What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

The Fabled Tankless Water Heater

My water heater is over 13 years old.  How much longer will it last?  If I was my own home inspection client I would say to myself, "This water heater will last another month or another 10 years.  It is truly unpredictable."  I say that to clients all the time.  It is a very accurate statement!

What are the factors that combine to age a water heater? 

1.  The size of the tank, with larger tanks retaining hot water longer. 
2.  The number of people in a house using hot water. 
3.  Washing machine habits - do you use hot or cold water to wash clothing?  More clothing, more washing, more water heater usage. 
4.  The temperature of the water.  Obviously the hotter the water the more often the unit reignites to heat water, wearing it out more quickly. 
5.  How often you drain the gunk from the bottom.  Manufacturers say to do it every year.  Plumbers say not to, because the draining mechanism is mostly plastic and can break if you aren't careful.  SUCH PREMATURE BREAKAGE MIGHT BE WHY MANUFACTURERS SAY TO DO IT EVERY YEAR!!  Hmmm...  There, now you see just HOW JADED I have become in my old age!
6.  How often you have the burner cleaned, if it is a gas unit.

So, if I am my client and thinking my water heater might possibly blow up in the next month, I should think ahead.  What about the fabled tankless water heater?  I hear the commercials all the time about all the money I will save. 

So I looked into it.

We have a gas water heater now.  I like gas.  It is cheaper in the long run and I would continue with gas.

My research sent me to one of the most popular tankless water heater sites, and I selected the gas model I would buy.  It wasn't the smallest and cheapest or the "ultra," as they call it.

I chose the one in the middle.  It has the right BTUs, 9.4 gallon flow per minute, fits nicely where I would want it, and would connect easily to my existing exhaust stack.  Just like Goldilocks, it is just right.

Getting my gas bill, I went to their website "Savings Calculator."

Their site has an average gas BTU cost of $1.38 per.  That's interesting, because my gas bill says my Distribution Charge and Supply Service Charge (different amounts per BTU) average $.64460 per BTU.  SO MY BTU COST IS MUCH LESS THAN THE WEBSITE'S COST.  That isn't as much to their advantage...

Their website calculator says that given all the parameters and costs put into the formula I will save $48 per year, which is probably true.  That's a whopping, WHOPPING, $4 per month!

And that's using their Savings Calculator!  Remember, I'm jaded.  I imagine that calculator to be a bit like the EPA's calculation of my car's gas mileage.  I have never gotten the mileage they say I will!  But I digress!

Contacting my plumber, who actually installs this particular website's brand (!), I am told that the unit I have selected, will cost me $4700 installed, unless they run into anything "unusual." 

A new "regular" water heater, the same size I have now, and same brand, would cost me, on sale, $1800.  Subtracting that from this tankless installation cost,    $4700 - $1800 = $2900. 

SO, FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF INSTALLING THE FABLED TANKLESS WATER HEATER, I AM PAYING A PREMIUM OF $2900!  And that is a conservative figure.  It uses their formula and a water heater's cost when on sale.

Let's see.  They tell me that I will save $48 per year.  $48 goes into $2900 how many times?  60.42

So given my annual savings, I will break even in sixty years!  Woo-ooo-ooo-ooo-hoo!  This manufacturer says that the heater I have selected offers me  " peace of mind with an industry-leading 12-year limited warranty on the heat exchanger. "  But, if I call now, cause they can't do this all day, I can purchase an additional 5 year limited warranty, but they don't tell me how much that is.

EVEN WITH THIS MARVELOUS ADDITIONAL WARRANTY, I AM GOING TO BET MY NEW LITTLE UNIT WILL NOT LAST 60 YEARS.  PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME, WHAT IS MY SAVINGS?

Here is the other rub.  People I know who have the tankless water heaters say they needed to put in two to satisfy their hot water needs.  Really?  Two!  I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm going to live long enough to break even on one, much less two!!

One more point - they break down often and are really expensive to repair.  Keep that in mind too!

My recommendation:  and remember, I am my own client here -- My Recommendation:  Stick with the old school water heater and you will still be saving money after the next 3 or maybe 4 "regular" water heater installations!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 145 commentsJay Markanich • May 15 2011 07:54AM

Comments

"SO, FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF INSTALLING THE FABLED TANKLESS WATER HEATER, I AM PAYING A PREMIUM OF $2900!"

Yikes!  All too often it would takes years to recover the cost to save money.  Nice work on this one Jay.  :)

Posted by Joe Lane Richland, WA Realtor, 509.438.9344 www.LaneRealEstateTeam.com (Kennewick Richland (and West) Pasco WA Homes For Sale) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I put in a Rinnai Tankless hot water heater in 2010 when i got like $1500 in rebates from playing my cards right...it cost me a net of $500 otherwise I'd never had done it!  I've done blogs on my savings which if they amounted to 10% of my former hot water costs that was huge...I was interested in not having a flood in my basement too...but i agree stick with the big tank right now for cost purposes...great post!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Jay, there is one thing I know... you won't be selling those anytime in the near future, LOL. Yep, I have to agree with you.

Rather like my dad, who would drive miles to save a few pennies on something. He ran out of gas one time, and oh boy did it cost him, LOL.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 8 years ago

Joe - to me green means mo' money.  It is never different!

Ginny - I heard nothing about a rebate, but if I got yours my breakeven would still be 30 years.  Interestingly, my plumber told me to be sure to calculate the savings and I would be surprised!

Andrea - I will combine trips, but not drive to save pennies!  And you are right, I won't be promoting those to my clients, especially me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

We have been considering the switch for a few years now but haven't wanted to spend the cash, especially since our traditional unit is still working.  Installation in this area is about 15% of what you were going to be charged so it's an option we'll consider down the road.

Congrats on the feature Jay, well deserved.

