I researched them quite a bit. I really wanted to try one, but after a lot of thought with the cost of natural gas vs electricity, and the cost of a tankless vs tank, decided not to. The amount of savings is negligible (imo) and takes so long to happen.
My current hot water heater is a tank style, electric. And is about 20 years old. It needs to be replaced. (2600 square foot house, 2 baths, designed for a family of 4, more than enough hot water for myself and my brother).
I have a propane tank heater in my basement that was set to be installed, but 2 years ago we switched to natural gas, and hot water heaters are not usually convertible (unlike furnaces and stoves) so I have to buy a new one. And try to sell my old (new) unused propane heater.
I looked at tankless electric. The power requirements are outrageous. One similar one to the usage of my current one I saw was 3 - 40A breakers. I have a modern 200A panel and that would be a difficult upgrade. Electric on demand would be foolish I think. I have one in a factory I maintain and it's a pain in the ***. Would want to go gas if at all.
With natural gas being so cheap, I am just going to switch to a tank heater, natural gas, and call it done. With an on demand, you still have to wait for your hot water, unless you have a point of use on demand. Because the period of cold (or not warm) water out of your faucets comes from the idle water in the lines between your heater and your point of use. And you hear a lot from end users about occasional cold intervals. While I haven't used one in my house, I have used the one industrial on demand in a factory, and it would periodically fail to heat the flowing water correctly and deliver intervals of cold water. Seemed very flow-sensitive. Too much or too little and it wouldn't heat the water right. Maintenance on your standard tank heater is not much other than the occasional cleaning (depending on your water quality) and possibly having to replace a T&P relief valve and that anode rod (I've never actually changed the rod in mine). And with gas instead of electric, I think you don't get as much calcium/lime buildup because you don't have the super hot element in the water collecting the scale.
So, I'm not going to go tankless when I replace my electric with a gas. Centralized tankless just doesn't seem to solve any issues with the tank system. And point of use tankless... maybe, but I'm not interested in installing them in each sink and shower. One tank under my basement stairwell is fine for me.
Is this mansplaining?
Edited, Sep 16th 2016 7:56pm by TirithRR
Can't sleep, clown will eat me.