Tankless Water Heaters

Hot water is a must in a modern home. From dishwashing and laundry to cooking and personal hygiene, there are many uses for hot water in your daily life. The question, then, is how best to heat the water you use in your home? Though the traditional method is to use a water heater tank, there is another option.

A tankless water heater is a space and energy-saving solution that allows you to heat the water on demand allowing homeowners the ability to only heat what they need versus a traditional water heater. Let’s take a look at the most important things you need to know about tankless water heaters and determine whether or not they are the right option for you.

How do tankless water heaters work?

A traditional water heater will fill a tank full of water and apply persistent energy to it at all times. This way, whenever you need hot water, the hot water line in your tap will draw water from this tank, which refills itself and continues heating water to the set temperature.

Conversely, a tankless water heater draws cold water through a more compact unit. When you need hot water, the tankless water heater, containing either a gas burner or an electric heating element, instantly heats the water before sending it to the tap. A tankless water heater is, therefore, able to supply you with hot water on-demand, without the need to fill a large tank.

How long do tankless
water heaters last?

The life span of your tankless water heater will depend on whether it heats with gas or electricity. For gas-burning tankless water heaters, a properly used and maintained heater can last for over 20 years. Electric tankless water heaters can last anywhere from 7to 10 years with proper maintenance.

How do you clean a tankless water heater?

Over time, a tankless water heater may develop mineral deposits on the inside of the unit or heat exchanger. This can generally be remedied easily by flushing it out with vinegar using a submersible pump. Simply turn off the tankless water heater and close the gas valve (if present). Drain the heater into a 5-gallon bucket, and rinse off the pre-filter to remove any buildup. Empty the bucket and then pour 3 gallons of vinegar into it with the submersible pump inside. Then, by pumping vinegar in through the cold water valve and out through the hot water valve, you can dissolve calcium, lime, and other minerals and collect the remnants back in the bucket. Doing this yearly can flush out mineral deposits before they cause damage.

This process can also be performed by a professional like those at John Stevenson Plumbing, Heating & Air. Ask about our tankless water heater cleaning in San Diego if you notice something amiss with your water heater.

How much do tankless
water heaters cost?

The price of a tankless water heater varies greatly. Generally, gas-burning tankless heaters will run anywhere from $1500to over $2,000 for a more heavy-duty model. Electric tankless water heaters will usually be less expensive, with a price tag somewhere between $700 and $1200. Keep in mind, however, that installing a tankless water heater in your home for the first time will cost more than just replacing an existing one, owing to the needed infrastructure to support the device. 

While homeowners can purchase tankless water heaters from home stores, the cost for a professional to provide and install the system will vary depending on the installation needs of the home. By having a licensed specialist provide and install the tankless water heater, homeowners can be sure they are getting a professional grade system with a best in class warranty.

What are the best tankless
hot water heaters?

For those looking to upgrade their current hot water setup, it makes sense to get a quality tankless water heater. By investing in a high-quality device, you ensure that you get the most bang for your buck, with less chance of it breaking down at an inopportune moment.

In taking a look at a variety of professional and customer opinions, the brands of tankless water heaters that we see recommended most often are:


To learn more about which tankless water heater is best suited to you in particular, ask the professionals at John Stevenson Plumbing for a more personalized and accurate recommendation based on the hot water needs of your home.


One major advantage that tankless water heaters hold over their traditional counterparts is space. Whereas older water heaters require large tanks with thick insulation, taking up valuable space in your home, a tankless water heater is usually about the size of a carry-on piece of luggage and mounted on the wall, out of the way.

Eco- and Wallet-Friendly

Instead of spending money and energy constantly heating a large tank of water, all for the chance that you might need it at some point during the day, a tankless water heater allows you to heat the water only as you need it. Since smaller amounts of water are being heated at a time, it takes less energy and therefore less money to supply yourself with hot water at a moment’s notice.

Easy Winterizing

If a home needs to be left vacant for any length of time, especially during cold weather, it’s important to winterize to ensure that there aren’t any burst pipes when you return. Part of this process involves flushing your water heater. For tank-style water heaters, the process of flushing the tank can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the tank’s size. However, with a tankless water heater, a compressor allows you to drain the heater in just a few seconds. Once it’s empty, you can unplug the heater and it’s good to go.


Additionally, tankless water heaters are usually safer to have in the home. For one, they don’t hold tremendous amounts of water, so you don’t run the risk of large leaks and floods. Plus, the small size and weight mean that the risk of damage or injury from a tip-over in an earthquake is all but eliminated.

Thanks to the sealed air intake and exhaust vents, tankless heaters won’t leak carbon monoxide into your home because of back-drafting.

And finally, because the hot water doesn’t have time to sit still within the heater, tankless water heaters are far less prone to collecting and circulating bacteria and sediment build up from the water heater.

Do tankless water heaters provide instant hot water?

Generally, you’ll see about a 15-second wait time from when you turn on the tap until the water heats up. However, some models of tankless water heaters will include a built-in recirculation pump. By thinking ahead and activating the recirculation pump, either at the push of a button or through clever home automation, you can push cold water back into the hot water heater. After just a minute or so, you can get hot water from the tap in just a few seconds.