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) almost 8 years ago

I have a tankless, as it was standard with my builder, and I HATE it. It takes a good two minutes for the water to heat up so I sit there and waste water until it is hot enough to take a shower.

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, we just went through this dilemma and in the end went with a regular water heater.  Up here, the tankless water heater was going to cost $4,000 give or take installed.  The low savings didn't make it worth it, we can change the regular tank every 8-10 years and still be ahead.
As an Agent Jay, we do have to say as your opening line states, "it may last a month or 10 years", is not a fair statement, it may be true but Buyers only hear "a month", which does not help when putting the deal together. 

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Congrats on the feature. I will probably be one of the last to jump on the tankless water heater bandwagon. The ROI just isn't there...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

Sounds like a perfect description of "caveat emptor,"... let the buyer beware.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

I recently closed on a new home in Calvert County that came with the tankless water heater.  That's a first for me. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Yes, I'm confused, too.  Where are the savings?  Cpngrats on a well deserved feature.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I have thought the same ever sense I first say the price tag on the new tank-less units. I'm amazed how many young first time home owners insist that this is going to be their first improvement. I always let them know that I think it's a waste of money but I don't push it because it's not a good idea to call your customer ignorant.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

I think I could have one installed for less.  But my new conventional model didn't cost $1800, either.

And, the tank model we replaced was 17 years old, without ever having drained the sediment.

And it is always a good exercise to cypher out the details.  After looking at it, we decided that the ROI for going tankless is just not there.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Anita.  As you say, you have to calculate the ROI.

Shannon - I have heard that before.  My regular water heater takes a while for the water to get to my bathroom also (third floor), but that is pushing the cold water out of the pipe.

Al and Peggy - that's probably a pretty good calculation!  And as to fair or unfair, I think it is neither.  It is merely my head's up to the buyer that they are buying what they are buying.  Any older appliance can go out at any time!  We have had to replace every single appliance in our kitchen!  Things just don't last, probably intentionally.

I wouldn't jump Michael, but it is up to you.  Jump softly, but carry a big stick.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Richard - everything requires some calculation.  That is the very definition of "education!"  And getting jaded with age...

I have seen them too, Lenn, and on new construction it is probably a better deal because it is amortized.  But still, you have that premium to deal with, ESPECIALLY from a builder!

No know Debbie.  I was a little surprised at how little savings it is.  But, the commercials are true, there are monthly savings.  But the commercial is geared toward short-term thinking.  But as a marketing expert, you already know that!

Bob - some people want to be on that bandwagon that says they are "saving the planet."  It is very important to them to be part of an "important group," however incorrect.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Mike - that's always the bottom line, isn't it!  And we usually wait for holiday sales to make our larger purchases.  We need a new wall oven!  Waiting for Memorial Day!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

When Chip and I were going to move into new construction, I explored the tankless option.  As green as I am (Prius driver), I couldn't justify the outrageous costs - worse 5 years ago when the tankless was more unusual.

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) almost 8 years ago

You fail to mention there are times when a tankless water heater is the best option:

  • Older homes that were designed with water heater closets that only accommodate smaller heaters than current capacity requires,
  • Point-of-use locations further than practicle due to expansion of the structure or poor design,
  • Locations with high water usage charges that encourage minimal "warm-up" time for water to flow warm/hot,
  • Properties that require minimal hot water (second homes, recreational farm/ranch dwellings, commercial properties with minimal hot water needs), and chose not to waste money on continual heated water during long, unused times,

These are just a few examples of suituations that tankless water heaters may make sense.  As proferssionals, we need to remember to identify our clients true needs before we offer competent, professional guidance and consultation.

Posted by Jim Smith, Broker,CRS,GRI,RMP,CNE,TRLP (The Property Management Company) almost 8 years ago

Irene - the bottom line is everything!  And I just sold my 6 year old hybrid because my mechanic warned me about the batteries.

Jim - if you have to install one you have to, but in none of your examples would you derive any savings!  And what in the world did people do in the last century before the tankless came out?  And as a professional I ALWAYS offer competent, professional guidance and consultation!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

What a timely post.  I was just considering having installed a tankless water heater.  Our local power company is offering incentives for installation.  Your post raises lots of questions.  Thanks for posting.

Posted by Joye Hollis Ridgeway, - Homes, Land, Investment, Commercial (AgentOwned Realty, Charleston SC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I replaced my hot water heater a little over a year ago. I was sorry I didn't look into the tankless water heater. After reading this post, I'm glad I made the right choice. Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, I've looked into "tankless" and the cost far outweighed the savings.

Not for me at this point.

Clint

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Jay.  As always, excellent analysis.

In an effort to  be more energy efficient, hence thinking from a "green" perspective, many consumers will look for ways to reach that "green" goal.  However, for this goal to become realistic for most people, the ROI has to make sense.  In this instance, it doesn't.

Perhaps as technology improves and demand increases, the cost differential will tighten and the ROI will make sense.

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, I have had two regular tank (gas) water heaters in the 17 years I've owned my home, located in my garage.  Both burst and flooded back into my house, damaging the walls, cabinets and flooring of my master bathroom which is on the other side of the wall from the garage.  After the 2nd one blew, I looked into the options to replace, and learned they were having a tax credit on the tankless water heaters.  The tax credit made it very close in price to a new tank water heater, so I went for it.  I must admit, I was a bit gunshy about having another big tank out there again!  I've had the tankless for about a year and a half (just one unit), and so far I don't have any complaints.

