Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

Heater Money

At the end of a long day, nothing’s better than relaxing in a warm bath or shower. If you want plenty of hot water without high energy bills, a tankless hot water heater is a great option. These handy little appliances give you on-demand hot water without breaking the bank. When you’re ready to replace your hot water heater, use this guide and decide if a tankless water heater is worth it for you.

Why Go With a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless heaters work a little differently than traditional water heaters. Instead of storing gallons of hot water, the tankless heater only heats up water when you need it. It looks like a small box mounted among some piping. Whenever you turn on a hot water tap, it instantaneously heats up the water you need.

The big advantage of tankless water heaters is that they use less energy since they only heat up water when you need it. You can save hundreds on your energy bill each year. Because they don’t waste power, you can also enjoy the fact that your home will be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

The only downside of a tankless water heater is that tankless water heater costs for installation tend to be a bit higher. According to Consumer Reports, you should expect to pay about $800 to $1,500 or more to have your tankless water heater installed.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters: Which Is Better?

One of the very first things to consider is whether you should get a tankless heater powered by gas or electric. Generally, electric-powered heaters are easier and cheaper to install. Every home has electricity, and installation just requires connecting a few wires and pipes. Furthermore, electric tanks are about $500 cheaper due to their simplicity.

Gas tanks are trickier to install, especially if you don’t already have a gas line running to your home. With gas tanks costing about twice as much as electric tanks, you might be wondering why people even bother with them. The big perk is that gas tanks are way cheaper to run since gas is cheaper than electricity. That difference can amount to about $100 to $200 a year in utility costs.

Choosing Between Condensing and Non-Condensing Types of Water Heaters

Non-condensing tankless heaters are the first generation of tankless heater design. They use a heat exchange system to warm water, and they vent hot exhaust outside your home. Home Depot explains that non-condensing heaters are cheaper to install and are less likely to need water heater repairs.

Condensing water heaters use the hot exhaust as a secondary means of heating water. This makes them more energy efficient. Though they are more complex and pricier to install, you end up saving on your energy bills. Another plus is that they work with cheaper PVC piping instead of requiring pricey stainless-steel flue pipes.

Should You Consider Point-of-Use Water Heaters?

Also called on-demand water heaters, these are a special type of compact tankless water heater. They work just like a typical tankless heater, but they do not supply water to the entire house. Instead, you install them right by your sink, shower, or washing machine. With these heaters, you do not end up losing precious heat as the water travels around the pipes in your home, so you save on energy. These heaters can be a great way to supplement your hot water heating.

How to Find the Right Hot Water Heater Capacity

You need to consider flow rate to find the right capacity. This will tell you how much hot water your machine can comfortably produce on demand. You can calculate your required flow rate (usually expressed in gallons per minute, or GPM) by thinking about what sorts of water fixtures you plan on running simultaneously and then adding up all their individual flow rates. Here’s a helpful list of the flow rate for common fixtures.

  • Standard Dishwasher: 2 GPM
  • High-Efficiency Dishwasher: 1 GPM
  • Faucet: 1 GPM
  • Shower: 2 GPM
  • Rain Shower Head: 5 GPM
  • Standard Washing Machine: 2.5 GPM
  • High-Efficiency Washing Machine: 1 GPM

Things to Know About Tankless Water Heater Costs

The average tankless water heater costs between $450 and $1,050 to purchase. When looking at costs, you also have to factor in installation. Typically, installation will add from around $400 up to around $1,000 to costs. If you need to install a gas line as well, expect to pay an additional $500. On average, total costs for buying the unit and installing it can be as low as about $600 or as high as nearly $3,000.

If you want lower costs, you may want to look at electric, non-condensing models. Lower-capacity models are also cheaper. Brands like Rheem, Takagi, and EcoSmart tend to have more budget-friendly models while higher-end models come from brands like Rinnai, A. O. Smith, and Bradford White.

A high-quality tankless water heater can in many cases last for 20 years as long as it is properly maintained and repaired. That’s why being prepared is a smart move.

See how plans from Service Lines Warranties of America can help with the costs of home repairs.

How to Deep Clean a Garbage Disposal

Homeowners who have a house with a garbage disposal often report that it is an added convenience. Whether it was pre-installed or you installed it, to maintain the garbage disposal and keep it in good working condition, you should keep it relatively clean. Industry professionals recommend that you clean your garbage disposal once a week. Once it begins to emit foul odors, the disposal requires a deep cleaning. The good news is that cleaning the appliance only requires a few steps and materials. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started on cleaning the disposal.

