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Replacing a Water Heater: Tank or Tankless?

  • Transcript

    Olivia in Utah, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    OLIVIA: We had a water heater begin to leak in the middle of the night the other night. Anyway, for our home we had two 40-gallon tanks, regular water heaters, and …
    TOM: OK.
    OLIVIA: … in replacing these, it was suggested to us that we get only one 25-gallon, quick-response water heater. And this particular company has told us that the one 25-gallon, quick-response water heater will give us as much hot water on demand as the two 40-gallon tanks gave us. Is this correct or incorrect?
    TOM: I actually have no idea because it sounds to me like you have a hybrid here; between a tank and a tankless water heater. What I would recommend at this juncture, considering that you had two water heaters that went and both are going to go and be replaced now, I would recommend that you look into a tankless water heater; not a smaller tank than what you have but a true tankless water heater. You have gas?
    OLIVIA: Correct.
    TOM: OK. So I would go to a website called ForeverHotWater.com and that website has a sizing tool on it so you can figure out what size tankless water heater you need. It’s put together by the experts at Rinnai.
    OLIVIA: Yes.
    TOM: And I think that a tankless water heater would be an excellent solution for you because it’s going to deliver an unlimited amount of hot water. It also has a lot of nice features. It’s energy-efficient, you can dial that temperature down or up from a remote location and it’s going to last a heck of a long time. Now is a perfect opportunity for you to do this because you’re replacing your old-fashioned tank water heaters. And also you’re going to save a lot of room because the amount of actual floor space – or more importantly, wall space – that the tankless needs is much, much less than what you would have needed for the tanked water heaters. Follow me?
    OLIVIA: Uh-huh. What do I run into cost-wise?
    TOM: Well, the tankless water heater is going to be more expensive than a tank water heater but it’s going to last a long time, it’s going to save you money on utility bills.
    LESLIE: It’s also going to take up far less space.
    TOM: And take up far less space. So …
    OLIVIA: Uh-huh.
    TOM: … it really is the way to go today. If my water heater went, I would not put back a standard tank water heater; I would always go tankless at this time.
    OLIVIA: Oh. I probably have made a terrible mistake because we have already let them put in what they said was a quick-response, 25-gallon water heater that is supposed to furnish us as much hot water as the two tanks we did have.
    TOM: Well, it sounds like they sold you something that they, you know, had some experience with or perhaps just made some more money on; I don’t know. I’m just not familiar with that in-between model.
    OLIVIA: Uh-huh.
    TOM: I’ve seen them at trade shows but I certainly don’t think they have enough history. You know, tankless has been out for a long time now; it works really, really well.
    OLIVIA: Uh-huh.
    TOM: But I guess time is going to tell.
    OLIVIA: OK. I really appreciate your help. I just …
    TOM: Alright.
    OLIVIA: … wished I could have gotten in touch with you all sooner, before I let them put it in. But thank you. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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