Is A Tankless Hot Water Heater A Good Choice For Your Cabin Or Cottage?

If you have a cabin or cottage that you live in part time or visit on vacations, you may want to consider replacing your standard hot water heater with a tankless heater. This style of water heater warms water on demand as it flows through your pipes, rather than heating the water and storing it until it is used. Tankless hot water heaters offer many advantages for cabin owners, but there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind as you consider this option, too.

What benefits does a tankless hot water heater offer to cabin owners?

You don't have to pay to keep water warm while you're away.

If you have a traditional, tank-style water heater, you'll either have to pay to run it and keep water warm while you're away, or you'll have to turn it off when you're not staying in the cabin. Since turning off a tank-style water heater completely can damage the unit, many cabin owners choose to leave theirs running -- and this runs up the utility bill on a cabin you're barely using.

Tankless hot water heaters eliminate this issue. When you leave the cabin, you can safely turn the power off to the unit. No water is being stored or needs to be kept warm, so no electricity will be used while you're gone.

You'll have endless hot water.

When you and your guests return to the cabin at the end of a long day in the woods or on the beach, you probably all want to shower. With a tank-style water heater, you have a limited supply of hot water. Chances are, some people are going to have to wait for the water to re-heat before showering. With a tankless system, on the other hand, you have an endless supply of hot water. There will be no more waiting for showers or to wash dishes.

You'll save space.

Space is at a premium in most cabins and cottages. Why take up an entire corner of the room with a tank-style hot water heater when you can mount a comparatively small tankless unit on the wall?

The unit will last longer.

You probably don't want to spend a lot of extra time or money on cabin repairs and upgrades, since the place is just your vacation getaway. A tankless hot water heater will last about 20 years (possibly longer if you rarely use it), whereas a standard hot water tank only lasts about 10 - 15 years.

What are the drawbacks of using a tankless hot water heater in a cabin?

The initial cost is higher.

The upfront cost of a tankless hot water heater is more than that of a tank-style water heater. However, keep in mind that you will save money in the long run due to reduced energy costs with a tankless heater, plus the longer lifespan. This is only a considerable drawback if you're on a tight budget when it comes to purchasing the new heater.

It might be harder to find someone to work on the unit.

Almost all HVAC and plumbing contractors are familiar with tank-style units, whereas fewer have experience with tankless systems (simply because these are less common). If your tankless water heater suddenly stops working while you're staying in the cabin, you may have a harder time quickly finding someone to come fix it than if you were to have a tank-style unit.

If you have the money to invest up-front and are able to locate a nearby company that offers repairs and installations, a tankless hot water heater can be an energy-efficient, convenient choice for your cabin or cottage.

For more information, talk with professional HVAC contractors or visit websites like