Tankless Water Heater – What to Know Before You Buy

North Wind Furnace Installation and Maintenance Services

If you are looking for a new water heating tank, you might want to consider a tankless hot water heater. These on demand water heaters might be relatively new to Canada but they have been a vital appliance in many European and Asian homes for decades. Tankless water heaters are exactly what their name implies, a water heating system that does not use a tank to heat and store hot water.

How Does Tankless a Water Heater Work?

Unlike traditional hot water tanks, on demand hot water heaters have heating elements or heat exchangers that warm cold water as it passes through the lines. Because the water is heated as it is used, you have a continual flow of hot water. Unlike traditional water heaters, a tankless water heater does not use tanks to heat and store water. The water heaters can be electric or gas.

Tankless Water Heater Advantages and Disadvantages

Solar collectors for home heating

A tankless water heater price is considerably more than traditional hot water tanks. On average, a tankless water heater can range in price between $1,000 to $2,500 plus installation costs. Whereas a traditional water heaters range in price between $800 to $1,500 plus installation. However, once installed, your energy-efficient, on demand hot water heater can last over 20 years with regular maintenance and use up to 70% less energy.

Tankless water heating systems take up less space in your home so you can enjoy extra storage and living space in your home. Because the water is heated as it is used, you can enjoy and endless supply of instant hot water whereas water tanks have to refill once emptied.

How to Select an On-Demand Water Heater

Hot water on demand tanks vary in size and price. One of the most important decisions you will need to make is how big of you will need for your home. The size of tank needed is calculated by measuring water flow in gallons per minute (GPM) and temperature rise, or how much the temperature must rise above the ground temperature to achieve the desired water temperature. At Northwind HVAC, we can help you choose the right tankless water heater for your home.

Depending on the type of heating system you have, you can choose between an electric water heater or a gas water heater. Electric hot water tanks are designed differently than the gas heaters and are more energy efficient. Gas tanks run on natural gas or propane hot water on demand.

Tankless Water Heater Installation and Maintenance

Geothermal Systems for home heating

On average, it can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $4,500 to install a tankless hot water heater. Some things to consider when installing a tankless water heater are:

  • Building size and location
    • Type of fuel used
    • Climate
    • Building code requirements in your jurisdiction
    • Safety

If you are installing a tankless water heater in your home, it is better to get a professional contractor who is experienced with plumbing and heating fixtures to install your system to make sure it is done properly. Once installed, tankless heaters require regular maintenance to keep your unit clean and working properly. Many parts can be replaced if they are malfunctioning, worn, or damaged.

Tankless Water Heater Features

Tankless water heaters run on electric or gas power. Electric water heaters have elements to heat the cold water as it passes through the pipes. Gas heaters like the propane tankless water heater uses heat exchangers and a pilot light to increase the water temperature.

Tankless water heaters do not have a tank to store water. Instead, they have electric heating panels

Tankless Water Heater vs Hot Water Tank

North Wind Hvac Tankless Water Heater

Hot water tanks store hot water in large tanks. Because water sits in the tank until used, energy is continuously used to warm the water. Once the tank is emptied, you must wait till it refills before using hot water.

Tankless water heaters warm water as it flows through the pipes so there is no water storage system. Electric on demand water heaters and propane tankless water heaters are wall mounted so they take up less space. On demand hot water heaters are more energy efficient because they only warm water when you turn on the hot water faucets. Hot water tanks are cheaper than tankless water tanks but they have a shorter lifespan.

Electric Tankless Water Heater vs Propane Tankless Water Heater

Electric hot water heaters use electricity to heat the water. They are more energy efficient and can warm water more quickly than propane hot water tanks. Gas water heaters use propane or natural gas and require a pilot light to heat the water so they are not as energy efficient. Gas water heaters require different safety precautions including installing a ventilation system for to avoid fire, combustion, toxic fumes, or injury.

Propane tankless water heaters cost more than electric hot water tanks but gas tanks have a better GPM.


Can you run out of hot water with a tankless water heater?

No. Tankless water heaters do not warm a prefilled tank of water. The tankless system warms water as it is needed and passes through the pipes so only heat what you need, when you need it.

Are tankless water heaters worth the money?

Purchasing a tankless water heater can cost between $1,000 to $2,500. While the initial cost is higher, tankless hot water tanks last longer and use up to 70% less energy to heat water than standard water tanks. If you are looking for long term savings, a tankless water heater is worth the money.

How long do tankless water heaters last?

With regular maintenance and care, a on demand hot water heater can last 20 years or longer.

Do tankless water heaters increase home value?

To prolong the life of your tankless water heater, you should clean and inspect your appliance regularly. Water lines, heating elements, also called, heat exchangers, and other parts can become damaged or worn over time and need to be replaced.

At Northwinds HVAC, we have the knowledge and experience to for all your tankless hot water heater installation needs.

RELATED ARTICLE: HVAC Installation Cost 2020