Is A Tankless Edition Worth The Initial Cost
For many people, the long-term benefits of tankless heaters more than compensate for their initial expense. A tankless heater can be up to 34% more efficient than a traditional water heater. This increase in efficiency can amount to annual savings of over $100, depending on the type and size of the heater. That said, the upfront investment of these on-demand water heaters may still scare some buyers away.
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Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth The Cost
Whether tankless water heaters are worth the cost depends on your current and future needs. These models have a long payback period, as they’re projected to last 20 years yet your energy savings will take about 20 years to equal the initial investment. Therefore, the value of these models depends on how useful they are to you and whether they’ll appeal to future homebuyers. You can improve the return on your investment by choosing the right model for your consumption needs.
The Cons Of A Tankless Unit
There are a few notable downsides to getting a tankless water heater, including:
- Some tankless units offer inconsistent water temperatures. One of the biggest complaints about tankless heaters is that the water temperature is not always consistently hot. This is especially true if multiple people are running hot water at the same time, forcing the unit to heat water and distribute it to multiple faucets or fixtures simultaneously.
- Tankless heaters are more expensive. Well take a closer look at the tankless water heater cost in just a moment, but for now, just note that the initial startup cost can be a little higher than what youd pay for a tank unit. Again, though, the overall value of a tankless water heater can actually be quite a bit better, thanks to the longer lifespan and the enhanced energy efficiency. Its also worth noting that the price gap between tank and tankless units has closed considerably over the past decade or so.
- Installation of a tankless water heater can sometimes be more complicated. Depending on your home setup, you may or may not need your plumber to reroute gas lines or add ventilation before your tankless water heater can be installed. As you can imagine, this increases the complexity and the cost of the installation process.
These are a few potential issues to keep in mind as you consider whether the tankless water heating route is right for you and your family.
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Factors Affecting The Cost Of The Gas Tankless Water Heater Installation
Gas tankless water heater installation can be more or less expensive depending on a few variables. The main cost components are labor costs, permit costs, tools, and the complexity of the job. Below is a list of the primary cost factors that will determine how much you pay for a gas tankless water heater installation.
Tankless Water Heaters Vs Traditional Water Heaters
Wondering what kind of savings you can expect from a tankless unit compared to a traditional water heater?
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, a hot water heater without a tank is expensive. However, its still cheaper to install this type of heater than a heater with a water storage tank.
Because there are so many factors affecting the performance of both tankless and tank-based hot water heaters, we can only estimate the difference in long-term costs between the two.
Generally, tankless units are more affordable to run due to their greatly minimized standby losses. Storage tank systems need to constantly keep water hot, which means the heater must work harder, for longer, increasing your energy bills.
On average, on-demand water heaters are about one-third more efficient than tank-based heaters. The exact figure depends on your daily hot water usage.
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Commercial Tankless Water Heater Prices
Tankless water heaters for commercial use are often powered by natural gas. These heaters have a BTU range of 240,000 to 360,000 or higher, and cost tens of thousands of dollars upfront.
Estimating the cost of a tankless commercial water heater is pretty impossible, since different situations call for different products . Speak to several of your local suppliers to get an idea of the price range youre looking at.
Average Annual Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Costs
Alongside operating costs, on-demand water heaters also have recurring maintenance costs.
Routine maintenance is essential in a point of use or whole house tankless water heater to keep the unit in good working order.
Even a brand-new tankless water heater will need regular maintenance. In fact, the sooner you can start with regular maintenance tasks, the better youll be able to maintain the quality and integrity of your unit.
The most important maintenance job is descaling and flushing the heating elements. Most plumbers recommend this once every 12 months, depending on your water usage and water hardness. You can bypass the need for descaling entirely if you have a whole home water softener installed upstream of your heater.
Alternatively, you can descale your heater yourself with a descaling kit, costing about $130 online.
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Miscellaneous Costs And Things To Consider
- Maintenance: if your water heater needs any maintenance, you can expect to pay the fees of a standard plumbing project . Typically, the maintenance project takes about 3 hours. Most plumbing companies charge a standard minimum of 4hrs.
- Extra material: occasionally, tankless water heating units arent compatible with the location in which older heating models had been installed. This can require a bit of problem solving and can cost money for extra materials such as pipes and insulation, both of which sell for about $12 per foot.
- Configuration and updates: certain electrical systems will need to be updated in order to work with the new tankless heater. This isnt always required but is a potential cost that includes the cost of materials for the updates and the price of the electrician.
- Old system removal: in order to install a new heating system, you must first have the old system removed and disposed of. This can cost up to $300-$600 depending on how difficult the existing system is to remove.
