Tankless Water Heater Reviews: Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

    Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Me?

    Have you been thinking about installing a tankless water heater? Choosing a hot water system can be a daunting task, especially if you're not familiar with how they work. Whether you're building a new home or retrofitting an existing one, a tankless water heater has many advantages, but they aren't right for every situation. 

    Although, many homes are better suited for a storage tank water heater, tankless water heater systems can be a great fit in the right situation. Let's take a look at the basic types of water heating systems as well as some tankless water heater reviews, to help you decide if a tankless water heater is a good match for you.

    Which Hot Water System is Best for You? - a Tank Style or Tankless Water Heater


    Which Water Heater is Best

    Types of Water Heater Systems

    Storage Tank Water Heater

    A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax Short Electric Water Heater, 50 gal

    This 50-gallon electric storage tank water heater by A.O. Smith is Energy Star certified and designed with many features to extend the tank's service life.

    A storage tank water heater is the most common type of water heater in the United States. As cold water enters the large tubular insulated tank, natural gas or electricity is used to heat the water.

    The heated water is then stored within the insulated tank until a hot water tap is opened. Since the water is stored within the tank until its needed, the water heater will need to cycle on periodically to heat the water back up to temperature.

    The temperature drop of the stored water within the tank is called standby heat loss, and it's the reason that storage tank water heaters are the least energy efficient systems available.

    Pro's

    Con's

    • Relatively inexpensive to purchase and install
    • Energy consumption is slow and steady
    • Operating costs are high due to standby heat loss
    • If you run out of hot water, it can take several hours for the unit to recover

    Tankless Water Heater

    Rheem RTGH-RH11DVLN  Prestige Series Professional Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heaters With Built-in Recirculation, Grey

    Rheem's RTGH-RH11DVLN is a high efficiency condensing gas tankless water heater. It has a built-in recirculating pump and is capable of delivering a maximum of 11-gallons of hot water every minute! 

    A tankless water heater doesn't store heated water, instead it heats the water as needed. Since the hot water isn't sitting in a tank, the water will be cleaner, especially if routine maintenance isn't being done regularly on the storage tank system.

    Tankless Water Heaters are Energy Efficient

    Another benefit to tankless water heaters is energy efficiency. When there's a demand for hot water, the tankless system powers on and immediately begins heating the water. In a matter of seconds, the hot water leaves the heater and enters your home's plumbing to be delivered to the open faucet. Without standby heat loss, a tankless system is extremely energy efficient.

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    Tankless water heaters can be powered by electricity, natural gas and even propane. Because they only operate when hot water is needed, they are often called on-demand water heaters.

    The gas tankless water heater units are more powerful and capable of delivering more hot water which is measured in Gallons Per Minute (GPM), but less energy efficient than tankless systems that use electricity. Read our extensive article on the differences between gas and electric tankless water heaters.

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    Sizing a Tankless Heater for your Home

    When shopping for a tankless water heater, it's critical that you purchase the correct size. If your unit is too small it won't be able to deliver enough hot water to service your household.

    We also recommend selecting a tankless water heater model with a high UEF (Uniform Energy Factor) rating to maximize the energy efficiency of using a tankless water heater.

    Pro's

    Con's

    • Endless supply of hot water
    • Compact design
    • Energy efficient / Low operating costs
    • Replaceable parts
    • Higher initial cost than storage tank heaters
    • Must be sized correctly or the unit won't be able to deliver enough hot water

    Solar Water Heater

    Duda Solar 30 Tube Water Heater Collector 45° Frame Evacuated Vacuum Tubes SRCC Certified Hot

    Harnest the sun's energy with a solar water heater made by Duda Energy. Ideal for heating pools and household hot water. 

    A solar water heater heats the water using the energy from the sun. There are a number of different solar water heater systems available. Many times solar panels are installed directly onto the roof in order to collect energy which can then be transferred to a water heater.

    Beware of the Up Front Costs of Solar Water Heaters

    Solar water heaters are a great choice for individuals who want to reduce their carbon footprint and take advantage of an environmentally friendly system. However, installing solar panels can be very costly, and it could take years before the installation costs are offset by the energy savings.

    Can You Install a Solar Water Heater if You Don’t Live in a Sunny Area?

    Since there are several different types of solar water heaters available today, you should be able to find panels that work in your area. Even if you live in a place where the sun doesn't always shine. 

    Pro's

    Con's

    • Environmentally friendly
    • Huge savings on energy, especially during the summer months or in very sunny locations
    • Extremely low operating costs
    • Expensive to purchase and install
    • Needs sunlight to maximize savings

    Tankless Water Heater Selection Questions

    Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for You?

    Going tankless has many advantages, however, these systems aren't a good match for every household. To see if a tankless water heater is a good fit for you, ask yourself the following questions:

    Are You Building a New Home?

    If you're building a new home, live in a relatively new home, or you're willing to make upgrades to your household utilities, you're probably a good fit for a tankless water heater.

    Although, tankless systems can be installed into older homes, you should keep in mind that installing an electric tankless system in an older home can be very expensive. Frequently, older homes simply don't have the electrical requirements needed. You can upgrade your electrical power, but your better option might be t look into a gas tankless instead.

    It's a good idea to talk with a professional prior to starting. They'll be able to help you budget accordingly and find a tankless water heater system that works well for you.

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    Do You Live in a Cold Climate?

    Tankless water heaters are very temperature sensitive. The colder the incoming water, the harder the tankless will need to work to deliver hot water (this is called temperature rise).

    If you want a tankless water heater and you live in a cold climate, you'll need to purchase a system that's capable of delivering enough hot water during the coldest days of winter. It's a good idea to buy one with freeze protection features too!

    Are You Considering Switching Systems?

