Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Recommendations for Tankless Electric Water Heater
4 posts / 0 new
Last post
South End Brownie
Recommendations for Tankless Electric Water Heater


Can anyone recommend a brand of tankless hot water heaters?

I've asked plumbers for estimates, but they don't seem eager to give them, which makes me think they don't know how to install them. So my plan is to find the right brand, and then find a local installer.

I want to go with the tankless to save room. Right now I have the regular electric tank kind. My condo is small, and there is never a time when I'd be doing laundry or dishes while showering, so high water capacity shouldn't be too much of an issue. In addition, it's a one-floor unit, 800sq ft, so the water won't be traveling far.

Re: Recommendations for Tankless Electric Water Heater

Before you invest in an electric on demand tankless water heater, find out the cons of such a product.

I really don't know why the plumbers you talked to won't give you estimates, but I'm sure the reason is not what you think.
Personally, I don't like this product.

Are you replacing your tank WH or just want to install a tankless in addition to the tank WH?

Re: Recommendations for Tankless Electric Water Heater

If your thinking about a electric thank-less, the reason your not getting prices is because most people after having them installed aren't very happy with them. To get one that is anywhere close to supplying your hot water needs you need 60 amps. Which I doubt you have to spare in a condo. Even at that the flow rate has to be restricted to enable the heater enough time to heat the water. Stay with your tank heater.


Re: Recommendations for Tankless Electric Water Heater

Electric tankless hot water heaters use a lot of electricity over a very short period of time, as a result, they actually consume more electricity than a well insulated electric tank type, in most cases. Your case may be different though, it depends on how the local utility supplies the power for the building.

In most residential applications, a small distribution transformer, either on a pole or in a green box on the corner of the property is used to step down the voltage on the power lines to the 120/240 for the building. These tankless water heaters usually require more current than these transformers can supply at normal voltages, so they end up causing a "brownout" for the rest of the house. In order to supply enough current to power one of these, the utility has to replace the small transformer with a larger one, and a larger one costs more money to buy and it uses more electricity when there is very little load on it.

Transformers have to consume a certain amount of electricity just to keep them alive, it is called exciting current. The bigger the transformer, the greater the exciting current, and exciting current is a 24/7. It is being consumed even when everything is turned off, even if the main breaker is turned off. That is why in the long run, they use more energy than they save.

You live in a condo and if there are enough units in the condo and the utility uses one large transformer for the whole building, then it might be possible that your tankless water heater might not cause a brown out in the building. It will probably still dim everyones lights just a little every time it kicks on.

I think though that the reason you are being discouraged is due to the number of dissatisfied customers that your plumbers have had. I think that in the end, you will be dissatisfied as well. You may not save as much space as you hope for.

Are there any other options? Do you have an attic space that the water heater could be relocated to? Do you have a corner cabinet in your kitchen that you could tuck a 30 gallon water heater in?

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.