Purchasing Tips — Whole-Home Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Shower Head

ENERGY STAR qualified gas tankless water heaters are currently available from contractors and retailers. If you are building a new home, or in the market to replace your existing gas water heater, consider these purchasing tips:

  1. Plan ahead if you can. If you want to replace your current gas water heater don't wait until it fails, as this will leave little time to choose and install a qualified ENERGY STAR tankless model. Because installation may require the upgrade of your existing natural gas line, as well as special venting or electric service, you will need to allow sufficient time to evaluate costs and complete the change out. To make your life easier, try to have a new one installed before it's an emergency.

  2. Check product availability. Find out what qualified tankless models are available on the market by viewing the ENERGY STAR Product List

  3. Decide what size you need. While the capacity of gas storage water heaters is based on the number of gallons that will fit in the tank, tankless models are rated by how many gallons of hot water they produce per minute (GPM). The more likely you are to have the shower, dishwasher, and clothes washer going at once, the larger the GPM you will need. You will need to consult with an experienced plumber to estimate the hot water demands in your home, but here are some average figures:

    • Shower and Bathtub — 2.5 GPM
    • Clothes Washer — 3.3 GPM
    • Kitchen and Bathroom Sink — 2.2 GPM
    • Dishwasher — 1.3 GPM
  4. Get a quote from a contractor or retailer. You may want to check a manufacturer or retailer's Web site to get a general idea of cost, but you will eventually need an installer to come to your home and give you a customized price. TThe installer should confirm the optimal GPM size for you home, determine whether your existing natural gas line and electrical service is sufficient, and identify how the combustion gases will be vented. When requesting a quote, remember to:

    • Request cost estimates in writing.
    • Ask for references.
    • Check the company with your local Better Business Bureau.
    • See if the company will obtain a local permit if necessary and understands local residential building codes.
  5. Search for rebates and tax credits. You may be able to reduce your costs by taking advantage of rebates or tax credits. Be sure to review the eligibility rules before you make your purchase.

    • Use the Special Deals Finder
      Determine whether there are rebates available for ENERGY STAR qualified gas tankless water heaters in your zip code.
    • Claim a Federal Tax Credit
      Every ENERGY STAR qualified gas tankless model will qualify for a $300 Federal tax credit in 2009.