    Many homeowners want to take advantage of the monthly utility savings by switching from a storage tank water heater to a tankless system. It's true, you will save money every month, however, it'll take years before you'll offset the initial purchase price and installation costs.

    Gas tankless water heaters are far more expensive than storage tank heaters and they require professional installation. It's a good idea to speak with a professional to discuss what specifically needs to be done to your house so you won't have any surprises.

    In most cases, it's best to wait until you need to replace your storage tank system. Then decide if going tankless is the right move for you.

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    Is Space an Issue?

    A tankless water heater requires far less space than a storage tank heater. Because tankless systems are mounted on the wall, they don't need any floor space at all. In fact, some gas tankless systems are even designed to be installed outside!

    Electric tankless water heaters can be tucked into very tight spaces since they are even smaller and don't require venting. Read about the differences between gas and electric tankless water heaters.

    Money: Bills and Coins

    Are You Willing to Spend More to Save Later?

    Tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install than a storage tank system. However, they're also more energy efficient, so they'll save you money every month on your utility bills.

    If you don't mind investing a little more money upfront for a tankless water heater, you'll see savings in your monthly utility bills. Although, keep in mind, it could take years to off-set the initial cost.

    Do You Worry About Running Out of Hot Water?

    When properly sized, a tankless water heater can deliver a seemingly limitless stream of hot water. You'll never need to worry about how long your shower is again, there'll still be plenty of hot water for the next person!

    Do You Want This to Be the Last Water Heater You Ever Buy? 

    That might be a stretch, but there's a good chance you'll sell your house before you replace your tankless system. Hands down, tankless water heaters have a much longer service life than storage tank systems.

    When properly maintained, a tankless water heater can still be delivering hot water 20+ years after it was installed! 

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    Do Your Research Before Buying a Tankless Water Heater

    If you think you're a good candidate for a tankless water heater we recommend that you do some further research. You have some important decisions to make and you'll want a good understanding on the topic before moving forward.

    We have plenty of great articles on tankless water heaters to help you make an informed decision. Learn how to select the right size and type of tankless, or dive into the differences between gas and electric, or find out how to protect your system from the dangers of hard water.

    With a little research and planning, you'll have all the tools you need to purchase a tankless water heating system that meets your household hot water needs.

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    Tankless Water Heater Reviews

    To help you start shopping for a tankless system, we've picked three of our favorites: An electric, natural gas, and outdoor tankless water heater model. You may also want to check out our article on the 5 Best Tankless Water Heater Systems for more reviews.

    Electric Tankless Water Heater

    EcoSmart Eco

    EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 27 KW at 240 Volts, 112.5 Amps with Patented Self Modulating Technology

    EcoSmart water heaters are hard to ignore. They don't have the stylish design of the Stiebel Eltron systems or the superior engineering and technology. But they also don't have the high price tag!

    With a limited lifetime warranty, and no shortage of satisfied owners, the EcoSmart Eco is a great choice if you're looking for an electric tankless water heater.

    The EcoSmart Eco line has six different sizes of tankless water heaters to choose between, ranging from 8 kW to 36 kW, so you shouldn't have a problem finding the right size for you.

    When the incoming water is a chilly 37-degrees, the popular Eco 27 tankless water heater is capable of delivering hot water for up to two showers. In addition, the EcoSmart uses self-modulating technology to help you save money by allowing the Eco to increase and decrease the amount of energy it requires based on the demand for hot water.


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    Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

    Rheem RTGH-95DVLN

    Rheem RTGH-95DVLN 9.5 GPM Indoor Direct Vent Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater

    If you're looking for a powerful indoor natural gas tankless water heater, it's hard to beat Rheem's Prestige line. With 94% energy efficiency the RTGH-95 is excellent for households with 3 bathrooms.

    This is a two-pipe direct vent condensing tankless that can be connected to additional units if your hot water demand is exceptionally high. However, the RTGH-95 tankless heater is capable of handling most high-demand households since at it's peak performance, it can deliver 9.5 gallons of piping hot water with a 35-degree temperature rise. 

    Loaded with features such as hot start programming which minimizes "cold water sandwich" issues (common with tankless water heaters), self-diagnostic system alerts, and freeze protection up to negative 30-degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention, it can operate in high altitudes up to 9,840 above sea level.

    Rheem didn't pull any punches when it designed this popular tankless water heater system, and they backed it up with one of the best warranties on the market. A 12-year heat exchanger warranty, 5-year parts, and 1-year labor, all combined with their excellent customer focused support!


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    Outdoor Tankless Water Heater

    Rinnai RL94eN

    Rinnai RL Series HE+ Tankless Hot Water Heater: Outdoor Installation

    Outdoor gas tankless water heaters have a number of advantages over their indoor cousins. First, they are less expensive to install since they do not require venting, and because they're installed outside, you'll have plenty of extra room within your house.

    There are several really good outdoor tankless water heater models available. We suggest you compare this Rinnai model to the Rheem RTG-64XLN to see which one best meets your needs. Both are among the best in the industry, and either would be an excellent choice.

    The Rinnai RL94eN is a high-efficiency, non-condensing natural gas tankless. It achieves a respectable 81% energy efficiency, and if natural gas isn't available in your area, the same model can be purchased to burn propane.

    The RL94eN tankless water heater can operate in altitudes up to 10,200 feet above sea level, and at it's peak performance, can deliver 9.4 gallons of hot water.

    It's wi-fi enabled for remote monitoring, has automatic frost protection, and is equipped with loads of other safety features to help make this unit an excellent worry-free appliance. It even comes with isolation valves to simplify maintenance!

    Rinnai backs the RL94eN tankless water heater with a solid 12-year heat exchanger warranty, 5-year parts and components, and 1-year labor warranty.

    Always do your research before making a final decision on which water heater is right for you!

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