If you’re considering upgrading to a tankless water heater or purchasing one for an RV, you’re likely already aware of the numerous benefits over the traditional storage-tank model.
For one thing, tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type water heaters, are more energy efficient because there is no heat loss from standing water. Thus with no cumbersome tank of water, tankless water heaters are much smaller, and have less risk of spillage, avoiding potentially thousands of dollars in property damage.
Of course, the most compelling benefit is the comfort factor. Nothing is worse than needing a nice hot shower on a cold morning only to realize your water is only lukewarm and getting colder. Now you’ll have to wait another hour or two for your shower, and all because your water heater from the 1990’s has to refill.
But before you rush to purchase your own ticket to heating water in the 21st century, there are a few key things you’ll want to consider before bringing your own tankless water heater home and what criteria to use when selecting the right model:
You will want to have at least a ballpark figure of your water usage before you begin shopping for a tankless water heater. Here is a quick reference for basic water-consumption of appliances:
- Toilet: ½ – gallons per minute
- Bathtub: 2 – 4 gallons per minute
- Shower: 1 ½ – 3 gallons per minute
- Kitchen Sink: 1 – ½ gallons per minute
- Dishwasher: 1 – 3 gallons per minute
When choosing a regular water heater, you might need to consider how often you might use these appliances in one day, however with a tankless water heater, the more important question is how often you think you might use multiple appliances all at once. Tankless water heaters can provide on-demand heating of water anywhere from two gallons a minute to an incredible six gallons per minute, depending on the model.
While one of the benefits to a tankless water heater is that there is less storage space required, you still want to make sure you have chosen an area for it that can be easily connected You can install your tankless water heater to the outside of your house or RV as well. Even if you live in an area that regularly drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit or you are attaching your tankless water heater to a recreational vehicle sometimes parked in freezing climates, all you need is an anti-freeze kit that attaches onto your unit. Making sure your install location is important, as there may be certain codes or regulations regarding ventilation.
Cost & Rebates
Of course when considering what model to buy, or whether to upgrade at all, it’s important to consider your unique needs and financial situation. A tankless water heater may cost slightly more than repairing your current water heater, however you need to factor in the long-term savings in energy costs.
When you are ready to purchase, don’t forget to check if there are any tax credits or rebates in your state. You can get up to $300 from the federal government alone for a gas-powered tankless water heater if it meets efficiency requirements.
Electric or Gas
Depending on where you live and what electric grid you are on, either a gas or electric hookup may be cheaper or more expensive. Gas-powered tankless water heaters are on average less expensive per unit and have slightly higher flow rates.
While some tankless water heaters come with electric hookups, many find that propane-powered versions are an easier installation, and that occasionally having to replace the propane is well-worth the increased rate of flow in gas units. This is because even though tankless water-heaters provide more reliable on-demand heating, they can still be stretched too far (especially the electric variety) if you are running multiple showers, laundry, and dishwasher all at the same time.
While we all wish we were a little bit handier, for those less mechanically inclined, a tankless water heater is a much simpler appliance to maintain than a giant, pilot-lit tank of water. When purchasing a tankless water heater, make sure you go with one that has a display you know you’ll be able to operate.
If you need hot water for a shower in your RV, you may be able to avoid purchasing an entire home system. Many find that a simple portable tankless water heater can make make all the difference at a fraction of the cost.
Your Peace of Mind
So whether you’re looking to heat your RV, make your family stop fighting over showers, lower your monthly bills, or you just want to be a little more energy efficient in your daily life, check out a tankless water heater that’s right for your life.