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Navien tankless water heater

Pros & Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

Are you thinking about swapping out your traditional water heater for a new tankless version? Now more than ever, we are seeing homeowners make the move for a variety of reasons. But what should you consider before moving forward?

We asked our licensed plumbers and water heater experts what their pros and cons would be, and here’s what they had to say …

Pros of a Tankless Water Heater

  • “Tankless water heaters are much smaller than your traditional tank unit. It gives homeowners more flexibility when deciding where to install it.” – Mike, Licensed Washington Plumber
  • “You’re much less likely to experience a leak from copper or stainless steel (which are used for tankless water heaters), compared to a steel tank unit that can rust and corrode over time.” – Justin, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist
  • “Most tankless water heaters have a longer manufacturer warranty. We also tend to see them last 10-20 years, as opposed to 10-15 years for a conventional model.” – Kevin, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist
  • “There’s definitely increased efficiency in terms of the energy being used, which makes them more eco-friendly. Depending on the usage, a condensing tankless water heater is up to a 97% efficiency rating compared to 60-70% for a standard tank. This certainly can save homeowners money on bills.” – Justin, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist
  • “They are much less prone to freezing. However, be aware that if it’s an external unit, and the power goes out, then they can be susceptible to freezing.” – Brian, Licensed Oregon Plumber

Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

  • “The initial investment is more expensive than your regular water heater tank. Depending on all the additional plumbing that needs to be installed, the costs can definitely start to add up.” – John, Licensed Oregon Plumber
  • “Since most home’s aren’t plumbed for a tankless water heater, there is typically quite a bit of gas line and PVC venting that needs to be installed to bring it up to state/local plumbing code.” – Chris, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist
  • “Homeowners should be aware of the term ‘cold water sandwich.’ This often occurs in most tankless water heater systems that don’t have a recirculating pump. What happens is you get an initial flow of hot water that is immediately followed by cold water, and then back to hot water.” – Justin, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist
  • “Be prepared for some altered usage patterns. With a traditional water heater, you can turn the water on and off and get hot water instantly. If you have a tankless system and no recirculation pump, it will take longer for the hot water to reach the fixture. For instance, if you’re hand washing the dishes, you typically will need to leave the water running instead.” – Justin, Service Professional & Water Heater Specialist

Plumbing Maintenance

Conventional Water Heater Tank – At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we recommend an annual inspection that includes flushing the water heater to remove sediment or scale build up. During this inspection we’ll also look for any signs of rust or corrosion, make sure it’s up to local and state plumbing code, and check out the expansion tank – if there is one.

Tankless Water Heater – A professional routine inspection will help ensure your water heater is in proper condition and allow you to pro-actively address any maintenance needs. Our experts will test the pressure relief valve, checking for any signs of leaks or corrosion and provide a thorough diagnosis. The biggest mistake we see in tankless systems is when galvanized fittings are used. We recommend replacing those because they are less durable and more prone to break. Descaling the water heater is another maintenance task that we suggest. Follow the manufacturers recommendations for how often descaling is needed. If you are uncertain how to do this, or would prefer to have an expert provide maintenance, call Mr. Rooter Plumbing and we’d be happy to schedule service – any time, any day!

Ultimately, both versions of water heaters come with pros and cons. Converting to a tankless water heater has benefits, but it depends on what matters most to the homeowner. If you have any questions or would like an assessment of your current plumbing system, contact us today. There’s no extra charge for night or weekend service. Our locally dispatched plumbers arrive quickly, and recommend the best solution for a long-term fix, at the best value!

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