Are Tankless Water Heaters Right for You?

Are Tankless Water Heaters Right for You?

Tankless Water Heaters – Have you ever waited impatiently for your water to heat up only to be disappointed by lukewarm temperatures? This common frustration prompts many homeowners to consider upgrading to a tankless water heater. But is a tankless water heater the right choice for your home? Let’s delve into the details of whole-house tankless water heaters and find out.


Tankless Water Heaters.

Photo from iStock – Credit: Oleh Strus

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater, heats water directly without using a storage tank.  When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, where either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. 

This method guarantees a continuous supply of hot water, removing the need to wait for a storage tank to refill. This modern approach to water heating can be a game-changer for households looking for efficiency and convenience.


How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Unlike traditional water heaters that continuously maintain a reserve of hot water, a tankless water heater only heats water as needed. This is achieved through high-powered burners that quickly heat water as it passes through the unit. 

As a result, the water reaches the desired temperature almost instantly, providing hot water on demand. This mechanism can significantly reduce energy consumption compared to traditional models, which continuously use energy to keep a tank of water hot.


Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Endless Hot Water

One of the most significant advantages of a tankless water heater is the endless supply of hot water. Whether you have a large family or enjoy long showers, you’ll never run out of hot water. 

This feature is especially beneficial in places like Texas, where hot showers are a daily necessity. The ability to have a continuous flow of hot water means no more scheduling showers around water heater recovery times or experiencing cold showers.

Energy Efficiency

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters because they heat water only when needed, avoiding the standby heat loss that occurs with storage tanks. 

This efficiency can result in substantial savings on your energy bills over time.  The U.S. Department of Energy states that tankless water heaters can be 24-34% more energy-efficient for households that use 41 gallons or less of hot water per day. This translates to lower utility bills and a smaller environmental footprint.

Space Saving

Without the need for a large storage tank, tankless water heaters are compact and can be installed in various locations. This space-saving feature is ideal for smaller homes or apartments where every square foot counts. 

They can be mounted on walls or installed in tight spaces, freeing up room for other uses. In urban areas or homes with limited space, this can be a substantial benefit, making it easier to fit into your existing layout.

Longer Lifespan

Tankless water heaters usually have a longer lifespan than traditional tank water heaters. With proper maintenance, a tankless unit can last up to 20 years or more, whereas a conventional tank heater typically lasts 10-15 years. 

This longevity can translate into cost savings over time, as you won’t need to replace the unit as frequently. Investing in a tankless water heater can be a long-term solution that pays off through durability and reduced replacement costs.

Environmental Benefits

By using less energy and reducing standby heat loss, tankless water heaters are a more environmentally friendly option. They help reduce your home’s carbon footprint, contributing to a greener planet. 

Additionally, fewer materials are needed for manufacturing and disposing of large metal tanks, further decreasing their environmental impact. Choosing a tankless water heater aligns with a commitment to sustainability and responsible resource use.

 Improved Water Quality

Tankless water heaters can provide better water quality compared to traditional tank heaters. Since water is not stored in a tank, there is less risk of rust and scale buildup, which can occur in storage tanks over time. 

This means the water coming from a tankless system is often cleaner and fresher. For households concerned about water quality, this can be an important advantage, ensuring you have access to clean, hot water whenever you need it.


Flexibility and Convenience

Tankless water heaters offer greater flexibility in installation and use. They can be installed in various locations, including closer to points of use, which can reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach your tap. 

Some models come with advanced features like remote control operation and precise temperature settings, adding to their convenience. This flexibility makes them suitable for a wide range of home configurations and personal preferences, enhancing overall comfort and ease of use.


Considerations Before Installing a Tankless Water Heater

Initial Cost

The initial investment for a tankless water heater is higher compared to a traditional water heater.This encompasses the cost of the unit itself and the installation, which can be more complex and may require professional expertise. 

However, the long-term energy savings and extended lifespan can offset this initial expense, making it a cost-effective investment over time. Additionally, some regions offer rebates or incentives for upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances, which can help reduce the initial financial burden.

