Are Electric Tankless Systems a Good Investment?
If your home does not have a natural gas connection, you’ll probably be looking at one of the electric units. If your current hot water heater uses a storage tank (ex 50 gallon unit), then it’s usually a straightforward swap out. There are many brands and models of a tankless system on the market today, and sometimes the research can be confusing or overwhelming. It’s an important decision to make. We recommend that you call on our team of expert plumbers to determine which hot water solution is right for you.
Should you be considering changing from a natural gas system to one powered by electricity, there is some major electrical work you’ll need to perform to supply the necessary electric power.
This reference article is focused on the electricity powered tankless systems. For gas powered tankless hot water heaters, please reference this page. We will help you understand the various features of the many types of water heating systems so that you can make a well-informed decision.
The Conventional Storage Tank System
Many homes today are built with a conventional hot water storage tank. This is the model most people think of and or decades, they were the systems of choice. They are still are a good choice depending on your needs and price point.
These systems consist of a large insulated storage tank, with capacities ranging from 30 to 80 gallons. It works by heating ALL of the water in the tank at once, providing it on demand and then heating fresh water as it comes into the tank.
Electric storage water heaters have usually two heater elements, much like you would find in a kitchen kettle, but much larger.
Electricity powered heaters, tend to be the least economical and most expensive to run when all other considerations such as size are factored in. This is based on the current energy costs. Natural gas is usually more cost efficient if it is already run to your home.
Sizing a Storage Hot Water Tank
When choosing a storage heater, base your requirements based on the table below.
|Family size||Minimum gallon capacity recommendation|
Water Heater Recovery Rate
A water heater recovery rate measures how long it takes to heat up the entire tank of hot water. It’s normally expressed in how many gallons of water can be raised by a specific temperature in one hour. The higher the number, the quicker your water is heated. This is important if you have a large family and hot water is being used for showers in a short space of time.
The larger tanks take longer to heat the water up to the desired temperature.
This is one of the negatives of a storage tank system when compared to a tankless system, which effectively provides hot water on demand.
New water heater regulations have been introduced by the Department of Energy, to increase maximum energy efficiency standards. The NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) guidelines came into force in 2015. Dimensions will generally increase by 2 inches wider in both width and depth compared to previous heaters. If the location of your tank is somewhere that has plenty of space, then this is unlikely to present any problems. But if your current heater system only just fits into its current location then there are a couple of options available to you Once you discuss your situation with our expert plumbing team, we can either:
- Install a lower capacity storage tank system.
- Upgrade you to a tankless system.
- Try to find an alternative location for your new water heater
Our expert plumbers can be reached at (972) 833-8660 if you have questions about which choice is best for you. Water heaters are a significant investment in your home, and we pride ourselves on giving the right advice to our customers. Our local knowledge of the water conditions, the price of gas or electricity for example, may also have a bearing on your final decision. Here are a few little things to bear in mind Location/water type. North Texas areas such as Plano and Rockwall have hard water which means mineral build up over time that can lead to more frequent maintenance. How long you plan on staying in your home. Tankless systems may save you money in the long run, but it might take a few years to recover your initial investment. A tankless system cannot leak gallons of water into your home. Tankless heaters make your home more efficient, potentially adding value to your home for prospective buyers.
Tankless Water Systems
Tankless units are significantly more efficient, than storage tanks. At the time of writing, natural gas is also significantly cheaper than electricity, and this is certainly a factor that should be taken into consideration. If you do not have a natural gas connection to your home, it may be cost prohibitive to run a gas line, so your only option is to select an electric model. There are propane-powered water heaters that are available. Again, weigh up the cost of running vs. installing the various types of tankless water heaters.
Take your time when deciding, and factor everything into the equation. Feel free to call our office and speak with a certified plumber to discuss all of the issues and concerns that you may have. In the meantime, please read the rest of the information contained on this page, to further assist you with your choice of a tankless unit.
Staggs Plumbing has been serving the north Texas area for over 30 years and we pride ourselves on providing quality work, expert advice and have become known by your neighbors as the trusted plumber.
The modern way to heat your home is by way of a tankless water heater. In simple terms, this is a relatively new style of heating system, which heats the water on demand. As there is no storage tank, there are some benefits
- Unlimited Hot Water – Never again be the last person into the bath to discover the hot water in the tank has all been used, and your hot bath is tepid at best.
- Environmentally Friendly – You are only heating up the water you use, compared with the old tank systems which heated up an entire tank unnecessarily
- Economical – In much the same vein as above you are not wasting valuable energy and money heating up a tank of water when you only need a single sink of water.
- Less Space Required – Without the need for a huge storage space these systems are much better suited to modern living conditions.
Cold water runs through small pipes (usually made out of copper) through the heating unit.
Heating rods similar to those found in a storage tank variety rapidly heat up the water as it passes over those elements. There might be between one and four of these heating elements depending on the rate of hot water that is required. This produces a constant supply of hot water.
For the purposes of this article we are going to focus entirely on the electrical powered variety of tankless water heaters.
Everyone was very professional and did their best to accommodate any requests we had. They can in to fix a leaky kitchen sink and ended up helping us with 2 faucets, our tub, and a toilet handle. April and Nick were awesome!Aurora B.
Water heating is responsible for approximately 20 percent of an average home’s energy bills. With the new tankless water systems you need to consider the Gallons Per Minute (GPM) rating. This is basically how many gallons per minute you can get continuous hot water. It is also worth noting, that physics does come into play here and every time an additional faucet, dishwasher or washing machine is being operated this will have a detrimental effect on the water flow rate. If that scenario is a regular occurrence in your household, then it may be worth considering two separate heaters. Prior to speaking with our plumbing experts, consider your personal household usage. To give you a reference point, here are some examples of hot water appliances and their average usage.
Due to the lack of a tank, the options now available for placement of your heater have drastically increased. Think about empty cupboards, or out of the way places where your heater can be installed, freeing up more valuable real estate. Once you have worked out where the heater will go this will assist you in choosing the most appropriate model. Our trained plumbers can also complete a site visit prior to installation, just to confirm the optimum location for both convenience and regulations. Also take into consideration the removal of the old tank, a service which our experienced and professional team will be happy to provide.
Tankless Hot Water Heater Warranty
A water heater is a significant financial investment; check the warranties that come from each manufacturer. Choose one with a long warranty from a reputable manufacturer. Although the initial expenditure may be greater, the long term benefits and peace of mind may be worth it. Get the longest warranty you can possibly afford.
Rheem for example offers a twelve-year warranty.
Below are five manufacturers with a good reputation of reliability and performance. We only select the best hot water heater brands and we are fully qualified and licensed to install products from these manufacturers and more.
Pricing a Tankless Water Heater Installation
The initial cost of a tankless hot water heater can vary between $300 to $1,000, compared to $500 to over $1,000 for the gas model. There are a number of electric related regulations that must be observed when we install a new heater.
If your previous water heater was natural gas powered, we may need to run additional power lines for the new electric unit that can handle the electricity requirements.
Installation costs will vary based on what we need to do. We normally:
A very rough estimate of installation cost is between $1,000 and $3,000. We will give you a definite and fair price once we are at your home and can assess the exact work needed.
Maintaining Your New Hot Water Heater
Because of the hard water that we have in north Texas, regular maintenance is recommended such as flushing the water heater pipes. More information can be found here. You can also contact us and ask us what other plumbing services we recommend for your home.