Any thoughts on Tankless electric water heaters?

B.G.O. of Kentucky

12 pointer
Nov 19, 2002
2,108
Louisville, Ky, USA.
We had an accepted offer on our "Dream House" and it needs a water heater. No gas option, only electric. But wondering about the tankless ones. Wondering if anyone has had experience with em?

Thanks in advance!
 

Manhattan

8 pointer
Jan 11, 2011
716
Grayson KY.
We had an accepted offer on our "Dream House" and it needs a water heater. No gas option, only electric. But wondering about the tankless ones. Wondering if anyone has had experience with em?

Thanks in advance!

B.G.O. They are very energy efficent....They only power up on demand....That +1 for them..
See what others here think..
 

quackrstackr

Welcome to Fantasy Island
Staff member
Nov 19, 2003
24,086
The Island
2x the cost up front and not all of them are energy efficient. Some of them are actually less efficient than the old standard tank. Also, most are low gpm so you will likely need more than one if you ever plan on running more than one faucet at a time. It also takes longer for the water at the faucet to come up to temp than with a standard unit so water use is actually less efficient.

I looked at them last month when I had to replace mine. I opted for another good ol' tank unit.
 

300winmag

12 pointer
Sep 1, 2009
2,923
Taylorsville
I second what Quackr said, my Dad has been a master plumber for 40 years and everything he said is true. They can't heat water fast enough for a high demand although the gas ones do a better job than the electric. They also leak over time just like one with a tank does.
 

HUNTZVT

12 pointer
Nov 2, 2009
3,316
Exiled to West Virginia
We looked at the tankless and came to the same conclusion as some of the other guys here. It seemed to be an okay deal for a getaway cabin, barn, or (in our case) meat-house, where you wouldn't need alot of hot water. Didn't seem like it would work as well in a home where you've got a family that needs a larger amount of hot water on daily basis.
 

ptbrauch

12 pointer
Nov 10, 2004
11,024
The OC
I think theres some confusion with the different types of tankless heaters. There are whole house kind where you have to have a certain water flow before they kick in. So getting a low flow is not a problem, but if you want just a little bit of hot water, you'll have to open the faucet all the way first to get it hot. And if enough hot water is used at once, you'll exceed its capabilities, though you can size them for your general needs. But generally, these are all gas heated.

Then there's also the point of use heaters. These would be installed say, directly under a sink. Some of these may result in lower flow because it takes longer to get the water hot. These are usually electric heated.
 

Buford

12 pointer
Mar 15, 2006
4,004
Zone 1 bachelor heaven
I have one. Get ready for the copper bill. Takes alot of wire to put one in.
It's great 9 months a year. The other 3 I have to run a gas unit in line with it to get it hot enough.
Fail.
 

smashdn

12 pointer
Nov 24, 2003
9,377
Palmyra, Kentucky
Find a hybrid water heater. A very small tank, like 2 gallons, and then the instant heat. Solves the problem of having to heat 40 some-odd gallons all the time and the problem of the burst of cold water you will get with a true tank-less.

Foam pipe insulation on all your hot water lines. That alone made a world of difference in my old house.
 

B.G.O. of Kentucky

12 pointer
Nov 19, 2002
2,108
Louisville, Ky, USA.
Thanks for the input, I think the wife has ruled against them lol. Plus I take super hot showers in the winter.

House had water heater and both heat pumps stolen. Looks like around $8500 or so for those. Freaken copper thieves. Can't wait to close and set my trail cams out though!
 

JDMiller

12 pointer
Jun 12, 2005
10,838
" Between the Rivers "
2x the cost up front and not all of them are energy efficient. Some of them are actually less efficient than the old standard tank. Also, most are low gpm so you will likely need more than one if you ever plan on running more than one faucet at a time. It also takes longer for the water at the faucet to come up to temp than with a standard unit so water use is actually less efficient.

I looked at them last month when I had to replace mine. I opted for another good ol' tank unit.

I second what Quackr said, my Dad has been a master plumber for 40 years and everything he said is true. They can't heat water fast enough for a high demand although the gas ones do a better job than the electric. They also leak over time just like one with a tank does.



I am a master plumber and agree whole heartedly with the above posters.

The up front cost of the unit & installation.... sized large enough for a whole house is just one of the drawbacks. Also as mentioned...wiring required on some of tankless units is suggested at #8 ...which basically your talking a seperate circut all the way back to the panel...equating into additional cost.

If you consider a 50 gallon electric water heater from a reputable manufacture is less than $300.....and on average with city / municipal water....life expectantcy is going to range from 10-15 years in most circumstances. A electric whole-house instantaneous / tankless can run upwards in the $1200-$1500 and life expectancy at this time is variable but suggested at the 8-10 year range...if properly maintained.

Otherwords...you can buy up to 5 electric water heaters spanning 50 years(10 year average)....before you front the cost of one tankless whole house water heater.

Also.... the last KY Div. of Plumbing code update session I attended last year for my license CEU's ....it was a direct push to inform the homeowners that the internal coils must be flushed with a vinegar solution once a year to maintain the warranty from most manufactures. If not...you void the warranty and a calcium like build-up..soon effects the heat exchange and the units loose effiency & capabillity.

Which ...as a plumber....code now requires us to put in the valves & connections to back flush to even pass inspection.

Another concern out of that meeting...units sized improperly upfront..... the solution from the manufactuer...install a tank type water heater in line ...in conjunction with the tankless. Which would give you more reserve...and the water entering the tankless would already be heated....so the tankless heating range...would'nt have to work as hard. Which really makes you ask...whats the point???

However....tankless are not new... the oldest I ever seen was a steam fired unit at Wells Hall at MSU...it dated back to the 40's. On that note Europe has used them for years...but rarely a whole house. Their used at each individual bathroom...or kitchen..laundry ect. A typical house may have as many as 3 installed to produce enough capacity for a family.

Their just being pushed for effiency in the US...and for uses / circumstances not intended. Which...there may be some definite advantages in the future... but as it stands now... I personally would'nt suggest one.
 

daking

12 pointer
Dec 29, 2004
2,604
Or like one Irish plumber said to another in the pub about a tight space for his plumbing, lordy me, it's a tankless job, it is!
 


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