Is it a good idea to install an electric tankless hot water heater?

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Posted by: from Vancouver
2/22/2015 at 7:30:12 PM

I've been trying to research the possibility of replacing our soon to call it quits hot water tank for an electric tankless hot water heater. Several reasons this is appealing to us:

- We live in a Vancouver strata townhouse complex with two bathrooms, washer, dishwasher with no gas service coming into the complex.

- The current hot water tank, standard size, is smack in the middle of the laundry/utility room which is also the only storage room in the whole house, and freeing up the space would make a huge difference in functionality.

However, all I seem to find is information on gas tankless heaters. I know the electric ones are a little less efficient or as able to keep up with the demand for hot water that some homes have, but we're a couple who never showers at the same time, runs the dishwasher once a day after dinner, and even for resale at 1300sf over three levels, it would not attract a large family who could be showering or using water at the same time, possibly overtaxing the heater. I like the option of the electric water heater for:

- It's efficiency, only heating the amount of hot water you need.

- It is always on call, so if two sources were using more than could be distributed, turning off one would immediately restore the flow without waiting for the tank to reheat a huge volume of water.

Are they readily available in Canada/BC, and what might be the extra cost over simple replacement of same, and do they work well enough to be a reliable source of hot water for the normal, not just the current occupants of a house this size and design?

Thank you very much.


Is it a good idea to install an electric tankless hot water heater?
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Date/Time2/24/2015 at 10:39:25 AM

Hi Ian

Electrically heated water in Ontario is rare due to the cost of electricity here; having said that generally all the on-demand units that I talk to clients about are pretty good.

These units generally work better with demand; a small trickle of water will not even fire up the unit.

My concern would be if you have enough electrical capacity for a on-demand unit. Your existing HWT, although electric will likely draw less electricity when in use then an on-demand unit. This may required a service upgrade to 200 amp service which is unlikely to happen cost effectively in a condo unit.

Not sure what unit you are looking at, but I would get the specifications and see if your existing electricity capacity (service) can handle the increased used from an on-demand unit.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time2/24/2015 at 8:51:48 PM

Tankless electric water heaters are a great replacement for a tank model. A tankless electric water heater needs to be hardwired to the circuit breaker/electrical panel. The size of the existing electrical service to the home needs to be considered as larger units may require an upgrade. Tankless electric water heaters do not need to be vented. Although tankless electric water heaters may output fewer GPM than a tankless gas unit, the larger electric units can provide endless hot water for up to two major applications, which is sufficient capacity for most uses. They are less expensive to purchase than gas tankless, and their smaller size and lack of venting may allow them to be installed where gas tankless units cannot go such as in your situation.

Kingsway Construction Inc.

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