Tankless Water Heaters

November 04, 2014 - Benjamin Dowson

Traditionally, water heaters were tanks that hold and heat water that was to be distributed throughout the house. But more recently a new breed of water heaters is gaining popularity: the tankless water heater!

Tankless water heaters are high powered water heaters that heat water as it flows through it. Unlike a storage water heater system, tankless water heaters do not hold any water. This means that there is no need to constantly re-heat water as it is used as it gives you hot water “on-demand”. In other words, you only heat the water as you need it.

In theory, it seems like a tankless water heater can save you a lot of money, but the reality is unfortunately very different.
The major downside to a tankless water heater is the initial installation cost, which can be 2-4x more expensive than a traditional water heater! The reason for this is that most houses have plumbing in place that is not compatible with a tankless water heater system, so to switch to a tankless water tank system would require replacing of piping and even adding electrical installations (if the tankless water heater is electrically powered).

Another disadvantage of having a tankless water heater in Alberta (or any area where the water has a large amount of minerals) is that they need to be serviced far more often than a regular water heater.

Every time a water heater is fired up, it contributes to the calcification of the piping of the water heater. In a regular 40 gallon water heater, this isn’t a big issue because the tank is so large. In a tankless water heater however, the pipe that the water flows through is so narrow that even the smallest amount of calcification can cause it to clog.

This means that the tankless water heaters need to be cleaned with an acid wash about once a year, which contributes to the expense of having a tankless water heater.

The difference between water usage on your water bill between a tankless and regular water heater is very small, and in our opinion it is not worth the extra expenses of installing and maintaining.