Traditional water heaters last ten to twelve years. If you’re exploring options to replace yours, you may be asking, “What is a tankless water heater?”

What is a tankless water heater & how does it work?

Tankless water heaters supply instantaneous hot water “on demand” by heating water as it flows through the device. It does not retain water or provide continual heating as a traditional water heater, so tankless water heaters are considerably more energy efficient, saving 8-34% on energy according to Depending on your household’s daily water usage, this could add up to a hundred dollars or more per year. Tankless water heaters can be fueled by electricity, natural gas or propane. To calculate the annual savings, the type of fuel used is also an important part of the equation.

Home water heater, woman regulates the temperature on an electric water heater

While the tankless water heater won’t run out of hot water like a traditional hot water can, it does have a drawback if multiple uses are occurring simultaneously. For example, if the dishwasher and washing machine are both using hot water, there may not be enough gallons per minute produced by the tankless water heater to also provide hot water to a shower. Multiple showers or baths running at the same time can cause the same hot water shortage. If you are still interested in the tankless water heater but know this could be an issue in your home, the solution would be to install a second tankless water heater.

Another positive to the tankless water heaters is its longevity. It has a life span of twice its counterpart, usually lasting a full twenty years, instead of needing to be replaced after ten like the traditional water heater.

While energy savings and an endless supply of “on demand” hot water are wonderful pros for the tankless water heater the most obvious downside is the upfront cost. On average, tankless water heaters are twice to three times the price of a traditional water heater and the average traditional water heater is about $1,000 to $1,200.

Adult male arm with wrench in hand making adjustments on hot water heaterTraditional Water Heater FAQ

According to, water heaters are the second highest source of energy used within the home. With this in mind, choosing a water heater should not be a quick choice but should be done with some research. Whether you opt to go with a tankless water heater or a traditional water heater, here are some more important components to consider.

For more tips on selecting a new water heater, you can find more information here at Energy Saver.

For questions about how to save energy in your home, contact us at Three Rivers Heating.