Going tiny is big in Washington and Oregon. In some PNW cities, a shortage of affordable housing has led homeowners to build so-called accessory dwellings units (ADUs) on standard city lots. These are small residences that are sometimes called in-law units.
The tiny home trend is part of a larger demand for small homes featuring high-efficiency appliances such as tankless water heaters and eco-friendly design. The New York Times recently profiled a small Oregon home that won a national design award.
In Vancouver, the supply of housing is also tight. While Clark County zoning hampers tiny houses on wheels, buying a small house is a popular choice for first-time homeowners and empty-nesters.
Even people living simply in a tiny home need hot water, which means they need a water heater. Builders of tiny homes often use propane-powered heaters, the same type seen in RVs.
For more conventional but still small homes, we recommend an electric or tankless water heater. Each type of energy has pros and cons. We’ll help you select the right type of heater for your home.
Why Tankless Water Heaters Are the Right Fit for Small Homes
Tankless water heaters supply an endless flow of hot water. They work on-demand. Because they don’t store hot water, they reduce energy bills. You only pay to heat water you’re using. For small homes, they have another perk: They save space. Proximity matters with on-demand models. A small home allows for installation close to where it’s needed. Tankless water heaters can be ideal for a larger home, too. More than one unit may be needed for spacious houses with higher hot water usage.
How Much Can You Save With a Tankless Water Heater?
A $100 annual savings is about what a typical family can expect by using a gas tankless water heater. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
A higher initial cost offsets the energy savings. But, since tankless heaters have about double the life expectancy of tank heaters, you should factor in replacement costs. Tankless heaters also tend to be reliable, requiring few maintenance calls.
If your home already has a gas-powered water heater, installing a new gas tankless water heater can be relatively straightforward. Installing an electric water heater may require the help of an electrician.
Tankless heaters hang from a wall. They come in various sizes. A larger home may need two or more units. But, a small home will have plenty of hot water with a single appliance. The number of units depends on your water usage, the flow rate of the heater and your preferences. We can help you choose.