When deciding on a water heating system, there are a few things you must keep in mind. You have to know if you want to go with gas or electric, tank or tankless, and indoor and outdoor. The best way to choose is by looking at the pros and cons each of these options offer. It’s the only way to be sure which is the best fit for you. In our article, we weigh the pros and cons of outdoor propane tankless water heaters.
We will also look at how it stands up against the others to help you make a final decision.
Let’s get right to it.
The Difference Between Gas and Electric Tankless Water Heater
There are many ways to supply your home with hot water. More homeowners are moving away from the traditional storage tanks towards tankless systems.
If you go with propane vs electric or indoor vs outdoor tankless, these units save energy and money. How do they do that? Because they only heat water when you call for it.
But, a propane tankless system is very different from your electric water heater. The only thing the two have in common is the job they do.
When choosing one or the other, you must keep these differences in mind. And we will take a closer look at these in the upcoming section.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Outdoor Gas Water Heaters (Tankless)?
Here we explore the truth about outdoor propane tankless water heater Systems.
Because of venting, it is safer to install gas water heaters outside. You won’t have to worry about carbon monoxide buildup, which can be fatal.
If you plan to install a gas water heater indoors, your home must have adequate vents.
Is it possible to put a tankless propane water heater outside? The answer is, yes, you can.
The good thing about outdoor tankless propane water heaters is, you do not need to change your home in any way. There is no need to add a shelter to protect the unit.
Tankless Gas water heating systems are built to survive the outdoors. They have water-resistant capabilities.
You do not need to worry about freezing in cold temperatures. These water heater types are made to handle that too. Still, it might be wise to check up on your system during those cold months.
If you were to put an electric water heater outside, you need a place to shelter it.
3. Operating Cost
I won’t lie to you. Propane tankless systems fall on the expensive side of things. Unless you are looking for a small, portable outdoor gas water heater, you will spend US$1000 or more. Those are more suitable to take along on camping trips or if you have an RV.
So, why am I listing this under pros? Because tankless gas water heaters are the cheaper option.
The initial cost will be more than an electric outdoor tankless water heater. But, consider these factors.
You do not need to spend money on added shelter for an outdoor gas tankless water heater.
The price of gas is lower than the cost of electricity. So, while you end up paying a lot upfront, you will save more in the future.
If the cost of an outdoor propane tankless water heater is too much, you can find financing to help you.
Keep in mind that gas prices sometimes go up and might be more than electricity costs. But you can store gas properly and safely to prepare for those days.
Electric tankless water heaters are smaller in size than gas tankless water heaters. But with outdoor gas tankless water heaters, size does not matter. With an indoor install, you must consider how big the unit is. You must have the space to install it.
Finding room for an outdoor propane tankless water heater system is a non-issue. It is easy, and making changes to your home for your system to fit is not necessary.
5. No Mess
Tankless water heaters are known for leaks caused by condensation. It’s no different with outdoor propane tankless water heaters. The good news is since they are outside, you do not have that mess to wipe up. You also do not need to worry about water damage to your floor.
There are non-condensing systems that are cheaper to install. Keep in mind that those cost more to buy.
If you want to put your gas water heater indoors, the condensing tankless heater is a better option.
But, because of their sophisticated design, these units are more expensive.
6. Cancels Noise
When it comes to indoor vs outdoor tankless water heaters, noise is a huge difference between the two. When you place your gas tankless water heater outside, you won’t hear any noise. Even if your water heater is electric, this is true.
Whether gas or electric, indoor tankless water heaters make noise. And indoor gas water heaters are the noisier of the two.
7. Hot Water Supply
Tankless Propane water heater systems heat more water than electric systems. They are ideal for large families. Since they are outside, you can invest in the capacity system you need. You do not have to worry about limited space. All you need to do is find the best spot.
8. Longer Lifespan
One reason tankless water heaters are costlier than traditional systems is their lifespan. A regular water heater has a life span of ten years. With proper maintenance, you may get twelve years out of your unit.
A tankless model lasts two times longer. So you can get twenty years out of your tankless water heater. And if you go for an outdoor propane tankless water heater, you get all the other perks that come with it.
9. Higher Efficiency Level
Tankless systems are more expensive to buy than tank systems, but they are more efficient.
Tankless Propane Hot Water Heater Reviews
These reviews say that tankless units have a 22% higher efficiency rate than tank systems. That difference will save you money. It might not seem like you are saving much month-to-month, but those numbers add up in time.
This is true for both the gas and the electric tankless systems. But an outdoor tankless water heater model offers benefits that other units do not.