Installation Requirements

Installing a tankless water heater can be more complicated than installing a traditional water heater. It may require upgrading your home’s electrical system or gas lines to accommodate the new unit’s demands, which can add to the overall cost. 

Proper ventilation is also necessary for gas models to ensure safety and efficiency. It is crucial to hire a licensed professional to handle the installation, ensuring that all local codes and safety standards are met.

Flow Rate Limitations

Tankless water heaters have a limited flow rate, which means they might have difficulty supplying hot water to multiple fixtures simultaneously. It is important to choose a unit that matches your household’s hot water needs, considering the peak usage times. 

For larger households, multiple units or a higher-capacity model may be necessary to ensure a consistent supply of hot water. Consulting with a professional can help you determine the best solution for your specific needs.


Choosing the Right Tankless Water Heater

Sizing Your Unit

Selecting the appropriate size tankless water heater is essential for meeting your household’s hot water needs. Units are rated by their maximum flow rate, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). 

To determine the right size, calculate your peak hot water demand by adding up the GPM of all the fixtures you expect to use simultaneously. For example, a shower might use 2.5 GPM, while a dishwasher uses 1.5 GPM. Adding these together will give you a better idea of the capacity you need to ensure consistent hot water flow.


Fuel Type

Tankless water heaters can operate on electricity, natural gas, or propane, each with its own advantages and considerations:

  • Electric Tankless Water Heaters: These are easier to install and don’t require venting. However, they may not be as powerful as gas units and can increase your electric bill, especially during peak usage times.
  • Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters: These are more powerful and efficient but require proper venting and a gas line, which might require additional installation work.
  • Propane Tankless Water Heaters: These are similar to natural gas units but are an excellent option for homes without access to natural gas, providing flexibility in installation locations.


Efficiency Ratings

When choosing a tankless water heater, look for units with high energy efficiency ratings. The Energy Factor (EF) measures a unit’s efficiency, with higher numbers indicating better performance. 

Investing in a high-efficiency unit can lead to greater energy savings over time, making it a smart choice for both your wallet and the environment. 

Additionally, consider models that are ENERGY STAR® certified, as these meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Brand and Warranty

Look for reputable brands recognized for their reliability and customer support. Researching customer reviews and expert opinions can provide insights into the best models on the market. 

Additionally, check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A longer warranty can provide peace of mind and protect your investment, covering potential repairs or replacements that may be needed in the future.


Installation Process

Professional Assessment

Before installation, a professional assessment is necessary to determine the best location for your tankless water heater and to identify any necessary upgrades to your home’s electrical or gas systems. 

This assessment ensures that the unit will be installed in a spot that maximizes efficiency and meets all safety requirements. The professional can also provide a detailed estimate of the installation costs and any additional work needed.



Professional installation is recommended to ensure the unit is installed correctly and safely. This includes proper venting for gas models and adequate electrical capacity for electric models. The installation process may involve modifications to your plumbing and electrical systems to accommodate the new unit, so it is essential to use a qualified installer to avoid potential issues.



After installation, the system should be thoroughly tested to ensure it is functioning correctly and providing an adequate supply of hot water. The installer will check for leaks, proper water pressure, and correct operation of the heating elements. This final step is crucial to ensure that the system is safe and ready for use, providing you with peace of mind and confidence in your new investment.


Maintenance Tips for Tankless Water Heaters

Regular Descaling: Tankless water heaters can accumulate mineral buildup over time, especially in areas with hard water. Regular descaling, typically once a year, helps maintain efficiency and prolongs the unit’s lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for descaling or hire a professional for this task.

Checking Filters and Vents: Ensure that the air intake filters and vents are clean and free of obstructions. Dirty filters and blocked vents can reduce the efficiency and performance of your tankless water heater. Regularly inspect and clean these components to keep your unit running smoothly.

Professional Maintenance: Schedule regular maintenance with a professional plumber or technician to inspect your tankless water heater. They can check for any potential issues, perform necessary maintenance tasks, and ensure the unit is operating at peak efficiency.

