Are electric tankless water heaters efficient in 2022? – Complete Guide

Whenever do we ask ourselves how can one decide whether an electric tankless water heater is efficient or not in 2022? Mostly, we mean it in terms of cost, energy efficiency, and performance. In terms of cost, the questions we usually have are: how much will they cost us, can we recover our investment, and are they worth the money invested.  Regarding energy efficiency, the questions we have are: how energy efficient is an electric tankless water heater and how much energy saving can they give us? While in performance, we try to see their pros and cons. Today we are going to answer all of these questions of yours. 

Let’s discuss some factor of “Are electric tankless water heaters efficient”

1. Cost-efficient

Are electric tankless water heaters efficient? The answer is yes and no. Regardless of whatever type of tankless water heater you purchase, you will see that they are costly. Whether in terms of unit cost or the installations, they can start from a little expensive to a level where they are 2-3 times more expensive.  Hence, their upfront costs are really expensive, but their operating expenses are not the case. A tankless water heater can be 24-34% cheaper to operate than a standard water heater, saving you extra savings.

According to the consumer report, a gas tankless water heater takes 20-22 years to pay back the investment. An electric tankless water heater only takes 10-12 years to pay back the invested amount. It is because an electric tankless unit is much cheaper than a gas tankless unit. The average cost of an electric tankless unit ranges from $500-$1500, while a gas tankless unit cost ranges from $1000-$2500. These costs are only the cost of the units, and the installation will cost you more.

You must now know that tankless heaters usually last 20 years and they are more prone to problems as they near the end of their life. Hence, if you don’t take proper care of your tankless water heater, it becomes doubtful whether it can survive till the end of its lifespan. Therefore, it raises the question of whether you can get your invested amount from the saving of a gas tankless water heater or not. While it is a lot easier to get invested amount in saving in an electric tankless water heater.

2. Energy Efficient

The water heater’s energy efficiency is determined by the energy factor. An energy factor tells how much water will be heated per unit of fuel consumed. A tank water heater has an energy factor of 0.6, which means they are 60% energy efficient. Reflecting that for every single unit of fuel a tank water heater consumes, only 0.6 of it is utilized in heating the water while rest is lost. A large part of it is due to standby losses, as the tank water heater keeps on heating the water to maintain the hot water temperature.

In contrast, a tankless water heater doesn’t have any kind of standby losses hence they have an energy factor (EF) 0.80-0.99. Where an electric tankless unit has the highest energy factor of 0.98-0.99. But sadly, as the prices of electricity are normally much higher than gas. This makes savings from its operation less than a gas tankless unit. You can expect savings of $40 to $80 per annum for an electric tankless water heater. At the same time, a gas tankless water heater can give savings of $60 to $150.

3. Performance

An electric tankless water heater performs really well as long as you take proper care of it by keeping up with the maintenance plan. If proper care is not taken, scalp and sediment can build up in the unit and make it work harder hence poor performance.

Pros

  • An electric tankless water heater is the best alternative when switching from tank to tankless. Although a little expensive, they still exist in the budget of a tank water heater. They are expensive than a tank but cheaper than any other fueled tankless unit.
  • They use electricity which is available in most regions, unlike gas or any other fuel.
  • All you need to do is upgrade your circuits if needed, unlike with a gas tankless water heater where you need to redo your gas channels.
  • They have a simpler structure and are easy to maintain. You only need to flush the unit regularly; nothing else is needed.
  • Possess similar warranties but is cheaper than a gas tankless water heater.
  • Safe and eco-friendly.

Cons

  • They need electricity to operate; without electricity, they cannot work. So in a blackout or power outage, you cannot get any hot water.
  • The maximum water supply capacity of all kinds of electric tankless water heaters is 8 gallons per minute or less.
  • In higher demand, electric tankless water heaters cannot speed up the heating to match the hot water demand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric tankless water heaters more energy efficient?

Yes, they are super-efficient with an energy efficiency of 98-99% as compared to other tank or tankless water heaters fueled by propane or gas. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that it reflects the same in terms of savings. It is because in most of the regions electricity is much more expensive than gas as a fuel. Therefore, a gas-powered tankless water heater gives bigger savings than an electric tankless water heater.

What is the downside of an electric tankless water heater?

A tankless water heater has the following downside, other than its higher costs.
1. They cannot operate in blackout and power outage
2. They have a specific maximum capacity of heating water and cannot heat water adequately when you exceed it.

Conclusion

Are electric tankless water heaters efficient in 2022? An electric water heater is effective and is a great way to move from a tank water heater to a tankless water heater. They are both cheaper and easier to operate than any other tankless model. They are most suitable for small families. It is because even their largest units come with a maximum capacity of 8 gallons per minute. Which may not be suitable for larger family needs.


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