7 Tankless Water Heater Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Updated: Feb. 12, 2024

These myths might make you think tankless water heaters aren't effective!

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Family Handyman

They’re Expensive to Operate

An alternative to bulky water heaters that take up less space? Yes, but it must be expensive. Not so! A common myth many people believe is that tankless water heaters require dishing out a hefty amount of dough, but that’s simply untrue. In fact, using a tankless water heater can save you 20 percent on your energy bill as a result of the heater not storing hot water when it’s not being used. Here’s some helpful information to help you choose a new water heater, along with our top picks for tankless water heaters.

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They Heat Water to an Unsafe Temperature

Just because it’s smaller in size doesn’t mean a tankless water heater doesn’t have necessary parts like a thermostat. In fact, they offer an adjustable thermostat for personalized use, helping you to prevent overheating and potential scalding. Considering a tankless water heater? Here are the pros and cons.

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Family Handyman

They Don’t Supply Enough Hot Water

Another common myth regarding a tankless water heater is that once the water is used, water must be reheated, which can take up to 30 minutes. But there’s no storage tank, which means no shortage of hot water. The water is heated as it passes over a heating element to an outlet, so as long as you need the hot water, you’ll get it.

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They Deliver Hot Water Instantly

A tankless water heater shouldn’t be purchased solely on the belief that it delivers hot water at the speed of light. Yes, it comes very quickly, but no, it’s not instantaneous. Essentially, the speed of hot water relies on the distance of the water heater from the faucet. Here’s how to replace a water heater thermocouple.

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They Require Annual Inspections

Don’t believe the myth that you have to hand over cash each year for an inspection on your tankless water heater. There’s really no set time frame to service a tankless water heater, as it really depends on the hardness of the water. The harder the water, the quicker mineral deposits will build up in a water heater. Your tankless water heater will push most of this through the system, but if there is a buildup, the scale detection software will show you an error message, and then you’ll need to service it. Here’s what you need to know about DIY hot water heater repair.

Photo: Courtesy of Lowes

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They Require Natural Gas

Some tankless water heaters do indeed use natural gas, but not all! Others use propane-powered systems that provide the very same features and are just as efficient. Propane powered systems are just not as common as natural gas versions. There are also electric versions as well, which reportedly use 15 to 20 percent less energy than a conventional electric tank water heater. Here’s how to install a hot water heater.

Photo: Courtesy of Rheem

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They Don’t Work With Well Water

The harder the water, and the more people using the water, the more scale that begins to form. Well water is mistaken as too hard for tankless water heaters, but no significant difference has been shown regarding homes that use city water and those that use well water. In fact, the water quality of all wells differs according to location and the mineral composition of the soil and bedrock. Here’s how you can extend the life of your water heater.

Photo: Courtesy of EcoSmart