According to ENERGY STAR®, a typical American family can save about $100 per year, or more for larger families, on gas bills by switching to a tankless water heater and heating water only as it is needed. Many people in an effort to save on energy costs, as well as make their homes more energy efficient for the environment, decide they will switch to a tankless water heater. Waiting until the current water heater has problems is the wrong time to start investigating buying a new one.
What you should do when you are looking to buy a tankless water heater:
- Investigate tankless water heaters before your old water heater fails because it takes time to install, especially if you need a gas line added, and hot water is not something you want to do without for very long.
- View the list of qualified ENERGY STAR® models available on the ENERGY STAR® Product List.
- Calculate the capacity of your family hot water needs in gallons per minute (GPM). This article is based on the average incoming water temperature in the Greenville, S.C. area. If you live in a colder climate, you will need to factor in how quickly the unit will increase the ambient water temperature to the desired hot water temperature, or temperature rise based on flow rate.
- Estimates of average water source uses are Clothes Washer – 3.3 GPM, Shower and Bathtub 2.5 GPM, Kitchen and Bathroom Sink – 2.2 GPM, Dishwasher – 1.3 GPM. If you use all of them at the same time, you will need a tank that can supply 9.3 gallons of hot water per minute minimum, plus more if you have more showers and sinks in use by several family members. An experienced plumber can help you determine the number more accurately. The square footage of your home and plumbing locations may require more than one tankless water heater in separate locations.
- Check manufacturer and retailer websites for a rough idea of the various costs of the tanks you like best.
- Use the Special Deals Finder on the ENERGY STAR site for rebates and coupons for your zip code for tankless water heaters, dishwashers, clothes washers and other appliances.
- Search the Internet for tax credits that may reduce your costs and review the eligibility rules before you make any purchases. Look on the ENERGY STAR® site for Federal tax credits.
- Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for state incentives.
- Ask friends for names of plumbing companies they have used satisfactorily.
- Check the Upstate SC Better Business Bureau for the company rating.
- Search the Internet for sites like Home Advisor for ratings on the company. Unlike Angie’s List, it is free and does other checks on companies that Angie’s List does not do.
- Get a quote from the plumbing company including:
- confirmation of the the optimal GPM size for your home
- determination of whether the existing natural gas line and electrical service is adequate
- identification of how the combustion gases will be vented
- cost estimates in writing with probably date of completion
- if a local permit is necessary and how it will be obtained
- local residential building codes that will be enforced
- references–and call a few to verify their satisfaction with the company.
Save all receipts and claim your Federal Tax Credit with Form 5695 (the residential energy tax credit). As of the 2013 tax year, you may claim a tax deduction of $300 for an existing personal residence, excluding solar water heaters.
See the article below on the Advantages of tankless water heaters for a list of suppliers in the Greenville, South Carolina area.