Home Repairs - Water Heater

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been some issues with the house including…

 It could leak like this for weeks or it could flood the basement at any second.

It could leak like this for weeks or it could flood the basement at any second.

Time to replace the water heater!

Jennifer and I discussed going to a tankless water heater but wanted to get a few quotes due to the expense.  You can see from the image above that we actually have two electric water heaters which cost about $849/year to run.  The house used to be a school with 5 and 1/2 bathrooms so two water heaters were installed to meet demand.  So I got three quotes and here are my options:

  1. Remove the leaking water heater and continue to use the remaining one which should be fine for a family of four.  This option would be free as I have all the tools and materials I need.  We would be paying $425/year for operation costs.  The newer water heater should be good for another five years.  I would need to let the tank drain and Jennifer would need to haul it out of the basement.  There would be a disposal fee of $15.
  2. Get a tankless water heater.  This would provide us with water on demand and we wouldn’t have a large tank of water sitting in the basement ready to leak.  It would require a new gas line from our boiler which would cost about $100.  Apparently, it takes a while to get warm water and sometimes you get warm water followed by very cold water and then warm water again.  The total cost of the installation would be $3300.  It also requires annual or maybe bi-annual (due to being on city water) maintenance in the form of a flush solution which costs $30/year.  The operation costs would be $262/year for a total of $292/year.
  3. Get an electric heat pump water heater.  I didn’t know much about these until discussing the options with a plumber but they are very efficient, act as a dehumidifier in the warmer months, and have three different control settings.  They cost about $190/year and require a good deal of space – at least seven feet to the ceiling and lots of square footage.  They also run more efficiently in the winter when they aren’t in a cold room.  We have the perfect setup with a large basement sharing a room with the boiler which keeps things very toasty in the winter.  The total installation cost would be $2600.  There are filters to buy as well which would be $16/year.  The total cost would be $206/year.

So, what are your thoughts?  Anyone have experience with an electric heat pump water heater?