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Electric Tankless Water Heater: Buy or Not?

  • energy-efficient water heater
  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Clyde in Missouri is on the line and needs some help with a water heater. What can we do for you?

    CLYDE: I’m adding a room on in my house and the water heater I’ve got, it’s electric, 30-gallon. And it’s taking up too much room I don’t have to spare. And my question is: is one of those in-line water heaters – would that be advisable for a resident?

    TOM: You mean an on-demand, tankless water heater?

    CLYDE: Yes.

    TOM: The problem is that you have electric. Do you have gas there – natural gas – or propane?

    CLYDE: No. I can get propane alright. I don’t have a tank.

    TOM: If you want to have an on-demand tankless water heater, you need to have that be fossil-fueled with either natural gas or propane. There are electric, on-demand systems but they’re very expensive to use and I don’t think there’s any efficiency in going with that. So, if you want to have propane added to the house, you can consider a tankless water heater.

    Now, if you want to go back with what you do have now, of course, you are going to need the room but you could save some costs if you put a timer on the water heater so that it only heats water when you need it. I mean technically, you only need it a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. All day long, it’ll stay warm for hand-washing and that sort of thing and it can be off in the middle of the night. And that actually cuts the energy costs associated with heating the water.

    CLYDE: Uh-huh. Well, I’ve got a timer on it now but I haven’t been using it because I really couldn’t figure out the right time to be doing it.

    TOM: Well …

    CLYDE: It seemed like it was always cold when I needed hot and hot when I didn’t need it, so one of those kinds of deals.

    TOM: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you.

    CLYDE: So I thought, “Well, I’ll just leave it.” Is there anything …?

    TOM: You know, they only work – the timers only work well if your family is on a regular schedule where you can really rely on it for certain hours of the day. But if your schedule varies a bit, then maybe not so much.

    So, those are your options, though, alright? Good luck with that project.

    CLYDE: Alright, man. Thank you.

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