Tankless water heaters: Q&A with experts
Thinking about transitioning to tankless? Three highly rated plumbers spout advice on traditional versus tankless water heaters.
How does a tankless water heater work?
Jack Hope: A tankless water heater basically has a water line that comes into it. The water is heated with a heat exchanger as it flows into the water heater.
Dan Allen: It boils water with a precise combination of gas and air only when there is a call for water.
Jay Bedell: It heats the water as it passes through it.
Can a tankless water heater be installed in the same place as a traditional water heater?
Who we spoke to:
Jack Hope, owner
Dan Allen, owner
Jay Bedell, owner
Hope: It’s always an option. The caveat is I have no idea how much work it would take to make that happen. We could do it one way or another, but we might have to drill a hole in your floor.
Allen: The gas and water connections can be used, but the vent will have to be run by itself through the roof line.
Bedell: They have to be repiped and have their own exhaust pipe, so you usually can’t utilize any of the equipment that’s there.
What are the advantages to going tankless?
Hope: They last about twice as long. Depending on the size of your home, you can save quite a bit of money on energy.
Allen: It will never heat the same water repeatedly like a tank water heater, so it can save you money.
Bedell: In my opinion, there aren’t very many advantages. They require more maintenance than tank water heaters.
How much does it cost to have one installed?
Hope: Depending on how much work is involved, it could cost between $3,000 to $5,000 to put one in.
Allen: A best case scenario would be $3,000, and the worst case $4,000.
Bedell: They can be as much as $5,000 depending on the type.