Should I buy a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters are the newest advancement in water heaters. While they aren’t as new as they used to be, many still don’t know if their home is the right place for one. As a Lafayette Plumber, we see so many types of homes and families. There is no way to give a blanket answer to the question.

The best we can do is walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of choosing a tankless water heater.

The Good

Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient and cost less to operate.

Tankless water heaters only use energy when they heat the water. Traditional water heaters use gas to heat water even if you’re not using it. This wasted energy costs you money! Water heaters that use tanks are programmed to keep the water in the tank ready at all times. This means you pay for “stand by” heat.

Tankless water heaters last longer than traditional water heaters.

Water heaters that utilize a tank have a lifespan of 10-13 years. Most tankless water heaters claim to have a lifespan closer to 20 years. When considering the possibility of needing to replace a traditional water heater three times by the time your tankless water heater runs out, it can start to make sense.

Tankless water heaters take up far less space than traditional water heaters.

Is space at a premium in your home? Is your mechanical closet stuffed to the max? A tankless water heater might be an option for you. With a smaller overall footprint, the tankless water heater is a great option for those without much space to spare.

The Bad

A tankless water heater will put a major strain on your energy system.

While a tankless water heater might use less energy overall, when it is using energy, it’s using a lot of it. A tankless water heater will need a significant amount of energy to heat your water on demand. It could need as much as 4-5 times the amount as your traditional water heater.

What this means is this, your current energy delivery system could be insufficient to deliver the energy the unit needs when it needs it. This is the case for both electric and gas. You need to have a professional come and assess your home before you take this step. You will set yourself up for failure and disappointment if your home’s energy system can’t supply all of the necessary energy to satisfy the water heater’s needs.

The Ugly

A tankless water heater’s upfront costs could outweigh the total energy savings.

Some tankless water heaters might cost under $500 to purchase. However, most units that are worth owning are going to be considerably more expensive. This isn’t even factoring in the installation costs. The upfront costs of a tankless water heater will be significant and will outweigh the overall cost savings benefit in most cases.

A tankless water heater doesn’t actually give you “limitless hot water”.

A tankless water heater can send out warm water that can be defined as “hot” water, however it won’t be good enough for someone taking a shower. If you three people need to take showers, a load of laundry needs washed, and dishes need done, a tankless water heater is going to leave you wanting. If you have significant hot water needs, you will most likely need to talk to a professional plumber to accommodate you.

A tankless water heater is a good option for some. We, however, have not seen them be a great option for most cases. If it’s the upfront cost, energy demands, or inability to keep water hot enough for all the needs in the house, a conventional water heater might be what’s best for you.

If you have questions, give us a call or shoot us an email here. We can help you make the decision that’s best for you and your Lafayette, IN home!

Performing water heater maintenance is vital to it having a long life. Brenneco Plumbing, your Lafayette Plumber, can help!

How big of a water heater should I get?

Are you thinking about getting a new water heater? Maybe your unit is getting older or it’s just not performing the way you think it should. If you are replacing your water heater, the question of size is going to come up at some point.

In consideration of water heaters, bigger isn’t always better. A water heater tank that is too small will put you in danger of running out of hot water when you need it most. On the other hand, a water heater with a tank that is too big will waste energy on heating water that you and your family will never use.

This means that determining the right size for your situation is vital. The good news? This is easier to do than every before! All you need to do is a follow a few tips and do a little research. You should be able to find the perfect solution for your situation!

There are, essentially, two factors to take in to consideration when factoring the size of the water heater you should get, the FHR and the EF.

The FHR stands for “First Hour Rating”. This is the measure of quantity of hot water needed during the first hour of high demand. To locate the FHR rating, look at the “Energy Guide” label that is placed on the water heater. To determine what FHR rating you need, simply do the following:

Assume that each individual within your household will need 12 gallons of hot water.
Calculate the maximum of the home by taking the number of bedrooms + 1.
Take the maximum occupancy multiplied by the 12 gallons number to establish your minimum FHR

Now, access the EF, or energy factor. It’s best to assume that the higher the EF, the better or more money you will save. For your home, you should consider finding the water heater with the highest EF rating with the minimum FHR you have calculated.

Having a water heater that perfectly fits your situation will leave everyone happy and your wallet full!

Finding the right water heater is only the first step. Having a qualified professional install it is the second. At Brenneco Plumbing, we can help with both steps. Let’s talk soon!


Becks Service Center – Rob Hancock, Owner


IS Photographic – Dave Mason, Owner / Photographer


Artisan Electric – Chris Voglund, Owner



Brenneco incorporated in February, 1987 and primarily engaged in commercial plumbing, mechanical contracting and Service Department with 24 Hour Service.

The founder and active member of the Brenneco personnel has a long history of experience in the plumbing & mechanical fields dating back to 1955 and business experience from 1966.  Today, Gregory W. Brenneman, son of the founder is president with more than fifteen years in the business.

Brenneco has always been a strong engineering oriented company and does design/build plumbing, mechanical  systems for many General Contractors.

The commercial plumbing category does bid/spec. projects along with Code based designs, layouts, isometrics and such for complete installations for virtually all size and category of projects.  The plumbing group includes virtually all types of gas piping; compressed air piping and limited process piping.

The mechanical category also includes commercial bid/spec. projects along with Code based design projects, our specialty is all types of hydronic heating, including radiant infloor heating, along with hydronic cooling systems and steam systems.

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Brenneco’s mission is to provide the highest quality, most reliable Plumbing, and Mechanical contracting services available in a professional, honest, and cost effective manner.  Through teamwork and customer service we meet or exceed the expectation of our customers, which enables us to prosper and grow.