Tankless Water Heaters/On-Demand Water Heaters

How much will a Rinnai cost compared to regular tank type water heater?

Our installation and materials costs for a traditional tank, natural gas water heater range from $750-$1200. Installation and materials costs for a Rinnai, natural gas water heater ranges from $2200-3200. A new Rinnai water heater will probably need a bigger gas line - which the primary reason the tankless cost more.

Why would I need a new, larger gas line?

Your new Rinnai needs a larger gas line because it has a large burner that heats water very rapidly as it flows through the system.

How big a unit do I need?

Units are rated by the gallons per minute of hot water at a given rise in water temperature. The most common rating is for a 35 degree rise and the range would be between 5 and 10 gallons/minute. Another way they are rated is by the number of "units" (showers, laundry, dishwasher) that can be operated at the same time without a drop in temperature. Most residential units we install will operate 2 or 3 showers at once. But, unlike a traditional tank, your Rinnai will never run out. For situations that require more hot water, units are easily put in tandem and linked together electronically.

What about hard water? Won't that clog them up?

Sediment build-up that eventually makes your tank type water heater start popping like popcorn as trapped water boils up through the sediment, is not a problem in the tankless system because there is no tank. Water moves through the coils as it is heated. When all the taps are closed, the flame goes out (no pilot on most). Softened water will lengthen the life of any water appliance.

Will I get hot water to my upstairs shower quicker?

No. It is a common misconception that demand water heaters are "instant". If a new demand heater is in the same location as the old, hot water will not be delivered any quicker.

Can I use a circulation pump to keep hot water in the pipes?

Only with a "demand" circulation pump that is made for a tankless heater.

Can I use a tankless heater in conjunction with solar water heating?

Only if existing system is properly designed or can be modified.

OK, what else?

Glad you asked. One of the potential side benefits of demand heaters is that there are outdoor models that require no vent pipe at all. If your current water heater is in your garage, put the tankless outside and gain that space. Or if you currently have a heater in a hallway closet or laundry room, put a demand heater outside or in the attic. Now you have more storage space. They take up very little room.

How can I find out the cost for my situation?

Call us for a site visit and estimate. We usually do estimates on Saturday afternoons. Just call 530-758-0830.

What are the down sides, besides the expense?

If the power goes out, you have no hot water. Some companies, however, make battery backups, much like a UPS for a computer, that will power the electronics required, which take very little current.