Converting your traditional tank style water heater to a tankless or "on demand" variety can be a fantastic investment in energy savings and comfort for your home if you need a new water heater anyways.
Tankless water heaters today range in cost from a few hundred dollars up to over $2K depending on the manufacturer, size and performance characteristics of the unit.
- A tankless unit should be sized to the maximum demand that it will be under which you can calculate easily by taking the number of fixtures that use hot water and multiply by their flow rate (in gallons per minute) and that will be your maximum hot water demand.
- All tankless water heaters are flow rated in gallons per minute so all you need to do is ensure that you choose a unit that can handle your maximum anticipated demand.
We like Takagi
We really like Takagi tankless water heaters which tend to be on the pricier side but as with most mechanical systems the extra money is worth it in enhanced performance, efficiency and longevity.
The units are in the 80%-90% efficiency range, come in a variety of sizes and can be installed on the exterior of the house which means the space that your old tank water heater took up is now useable space which in California is likely worth a lot more than a new tankless water heater!
You can compare Takagi tankless units here.
Check your gas line
One last thing that you do need to consider when looking at installing a new tankless water heater is your gas line.
- First, you have to run a gas line to wherever you are going to mount the unit which in most cases will be an exterior wall in close proximity to the most highly used water fixtures.
- The line for these units needs to be 3/4" rather than the standard 1/2 " which means running a new dedicated line from the meter and if your meter cannot facilitate a 3/4" line then you have to get a new meter.
These issues alone can cost hundreds of dollars so I suggest you have a reputable plumber who installs tankless units regularly come out and tell you what you will need to facilitate the unit that you want to get.
In our experience replacing a traditional water heater with a tankless unit can cost anywhere between $1,500-$2,500 depending on the variables I mentioned above as well as the unit that you buy.
For more information:
Read our tankless tips article "9 Best Practices for Choosing and Installing a Tankless Water Heater."