- Permitting: depending on the laws in your area, a permit could be required to install a water heater. This should be kept in mind to make sure that the project was done correctly and up to code. The permit fees normally run $5-$10 per thousand of the total job cost.
- Energy savings: the average tankless water heater costs $170 per year, according to EnergyStar.gov. This makes them cheaper and easier on energy than their traditional counterparts.
Power Vent Vs Direct Vent On
All natural gas and propane tankless water heaters need to vent harmful exhaust through a direct vent or power vent system:
- Direct ventâ draws air from outdoors through a duct and vents exhaust through a separate duct or a separate chamber within the same duct. Direct vent systems may be installed in small, enclosed spaces.
- Power ventâ draws indoor air from around the water heater and uses an electric blower to vent exhaust through a vertical or horizontal duct.
Unlike storage tank water heaters, tankless models may vent through an exterior side wall or the roof.
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Cost To Replace A Gas Tankless Water Heater
The average cost to have a licensed plumber replace a gas tankless water heater is about $4,700 based on current pricing in the Austin, Texas area.
It is much less expensive to replace a tankless water heater since your location has already been configured properly for tankless. However, these water heaters should last 15+ years without needing to be replaced. If youre having an issue with your tankless water heater, check out these common problems. You might be able to repair the unit instead of replacing it all together.
See costs to replace a gas tankless water heater:
Annual Operating Cost Of Tankless Hot Water Heater
The next thing to figure out is how much it costs to run your tankless hot water heater each month or year. In other words, how much are you going to have to pay in utilities each month or year?
The easiest way to figure this out is to look for the bright yellow Energy Star label, which will tell you how much you can expect to pay each year to operate your unit. Many manufacturers also list it in the product information. But these estimates are averages and there are a number of factors that influence your operating cost.
- Energy factor This measures the efficiency of your tankless water heater. According to Energy Star, tankless water heaters have Energy Factors that range from 0.96 to 0.99. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit and the less money youll pay to operate it.
- Energy consumption / usage If you combine the energy factor with the frequency that your tankless water heater is used, youll get the total energy consumption. For electric heaters, this is measured in kilowatt hours per year . For gas units this is measured in therms or British Thermal Units per year.Cost of energy Once you know the expected energy consumption per year you can multiply that by the cost of energy and get the expected operating cost each year. Electricity costs are measured in cents per kilowatt hour . Natural gas costs are measured in therms, British thermal units , and cubic feet . If you need to convert them, you can use this calculator on the EIAs website.
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Cost To Install A Tankless Hot Water Heater
These estimates are for BASIC work performed in serviceable conditions by qualified trade professionals using MID GRADE materials. Work not mentioned on this page and/or work using master craftsman, premium materials and project supervision will result in HIGHER COSTS! Explore the full range of gas tankless water heater new installation labor options and material prices here.
These estimates are NOT substitutes for written quotes from trade professionals. Homewyse strongly recommends that you contact reputable professionals for accurate assessments of work required and costs for your project – before making any decisions or commitments.
The cost estimate includes:
- Costs for local material / equipment delivery to and service provider transportation to and from the job site.
- Costs to prepare the worksite for Tankless Hot Water Heater Installation, including costs to protect existing structure, finishes, materials and components.
- Labor setup time, mobilization time and minimum hourly charges that are commonly included for small Tankless Hot Water Heater Installation jobs.
The cost estimate does NOT include:
What About Performance And Efficiency
In addition to cost, electric and gas water heaters can also differ with regard to their performance and energy efficiency.
Water Heater Energy Efficiency
Of course, one of the primary reasons why homeowners seek tankless water heater installation in the first place is to improve their household energy efficiency . However, the efficiency of any tankless water heater is variable according to several different factors, most notably the demand for hot water within the home. It should be noted that even the least efficient tankless unit should outperform a conventional water heater.
Something else to keep in mind is that water heaters come with an energy factor rating, which is a measure of the units overall energy efficiency. More specifically, the EF rating measures the useful energy that the water heater generates. The higher the EF rating on a given unit, the more energy efficient it is.
Water Heater Performance
Both gas and electric water heaters are going to heat and distribute water, but when you look more closely at how they operate, you will find that this is where the similarities end.
We wont get into the specifics of each fuel source and how they impact performance, except to note that gas water heaters tend to offer superior hot water output, as measured in gallons per minute, or GPM.
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What Is A Tankless Water Heater
A tankless water heater provides hot water on demand, heating water only when needed rather than continuously using fuel to heat water in a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through the heat exchanger in the tankless unit and is warmed instantly.
- Whole-house tankless systems deliver hot water to all the fixtures and appliances throughout the home.
- Point-of-use tankless models are smaller units designed to provide hot water to a single fixture or appliance.