Gather Your Supplies

When you clean the garbage disposal, begin by gathering your supplies. They include:

  • A cup of baking soda
  • A cup of vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Ice cubes
  • Citrus peels
  • A kitchen sponge
  • Rock salt
  • An old toothbrush
  • A flashlight
  • Tongs

It’s important to note that professionals in the plumbing industry do not recommend pouring harsh cleaners down your home’s pipes for any reason. Even though you may be trying to unclog a drain, there are alternatives to harsh cleaners. And when in doubt, you can always call a plumber.

Pick Your Cleaning Method

After gathering your supplies, you need to assess the current cleanliness of the garbage disposal in order to choose your cleaning method. You can clean your garbage disposal with just liquid dish soap and a sponge. If you notice that there is a slight odor coming from the appliance, however, you should consider going the baking soda and vinegar route. Citrus peels are used when the odor from the drain is persistent.

The best way to clean the garbage disposal is to get rid of the gunk, kill the majority of germs and eliminate the odor from the drain. If you have been keeping it fairly clean, begin with soap and a sponge. Then, go from there. You can give the appliance an easy scrub every other day.

There are times when persistent, foul odors from a garbage disposal are a sign that something is stuck in the appliance. It could also mean that the disposal is showing signs of age. The typical garbage disposal lasts eight to 15 years. If yours has reached this maturity, you may need to call in a professional for a closer look.

Step 1: Disconnect the Garbage Disposal

Safety first: Before you begin to clean your garbage disposal, disconnect it. You need to ensure that it will not be accidentally turned on by yourself or someone else. To disconnect the appliance, look under the sink for the cord that leads from your wall to the disposal. Pull the plug.

Turning on the garbage disposal is one way to double-check that you successfully cut the connection. If it does not run, you are good to go.

If you are not sure where the disposal’s power source is located, cut the power off from the circuit breaker. Then, turn on the appliance. If it does not start, you are set to begin cleaning the disposal.

Step 2: Shine a Light and Clean

Next, take your flashlight and look down the drain. You are looking for food scraps and any other debris that might be stuck on the blades. With the tongs or old toothbrush you’ve gathered, pull at, loosen and clear away the dirt and grime.

Once scraps have been cleared away, pour down the ice cubes and rock salt. The goal here is to get rid of the debris you loosened from the blades.

Step 3: Cleaning With Dish Soap and a Sponge

To clean the garbage disposal appliance with the soap and a sponge, create a lather. A sponge with an abrasive portion is helpful in this situation because you need to scrub all sides of the drain’s rubber baffle. It is important to clean underneath it so you can kill the germs in that area. Those germs have an impact on the rest of your kitchen sink.

Next, wash the grinding chamber. It is a good idea to keep running water on as you do this so you can clean the gunk you are scraping off from the sponge as you go.

Warm water works best and can help to keep killing the germs. If it gets too hot, run cold water. Then, switch back to warm.

Step 4: Clean the Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Pour half of the baking soda down the sink drain. Next, pour the vinegar down the drain as carefully and slowly as possible. White vinegar is preferred.

Cover the drain opening with your sink stopper because the combination of the ingredients is going to cause fizzing and bubbling. The stopper acts like a splash guard.

Wait about 15 minutes before removing the stopper. Pour warm water down the drain to flush out your homemade cleaning solution.

Use the remainder of your baking soda and vinegar to repeat the process one more time, if necessary. If you have two sink basins, clean them at the same time.

Step 5: Deodorizing the Garbage Disposal

You are well aware of all the items that you pour down the drain when you wash the dishes or clean up after cooking. (Nasty bits of food scraps, etc.) So it should be no surprise that the sink can get a little stinky. To deodorize the garbage disposal appliance and help your kitchen smell great, try citrus peels.

Cut the peels into small pieces. Pour them down the drain with cold water and some ice cubes. Turn on the disposal and let it run so that it grinds up the peels. The fragrant oils will be released from the peels and into your drain and kitchen.

The other way you can deodorize the disposal is to use bleach. Since bleach is a harsh chemical, you must be careful of backsplash and the amount that you breathe into your lungs. Dilute one part bleach with two parts warm water and pour this solution down the drain. After pouring, run warm water for a few seconds to clear away the bleach. Before taking this final step, remember that deodorizing the drain works best after you have cleaned it.

Being prepared for the unexpected with a repair plan from Service Lines Warranties of America is a good strategy to protect you and your family from expensive repair bills.