You may not give hot water much thought in your home — until it runs out. A suddenly icy cold shower will shock you into remembering your water heater needs attention. Perhaps the pilot light has gone out, or the size of the water heater is too small for the number of people in your household. But you are ready for a change.

Many people are transitioning from traditional water heaters to tankless water heaters. Others are afraid to make the change because tankless heaters are often much more costly upfront. However, tankless water heaters cost less to operate over time, saving you money. This buyer’s guide will help you identify your tankless water heater needs so you can make a more informed choice.

Efficiency Is A Hallmark Of Tankless Water Heaters

As the name implies, tankless water heaters do not use a tank to heat the water. As a result, the units are much more compact and take up very little space. Newer models are thicker than older models to insulate them against heat loss but are still relatively small. Most are about the size of a suitcase and mounted on a wall.

Tankless heaters heat water on demand instead of maintaining a large volume of water at a specific temperature. These heaters can rapidly bring the water to your set temperature exactly when you need it. This method ensures you aren’t wasting energy to heat water when no one needs it.

Gas Or Electric Tankless Water Heater?

The type of tankless water heater you choose may depend on the power sources available to you. If you have a gas water heater, you may want to switch to a gas tankless heater to reduce installation costs. Others will switch from gas to electric when they change to a tankless heater, but changing your power source will significantly add to the installation expense.

Types Of Tankless Water Heaters

Not all tankless water heaters are alike. You’ll have several to choose from, including:

  • Gas tankless water heaters can be condensing or non-condensing tankless heaters.
  • Condensing tankless water heaters use a primary and secondary heat exchanger, eliminating the need for a stainless-steel exhaust system.
  • Non-condensing tankless water heaters are more affordable, but this option requires potentially expensive venting of the hot exhaust.
  • Electric tankless water heaters eliminate the need for an exchanger because the water flows past a heating element.
  • Point-of-use tankless water heaters are smaller units that sit close to an individual faucet or shower to warm water for that single location when needed.

Additional Tankless Water Heater Features To Consider

The newest tankless heaters offer many options to enhance your experience. Some come with Wi-Fi capability, allowing you to adjust the temperature or monitor water or gas usage from a phone app.

For larger homes, consider a unit with a built-in recirculation pump to ensure the water stays hot when it must travel more than 50 feet.

And finally, do a little rebate research. Many tankless water heaters are eligible for rebates from the city or county, significantly reducing your total costs.

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