Instant water heaters – also known as tankless water heaters, non-storage water heaters, or demand-type water heaters – are popular appearance in many homes. If you’re looking to buy an instant water heater, you’re not alone; many UK households opt for this quick water heating solution thanks to its numerous benefits. However, instant water heaters are not all made equal, not to mention they’re not ideal for every property. This begs the following questions:
- How do you know if an instant water heater is right for your home?
- How much do they cost?
- Can you install them yourself?
We answer these pressing concerns and more within the guide below.
What is an instant water heater?
Firstly, anyone brand-new to this invention may wish to know what an instant water heater is. Our previous blog post, “what is an instant water heater”, fully explains what this appliance is, how it works, as well as its myriad benefits. In short, though, instant water heaters do exactly what their name implies; they instantly heat domestic water on demand, with advantages over conventional water heating systems, including:
- Instant, continuous, and unlimited flow of hot water on demand
- Fast heating (around 1 minute on average to heat water to a moderate temperature and 2 minutes to a high temperature)
- Provide hot water via multiple outlets
- Cost-effective, energy-efficient water heating and thus reduced energy bills
- Less water waste
- Greater durability
- Less maintenance
Is an instant water heater right for your home?
Thanks to the benefits of instant water heaters, it’s evident they’re an excellent energy-saving, cost-effective and highly versatile option for homeowners seeking to reduce energy bills, water wastage, and their carbon footprint. However, while an instant water heater offers plenty of plus points, it may not be viable for every home.
Typically, instant water heaters are best suited to small households that don’t run a lot of hot water simultaneously. Of course, gas-powered instant water heaters produce higher flow rates than their electric counterparts – but even the largest gas-fired variants struggle to supply hot water for multiple uses in large households at the same time.
Because they provide hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons (7.6-15.2 litres) per minute, common daily activities like the simultaneous operation of the dishwater, washing machine and shower can push instant water heaters beyond their capacity.
That said, it’s possible to install more than one instant water heater to accommodate a larger household, as is putting in separate instant water heaters for specific hot water-using appliances – from washing machines to dishwashers. They can even be installed as a booster to solar water heating systems. Naturally, though, additional instant water heaters come with a cost – a factor to bear in mind if money-saving is the initiative.
How much do instant water heaters cost?
Instant water heaters come in various price brackets, but the good news is that they range from affordable to high-end – making them accessible to most people.
Instant water heater prices vary between £150 to £1,630, with an average of £875. Electric instant water heaters are usually on the lower end, averaging around £362.50. In comparison, gas-powered options cost around £970 on average, so around three times as much, while solar-powered heaters are the most expensive. In our own instant water heater range, prices start from £73.72 to £782.10, so there are plenty of choices to suit every budget.
General factors affecting instant water heater price tags include:
- Brand – some brands cost more than others
- Fuel source – gas, electric, oil or solar
- Size – large water heaters can supply constantly flowing hot water at greater capacities but cost more
- Energy efficiency – energy-efficient models tend to be more expensive upfront but cut energy bills in the long-term
Other costs to factor in on top include:
- Labour (removing the old heater and installing the new one)
- Any additional gas piping (for gas-fired options)
- Insulation to boost efficiency and protect the water heater
- Potential electrical outlet upgrades (for electric instant water heaters)
- Quantity needed – do you need a single-point heater or several across the property?
Still, whatever the upfront costs, the significant benefit is that it becomes relatively affordable when long-term energy savings are considered. Eventually, instant water heaters do pay for themselves.
Can you install an instant water heater yourself?
Many people hope to save costs by installing their instant water heater by themselves. However, doing so isn’t a simple DIY job; even the slightest error can lead to costly and even dangerous outcomes. Working with electricity and gas is hazardous; as such, it’s a task for highly trained, skilled professionals with the expertise to ensure the job is done properly, safely, and to governmental standards and building regulations.
Furthermore, instant water heaters can be challenging to install, especially in awkward areas of the home. The existing water heater might also require removal, which is a difficult, heavy feat in itself. Plus, if not installed correctly and safely, your home is at risk of damage – and worse; you and your family could potentially suffer injury.
Given the risks associated with installing water heaters yourself, getting professionals in for the job is highly recommended.