How to Choose The Best Tankless Water Heater For Your Home?

© Wikimedia.
© Wikimedia.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

This type of water heater also called on-demand water heater or instantaneous water heater. It is particularly interesting from the environmental point of view since it does not store the water and thus there is no wastage of energy. It heats water on demand, only when someone opens the valve, eliminating the losses inherent in the conventional system tank (where a portion of the water remains stored along the walls or pipes). A basic system consists of an electric element or gas burner around which circulates domestic fresh water en route to its point of use.

Let’s start with electric models: While useful in Europe, Asia, and the United States, this is not the case in Canada! This technology just is not suited to our climate, the power required for instantaneous heating of the water near 0° C during the coldest months is crucial. It is reasonable in these circumstances to prefer the use of gas as fuel.

How does the Tankless Water Heater Work?


The tankless water heater heats the water at the precise time of the request, with an electric element or a burner that turns on and off according to a probe detects whether or not a water movement caused by opening or closing a valve.

The energy efficiency of gas water heaters, in general, is between 78% to 85% for standard models, and for the condensation models – also the gas – oscillating between 91% to 96%.

Advantages: Energy saving & Space Saving & Low wastage

  • Lower power loss
  • Zero consumption in the absence of use.
  • Reduced operating costs.
  • Compact and easy to use.
  • Space saving (no need to reserve space for the tank).
  • No bacterial growth.
  • They minimize the amount of water heater in landfills.
  • They have a long life (over 20 years), by refers to the conventional water heater (10 to 15).
  • Unlimited hot water on demand, anytime.
  • The average energy savings would be, according to the tankless hot water heater review from “22% compared to the consumption of a tank water heater. In a Quebec-type house where hot water represents an annual expenditure of $310, this is an economy about $70. “

Disadvantages: Purchase Price & Higher installation cost & Flow problems

  • Purchase cost and higher installation cost ($1,000 to $1,500 for the purchase and $ 1,000 for installation; specify an efficient electric water heater for a family amounts to $3,000).
  • The volume of hot water available simultaneously is rather low.
  • Electric models create a large load on the network and may require replacing the electrical panel and wiring (2000 additional $).
  • It can cause inconsistency in temperature if more taps run water simultaneously.
  • There may be a delay of several seconds to get hot water every time we turn on the tap: some prefer while running the tap continuously.
  • If the water flow is low (a trickle of water flowing while shaving, for example), water may not be hot.
  • Need to change their habits: avoid drawing hot water simultaneously in several places, not add cold water to hot water for a shower or doing the dishes, etc. The light time of wait (seconds) to get hot water can also be seen as a drawback.

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Why Gas Tankless Water Heater are the Best?

Forget electric models if your budget is limited. Smaller units sold from $ 500, will be unable to adequately feed more than one tap. To meet the needs of your family, a very robust model is required (at least 28 kW), but at a cost rising quickly to $ 3,000, not including any additional costs for a particular electrical connection.

Indeed such power may need to thoroughly review your electrical installation. Homes with electric heating is usually a 200-amp at 240 volts, corresponding to maximum power 48 kW (200 x 240 = 48,000). With a tankless water heater, you will certainly go to 300 amps and will need to replace the electric cable connecting your distribution panel to the water heater, the works that present a significant additional investment of at least $ 2,000.

Better Option: Choose a gas model – The average extra cost is $ 525 according to a study by Gaz Métro but generally, count between $600 and $ 1,800 for the purchase of the heating capacity.

How to Choose A Tankless Gas Water Heater?

The tankless water heater gas can operate without electricity, but it is mainly low-end using the air inside the home than outside air for combustion. This kind of system is very advisable because it sucks and removes heat from the house, and because a non-sealed combustion chamber can present a risk of poisoning from carbon monoxide in air pressure or discharge of combustion gases.


The more upscale models operate by sealed combustion: a first pipe supplies the burner fresh air from the outside while another ensures the discharge of flue gas (several configurations are possible). The appliances with an ignition driver are somewhat less efficient because there is a slight but constant gas consumption to keep the pilot lit, even when not in use.

In Europe, where the tankless water heater gas is commonly used for over 25 years, users have developed the habit of turning off the driver when the use of the water heater is not required. Manufacturers, however, now offer devices with electronic ignition that eliminates this problem: Make sure that the selected model is provided. Finally, for second homes or located in remote areas, a tankless water heater fueled by propane gas seems entirely appropriate.

Prices and energy savings

Is it cost-effective? A Quebec family of 4 annually consumes around 600 m³ of natural gas for heating water, a bill of $ 340 (data Gaz Métro 2009). Considering a reduction in consumption of 22%, the annual savings amounted to $ 75. A study by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimates for its 230 m³ / year saving gas, which costs $ 0,30 / m³ represents an annual savings of $ 69. If the average additional cost of a tankless water heater is $ 525, you get your purchase back in seven years! The payback time will nevertheless triple if you are charged for a first gas installation (the cost varies considerably discharging mode and the installer, but expect much $1,000) and can expect the life of a system, which is more than 20 years.

To offset this additional cost, Gaz Métro customers are entitled to a discount of $ 250 to purchase a tankless water heater. The incentive relates Energy Star qualified models and offering a capacity of 44 kW (150,000 BTU / hr) or 51 kW (175,000 BTU / h) depending on the energy factor.

The installed unit can also operate in “combo” mode (the water heater is combined with a fan coil that allows the heating of the air). Financial assistance then varies with the type of device selected. Thus, such a system certified Energy Star is entitled to one with $ 250 for the standard tankless water heater and $ 550 for a condensing model.