Written on: May 25, 2022
If you’re worried that your aging water heater storage tank is wearing out, it makes sense to start understanding your replacement options now. You may have heard about new high-efficiency propane tankless water heaters, but you may wonder if these types of units are a good fit—and an affordable option—for your home and lifestyle.
While it’s true that a tankless propane water heater has a higher upfront cost than a traditional storage-tank water heater, the trade-off is that you can save a lot of money on your water heating bills over the long run.
Prices range from about $170 for small gas-fired units to more than $2,000 for high-output heaters that can supply two showers at the same time; on average, the cost is about $1,000 per unit.
But keep in mind that propane gas-burning tankless water heaters should operate for 20 years or more. That’s two or three times longer than most storage tank water heaters as well as electric tankless water heaters.
Of course, there are many different types of tankless water heaters to choose from, and each option has different features and benefits that can impact price.
The cost of a tankless water heater is also determined by the size of the system. In this case, size refers to the volume of hot water the unit can produce.
The best way to compare system sizes between on-demand water heaters is by looking at their gallon per minute rating, or GPM.
In general, the higher the GPM, the higher your equipment costs will be. The GPM you require for your home will depend on how many appliances you will want to run at a given time. For example, if you have one bathroom in your house, it is recommended that your tankless water heater produces 6-7 GPM. For two bathrooms, 8-9 GPM, and for 3 or more bathrooms, 9-11 GPM. Read more about this here.
According to the Propane Education and Research Council, given Energy Factors as high as 0.99, propane tankless systems operate very efficiently and therefore have relatively low fuel consumption and costs. As one example, propane condensing tankless systems save roughly $150-$200 per year, compared with typical electric storage water heaters or heating oil systems. Learn more by reviewing the Tankless Water Heater Fact Sheet.
Say you experience an average energy savings of $150 per year. These savings should pay for your investment in a tankless water heater in about six or seven years. After that, you can pocket all of the savings on heating the water in your home.
Now, consider a tankless hot water heater: when you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance, water is circulated through a heat exchanger and delivered on-demand. Your energy efficiency will improve up to 40% and you’ll have access to unlimited amounts of hot water – because you won’t have to worry about the water storage tank draining and having to refill and reheat.
It’s recommended that you get annual maintenance done on your tankless water heater. One of the most important tasks is getting your tankless unit flushed to remove mineral deposits that have collected during the year. Left unchecked, a build-up of minerals can damage the heat exchanger in the unit, shortening its life span.
Your tankless water heater also contains both an air filter and water filter that should be checked and cleaned regularly.
Read more about recommended tankless water heater maintenance here.
Tankless water heaters take up such a small space that you will actually be able to reclaim all that square footage your old electric or propane water heater was taking up. Most tankless units hang on a wall and are about the size of a small suitcase. They will last about twice as long as a standard storage tank water heater.
To understand propane tankless water heater more, please go to this comprehensive guide to propane tankless water heaters.