While tankless water heaters are becoming more common in new home construction, many people purchase these appliances as upgrades to their existing homes. Tankless heaters offer on-demand water heating and higher energy efficiency than traditional units. These advantages can make them an attractive option for many homeowners, but how easily can you retrofit one in your home? Fortunately, a tankless water heater installation in place of a traditional storage heater is not a disruptive operation. The installation process will be more or less challenging depending on your specific needs, and this guide will explain what you can expect when your install day arrives.

Are You Changing Fuel Sources?

When installing any new appliance, the fuel source should be your top consideration. If you are keeping the same fuel source for your tankless heater, then this shouldn't pose any additional hurdles for installation. Since tankless heaters take up less space (and are usually wall-mounted), you won't be able to use existing fittings, however, so your plumber may need to run a new short gas line. Switching from an electric or oil heater to gas can require more work and is likely to be the most disruptive part of any installation. If you don't have existing gas service, then you'll need to run a gas line from the road to your home. Even if you use other gas appliances, you will still need your plumber to install new lines to the heater location.

Are You Moving Your Heater's Location?

One of the many advantages of tankless heaters is their small size. Tankless units can fit in many places that traditional storage units cannot, making them well-suited to serve single rooms. If you are installing your tankless heater in roughly the same position as your old storage heater, then your plumber will likely only need to extend your plumbing and gas lines. The difficulty of installing a tankless heater in a new location will vary based on its position and purpose. If you're moving a whole-house heater to another location, then this will require about as much work as moving a traditional storage heater. Installing a point-of-use heater may be slightly more disruptive if you do not have an existing space (such as a cabinet or under a sink vanity) suitable for installation.

In general, replacing a storage heater with a tankless model should be relatively non-disruptive and shouldn't require more than a day. Your plumber will help you understand any specific elements of your home or plumbing that may impact the job's length or difficulty.