I challenge whether tankless saves any energy whatsoever
I'm a fan of green, energy and water conservation. After owning a tankless for 8 or 9 years and comparing the energy and water consumption before and after the tanked unit was replaced by the tankless, and then replaced again with a tanked unit my utility bills don't reflect natural gas savings with the tankless unit.
In my use case, needing hot water daily (primary residence) moderate consumption (family of 4) low flow shower heads and faucets, my utility bills reflected no savings from the tankless unit. My previous tanked unit was natural gas with a pilot, well insulated. New tank unit is pilotless, well insulated, both 50 gallon capacity, 40k btu burner on new unit.
Installation and maintenance with the tankless were substantially more than the tanked units. Usability of the tankless was horrible (required frequent resets during showers and kitchen tasks, cold water sandwiches, whistling noises. These usability issues also drove large amounts of wasted water while waiting for usable warm water to arrive.
I hope others share their long term experiences, my attempt to save with a tankless water heater was thwarted on all fronts. I am very skeptical that recent additions to tankless units (hybrid with small storage tanks and recirc. pumps) only add cost and complexity (read new points of failure) to a design that isn't a good fit for most primary family residences.
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