Tankless water heaters have been growing in popularity for decades, but there are still common misconceptions that surround the technology, impacting purchase decisions by both the pro and customer alike. These tankless myths have caused uncertainty for many tried-and-true products. Below we walk through eight common myths that come up in purchase decisions and debunk them with the truth.
Myth No. 1: Tankless is more expensive to maintain than tanks
Whether you have a tank or tankless water heater, maintenance is the most important thing you can do to increase the longevity of the product. Within a decade, scale can build up to a foot or thicker inside a tank. That’s why regular flushing is recommended for both hot water technologies, keeping your tankless water heaters efficient and affordable.
Tankless Truth: Tankless is not more expensive to maintain in comparison to a tank.
Myth No. 2: Tankless water heaters are expensive to purchase and expensive to install
Due to the increase in material, shipping and manufacturing costs for larger appliances, such as tank water heaters, the cost of a non-condensing tankless unit has become comparable to or even less than a traditional tank. And pros who have been trained in installing tankless technology often can install tankless water heaters in the same amount of time it takes to install a standard tank.
Tankless Truth: The purchase and installation of tankless water heaters are comparable in overall cost to a standard tank.
Myth No. 3: Stainless steel heat exchangers are better
In some tankless technologies, such as condensing models, using a stainless steel heat exchanger is the best option due to the corrosive nature of condensation produced by the extra high-efficiency models. However, stainless steel is not always the best material to use in tankless technology. In a non-condensing model, copper heat exchangers are often used as they are a much better conductor of heat, allowing water to heat even faster.
Tankless Truth: Stainless steel heat exchangers are better in certain tankless technologies, but copper is a better option in some instances.
Myth No. 4: Tankless doesn’t work with cold inlet temperatures
This is the biggest myth when it comes to tankless water heaters. For example, Rinnai sells more than 100,000 tankless water heaters in Canada per year, handling cold groundwater easily. Many tankless models are designed to turn 40° F groundwater into 120° F unlimited hot water. And customers can get 5 gallons per minute out of one of these tankless units, which means it provides the capability to still run three showers simultaneously.
Tankless Truth: Tankless water heaters work and work well in colder inlet temperatures.
Myth No. 5: Venting is too expensive on tankless water heaters
Historically, venting was a large expense both from a material and labor standpoint, ranging in cost from $200 to as much as $1,000. However, over the years, the cost of venting a tankless unit has decreased significantly. The reason for the increased cost was some tankless units were previously only compatible with 3-inch PVC or higher-cost materials in comparison to the much more cost-effective 2-inch PVC that can be used in condensing. In addition, there is a concentric venting solution where pros only install one wall or roof penetration, cutting costs further. With these additional options, the venting portion of the installation process became much more affordable.
Tankless Truth: Venting is affordable when installing a tankless water heater.
Myth No. 6: Tankless means upgrading the gas line
In many scenarios, you won’t need to upgrade the gas supply line when customers choose to go tankless. Advancements in technology have allowed installers of tankless water heaters to forgo upsizing the gas supply in some situations, eliminating the need for gas line modification.
Tankless Truth: Installing tankless does not always mean upgrading the gas line.
Myth No. 7: Tankless water heaters are slow to respond quickly to high demand
Often customers mention they are concerned with the reduced speed of the hot water coming out of the faucet, and that’s why they don’t want a tankless water heater. The speed of hot water reaching the customer's faucet is determined by the distance between the water heater and fixture. With a built-in circulation pump, tankless water heaters deliver hot water to one or multiple fixtures in a timely manner, leaving customers satisfied.
Tankless Truth: Tankless is quick to respond to high demand.
Myth No. 8: Tankless is a new technology that is unproven
Before selling in the U.S., tankless water heaters were sold around the world, including Japan and Europe. It wasn’t until the 1990s that tankless technology began to grow in popularity, now seeing double-digit growth since then. One reason behind that growth is tankless technology was designed for the long haul, lasting up to two decades while many tanks are replaced every eight to 12 years.
Tankless Truth: Tankless water heaters are a proven technology that lasts.
Tankless water heaters have faced many misconceptions over the years, but by learning the truth behind these myths, you can help your customers make hot water decisions without any preconceived notions. If you would like to learn more about Tankless Truths, visit www.rinnai.us/tanklesstruths.