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When Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Customer?

May 2, 2022

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It’s hard to imagine a life without water heaters. Even if you are living in the tropics it can get chilly during the winters. Water heaters ensure that the residents have access to a constant supply of hot water for their daily needs. However, when shopping for a water heater, people often encounter questions like:

“Which hot water heater is right for me?”

“What are the benefits of that heater?”

“Does it have any negatives?”

Selecting the right water heating system is made even more complex as it is a costly investment, and a wrong move can burn a big hole in your pocket.

If you are an electrician, a plumber, a contractor, or sell water heaters, then there are times when customers might ask you to recommend the right water heater for them. If you are new to this business, there is a high chance that you might not have answers to all their questions. And that is where this article can help. We are going to look at a water heater design that is currently very popular among the masses—the tankless water heater.

What is a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters are also known as demand-type heaters. That is, they supply hot water only when required. They use high-powered burners to heat the water rapidly, but only as required. As the water passes through a tube heat exchanger, it gets warm. But remember—the level of heat totally depends on the heat exchanger design.

The upside of this heater is that the water doesn’t have to be stored in a tank, unlike traditional storage-type water heaters. These tankless heaters are powered by gas, electricity, or propane. They also take up less space and are more energy-efficient compared to traditional heaters.

How do tankless water heaters work?

As pointed out in the previous section, these water heaters deliver water instantly, without the need for any storage tanks. When the faucet is turned on, the water comes into the tankless heater. There, it is warmed up using heating elements that are powered by either gas or electricity. These tankless designs can deliver a constant supply of hot water on demand. But the output of both gas-based and electric tankless water heaters is limited by the flow rate.

On average, the tankless water heater can provide a constant supply of hot water at the rate of 0.5 to 1 gallons per minute. The gas-fired model would produce a higher flow rate as compared to the electrical models.

When is a tankless water heater right for your customer?

Here are different scenarios in which your customer might want to buy a tankless water heater:

If they want to save on energy costs

Tankless water heaters help to reduce your energy bills. The US Department of Energy states that gas-filled tankless water heaters can save customers around $100 annually more than conventional storage tanks. Similarly, the electric-powered tankless water heater can save homeowners around $44 annually.

Pro Tip: Always check the energy star of the water heater before recommending it to a customer. It will help you identify how much electricity can be saved by opting for it.

If they are looking for long-lasting results

The storage type water heater tends to lose its effectiveness in 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, have double the life. When you install a tankless water heater, it can stay useful for 20+ years. However, life will be shortened (both types of heaters) in areas where hard water is found.

If they don’t have enough space to install storage heaters

The size requirement for tankless water heaters tends to be less. Tankless designs can be installed even in tight spaces and even mounted on walls. The average size of a tankless water heater is around 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.

If they are looking for better ROI

Initial investment (equipment cost and installation costs) for tankless water heaters is usually higher than storage-type heaters. But, over time, tankless heaters will provide a better return on investment due to more efficient energy use. The ROI depends on the type of heat exchanger used as some of them are more energy-efficient than others.


As you can see, tankless water heaters can be of great benefit to your customers because of their increased energy-efficient design and longer lifespans. It helps to save space, money, and energy. It is a perfect choice for a small household of 4 people, especially if they are not all making demands on the water heater at the same time.


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