Instant Hot Water: Is a tankless heater right for you?

The time comes in every homeowner’s life when the good old hot water heater has to be either upgraded or replaced. Our family recently faced this dilemma. Where to start? The choices are overwhelming; tankless, electric, propane, natural gas, even working into developing solar hot water.

I started by looking at our main fuel source. In our case we are not all the way off-grid yet, so we would be looking at propane or electric.

Then, I considered whether we wanted it to be instant (tankless) or constant ( the constantly heated tanks many of us grew up with). We chose a tankless model, and here’s why.

My husband (the trained HVAC person) made quick calculations of our household needs. (I found some answers online if you do not have a HVAC husband.)

But when looking at the 1600 size models he explained that the standing ignition is a 24/7 pilot, and still fuel wasteful. If using that model we would choose the 1600H; it has a hydro-generated igniter that is much more fuel efficient.

For our family the 1600 series was too small, so we went with the Bosch 2700ES with the future hope of going all solar. The tankless systems are higher priced than the traditional heaters, but the re-coup of the expense can add up quickly. There are also many rebates and tax programs to use and help offset the cost.

For us, the endless supply of hot water, even during multiple usage times, helps get more things done quicker ands leaves more time for me. I especially enjoy the luxury of a long soaking bath to un-knot all the kinks.

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.

6 thoughts on “Instant Hot Water: Is a tankless heater right for you?

  1. I’ve thought about those, except that you have to run the water a while before it heats up, and with a septic tank, I’m wary of running any extra water into it, and filling it up prematurely.

  2. Isn’t the running water just what’s between your faucet and the tank?

    My concern is different. My brother in law says that, in areas with hard water, the small lines inside the tank tend to get blocked by mineral deposits. Does anyone have experience with this? and how do you deal with it?
    I have a Clear Wave device that claims to keep minerals dissolved in the water, but I haven’t tried it. Seems to me that putting it online between the well and the tank would protect the tank from crudding up.

  3. Dear “splumer” – The water from a tankless heater should come out hot almost as fast as it does from a tank heater. Our experience has been that there is very little additional water used. If your septic tank has a leach field, which most do, then filling the tank from running more water isn’t a big concern. What fills the tank are solids, not liquids, at least in typical tank/leach field installations

    Dear Diana – We have very hard water locally, and haven’t had any more trouble with build up in the tankless models than in the tank models. In fact, we have never had a complaint about mineral build up. Could it be because the water is rapidly moving? I don’t know, but I did want to reassure you that it hasn’t been a problem.

    Galen Lehman

  4. That was an interesting read.. thanks for posting. My husband keeps saying we need to replace our water heater before it goes bad. Is this something Lehman’s sells??? I’m a fan of Lehman’s … and if this is something you carry, I would like to know about that. Thanks!!!