Do Tankless Water Heaters Save Money?

hand adjusting temperature dial on tankless water heater
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Yes, tankless water heaters save you money in the long run. The install of a tankless water heater, though, costs more money upfront. On average, you can expect to save around a hundred dollars a year when using a tankless water heater. Over the course of roughly twenty years, your tankless water heater can actually pay for itself in energy savings.

Whether you're building a new home or looking to update your current one, deciding whether or not to get a tankless water heater is important. There are a few basics you should know when making the choice, and the price isn't the only factor you should consider.

tankless water heater on a wall with pipe connections

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater — sometimes called an instant-on water heater or an inline water heater — is a water heater that heats water as it comes through the device. It doesn't hold water in a tank like a traditional water heater. Tank water heaters work by holding large amounts of heated water in a tank, while tankless heaters pull water through the device and heat it instantly as it passes.

Tankless water heaters have a lifespan of over 20 years and are considered to be very safe.

tankless water heater on a shower wall

The Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

One of the big benefits of a tankless water heater is that it supplies endless hot water. If you're sharing your space with many other people who also like to take hot showers in the morning, a traditional heater may not cut it. Because a tankless heater can supply endless hot water, everyone can shower around the same time, and you can still have the hot water your need for the dishwasher or laundry machine.

Tankless heaters also boast a longer lifespan. If you don't love the idea of having to replace a water heater, opt for a tankless option that lasts longer. Tankless heaters also take up less space in the home, which can be a game-changer. Especially if you need to save space in a small home or apartment, a tankless heater can give you back valuable square footage.

Another big perk of inline water heaters is that they are a lot safer. Not holding gallons and gallons of water reduces your risk of flooding in your home, and overall, these water heaters are just safer. For some insurance providers, the reduced risk of these heaters is enough to get a deduction on your homeowner's or renter's insurance.

Tankless water heaters also have no risk of exploding, which is a major win in the safety category.

tankless water heater on a wall

The Disadvantages of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters come with a hefty price tag upfront. In fact, on average, tankless water heaters are about three times as expensive as their traditional counterparts. Because they save money in the long run and cost less to operate overall, this cost eventually evens out, but it is a lot more upfront, which is definitely something to consider. The installation of these heaters is also significantly more expensive.

Another drawback of inline water heaters is that you may get inconsistent heating when you run multiple hot-water expenditures at once. This means that your water heater may fluctuate a little in your shower if you run your dishwasher at the same time.

Lastly, one big drawback to this type of heater is that you won't get any hot water during a power outage. While some other types of water heaters can get around this problem, if you're out of power, you're out of hot water with inline water heaters.

No matter what kind of water heater you decided to install, it's a big decision. Make sure you know the basics about each kind of heater before you make your choice. Because there are also options like solar water heaters, it's also good to look at those options.