Are tankless water boilers a worthwhile investment?


There are many types of water boilers available on the market. And many times, we are unsure which water boiler is the best choice. For example, are tankless water boilers a worthwhile investment?

What is a tankless water boiler?

Also called on demand water boilers tankless water boilers work by heating water only when it is needed. When you turn a hot water tap on the water boiler starts working and within seconds you have hot water at the desired faucet.

How does a tankless water boiler work?

Conventional water boilers use a storage tank to make available a steady supply of hot water. However, the main drawback is the standby heat loss because of the storage tank’s imperfect insulation. Tankless water boilers avoid this kind of energy loss, and ultimately money loss, by not using a tank.

An electric heating element or a gas burner heats the water, delivering constant supply of hot water whenever it is needed. In general, gas-fired tankless water boilers produce higher flows of hot water than electric tankless water boilers.

How to select a proper tankless water boiler for your home

Before you go on and pick the one that you think looks prettier think about the following. Tankless water boilers come using two types of fuel – gas and electric. To decide which is best consider the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Electric water boilers require specific voltage, amperage, and circuitry. Many units accommodate a wide range of voltages, but you want to make sure you can support the electrical demands of your tankless water boiler.

Gas-fired water boilers will require a venting kit, and for that you need to check local building code and ensure the requirements are met, otherwise you will not be able to use it.

Once you have made your mind on the fuel type you need to know that tankless water boilers have the problem of running out of juice if there are several hot water faucets opened at the same time. Typically, you would choose a fixture that is able to provide constant hot water when all your faucets are turned on.

What problems should I expect with tankless water boilers

It is true that tankless water boilers are more energy efficient than storage tank water boilers, on average. Considering average energy costs per year the savings translates into £70-£80 per year. Considering the much higher price tag on tankless water boilers it will take more than 15 years to break even in costs.

There are many problems that can come up regularly when using tankless water boilers. When you turn a hot water tap on the water boiler feeds some cold water to properly gauge the difference in temperature. Then the burner starts working and soon you have hot water at your disposal. But when you are, say, shaving you only need short trickles of hot water and the burner will often become confused and can stop working altogether.

Another problem is the much higher price for buying and installing. Most tankless water boilers cost around £1000 and installation costs include electrical outlets, upgraded gas pipes, new ventilation system and so on. The installation costs will also go a little over £1000. Compare this with conventional £300 to £500 purchase cost and £300 installation cost of the classic storage tank water boilers.

While gas or electric tankless water boilers are more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water boilers they only save as much as £100 per year. Couple that with the variety of problems you can run into and you are left with a possibly better investment but much riskier.

Edinburgh Central Heating Services offer free estimates and range of skills. A 24-hour emergency plumbing service is also offered. For more information visit or telephone 0131 5102418