I've often wondered, so maybe you have too, what the best style of water heater is for a home. The tankless option which came out years ago to provide more energy efficiency seems to be a great option, because water isn't sitting in the typical stand-up tank being heated and unused.
However I wanted to get some expert advice, so I consulted with my favorite HVAC pro, Bob Brown of Brown's Heating and Cooling.
Here is my long-winded analysis, with his advice.
* The typical stand-up water heater is less expensive to install...$1400/1500 for traditional tank vs $4500 for tankless water heater
* The tankless water heaters have recovery issues, despite their claim to a quick recovery, especially in Colorado where the groundwater comes out of the ground at 52 degrees. It takes more energy/time to get it to a comfortable shower temperature.
* Most tankless water heaters are manufactured for sea level, where the water comes out of the ground at 70 degrees, and obviously then takes less energy to get it to needed temps
* Tankless water heaters generally yield 7 gallons per minute of hot water, and stand-ups yield 11.2-13 gallons
* One tankless water heater might support a small home, but larger custom homes are putting in 2-3 tankless water heaters, obviously adding expense
* Most homes are built with inadequate natural gas output for tankless, BT rating too low, so existing homes looking to upgrade will also need to upgrade gas service into the home, which is an added expense
* Venting will likely need to be updated/upgraded for tankless heaters as well
Conclusion: Buying a Tank Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater
Overall, it seems the tankless water heaters aren't a great option at our altitude, as the added expenses and energy needed don't necessarily offset the energy savings. Over time, the