A contractor finishes installing a tankless water heater in a residential home.
Trade Talk

Top 5 benefits of switching to a tankless water heater

Plumbing pros know that there are multiple factors to consider when selecting a water heater for a residential or commercial customer. While some are better suited for certain plumbing jobs than others, instant water heaters offer residential energy savings as well as advantages for a variety of commercial applications.

To help you start the conversation with your customers who are weighing the best options for them, discuss tankless water heater benefits for residential and commercial buildings.

Five benefits of a tankless water heater

Residential customers can have different concerns about switching to tankless water heaters than commercial customers might. The upfront costs of installation might outweigh the energy savings they can expect over time, while commercial building managers could worry more about ensuring it’s powerful enough to meet occupant needs.

Five top benefits for instant hot water heaters include greater energy efficiency and needing less space, among others. See if going tankless could be the right solution for your next plumbing project.

1. Less space is needed for tankless water heaters.

After the 2015 NAECA water heater standards legislation, storage water heaters became larger in general, and more room for airflow was required for all sizes. This creates a challenge when it’s time to replace an older model—there may not be enough space to meet the NAECA standards.

Both gas and electric tankless water heaters require less space and are much smaller than the traditional options that store water. They can also often be mounted on the wall. Gas units are typically bigger than electric, and a gas instant water heater will also require space for ventilation, while an electric one will not.

To determine capacity for a household, calculate how much water the household will need at once, in gallons per minute, instead of total gallon capacity. Manufacturers typically share guidance on how much simultaneous use a typical consumer can expect with each model.

Pro tip: If your customer’s water has to travel a long way to a faucet—such as to outdoor showers, kitchens and hot tubs—you can add a small point of use, or POU, hot water heater to minimize energy loss.

2. An instant water heater can help meet safety regulations.

In certain facilities where hazardous material is handled, OSHA requires eyewash, facewash and drenching stations available with on-demand water at the correct temperature, between 60°F and 100°F.

Tankless water heaters consistently provide tepid water on demand and eliminate the issue of losing energy with standby water. They can also help meet requirements for clear floor space since they can be wall-mounted.

For applications for emergency use, make sure the unit’s flow rate can support the temperature for the minimum 15 minutes required.

3. On-demand water heaters are more energy efficient.

Because tankless gas water heaters can be up to 34% more efficient than traditional units and usually last longer, homeowners can reap the benefits of energy savings over time, while professional contractors have the opportunity to install a value-added system.

The decision of gas or electric is often pre-determined based on the house, but if customers can choose either, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider with each option. An electric heater may be slower to heat water but ultimately more efficient, while a gas unit can heat water very fast but the range of sizes available is smaller.

Regardless of the type, only experienced professionals should install tankless water heaters due to the technical elements to consider. Becoming an expert in this service can help you save customers money while growing your professional plumbing business.

Find out how a water heater earns an ENERGY STAR label.

4. Customers can save with tankless water heater rebates.

While the initial outlay for instant hot water heaters can be higher than for traditional storage tanks, customers don’t just save on energy bills. Some state and local utility companies offer tax credits and rebates for purchasing and installing a tankless water heater.

Rebates can be as much as several hundred dollars before tax credits. These additional savings may help your customers take the plunge. To check which rebates are offered in your area, visit the ENERGY STAR rebate finder.

5. Instant water heaters can earn LEED water efficiency credits.

Building managers that are pursuing LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council can benefit from going tankless. Those participating in the LEED program can earn points and improve their building’s rating simply by installing certain tankless water heaters that meet performance standards and efficiency.

Check the manufacturer’s specifications to find out how many LEED points these units can offer.

Ferguson can help with switching to a tankless water heater

If you’d like answers to more specific questions about helping your customers make the switch, visit your local Ferguson. Our knowledgeable associates can discuss how to select the right water heater for the job.