Advantages and Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Purchasing a new water heater can be a daunting task for your wallet.  If you're considering making the switch to tankless water heaters, you should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages.


  • Most units come with a federal tax rebate of $300.
  • They only need enough power to heat the amount of water necessary at any given moment.
  • They have no standby heat loss.
  • Smaller units can be installed under cabinets or in small spaces, closer to where it’s being used.
  • Tankless units take up less space and can be installed on walls or outdoors.
  • You can reduce your water heating bill as much as 20 percent.
  • There is no possibility of flooding due to a ruptured tank.
  • They last 5 to 10 years longer than tank heaters and never run out of hot water.


  • Tankless units cost up to 3 times as much as a tank water heater.
  • Your hot water output is shared among all your household fixtures.
  • You may need to add a larger natural gas line to supply the unit with enough fuel.
  • Gas and propane units require expensive stainless steel tubing.
  • Electric tankless units may require additional circuits.
  • Some units do produce lag time that can require water to be running to heat the water.
  • Tankless units do require annual maintenance that can be expensive.

If you are shopping for a new water heater and need to know if switching to a tankless unit is the right choice, compare the yellow “Energy Guide” stickers on your current water heater and the tankless water heater model that you are considering.  This will give you an idea of how your current unit compares to the unit you are shopping and if it will save you money in the long run.  Consider all the factors above and the fact that a tank heater will need to be replaced in about 10 years and a tankless unit will last roughly 15-20 years and make your decision.

Mike Wilson Plumbing is here to help with purchasing, installation and questions regarding tankless water heaters.  Give us a call today at (804) 641-6570!

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