Solar vs. tankless hot water heaters
As a result of their performance & affordability/shorter payback periods, our clients generally opt for either a tankless water heater or a solar hot water system. The decision between the two typically comes down to two factors: budget constraints and desired payback periods.
Following is an overview of the pros and cons of each of the units. See which one you would pick if you were installing a new hot water system:
Tankless Water Heaters
- Continuous supply of hot water on demand
- Does not unnecessarily heat a full tank of water at all times as regular tank-type heaters
- Compact design
- More affordable than solar
- Comes in gas or electric unitsHigh efficiency factor
- Plumbing is no different than a conventional tank type
- Normally saves +/- 40 percent of energy used by traditional tank type water heater
- If an electric unit is used, it will most likely require an upgrade to electrical panel to compensate for additional amps needed. In new homes or major remodels this is typically not a problem as you can account for the increase in amps when designing the electrical load/upgrading the service.
- Requires more of an upfront investment than regular tank-type heaters
- Electric is a great choice where gas is not available, although you are drawing from a non-renewable source (unless your electricity is produced with renewable energy)
Solar Water Heaters
- Draws energy for renewable resource
- Federal tax credit helps offset upfront costs by 30 percent
- High efficiency factor
- Least costly way to heat water
- Simple system to install & maintain
- More of an upfront investment = longer payback period
- Drain-back and storage tanks require more storage space than tankless
- More parts involved = more opportunity for repair
Rheem has a solar water heating calculator available online to show how much you would save by going with solar.
Topics: Cost of Ownership
Heather Ferrier Laminack Representing the fourth generation of the Ferrier Companies, Heather Ferrier Laminack functions as the marketing manager for Texas-based green home builder Ferrier Custom Homes, utilizing her passion for sustainable building practices and her first-hand experience of green building techniques.