A tankless water heater heats water as you use it, giving you an endless supply of hot water, instead of heating and storing water like a traditional tank unit does. Compared with the large gas unit that heats many U.S. homes, a tankless unit is considered safer and more economical to operate. There is no pilot light and the unit only runs when the system is used, so you can expect a lower bill. For a small home, there's a bonus -- no bulky tank.
Installing a tankless water heater is similar to installing a regular gas water heater; you'll connect to a gas line, water line and vent, but the tankless system also has an electrical connection to power the computer and venting system. If you put the new tankless unit in the same space as an old gas tank water heater, you don't have to redo any plumbing lines. A plumber will charge $1,100 to replace a traditional gas water heater with a new tankless unit which can produce 180 gallons of hot water per hour. That includes the labor and material. You'd pay $750 for the unit and save 30 percent if you did it yourself, but it's a complicated installation requiring the tools and talents of a professional with experience.
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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved
$1,100 -- $750 -- 3.6 -- 4.5 -- $350 -- 32 percent
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Install a tankless water heater
Tankless water heater. (Ecosmart / February 24, 2014)