Posted by David J. Bell, REALTOR® , e-PRO , CHSA, CEA (Munguia Group (Keller Williams Dallas Metro North)) almost 8 years ago

I need to show this to my husband, he is pro tankless. I dont want to save this kind of money! Thanks for this great post.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Corinne Guest, Realtor | Barrington Realty Company) almost 8 years ago

I have the old school water heater, it had an element go out right away but seems to be fine now.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) almost 8 years ago

 TANKS....a lot for a good post...best Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 8 years ago

I am wondering why 2 would be required in any situation because as I understand it, once the water heats up it is continuous. I also have heard that here in NC some models can be in stalled for under $1,000. So when it comes time to get a new heater, I'm going to have to do some thourough investigating.

Posted by Dawn Crawley, Find Pinehurst Homes (Dawn Crawley Realty) almost 8 years ago

Joye - try to determine if you are going to save and if not, think carefully.

Maybe you did Michael.  Your gas company is probably my gas company.  If you have electric it is probably different.

Clint - maybe one day, but not now for me or you!

Howard and Susan - needing better technology is the bottom line for every "green" product I have looked into.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

David - after the first burst your contractor should have arranged for a pan or other diverter to send any burst water onto the garage floor, which is inclined to carry the water outside the house.  But if in your area this new heater makes sense, great!

Well, Corinne, run the numbers and see if it makes sense!

Chuck - it is cheaper in the long run to replace both elements at the same time.  They attract metals in the water, particularly magnesium, and that causes them to fail.

Got it Richie!  U R welcome!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I have four daughters (three teenagers). If it weren't for my tankless water heater I would never get to take a hot shower. Sometimes cost isn't the only consideration.

Posted by Robert Savage, Bakersfield Short Sales, Property Management, Cash (Bakersfield Property Solutions) almost 8 years ago

That's best Dawn.  I understand that for particularly long runs (in my house the distance between the water heater and master bath is 45 feet, which is probably considered "long") one unit doesn't have the umph to handle two showers or a shower and other use like washing machine, at the same time.  In my case, 9.4 gallons per minute would be satisfactory, but I don't know about the run.  Certainly I am not going to that expense to find out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

We have six at home Robert and my 75 gallon tank has never failed!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

We switched, our was an issue of space.  And my installation and tankless cost no where near the amount you have in this feature.  It was less than $2000.  I took the tax deduction for it also.  If it had been over $2000 I too would not have purchased.  I love the ease of use to change the temperature.  I have not seen a reduction in my gas usage, so I really do not have a savings there.

 

Posted by Navona Hart, Selling the Best Properties in Central Virginia (Real Living Cornerstone) almost 8 years ago

Oh my!  I hope my sister doesn't see this one!  She installed one last year and the formula will be tweaked a bit by the great big federal tax credit she got for being a little greenie.  This will certainly make me stop and think about replacing my own.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Jay - Always wondered about these and the exhorbitant prices of them... Very interesting post.... I'm sticking with my old school heaters for now. But this discussion makes me nervous since mine is approaching 12 years presently.hmmmm food for thought..

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) almost 8 years ago

You may have picked a different one than I Navona, or a different quality, but glad it worked out for you!  When will you break even given your savings?

Pat - if I had done it with the federal tax credit I would have broken even in 30 years.  The unit won't last that long, for sure!  I'm not sure why installing one is green though.  If it makes sense financially that isn't green, it is just wise.  My experience with "green" is that it means mo' money.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Lisa and Robert - it is ALWAYS good to keep appliance ages in the back of your mind.  I try to inform my clients so they can to.  In this case, I was my own client!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

So, if it lasts the sixty years, how old will you be? Somewhere around 120? That is about where I would be. Frankly, I think someone else will be giving you showers and paying the bills by then anyway, so perish the thought.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Jay,I have thinking about replacing my unit to save some money. Guess not.

Regarding that flushing the tank I have lived here for 8 years and have never flushed the tank. The unit was 2 years old when I bought the home. I noticed that this year my current gas cost is almost double what it normaly ran at this time of the year. (Hot water only) I have had 2 kids leave for school so the cost should have gone down, not up. Do you think I should flush the tank or have it serviced?

Posted by Sanna K. Thomas, PA GRI, E-Pro, SFR, AHWD, LH Ocala Florida Luxury (Sellstate Next Generation Realty) almost 8 years ago

Mr Jay,

I also have been told by some of the inspection clients that these devices do not keep up adequately with the flow when it comes to shower demands at larger houses, unless more of the units are put in which would double the costs.

Nutsy

 

 

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Much, much less Steve.  About 118.  And by then it will be sponge baths.  And I have warned my kids about the diaper brigade.  Revenge is sweet...

Sanna - when you hear gurgling (well, if it is a gas heater) it is very dirty.  Now would probably be a good time to do it.  I understand 8 or 10 gallons, but I have no way of knowing how to measure that!

Nutsy - you must be seeing the same people as I!  And that would not be surprising if you are certifried.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, this is a great analysis!  

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Coral.  I like to figure things out.  Actually, true confessions, I did it also a couple of years ago, just to see, and guess what?  Surprisingly the results have not changed from then to now!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, we've considered getting a tankless water heater but based on your analysis, I think we will pass.  Thanks for the info!

Posted by Trang Beuschlein, Campbell CA Real Estate - Campbell CA Homes for Sa (Homes for Sale in Campbell CA- Broker-BKR Realty) almost 8 years ago

Trang - do your own analysis.  You might look into a different brand than I, or a different grad unit, or have different energy costs.  I expect, however, that in Caleeforneeya your costs exceed mine!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

 That math will get you every time ; ) Out here our electricity is so cheap you do not see much gas.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

WOW, I am actually surprised that so few people know about tankless water heaters. We had then installed in our home in 2005 and LOVE LOVE LOVE our tankless water heaters. We remodeled out garage and created a state of the art top of the line office with hardwood floors. Since one of our water heaters was in the old garage- we certainly did not want to have a mishap with it and have water ever leak on our wood floors. But we also were so tired of waiting for the hot water, which was a waste of water and time. This is instant, the water is hot right away, no waiting. THen we had another water heater, both of them were electrical here, in our area we don't have gas, and this other water heater was in our master bath and heated the water in the master and the kitchen, When someone was washing dishes and you were taking a shower, well, that was not very comfortable. We also did not like all the space that those water heaters took up. So we got another tankless water heater. WE absolutely LOVE, LOVE them

One went bad and we had to replace it. It was a breeze. We sent the tankless right down here to Miami where the manufacturer is , they rebuilt it for $75! We got it back like in less than a week. 