10. Tax Breaks
In the previous heading, we said that tankless systems have a higher efficiency level. But that is not all a tankless water heater system will do for you. Those higher efficiency levels do not only save on energy use. With your propane tankless system, you will qualify for tax credits at a federal level. So, although the startup cost for this sort of system is steep, those tax credits help offset the price.
The tax credit on the cost of buying a tankless system and installing it is 10%. Now, this is the same for all tankless systems. Energy star-certified tank water heater systems are also not excluded from this deal. If you think an outdoor tankless propane water heater is the right fit for you, you fall in that bracket as well.
11. Wi-fi Compatible
Most appliances you buy for your home these days have digital connectivity. Your tankless system is no different.
You can gas levels and your hot-water supply using your phone. You can also make temperature adjustments.
Cons Of Outdoor Propane Water Heaters
Tankless propane water heaters are a lot more expensive than storage tanks. They are also more costly than electric tankless water heaters.
I am sorry to report that they are even more costly to install. First, installing this type of system is not DIY-friendly.
Tankless water heater systems break away from the traditional water heater setup. For safety reasons, it is better to hire someone who knows what they are doing. Whether you are installing indoor or outdoor, gas or electric, the same applies. Working with gas and electricity is dangerous if not done well. But with a propane system, the contractor may have to reroute your gas line.
And since you have an outdoor propane tankless system, you do not have to worry about the cost of adding vents.
Still, installing an outdoor propane tankless model water heater might put you out at about US$1,500. But remember, you stand to save a lot more in the future.
Outdoor propane tankless water heaters fall within the affordable range. Depending on the size and features, you can find these units for less than US$1,000. Some of them are well below that price. If you want a small, portable outdoor gas water heater to take camping, you can find those for as low as US$100.
Heating your whole house needs something with the right size to heat more gallons per minute. Those cost a little more. But as far as operating costs go, gas tankless water heaters are the cheaper option.
Whether installed indoors or outdoors, these units need more attention than electric systems. Limescale grows and spreads faster in tankless propane water heater systems. Without active maintenance, the life expectancy of your water heater will diminish.
You can do the day-to-day maintenance tasks yourself to save money, or you can hire a professional. But by law, tankless propane water heaters must undergo inspection at least once a year. The inspector has to be a licensed professional. A professional may charge up to US$300.
3. Incosistent Temperature
You may wonder why is my tankless water heater not getting hot. That may happen for a few reasons.
First, these systems take longer to heat and bring heated water to faucets.
- They do not store hot water
- They only heat water when you call for it.
- You will not get any hot water if your pipes are only slightly opened.
Tankless systems provide a hot water stream that is steady, but that supply is also limited. If you have your dishwasher or other appliances running while taking a shower, that hot water may run out.
Tankless heaters are not designed for this kind of workload. Whether it is indoor vs outdoor tankless hot water heater or gas vs electric, the same applies. But it is especially true of gas tankless water heaters.
Running a gas tankless water heater is cheaper. But these units are 15-20% less efficient, providing hot water than others.
4. Theft And Vandalism
An outdoor water heater system makes a tempting target for vandals and thieves. This might be a bigger problem depending on where you live.
But, ensuring your hard is secure should be an adequate deterrent.
5. Needs Supplemental Equipment
The hot water supplied by tankless systems is inconsistent. There is only one way to counter this problem. You must add extra equipment for these units to work better.
How To Get Hot Water Faster From A Tankless Water Heater
Water Softening Equipment
Water softening equipment removes the minerals in water that cause limescale buildup. Limescale can affect the efficiency and life span of your water heater. It also increases the amount of work the heater has to do to produce hot water. That extra work could cause your energy bill to go up.
Water softeners come with extra costs. These costs include:
- Sale price
Water softeners improve the efficiency of all water heaters. If you want your water heater system to work well, you should get one. It’s the only way to enjoy the benefits of a tankless propane water heater.
And the good news is, you can also install water softeners outside. The installation process is the same as installing a softening device indoors.
Another way to fix inconsistent temperature problems is by using recirculation pumps.
Both these methods work if you have a tankless coil water heater or a different model. The job of these devices is simple. They function by creating a loop from the heater to your water outlet. When the water cools, a thermostat detects it and activates the heater to re-heat it.
6. Slow Flow Sensitivity
For your tankless system to stay functioning, you must do proper maintenance. We mentioned this earlier. Without maintenance, the system will become clogged with limescale. What we did not say is that when this happens, water flow reduces. The flow can be as low as 0.3 gallons per minute. When that happens, the system shuts down.
Is an outdoor propane tankless water heater a good investment? Well, let’s see.
You can select between:
- tank or tankless water heaters
- indoor vs outdoor tankless water heaters
- gas vs electric
Whichever you decide to buy is up to you. But before you make a choice, think about the pros and cons of each investment. Then you will be able to pick the unit that best suits your needs.