More times than our Florida Public Utilities energy experts can count, they have been asked if switching to a natural gas tankless water heater is the best decision to make. It can be a tough choice, with a few pros and cons to consider, so this blog post will help you make an informed decision.

#1 What is an Energy Factor (EF) Rating?

The first thing you need to look at when deciding whether or not to go tankless is the EF, or the energy factor rating. The EF is how residential water heaters are evaluated and rated by elements such as energy efficiency, standby loss, recovery efficiency and heat losses as water travels in and out of the water heater.

So, let’s compare a few energy factor ratings. The minimum standard for a natural gas tank water heater that is 50 gallons or less is 0.62. A standard-efficiency natural gas tankless water heater has an energy factor of 0.82. High-efficiency natural gas tankless water heaters have an energy factor as high as 0.98. This is a significantly higher EF rating!

#2 What is the Cost to Operate?

Secondly, you should ask this: does a higher energy factor guarantee lower operating costs? Well, the answer is, not necessarily. A larger electric tank water heater may have a higher energy factor, but it would end up costing more to run an electric tank due to energy cost differences. Not to mention, the cost to operate is also affected by how often you’re using hot water.

An important note: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a natural gas tankless water heater costs $108 less to operate over a year. Although it can be more expensive upfront, gas tankless water heaters provide heated water on demand so you don’t have to spend money to keep water heated that you may never use. What does this mean for you? If you’re willing to spend more money upfront, you can potentially save more energy dollars each month.

Did you know, natural gas tankless water heaters now also have lower upfront costs due to the Energy Conservation tankless rebate offers from Florida Public Utilities? You can earn up to $675 per unit!

#3 Does the Water Heater You’re Considering Fit Your Needs?

Let’s use the example of a family with a couple of middle school, or high school kids. They are notorious for taking long showers before school, so when mom or dad needs to shower before work, there is no hot water left. Well, now, with their new, highly efficient natural gas tankless water heater, this family will never run out of hot water – so no more cold showers for mom or dad!

Four adults taking a 3-minute longer shower each day in one month’s time would use about 900 gallons more hot water. If endless hot water, the most touted feature of tankless water heaters, is something that would mean a lot to you and your household, and you don’t mind paying a bit more for your water heater, look no further than the tankless.

Making the Water Heater Purchase Decision

Overall, deciding between natural gas tank or tankless water heaters comes down to you and your family’s needs and desires. Want more hot water? Need lower monthly costs? Want to use less energy? Then our energy experts will tell you time and time again, the natural gas tankless is your best choice!

For all your energy questions about water heaters or any other energy related topic, contact our energy experts at Florida Public Utilities today.

Still on the fence about which natural gas water heater is the best choice for you? You can see all the features, benefits and rebates available for both the natural gas tank and tankless natural gas water heaters here!