The tankless water heaters we install come with a smartphone app that allows for even great control and convenience. Using just your phone, you can do things like access and change temperature settings, look at usage data, receive diagnostic notifications, and more.

Utility Rebates & Tax Credits

Most local utility companies offer rebates for Energy Star rated tankless water heaters. There are also Federal Tax Credit programs for Energy Star rated tankless water heaters as well! These tend to change annually, and you’d need to inquire with your plumbing contractor to confirm all rebates and tax credits.

Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

Of course, there are a few things to consider before moving forward with a new tankless water heater. We feel that in the majority of cases, these cons don’t outweigh the benefits – but still worth noting!

Upfront Investment Cost

When looking at a complete tankless water heater installation, it is more of an investment. The complete installation is usually between $5,000-$8,000 (with condensing tankless water heaters being more expensive).

The reason tankless water heaters are around 2-3 times the cost of a traditional storage tank is not just the higher cost of the unit itself. The labor and added costs of materials need to be considered as well. Oftentimes, the hot/cold water supply, gas supply, and intake/exhaust needs to be redone. This can be along with a condensation drain line, if needed. You’ll also need a 120V electrical outlet within 5 feet of the installation placement.

Limited to GPM

A single tankless water heater in the Seattle/Bellevue area can produce around 5-6 gallons per minute (GPM). As our ground water temperature is about 50°F, a tankless water heater needs to heat it to about 120°F – a 70° rise. This means that most homes will be just fine with a single tankless unit.

However, you shouldn’t expect to be able to use every single hot water fixture in your home simultaneously. We recommend that no more than two showers be taken simultaneously with a single unit. Of course, tankless water heaters can be ganged together to produce more hot water for families that need a high volume of hot water at a single time. Hotels, restaurants, and commercial buildings operate with several tankless units – so your home shouldn’t be an issue!

Annual Maintenance

Most tankless water heater manufacturers recommend annual maintenance/descaling. This can be done DIY, but it’s highly recommended that a factory-trained and licensed plumber performs this. Depending on the contractor, you’ll be looking at around $200-$400 for this service. Depending on your water quality and water treatment, some tankless models can go up to 5 years without descaling.

Higher Repair Costs

Think of a tankless water heater as a Mercedes Benz, and your traditional storage tank unit like a Toyota Camry. The tankless is going to have higher repair costs.

You’ll want to have a factory-trained and licensed plumber for any tankless water heater repairs. A factory-trained plumbing company (like ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing!) should stock and carry all parts, oftentimes being able to make the repairs the same day.

Being that a tankless is more like a Mercedes Benz and a storage tank more like a Toyota Camry, they tend to have higher repair costs. A factory trained and licensed plumber is recommended for tankless repairs. Keep in mind that a factory-trained plumbing company should stock and carry all parts, oftentimes able to repair same day.

Local Tankless Water Heater Expertise

If you have any questions about tankless water heaters, let us know! Our team at ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing is proud to be locally owned and operated here in Bellevue, we’re fully licensed, bonded and insured, and we’re a Navien Services Specialist. We’re ready to help put our tankless water heater expertise to work for you.

Meet Evan Niemela: Owner of ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing

Evan first started plumbing in 2006, splitting his time 50/50 with commercial and residential work. He has been involved with all aspects of plumbing, and believes that we should be life-long learners, whether with our careers or in life.

When he’s not plumbing, you’ll find Evan looking for a little white golf ball (generally in the woods or long grass), exploring the mountains and trails in the beautiful PNW or spending time with his wife and seven children.

Evan Niemela Owner of ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing

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