So now we have an extra one in case one of them every breaks down. 

They work better in warmer climates where the temps don't drop below 50. They are popular in states like Hawaii and Florida and other southern states. 

We will never go back to those bulky yucky water heaters. We also have saved a lot of money on our electrical bill since installing them. 

 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 8 years ago

Oh and our installation cost was only $150 per tankless water heater. 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 8 years ago

Don - my electric bill is about $150 a month in the summer with the most electric usage (AC).  I did not look into electric heaters.

N&K - how old was it when it went bad?  That's not a good sign!  And $150 per unit?!  Our plumber leaves a bill on our door for that much just from driving through the neighborhood!  Our master bath is 45 feet from our heater so our wait for hot water would be the same either way, about 1 minute.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, the only advantage to a tank-less water heater are those rare occasions when a lot of hot water is needed quickly, like filling up one of those big jacuzzi tubs in a house, and the hot water heater can't get enough in there before it gets cool. Aside from that your stats don't support the cost, as noted.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 8 years ago

Jay, awesome post---there is almost no rationale for the tankless heaters except for space saving.  When the price gets under $500.00 per unit they might be comparable.  The other thing that annoys me is that at VERY little extra cost to the manufacturer regular tanks can be made to last for 50 years and be insulated WAY better---but that would be too green to consider because nobody would make any green.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

We have six people and a big tub Ed, and our 75-gallon tank has never run out of hot water for any reason!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay!   Thanks for the info and breakdown!

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

I didn't read all of the comments because I don't want to feel jaded.

I LOVE my tankless water heater. It's attached to the back of my house. Moving it out of the sunroom means I now have use of that space for a pantry. It also means I don't have to worry about the water heater rusting out and suddenly flooding out my house from leaking. I have one less gas appliance that can explode. Those things are worth something, and hard to hang a price tag on.

Moreover, every time I want hot water, it's there and I never ever run out of hot water ever! I can run the dishwasher, wash clothes, stick my husband in the shower yet still fill the tub to the rim for a long hot soak.

Not to mention, I am doing my part in conserving energy and helping to protect our environment. I didn't get a tankless water heater to save money.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the info, Jay.  I've been thinking about one of these.  Maybe I should stay with the system I have.  I definitely don't see the benefit now.  After seeing your plumbers prices I think I may become a plumber!!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 8 years ago

Thanks much Charlie!  I really did look into this.  It was pretty disappointing, given all the ads I have heard.  My tank loses heat through the outflow tubing, and the entirety of the tubing each hot water use, but that sort of thing would have to be insulated during initial, pre-drywall installation.  Hey, why don't they!?  And your green comment is probably right on...

Carol Ann - you are welcome.  I hope I got your name right!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Elizabeth - the space savings is a terrific thing about them.  Sounds like you got an electric one.  Personally I have never had a gas anything blow up, so that isn't my concern!  But saving money is the only reason that would spur me to make a change.  There is nothing I can do to harm the environment.  Given that the earth has withstood millions of comet and meteor strikes, earthquakes and magnetic shifts, and survived very well, what could I do?

Mike - you have to do the math to see if it makes sense.  It surely didn't for me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

re: tankless. I love the idea of not boiling water all day just to get a morning shower. It doesn't make sense. Old style hot water heaters are old technology--not for this century. If you don't want to go tankless, look at the new GE energy efficient electric hot water heaters. For all the people out there with 3rd floors, a small tankless hot water heater up stairs can really make sense. One Big Caution: If you have "hard" water, a tankless can get clogged up with minerals. I am now the reluctant owner of a water softening system.

Posted by zeta cross, Getting Greener Makes Your home worth more! (Smart Green Realty) almost 8 years ago

excellent post! great information. Our water heaters are on life support and we're trying to decide just what to do. You just helped us make our mind up! great feature!

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 8 years ago

Jay, as much as I am a fan of tankless water heaters, and they have been in use in Europe for decades, there are issues with reliability here.  I have heard that the major issue is the hardness of our water and the resulting calcification of the tubes through the heater.  That said, I am sure that this will be a viable option in the near future as our engineers work out the bugs...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Jay, you are a gem for figuring this out. I have often wondered about this & didn't know how to figure out the 'supposed' savings.  I think that if you are pressed for space, that might be a good thing to install but cost wise that is a premium for the 'less space' that a regular tank would take up.  I am going to reblog this for my readers.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 8 years ago

The other thing they typically neglect to tell you is the inordinate amount of upkeep the tankless jobs take. Depending on your water, you need to drain and flush it out once or twice a year. The plumber becomes a secondary member of your family because you'll be seeing him so often!

Posted by Jeff Getman, Realty Executives (Realty Executives of Ravalli County) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the information about tankless water heaters, Jay. I was unaware about this product until I read your post. I inspect a lot of older houses and have not run into any yet.

Posted by John Marion (RE/MAX Town & Country) almost 8 years ago

Jay, you sound like my husband- ha ha! The only thing you didn't mention is, what about the size difference. Yes, an expensive price to pay for my square footage in the washroom, I know, but I still want one;)

Posted by Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070, California Homes for Sale in the East Bay (Golden Gate Sotheby's International) almost 8 years ago

Jay, thanks for putting it into terms I can understand.  I've been thinking about getting one as well.  Okay, so, how about an article on the "hot water on demand" feature? 

