Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth the Investment?

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When considering upgrading your home’s hot water system, a tankless water heater often appears as an attractive option, known for its efficiency and longevity. However, at KC Water Heaters, we believe in providing our Kansas City customers with all the facts to make an informed decision. Here’s our expert take on whether tankless water heaters are truly worth the investment.

Initial Installation Cost

The upfront cost of a tankless water heater, including installation, can be significantly higher than that of traditional tank models. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $4,000 to $5,000, with the potential for additional expenses based on specific home requirements. This figure contrasts sharply with the cost of installing a conventional 40-gallon water heater, which is usually about 2.5 to 3.5 times less.

Maintenance Requirements

Tankless units require regular maintenance to perform optimally, especially in areas with hard water. Flushing the system every 12 months, or more frequently if needed, is essential to prevent scaling and maintain efficiency. While this maintenance is crucial for extending the life of the unit, it also adds to the total cost of ownership over time.

Longevity and Repairs

Tankless water heaters are praised for their longer lifespan compared to tank models. However, even with a warranty, the cost of replacing major components like the heat exchanger can be high. It’s important for homeowners to weigh these potential repair costs against the extended lifespan of the unit.

Operating Costs and Savings

On an annual basis, the operating cost for a popular tankless model, such as the Rinnai RU198, is approximately $210, while a traditional 40-gallon water heater might cost around $231 per year to operate. While tankless units offer savings on utility bills, the difference may not be substantial enough to offset the higher initial investment and maintenance costs for all homeowners.

When Tankless Makes Sense

Despite the considerations above, there are scenarios where a tankless water heater might be the ideal choice. For homes with limited space, the compact size of tankless units is a significant advantage. Additionally, in situations where venting a traditional gas water heater is problematic, a tankless model could provide a viable solution.

Our Recommendation

At KC Water Heaters, our priority is to ensure that Kansas City homeowners make the best choice for their specific needs. Given the high initial cost, maintenance requirements, and potential repair expenses, we generally recommend tankless water heaters under specific circumstances rather than for the average user. It’s crucial to consider both the short-term and long-term financial implications, as well as your household’s unique needs, before making a decision.

Converting a Tankless Water Heater back to a traditional Tank style unit!

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