I have a reputation with most of my friends and family as a guy who gets a little too excited about his work. It’s definitely an earned reputation, as I’m always quick to start talking about trenchless sewer repair, the risks of ruptured pipes, and the reasons you shouldn’t pour chemical cleaners down your drains. So, it wasn’t weird at all when my cousin called me up all excited to give me some news about a recent plumbing decision he’d come to.
He wanted to talk about a tankless water heater installation in his Sacramento home and he wanted to tell me all the reasons why he’d decided to go that route. I immediately told him he’d called the right guy, made the right choice, and that I was excited to hear why. But, once my cousin told me he liked how you don’t need a permit to install one, and how the installation process is so easy that you don’t need to hire a pro, the trouble started.
Both of those things are false. I had to gently set my cousin straight, then explain to him why an expert on tankless water heater installation had to be called in. This conversation got me thinking about other common tankless heater misconceptions I’ve heard—and why some of them can be dangerous or costly. Let me explain.
The Most Common Sacramento Homeowner Tankless Misconception
Misconception #1: Tankless water heaters run on electricity—and will raise your monthly power bill.
One thing I’ve learned about Sacramento homeowners over the years is that they’re always looking for tips on how to lower their electric bills, especially during the city’s blazing hot summers when constantly running an air conditioner becomes a necessity. But I think sometimes they become a little too vigilant about their electric bills because I often hear concerns that installing a tankless water heater in their home will raise their power costs.
Traditional water heaters keep hot water on tap at all times in a 30 to 40-gallon tank, warming it 24 hours a day—an energy expense you definitely don’t want to pay.
The fact is, tankless water heaters are actually a great deal more energy efficient than standard models, and they don’t generally run on electricity. In fact, the California Energy Commission estimates that a standard water heater uses about 25 percent of all energy that a household is likely to consume.
Tankless water heaters can reduce your current use by about 20 percent since it doesn’t store hot water when you’re not using it, meaning you don’t have to pay for energy to heat water you don’t even need. Traditional water heaters keep hot water on tap at all times in a 30 to 40-gallon tank, warming it 24 hours a day—an energy expense you definitely don’t want to pay.
Tankless Water Heater Installation for Your Sacramento Family of Four
Misconception #2: Installing a tankless water heater won’t supply enough hot water for a Sacramento family of four or five.
I get why people are concerned about this: A standard water heater has a giant tank filled with hot water at all times. But, everyone knows that when that water gets used up, like during Sacramento’s chilly winters when everyone in the house is taking hot showers in the morning, the water goes cold. A shockingly cold shower is something people don’t forget. So, of course, they’re concerned about it happening more often if they install a tankless water heater.
The type of whole house tankless water heaters most people use is capable of supplying water like this without interruption to a four to five person household…
Actually, though, frigid shower water becomes less of a concern with a tankless water heater. Sometimes called an on-demand water heater, a tankless model has no storage tank. Instead, it heats water instantly as it passes over a heating element on its way to your shower, dishwasher, or faucet. The type of whole house tankless water heaters most people use is capable of supplying water like this without interruption to a four to five person household, meaning that it’s even possible for two people to take hot showers at once on a cold Sacramento winter morning.
Safely Installing a Tankless Water Heater in Your Sacramento Home
Misconception #3: Tankless water heaters are plug and play, so you can easily install one yourself in your Sacramento home.
I think this particular misconception—which is the one my cousin called me with—is born out of wishful thinking. Homeowners like the idea of being able to buy a new water heater, then easily just swap it out for their old one. This, however, is generally not possible. Remember, it’s not a new toaster.
One of the reasons we all love our capital city so much is because of the beauty and personality our neighborhoods have due to all the older and historic homes. These houses were definitely not built with tankless water heaters in mind, though. Many homes built in the 70s and 80s, or earlier, will need to have gas piping, a gas meter, and the gas line to the meter resized to better fit the high gas load tankless water heaters use compared to conventional storage tank water heaters.
Installing a tankless water heater is actually a complex business, one that deals with gas lines, and can be dangerous for an amateur to work with.
Installing a tankless water heater is actually a complex business, one that deals with gas lines, and can be dangerous for an amateur to work with. Like I told my cousin, I highly recommend calling a trained plumbing and water heater installation professional to handle this job. Sacramento also requires a residential permit to install a water heater, and most professional plumbing outfits are adept at handling that on behalf of a homeowner, since they do it so frequently. The main concern for most homeowners then becomes cost, but as we learned earlier, tankless water heaters will reduce your energy bill enough to make this worth your while.
So, yes, it was a good thing my cousin gave me a call about his tankless water heater because I was able to clear up all these misconceptions for him. Just another example of why my reputation for constantly wanting to talk about my plumbing work is a good thing. For every pair of eyes that have glazed over, there’s somebody like my cousin who I was able to save a good deal of trouble.
Give me a call if you want to talk about this stuff even further. Although, I should warn you not to ask why you should add a softener to the tankless water heater in your home unless you have an hour free to listen.
Misconceptions aside, installing a tankless water heater will make a great addition to your Sacramento home. Contact the professionals at Bell Brothers to learn more about them today.
Image courtesy Unsplash user Sabri Tuzcu