Posted by Juli Vosmik, Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739 (Dominion Fine Properties) almost 8 years ago

Jay - Great post and very timely.  We are debating an "up-grade" to tankless and your research and presentation helped me decide to stick with the traditional system.  Thanks for teh advice!

Posted by Mike McIntosh, FHA VA CVL Home Loans California - 916 780-6400 (Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Jay - I have a client that reads all of my posts and was recently asking me about water heaters so this is going right into my reblog bin! Thanks so much for the information!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

Jay, thanks for pointing this out, because I've been wondering about the benefit of going from old school to the new tankless.  60 years to recoup the cost?  I would have thought it would have been only 30! :)

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the great analysis. Reblogged!

Posted by Nancy Milton Holtzscher, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, Illinois Broker, REALTOR (RE/MAX Alliance in St.Louis' Illinois suburbs) almost 8 years ago

Great post Jay!

Let me get this straight. My return on investment is 60 years and the warranty (limited) is 12 years? For a couple hundred bucks I'm going with the standard tank.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 8 years ago

I see you did your research.  Based on that, I would say the only way it would work out to your benefit was if it was a new construction home and it came with one.

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida almost 8 years ago

Jay- It was last year so it was like 5 years old but it was an older version. The newer ones are much better. We have the Titan brand and they only cost us $220 each. The one that went bad cost us $75 to replace. The company that sells them to us is the same as the installer so they install for $150. It was the best thing ever. Even it they were to break down again, I don't see that as a bad thing because a regular large water heater can also break down. It was a no brainer for us and WE LOVE OUR TANKLESS Water heaters! 

I think the choice to go with tankless or not with the points you bring up are for different parts of the country where you need a different kind of tankless water heater. There is a brand that is doing very well in Europe. I forgot the name. In Europe you have a lot of tight spaces so it makes a lot of sense over there also. IN warmer climates like Hawaii and Florida and the Bahamas- the Titan does a great job and it very low cost. 

Elizabeth #55- no amount of comments against Tankless water heaters will change my mind about them. I love them. We have been using them for 6 years now and will never switch back. We also have reverse osmosis system for the whole house and we have a water softener system. Katerina

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 8 years ago

Oh my gosh, I think many of you talking about those high prices need to move to Florida! I can not believe some of these installation costs and some of the prices you guys are stating about the regular hot water heaters! 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 8 years ago

Great info Jay! As a Realtor coming from an Architecture background, I feel fairly knowledgable about most aspects of home construction and systems. But I admit I knew almost nothing about Tankless. Now I do.

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) almost 8 years ago

Darn it! I was looking into switching over, to save space. But for that much more money, I can practically build that extra space! And decorate it too.  :)

Posted by Candice A. Donofrio, 928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text (Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

          Thanks so much for the post. I work for a builder and the head of our construction department has come to the conclusion you have that the cost at this time does not make equal the value. This man is one of the smartest construction minds in the country and he also has great knowledgeable people at his disposal. I have many people who come in asking for them. You have now given me ammunition. Thanks again for the post!

Posted by Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert almost 8 years ago

When we immigrated to the US in 2000 I saw my first Hot Water Tank. Totally unheard of in Germany. EVERYBODY has a tankless, either electric or gas. I will never understand why on earth one will waste by providing hot water at all hours when it really is not needed more than overall 2 hrs, maybe less, per day. The reason why the tankless are still so expensive is that everybody is reasoning like you do. Prices follow demand...

Same with windows, I will never het the idea of double hungs, the system of oening the windows like a door is so much easier, to open, to clean, to air.....

I love living here, I will never return, but clearly in a lot of things the US is extremely wasteful, unnecessarily complicated, unthoughtful and closed minded when it comes to innovation, ease of use and saving energy and work. But it will come.....

Posted by Annette Sievert, Corvallis, Oregon (CB Valley Broker) almost 8 years ago

Great article Jay, I've reblogged it as I couldn't have written it better. The math work is what I always recommend. You can evaluate the 'new and better' with out knowing a thing about the technology.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 8 years ago

Zeta - you sound like the radio ad!  "Not for this century...!"  My old-style heater only costs me $15/month.  Pretty good.  The new standards proposed by the DOE, here, would cost me thousands and save me $5/month!  Not a good deal.  That's just quick calculation anyone can do.  It took me 4 minutes. 

The GE you speak about, if you are talking about the "hybrid," costs $1700 here locally, the store will install it for $400, and $75 to haul away the old heater, but it is all electric, which means its cost will be going up an average of 7%/year every year I have it (that's the average annual electric utility cost increases nationwide).  But I don't want electric!  I want gas!  And installing a small electric upstairs would cost hugely and benefit me little.  And I don't know where to put it.

But I love the exchanges on the different posts here!

Greg - do some investigating!  It is simple to compare benefits and costs.

Chris - what works in Europe does NOT work here - they have different electricity voltages in the home.  Their mechanisms are different.  Hard water is defined as 7 grains and our water tested at 41.  So when we moved in I bought a softener.  The stupid thing broke down every three months and was too expensive to maintain, so I bypassed it!  Haven't used it in 11 years!  Total waste of money.  That makes the tankless just about a worthless if they fill up.  I would not know how to prevent that.

Lyn - space is certainly an issue, but not that much!  Putting one in at the outset of constructing a home is one thing because it is amortized.  But even then, builders mark stuff up hugely and I doubt that would ever be recouped.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I did not know that Jeff.  Great info!  Another cost...

I have run into two John, and both in Leesburg.  Older houses!

It's your money Elisa!  You are entitled to do with it what you will!

That article is here Juli, but it only works with electric.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Sierra - you should try to figure out the cost/benefits for you, your needs and current utility costs to see if it does or does not work for you!

