Can an Electric Tankless Water Heater Work for a Whole House?

Question: We only have electricity and gas in our home, I thought electric tankless water heaters are only meant to be installed at the point-of-use, like under a sink, and not for the whole house?

Answer: The short answer is that electric tankless systems have typically been engineered for point-of-use locations. That is not true anymore. Though those smaller units are still available, many brands are now producing whole house electric systems as well.

However, when it comes to electric whole house tankless systems, there is an added expense in setting the systems up. The standard tank water heater that you would be replacing is not wired with enough AMPs to run a tankless unit. Therefore, installing an electric, whole house tankless system will be a two-step installation process. You will need an electrician to pull three 40-amp breakers off the main panel. This can get costly depending how far the water heater is and what your current breakers and wire gauges are that run to the location of the water heater. This upfront expense should be mitigated by the efficiency of the electric tankless heater over time.

Once the power has been upgraded and the wires pulled to the location of the unit, the second step will be to hire a plumber to install the unit, unless you are skilled to do the install yourself.

Check out the top electric units!

Several years ago at a previous home, I needed to replace a the old, 40-gallon tank in the garage. Not only was it corroding, but it had insufficient capacity for the 7 people living in our home. We didn’t have gas at the house but I needed to find a bigger and more efficient water heater or a tankless one. At the time I was dissuaded from pursuing an electric tankless water heater by plumbers I knew and other friends who believed the electric tankless systems weren’t efficient enough to offset the initial electrical installation costs. Therefore, I opted for an AO Smith Voltex 80 Gallon Hybrid Water Heater. It’s a very efficient unit, but also very large! If I had to do it all over again now, I would go Tankless especially since their prices have come down in comparison to tanks!

Happy Hot Watering!

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