Did you know that your hot water heater is the second highest energy using appliance in your home? A standard 50-gallon electric water heater will cost about $520 per year at 10.6¢ per kWh. If you live in the northeast US where electric rates are higher, it will cost you as much as $800 per year. These “tank” water heaters consume a lot of that energy keeping the water hot when you’re not using it, wasting hundreds of dollars each year. Fortunately, there is a better product available – tankless hot water heaters.
Tankless water heaters are relatively new to the US but have been used in Europe and Japan for decades. The concept is simple: the unit heats the water only when you need it. This picture shows how a tankless propane water heater works:
What are the Advantages?
A tankless propane water heater has a number of advantages over an electric tank water heater. They include:
No Cold Showers – If you have teenagers in the house, you probably are used to cold showers in the morning. A propane tankless water heater makes that a thing of the past. Since the water is heated as you need it, there’s no running out and no cold showers. A 50-gallon electric water heater can take over an hour to completely recover the hot water.
More Hot Water – Propane tankless water heaters allow you to run more appliances at the same time. You could take a shower while the dishwasher and laundry are going. Plus, a tankless unit will let you take full advantage of your Roman bath or Jacuzzi tub.
Lasts Longer – Most tankless units have 10-15 year warranties and can last up to 20 years before replacement. Tank units typically have a 6-year warranty and only last 8-10 years. You may have to get two or three tank units for every tankless unit.
Less Waste – Many propane tankless water heaters are made of entirely recycled materials where as most tank units must be disposed of in landfills.
Saves Money – You save money by only heating the water when you need it. While tank water heater waste energy heating water you aren’t using, the tankless unit save energy by only using gas when you need hot water. This can cut your costs by up to 30% per year!
Space Savings – Tankless units can be placed almost anywhere in the house. They are hung on the wall, either inside or outside of the house (depending on climate). You can regain valuable floor or closet space.
Cleaner Water – Traditional water heaters can build up rust and scale inside their tank, where the hot water you use for bathing and drinking is stored. With tankless water heaters you will experience fresher, cleaner water.
What will it cost?
The challenge that faces tankless water heaters is that the purchase and installation costs are significantly higher than the standard tank water heater. For a typical two bathroom home, a tankless water heater can cost 2 to 2.5 times that of a standard water heater to purchase and install. However, there are other ways that you can save with a tankless unit. State and local rebates may be available to help offset the cost of installing propane appliances. And don’t forget that you’ll need to replace a tank unit twice in the lifespan of just one tankless unit, so it’s a great long term investment.
Overall a propane tankless water heater can save you money in the short and long term, all while providing additional comfort and convenience for your family. AmeriGas works with two of the larger brands in Rinnai and Noritz, and their websites are a great resource for learning more about the products and benefits.
Be sure to contact your local AmeriGas office to find out more about our tankless water heater rebate!