Barbara-Jo - thanks for the reblog!  Hope it helps your client.

Even at 30, Pamela, it doesn't pay.  They don't last that long!

Thank you Nancy.  I was looking into it for myself and was disappointed.  My plumber even told me it would not pay to put one in!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Tom - kind of my thinking as well!  Especially with hard water, they don't seem to last.

Morris - I was thinking that too, but don't know if amortizing it helps.  Builders mark things up a lot and I might be subsidizing someone else's hot water when I sell the house!

N&K - sounds like a very cheap unit, both cost and quality!  Is that why it died so quickly?  Sure tanks break down, but not like that!  But I want gas anyway!  That will be easily provided for the next 300 years!  And what works in Europe does NOT work here - they have different voltages.  My bulky tank only takes up 3 square feet!  And it's only costing me $15/month.  I'll take that!

And I got a softener when we first moved in.  It broke down every 3 months and after three plumber visits I simply bypassed it!  Haven't used it in 11 years!

And technologies will always get better!  That's who we are in America!  And that is how we gain efficiencies, both in return and use!

Go ahead and do the research for your area Tom.  You might learn a lot more.  Research with the Internet is really easy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Candice - my tank heater only takes up 3 square feet.  Not bad.

Yolanda - it is easy to do the research.  Tell him great minds think alike.  I bet he's handsome too...

Annette - Europe has different electrical voltages in houses than we do here.  And we have casement windows, which are great.  Many houses do.  But architecture is architecture.  The best windows were made by the Mayans, but alas, the bugs got in!

Robert - technologies will change and get better.  We are America!  That is what we do best.  In the meantime, I will wait...

Thanks for the reblog!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, whoever quoted you such a high price for a tankless unit was looking to make some real money. They usually cost right around $1,000. If you have the bad fortune of a long run to the outside wall, then you might add another $500 for the vent pipe. Installation if fairly straight forward if you already have gas to the home. If you conserve water then the payback will be longer, but for most of my clients, the payback is a few years.

Posted by Charles Hendricks (The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design) almost 8 years ago

N&K - I just looked up the Titan water heaters!  They have four which fit your price description.  Wow, I can tell you that none of those would fly in my house!  They look like little things!  Not very big, and could fit in the linen closet!  Even their big "expensive" one would not work here!  Not enough gallons per minute for this family, I can tell you that!  We have 4 1/2 bathrooms - do you have one for each bathroom or something?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Just yesterday I was walking through a mid-construction home.  The listing agent pointed out the tankless water heater.  I thought it sounded great, but after reading your blog...

Posted by Adam Mallory, Broker, ABR, e-Pro (eBroker Real Estate 619-566-ADAM) almost 8 years ago

Charles - my installation would be right beside my vent stack, so it would be straight forward.  I checked around and that is the price, more or less.  Installation alone was more than $1K!  But I don't know what manufacturer or quality your clients purchase.  We might not be comparing apples.

Adam - amortized it has to be a better deal, but impossible for me to calculate.  It's the short life span that bothers me, especially when hard water is involved.  My water is very, very hard.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

THanks for the information about "tankless water heaters"   Something to think about I guess.

 

Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) almost 8 years ago

As always, another thing to think about Patricia!  I hope that's good!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

coming from Europe, I was raised with the tankless system and must admit that I am preferring it over the tank system, however, the local much higher than needed cost of buying one seems out of whack with the actual cost of producing them, In fact I wonder why they could not just import the Eurpoean models....

having said that, we are just doing the numbers ourselves, and will likely go tankless, and convert to gas, as Hydro here, charges extra if you are using more than a certain threshold, rather than give you a discount if you use more, a strange way to discourage people of using electricity.

Thanks for an awesome post.

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the info....I was thinking of getting one myself when mine goes out but now....you  have given me a lot to think about.

Posted by Aida Pinto, Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196 (United Associated Brokers) almost 8 years ago

Consumer Reports also came up with your same conclusion that it does not make economic sense to swittch to a tankless water system  See http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/heating-cooling-and-air/water-heaters/tankless-water-heaters/overview/tankless-water-heaters-ov.htm  .  Even though your cost estimates are way high,  their conclusion is that it would take over 20 years to break even

Posted by Maureen Megowan, Palos Verdes Real Estate Blog (Remax Estate Properties - ) almost 8 years ago

P&L - European appliances don't work here.  They have a different voltage system in their houses there.

Aida - you have to research what costs are in your area, installation and utilities.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, another thing about the electric on demand is that you might have to factor the cost of a whole new electrical system---most require a minimum 200 amp service ot the home.  If it were not for the "dirty beginning" of making most electricity---it could be a good option.  No venting.  Cheaper inital cost.  Last way longer.  Nearly 98% efficient as opposed to 80% for gas.  Gas prices are going to get more expensive long term---exacerbating the pay back---but then again electricity is not going to get any cheaper either.  How about heating a bucket of water on the stove as you need it?  :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Maureen.  My costs are not estimates though.  I used my gas bill costs per BTU and what my plumber told me the unit I wanted costs installed.  But even at 20 years it is pushing it.  Their life spans don't appear to be such.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Works for me Charlie!  I can heat it on my grill outside!

Electric utility cost increases, nationwide, average 3-7% annually I am told.  That would change for the much better if we had another 100 nuclear plants, but that won't happen.  We aren't that smart as a country!  My electric is generated nuclear and its annual increases have been minimal for the past 20 years.

I didn't look into installing an electric heater, but know that the initial electrical installation would be another cost, albeit one time.  That would certainly be factored into the lifetime return and eventual breakeven.  But on the second unit, assuming the initial electrical installation still works with the new unit, the breakeven would be quicker.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Another advantage of having a regular tank water heater, is that in case of emergencies such as earthquakes where water delivery is curtailed,  the regular water tank provides an emergency supply of water.

