To Go Tankless, or Not to Go Tankless?

As one of the top real estate agencies in West Chester and Liberty Township, we get a lot of questions from people about how to improve the value of their homes. Should I install new windows? Do we need new landscaping? Is it time to replace our HVAC systems?

We were recently with a client touring West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale when we walked through a basement with a tankless hot water heater. The buyer was impressed! It seemed like a great upgrade, one that – if nothing else – freed up a lot of space in the basement.

It sparked a larger conversation about the pros and cons of tankless hot water heaters. So we decided to do a little digging.

Whether you’re shopping for a new home or have lived in Butler County for decades, here’s what you need to know about tankless hot water heaters.

Pros:

  • Tankless hot water heaters use less space. Tankless systems (as their name implies) don’t need the same 40-60 gallon tanks that traditional hot water heaters use. Instead, these efficient systems can be hung right on the wall! This frees up a lot of space that can be converted to additional storage, a laundry room, etc.

  • They use less energy. Because tankless systems aren’t constantly heating water (instead, they heat water on demand), they don’t use as much energy as traditional hot water heaters. This can save West Chester and Liberty Township homeowners money over the long-run.

  • Their life expectancy is about 20 years vs. only 7 to 10 years for a traditional hot water heater.

  • A lot of tax incentives and rebates exist (at both the state and federal level) to offset the initial cost of buying a tankless hot water heater. Many utility providers offer discounts, as well.

Cons:

  • Installing a tankless system can be pricy. Not only are they more expensive than traditional hot water heaters ($300 to $600 vs. $700+), but they cost more to install. Prices can really escalate if you don’t already have a gas hookup because tankless systems are powered by gas lines.

  • It takes longer for water to heat up. Because water isn’t being constantly heated, it can take upwards of two minutes for hot water to reach the point of outflow. It depends on how far the tank is from its final destination, and how long the pipe is running in between. In cold weather climates like West Chester and Liberty Township, ground water is especially cold in winter months and takes some time to warm up.

  • Tankless hot water heaters have limited output. If there are a lot of people living in your West Chester or Liberty Township, OH home, you may not have enough hot water for everyone to shower at once—or to do laundry and/or run the dishwater at the same time, etc. So big families, take note!

So, given the pros and cons, what’s our advice?

Our advice is to weigh the costs and benefits of tankless systems before having to replace a traditional hot water heater. If you’re forced into making a snap decision, it’s easy to go with the more cost effective route, even if that isn’t the best long-term solution.

Winters in West Chester and Liberty Township can get chilly. The last thing you want is to wake up with no hot water! Remember to do routine HVAC maintenance this fall so your hot water heater – tankless or not! – is in good shape heading into the winter.

If you’re thinking about selling your West Chester or Liberty Township home, give us a call. We’d be happy to chat about other ROI-enhancing upgrades as you prepare your home for market.