In Texas, where the climate can range from scorching summers to mild winters, having a reliable hot water supply is essential. Tankless water heaters are particularly beneficial in areas like Arlington, TX, and surrounding cities, where energy efficiency and space savings are highly valued.


Natural gas Tankless Water Heaters in the boiler room

Photo from iStock – Credit: Evgen_Prozhyrko

Comparing Tankless Water Heaters to Traditional Water Heaters

Efficiency and Performance

When comparing tankless water heaters to traditional water heaters, the efficiency and performance differences are significant. Traditional water heaters continuously heat and store a large volume of water, leading to higher energy consumption and potential heat loss. In contrast, tankless water heaters heat water only when needed, leading to greater efficiency and reduced energy bills.


Cost Considerations

While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is higher, the long-term savings can be substantial. Traditional water heaters have lower initial costs but tend to have shorter lifespans and higher operating costs due to continuous energy consumption. Tankless units, with their longer lifespans and lower operating costs, can provide better value over time.


Space and Installation

The installation process and space requirements for tankless water heaters are different from traditional units. Traditional water heaters require significant space for the storage tank, while tankless units are more compact and can be installed in various locations. However, the installation of tankless water heaters may require upgrades to your home’s electrical or gas systems, adding to the initial cost.


Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Deciding whether a tankless water heater is right for your home involves evaluating your hot water needs, assessing your home’s infrastructure, and considering the long-term savings. While the initial cost may be higher, the benefits of energy efficiency, endless hot water, and space savings make tankless water heaters an attractive option for many homeowners in Arlington, TX, and surrounding cities.


Upgrade to Efficiency with Tioga Plumbing & Electric!

Are you ready to switch to a tankless water heater? Tioga Plumbing & Electric is here to help! Our team of experts can guide you through the process, from choosing the right unit to professional installation and maintenance. 

We pride ourselves on providing top-notch customer service and ensuring your satisfaction with every project. Don’t wait—contact us today to experience the benefits of a tankless water heater for yourself. 

Call us now or visit our website to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a more efficient and comfortable home. Enjoy endless hot water and energy savings with Tioga Plumbing & Electric!



How does a tankless water heater differ from a traditional water heater?

A tankless water heater heats water directly on demand without using a storage tank, providing continuous hot water. Traditional water heaters store hot water in a tank, which can run out and cause standby heat loss. Tankless units are more energy-efficient and compact.


What are the main benefits of a tankless water heater?

A tankless water heater provides endless hot water, greater energy efficiency, and space savings. They typically last up to 20 years or more with proper maintenance. Additionally, they reduce your home’s carbon footprint by using less energy.


Are there any downsides to installing a tankless water heater?

The upfront cost of a tankless water heater and its installation is higher than that of traditional models. Installation might require upgrading your electrical or gas lines. Additionally, they have a limited flow rate, which can impact multiple fixtures operating at the same time.


How do I choose the right size tankless water heater for my home?

Calculate your peak hot water demand by adding the flow rates (GPM) of all fixtures you expect to use simultaneously. Choose a unit that meets or exceeds this total GPM. Consult with a professional to ensure you select the correct size.


What maintenance does a tankless water heater require?

Regular descaling is essential to prevent mineral buildup, particularly in areas with hard water. It’s also important to check and clean air intake filters and vents to maintain efficiency. Schedule annual professional maintenance to ensure the optimal performance of your tankless water heater.


Can a tankless water heater be installed in any home?

While a tankless water heater can be installed in most homes, some older homes may require upgrades to electrical or gas lines to accommodate the unit. It’s essential to have a professional assess your home’s infrastructure before installation. Proper ventilation and access to utilities are also necessary for optimal operation.


Are tankless water heaters suitable for large households?

A Tankless water heater can be suitable for large households, but it’s crucial to choose a unit with a high enough flow rate to meet peak hot water demands. In some cases, installing multiple units may be necessary to ensure a consistent hot water supply. Consulting with a professional can help determine the best solution for your household’s needs.