Posted by Maureen Megowan, Palos Verdes Real Estate Blog (Remax Estate Properties - ) almost 8 years ago

Great thought Maureen!  You are right on there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Great post. Spot on compare & contrast.

Keep up the great work,

Paul

Posted by Paul Weir (Re/Max Performance) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Paul.  Check it out in your area though!  All the numbers might be different!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I was always fascinated by tanklesswater heaters and with 5 people (3 teenagers) in my household sometimes all showering at the same time, I was under the impression it would keep up with the flow and deliver hot water faster than my conventional 50 gallon. According to your research and some of the comments, neither is true. Thanks for saving me the aggravation.

Posted by Ray Waisler, NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA (Finance of America) almost 8 years ago

Ray - I am not sure ANY water heater can keep up with three teenagers!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, The cost of that unit is unbelievable. I have been looking into converting to gas. When I spoke to the rep, he said that the on demand water heaters use "a lot of gas on initial start up" (180,000 btu). He said they do not save a much over the conventional models.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I don't know if it is common or not Jim!  But too much for me, for sure.  Why would it use so much gas at start up?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Ha ha ha....loved your humor in the post.  SO glad you wrote this.  I was also thinking of the same tankless water heater and not having much luck convincing my husband.   You just nailed my "tankless water heater coffin" shut.  Darn it.  I really wanted one.  (Insert BIG whine).  I had NO idea it would take so many years to recover the cost.

SO, 60 years.  I'm 51 and have a 2 story home.  Can't see myself dragging up to the bedrooms when I'm 111 years old.  I suppose anything is possible, but I do picture myself in a low maintenance community by then, walking on the beach, driving over people with my golf cart and running into curbs in my sports car.  Ha!

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) almost 8 years ago

We have a tankless.  It was expensive, but there is one thing that is really nice about it.  The hot water just keeps on flowing.  No worries about running out of hot water and getting shocked with cold water during a shower.  On the con side, it takes about 20 seconds or so before hot water start to flow if it hasn't been used in a while.  I'm with you though, ROI isn't the reason to get one of these puppies.

Posted by Chris Lefebvre, Methuen MA Real Estate Pro (eXp Realty) almost 8 years ago

We went tankless a couple years ago and I will never use a tank again...

your friend in Charlottesville

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) almost 8 years ago

Elizabeth - there is more than one reason to purchase one!  But ROI isn't one of them, apparentl, and certainly not in my case!

Chris - we have a 75 gallong and many people.  We never run out either!  I bought the house new though, so my ROI was reached a long time ago!

Glad it worked out for you Charles!  Not for me...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Sometimes you can overanalyze things, and personally, I think your plumber wants to rip you off if he wants to charge you $4,700 installed. My mom and dad had a tankless installed a couple of years ago for their 1,800-sf house. They bought it at Home Depot and the plumber charged them something like $300 to install it. They not only are happy with the tankless since they have more room in the garage now, but their gas bill is down significantly simply because they aren't keeping 50 gallons of water hot all the time.

Posted by EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat (Russel Ray Photos) almost 8 years ago

Tankless water heaters are like cars. I drive a Hyundai. I love it. It has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. It is 7 years old with 160,000 miles. My friend drives a BMW and replaces it every two years.

My point is people who buy tankless systems don't usually do it for the cost savings. There is another reason.

When I lived in IL, my water heater was in the basement. In TN, my unit is in a closet in my garage. That closet backs to my master bedroom closet. If I get a tankless system, I will be able to increase my master closet by 50 square feet. That additional square footage in my closet could be a deal maker when I get ready to sell. While we are several years away from this, I will be considering things other than just the annual savings.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 8 years ago

Do you receive a rebate from your city to where it might breakeven at 55 years instead of 60??

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) almost 8 years ago

This issue comes up quite often and you have done a great job explaining the considerations that should be taken into considerations.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 8 years ago

Thank you for explaining this so well.  My wife works for the gas company and I will give her a copy of it so she can be more educated.  By the way...the Gas Company is not a big fan of the small water heater.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) almost 8 years ago

Great breakdown, thanks, think I'll reblog it as well.

Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) almost 8 years ago

I find this discussion fascinating!  Technology evolves because of needs AND desires.  If it were only about transportation, thaen we would all be riding mass transit, or at least carpooling in multi-capacity vehicles.  The research is decently revealed; however, as the old saying goes, findings can easily be based on how the question is asked.

I stand firm on my original comment: it is paramount that we ask the questions and understand the NEEDS and Desires of our CLIENTS.  Our Code of Ethics (NAR) requires this.

Personal choice is just that - personal choice.  We, as Realtors®, get in trouble when we impose our own desires on our clients.

In every case, the situation should be analysed for the best solution: long-range plan, gas VS electric, layout of the property, local requirements for permits/license instalation, end-user requirements, water quality, personal desires, etc.

I own and manage numerous properties, both residential and commercial.  No answer is the same across the board; rather, an in-depth analysis must be done for each ocurance.  Up-front cost is merely one factor.

Again, as a professional, we owe our clients the duty to assist THEM in determining what is best for THEIR situation.

Posted by Jim Smith, Broker,CRS,GRI,RMP,CNE,TRLP (The Property Management Company) almost 8 years ago

What an interesting blog and series of responses. I've always been intrigued with tankless systems so it was good reading to learn all takes.

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for doing the calculations for us.  From the comments above, it appears that the tankless units are more expensive and don't really save much monthly expense.  If there is a great federal tax credit, it may make it closer in cost to the regular models.  The standard old school tank seems to be the preference by most.

Posted by Doug Bullwinkel, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609 (Envoy Mortgage, NMLS 6666) almost 8 years ago

Jay, thank you for this post. With 4 girls in my house, I've been contemplating the switch to tankless. I believe you've shown me that staying with the hot water tank is the way to go!