Unit Costs: How Pros Price
Unlike other websites that publish pricing from unrelated jobs in the past, Homewyse creates up-to-date estimates from current Unit Costs. The Unit Cost method delivers high accuracy by using location, details and options for the unique requirements of each job. Contracting, trade, design and maintenance businesses rely on the Unit Cost method for transparency, accuracy and fair profits.
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Are Whole House Or Single Point Water Heaters Better And Whats The Difference
Water heaters without tanks can be installed inside or outside of a building near its water use point and at a distance of no more than 50 feet away from a direct power source. It is necessary to have a tankless heater for each water source, so if you had three bathrooms and a dishwasher, youd need to purchase and install 4 tankless units, unless each water source location were close together.
The amount of water that a tankless system can heat varies from how much a traditional heater can heat. A tankless unit can heat up to 5 gallons per minute. This fact comes into play when deciding which kind of unit to use. Most single-family homes do well with a whole house heating system, which allows multiple people to bathe, a dishwasher to run, and the sink to be used all at the same time.
If you were to use a single point system in the same single-family home, you would have to install multiple heating systems or use one system at a time.
The lifespan of water heaters is an important factor to think about when youre deciding which type of heater to buy. Traditional water heaters typically last from 10-15 years, whereas tankless water systems can be used for up to 20.
Installing A Tankless Water Heater
After you have chosen which type of system you want to use, a plumber will have to remove your old heating system and then install new gas lines or heat source access. This process may include having to open up walls or part of the ceiling, depending on where your homes pipes run. After this is done, the new system is then set into place and installed and connected to the new gas lines.
An average plumbing company will charge $75- $125 for this service, and installation will usually take a full working day to install and properly test the system performance throughout the home so expect the installation cost to be around $600 $1,000. Other costs that may arise include the costs of heat and water pumps, new pipes, and costs that might be associated with permitting. With this in mind, your total cost for installation and other materials can be upwards of $1,000.
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Gas Tankless Water Heater Installation Costs
Theres a wide range here because gas units come in indoor and outdoor types.
As you would expect, indoor installation which is most common costs about double what outdoor installation costs. Indoor units must be vented out of the home, so there are higher costs for materials and labor.
Here are common installation costs for DIY, replacement and new water heater installation.
- DIY Outdoors: $0 to $500 for materials depending on whether you are replacing an old unit or running new gas line, water line and electrical for a first-time unit.
- DIY Indoors: $200 to $1,000 for materials depending on whether it is replacement or installing a new unit with new gas line, water line, electric and venting.
- Outdoor Unit Replacement: $200 to $500. Removing an existing water heater and connecting the new unit to wiring and plumbing that is already in place is a quick job, so cost is relatively low.
- Indoor Replacement: $350 to $700. When wiring, a gas line and vent are in place, installation cost is much lower. Some modification is often needed for the exhaust vent or gas line, but labor and material costs are lower than for installation of a new unit.
- Indoor New Unit: $1,400 to $2,600. This is the costliest installation type. Once the unit is mounted, electrical wiring, a gas line and incoming and outgoing water lines must be run. And the unit must be vented.
Cons Of A Tankless Water Heater
- Tankless water heaters have a higher purchase cost than a traditional storage tank. The cost of a tankless water heater can range anywhere from $2,000-$4,500 compared to a storage tank water heater which ranges from about $500-$800.
- They can be output challenged: This means when you are simultaneously taking a shower and doing laundry, the tankless water heater may fail to keep up with the hot water demand of both. If multiple showers are in use at the same time, one shower may be quite a bit more chilly than the other.
- If you are replacing a storage tank water heater with a tankless water heater, the replacement can be pricey. It will take more time to replace and increase the installed cost because of the complexity of relocating the existing piping.
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Central System / Whole House Tankless Water Heater Prices Listed By Brand
What is a central system or whole house tankless water heater? Whole house tankless water heaters are just that, they have the ability to send hot water from the installed location of the unit to the rest of the home through a network of copper pipes, and supply all mains hot water appliances within it. A whole house water can be installed both inside or outside, and which you choose depends on a few factors. Indoor heaters take up space, but equally you have to live in a climate which prevents extreme temperature, wind or water damage to the heater. Indoor tankless heaters are usually the first choice, but its worth keeping in mind indoor heaters require ventilation , additional space, they make noise and can create condensation.
A whole house tankless water heater system will cost you between $570 $3,500, in comparison a single-point water system unit will cost just $250 $750, fully installed and inspected.
The table below provides a comprehensive cost breakdown for whole house tankless hot water heaters from the most popular and trusted brands, with unit costs and the unit cost with contractor install included:
|Compare a Whole House Tankless Water Heater Cost by Brand|