Busting Tankless Water Heater Myths

March 17, 2017

Although tankless water heaters have been around for quite some time, they have gained popularity among homeowners only recently. Still, the increase in residential use didn't take away some of the deeply-seated misconceptions surrounding this innovative technology.

From an eco-friendly point of view, tankless is the way to go. That said, the time has come to reevaluate the basic idea behind the tankless technology and highlight its necessity for building a green home.

Let’s try and debunk the misconceptions about tankless water heaters that persist to this day.

They are expensive

While it is true that tankless water heaters are initially more expensive than tank-type heaters, they save considerably more money in the long run. By heating the water on demand, they can reduce utility bills up to 30% every year. What’s more, a condensing gas tankless heater reduces energy costs up to 60% every month.

Nevertheless, proper installation is paramount. Even the most efficient tankless water heaters won’t perform as expected if they are installed improperly. This is usually the main reason for costly installation services.

There aren’t many Incentives for going tankless

On the contrary – both federal and state-level governments are providing financial incentives for homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. If you purchase an Energy Star tankless water heater, you can be eligible for as much as a $1500 tax break, as part of federal-level incentives.

Kentucky homeowners can also explore incentives for homeowners for making energy-saving improvements to their home, including water heaters.

They aren’t really necessary

While you can still purchase a tank-type water heater, nowadays there are much stricter regulations regarding their manufacturing and application. Namely, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) issued new energy-efficiency regulations in 2015, stating that tank-type water heaters have to be larger in size than they used to be due to additional insulation requirements.

That in mind, if a homeowner needs to buy a new water heater, they will have to go with an NAECA-compliant one. Tank-type NAECA-compliant heaters use up more space, which many homeowners feel to be reason enough to choose tankless instead.

Besides, many manufacturers saw NAECA’s regulations as a clear guidance to start investing more resources into developing water heaters. It’s only logical to assume that we are yet to see more innovations regarding tankless water heaters than their tank-type counterparts. Put simply, it means that tankless heaters will be a better choice.

They aren’t that time-saving

As the adage says – Time is money.If you could split the amount of time required to perform a daily chore in half, imagine how much time (and ultimately – money) you would save. We can say that this is also the logic behind tankless water heaters.

While a tankless water heater may need a few minutes to supply 3-5 gallons of hot water (as opposed to the one minute that was initially advertised), it's still significantly more time-saving than its tank-type counterpart, which needs around half an hour to fill up. When living fast, every little counts.

They aren’t really green

Beyond any doubt, tankless water heaters are a step forward in preserving the energy resources. With a gas-fired tankless water heater, gas is running only for a couple of minutes, after which it can be switched off, which is not the case with tank-type heaters. While we may debate the varying efficiency of different models of tankless water heaters, it’s undeniable that the concept behind their invention is genuinely environmentally conscious.

Huge numbers of homeowners are already on board and consider energy-efficient improvements to their homes to be a vital part of home remodeling. Purchasing a tankless water heater is one of these improvements. On the subject of eco-friendly kitchen remodeling, Classic Home Improvements, a Big 50 design-build contractor, suggests installing a tankless water heater, among other energy-efficient appliances:

’’ Preserving water [...] has always been a point of interest, now more than ever. There are water-efficient […] faucets that can save up to 50% of water used in the kitchen. There are other fixtures and appliances, such as tankless water heaters and low-flow faucets that can also go a long way in reducing water usage [...] All of these appliances look infinitely more modern than the traditional ones, proving that an eco-friendly kitchen remodel is also somewhat of a design makeover.’’

When we talk about how tankless water heaters can make your home greener, the energy efficiency factor is only one aspect. Tankless water heaters also provide cleaner and healthier water.

What does this mean?

Since tank-type heaters can store up to 40 gallons of water, it means that not all water will be used up in one take. The unused water will remain in the heater to be reheated the next time hot water is necessary. With any amount of stored water, there is a chance of rust and mold forming in the heater, which effectively means more risk of compromising the quality of the water. By contrast, tankless water heaters draw a fresh supply of water every time it’s necessary, so the risk is greatly diminished.

They are unreliable

Most homeowners are reluctant to switch to tankless because they are used to the tank-type heaters. They fear the relatively new type of heaters isn’t as reliable. In reality, tankless water heaters come with 15-20 year manufacturing warranties, which is not the case with tank-type heaters, as they usually have to be replaced after 5-10 years.

They aren’t safe

When it comes to tankless water heaters, the question of safety is directly connected with the risk of overheating. What many homeowners still don’t know is that a tankless water heater contains an adjustable thermostat that regulates the temperature. The desired temperature can easily be pre-set, and the thermostat will make sure it’s not exceeded. As a result, there is a minimum risk of overheating.

They require annual maintenance

While it might be logical to assume that a tankless water heater will need annual maintenance, it’s not necessarily the case. For example, Noritz claims that maintenance has to with the hardness of the water, that is, the percentage of calcium and magnesium in the water. The ’’harder’’ the water, the greater the likelihood of mineral deposits building up in a heater, and subsequently – the more regular the need for maintenance.

All in all, tankless water heaters are here to stay. The manufacturers may need more time to develop more efficient models, while homeowners may need more time to adjust to the new technology. Still, this technology has been supported by all levels of government through incentives for homeowners, so coming on board is the logical step.

To make sure you make the best of your tankless water heater, learn more about the technology. Most importantly, keep an open mind about building a greener home.

This blog was developed by Classic Home Remodeling. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.


Topics: Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Tankless Water Heaters, Water Heaters, Water Saving Devices

Companies: Noritz


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