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) almost 8 years ago

Eric - each of the levels in our house is more square feet than that and we have 4.5 baths.  Like I said, I checked around for the best brands (your key word was Home Depot).  We may not be comparing apples here.

Tammie - space is a big issue (although my water heater is only 3 sq ft and in the furnace room).  I'm glad you could increase your closet!  That is another big deal. 

Donna - my city is a bedroom community, so no rebates!  Unfortunately...  and I got your humor!

Joan - everyone has to check out what they can for themselves where they live!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Mike - there may be considerations in your area that account for that.  Like hard water.

Michael - thanks for the reblog!  Glad you enjoyed it!

Jim - it is fascinating!  That's the purpose of blogging!  Capitalism demands innovation, which comes when the gubment leaves business unfettered to be able to design better products to meet demand.  Economies of scale and efficiencies are always the result.  We are Americans!  Innovation is what we do best, when we are allowed!

And if you notice, I have suggested to everyone that they check things out for themselves.  In this case, I was my own client!

Mike - as they improve, I will continue to consider them.  Might be a while though.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Doug - those calculations were for me and what I selected!  As to any tax credit, remember, what saves me costs somebody else...

Eric - try to figure it out for yourself, based on your needs and what you would select to try to satisfy them!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I love your post!  I have heard the same information that you have and that you have summarized the information!  In my opinion, the only reason to go tankless is if you are building a new property and can afford it, or you need the closet/space that houses the existing water heater and can afford the expense.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 8 years ago

Hahahaha.  A pan or other diverter does not work when your tank is spouting like a water fountain. That is what happened to me a few years back and we where away from the house for a few hours No pan, or diverter in the world would have saved us from that mess.

 

 

Posted by Lori Fishkind, Realtor (Reliant Realty) almost 8 years ago

There are a lot of good reasons to have one Sharon, but to me it only makes sense if it is financially beneficial!

Yikes Lori!  That's why I tell people that the drip pans "theoretically" capture water leaks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, Your post is interesting -- but, I installed a Takagi T-K3 tankless water heater in my mom's house and it not only supplies plenty of hot water but heats over 4500 sq. ft. in temperatures as low as 35 below zero.  It is shown on line for sale at $751.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) almost 8 years ago

It looks like a good unit Gary.  I am wondering why they recommend lining up four of them to gain a 21 gpm flow.  I am not sure if one would supply the gpm we would need, but it looks like a good unit.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I've been complaining, more or less to myself, about these for a while. Clients always ask me my opinion on them and they seem to think they are the best thing since sliced bread. Of course when you put things into perspective for them the appeal tends to diminish slightly.

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) almost 8 years ago

Cute avatar Mr. Vince!  Perty!  I think people need to investigate what is available to them and what their costs are, product and utility, and try to determine for themselves!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, Thank you for the information. This is consideration in my own home, along with one of my clients. Carol

Posted by Carol Faaland-Kronmaier, PhD, e-PRO, Manville, Hillsborough, Somerset NJ (Weichert, Realtors; Hillsborough) almost 8 years ago

You are welcome Carol.  Be sure to do the research where you are!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Great post, Jay. I ran the numbers myself back in 2005, and I came up with similar figures.  The break-even point was completely unrealistic.  Couple that with the hot water / cold water sandwich effect... and forget it.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Reuben - there were a couple of posts here where people had installed what were very inexpensive units.  In those cases I am sure there is a better break even, but the trade off is that you get a cheap unit.  The units I looked at were not cheap.  The other issue is water hardness too.  Seems to do the units in quickly.

I don't understand your sandwich effect.  What do you mean?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I would even add that installing a heater blanket and pipe insulation will help with the gas savings on the standard heater. But the biggest years adder is draining the tank to remove the sediment on a regular basis. Especially in hard water areas. Thanks for doing the math for me too.  

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I just re-blogged your post...thanks for providing us with your perspective of the tankless water heaters! We have contemplated installing one in the last custom home we built, but decided against it due to cost and the fact that there was not a space issue. :)

Leilani

Posted by Bob & Leilani Souza, Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments (Souza Realty 916.408.5500) almost 8 years ago

Here's a good explanation of the cold water sandwich effect - http://www.rinnai.us/tankless-water-heater/faq/#question-21

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

I agree with that Scott!  And our water here is pretty hard.  We don't have too much exposed copper to be able to wrap, but what we have wrapped is good.

Thanks Leilani.  The cost seems to be a big issue, along with hard water and what the Reuben proposed!

Thanks Reubs!  I like their little mention there which says, "the cold water sandwich effect cannot be removed completely from tankless style water heaters."  That has GOT to be comfy in Minnesoooota when the water coming in to the house is 38 degrees!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Noooo, it's noooot.  Hey, wait, are you making fun of ooour looong vooowels?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Noooo Reuuuubs.  Noooota.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

The only time I will consider a tankless water heater because of its expense is when the water heater is located in an attic. I just don't want to go through the labor of draining and replacing from the attic, or risk a leak.

Posted by Mike Wong, Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest (Keller Williams Realty Southwest) almost 8 years ago

I see heaters in the attic from time to time Mike and never like to see them there!  Even with a drip pan!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, read some of this to my hubby....I think we will pass on this and stick with our propane water heater....I was just pretty happy with our instant hot water as soon as you turned on the shower. 

Thank you, friend!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 3 years ago

Gayle - our hot water heater is 35' from the shower in our bathroom.  The water coming out of our gas water heater (which costs $11/month to operate) is instantly hot.  But there is water in the piping which needs to eliminate before that hot water gets to our shower!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

As always, excellant blog Jay!

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) 4 months ago

Gracias hermano Jeffrey!  I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that you didn't see this 8 years ago!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 4 months ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments