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How to choose the right tankless hot water heater for your home

| Thursday July 7, 2022

When shopping for a new water heater for your house, it is recommended to look for one that will supply enough hot water for your household while also being energy efficient.

A water heater is not a small investment to make for your household. Although it is not something that is an extravagant expense, the cost of a water heater is still a substantial investment that should be carefully considered before purchasing it. Thus, when it comes time to equip your new home with a water heater or replace your existing water heater, it is important to consider various factors such as the cost, efficiency, and life span of the water heating unit to get the best value for money.

To determine how to choose the right water heater for your home, it is important to first understand the different water heater types available in the market. There are three main types of residential water heaters available in the market: tankless water heaters, tank water heaters and solar water heaters.

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instant water heaters, are water heating units that are equipped with powerful heating elements which quickly heat water to the desired temperature as it goes through an intensity exchanger. The heated water is then delivered directly to the shower without being stored away in a tank. Tankless water heaters are typically powered by electricity or gas.

Tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, are water heating units that store and heat the water in the tanks until it reaches the desired shower temperature. The tank water heaters are usually equipped with high-quality insulation foam to ensure that the water heated in the tank does not rapidly drop below the desired temperature set by the users. Once the water in the tank falls below the desired temperature, the tank water heater will start its healing process again. These tank water heaters are usually powered by electricity or gas.

Solar water heaters are water heating units that take in solar energy and convert it into energy to heat the water stored in the water heaters. Solar water heaters come with solar panels which are attached to the roof of homes to take in the sun’s energy. If there is insufficient energy collected from the sun’s rays, these water heaters can also rely on boosting options from electricity or gas.

When deciding the best model of water heater to suit your home and hot water heater needs, consider the following points below:

Fuel types

Your water heater’s cost and energy efficiency will be determined by the fuel type you choose. Once you have determined what fuel sources are accessible to your household, you can start weighing the most suitable hot water heater. It would also be a good idea to compare types of fuels to see which is the most cost-effective for your house and budget.


Electric-powered types are available for conventional, tankless, and heat pump water heaters in Malaysia. Electric water heating tanks tend to consume more energy than other fuel-powered types. Electricity is also more expensive to run than alternative fuels like propane and natural gas, however electric water heaters generally have a less expensive up-front cost. Despite the potentially more expensive operating cost for electric-type water heating units, by using electric-powered water heaters, there is also no gamble of perilous gas spills, making it a safer choice.

Geothermal or Solar

The earth’s and the sun’s energy are used in geothermal and solar units, respectively. The installation process for water heaters that utilise these power sources is more complicated and, as a result, more costly. The up-front cost of a geothermal or solar power water heater is also more significant than other types of water heaters. However, if you are building a new house that has good access to either geothermal or solar energy, this could be a practical and cost-effective solution overall as these water heaters run on ‘free energy’.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is widely accessible in Malaysia and may be used to power both standard and tankless water heaters. Gas water heaters generally consume less power than electric water heaters as well, which may help you save on your household bills in the long run.


Oil fuel is comparable to gas and propane, but it ignites by combining oil and air to generate a mist. If natural gas is not accessible in your area, oil fuel might be a viable choice. Oil-fired water heaters can store a greater amount of hot water than electric water heaters. Additionally, oil-fuelled water heaters have a bigger capacity than natural gas-fuelled water heaters, even though natural gas is more efficient. However, due to the intricacy of the burner, an oil-fuelled system’s lifespan may be shortened.


When purchasing a new water heater or looking for a replacement for your existing one, it would be recommended to gauge the yearly working expenses of the existing water heater used and compare those expenses between the different water heating available solutions in the market. This would give you a better idea of the total costs currently and potentially incurred for different models and types of water heaters.

For example, solar water heaters have a significantly higher up-front investment cost compared to gas or electric water heaters. However, in the long run, it is estimated that solar water heaters can cut water heating bills by approximately 50%. With solar water heaters, individuals are also protected from potential fuel shortages or fuel and electricity price hikes.

Natural gas water heaters also have a higher initial cost, however, overall, it incurs fewer costs to operate as compared to electric water heaters. But, despite the long-term savings gas water heaters may provide, it is important to note the costs required to build or create the necessary infrastructure to support the water heater -such as gas lines and venting frameworks for gas appliances. These costs could add up and negate any savings that could be enjoyed from the gas water heaters.

If you are looking for something with a lower initial investment cost and greater convenience in terms of not requiring any building of additional infrastructure, electric water heaters (both instant and storage) may be a better option to consider.


In addition to taking the fuel type and cost of the water heater into consideration, it is also recommended to select a water heating system that can provide enough heated water to cater to your household’s hot water needs. On average, an individual consumes about 20 to 30 gallons of water daily. To properly meet the hot shower or bath needs of the household, it is important to have a good estimation of the household’s hot water usage to determine the capacity of the water heater needed.

Furthermore, another feature you can also look at to review the water heating capabilities is the water heater’s ‘first-hour rating’. The ‘first-hour rating’ indicates the number of gallons a water heater can heat in 60 minutes when it has a full tank.

For tankless instant water heaters, instead of the ‘first-hour rating’, you can look at the gallons-per-minute rating (GPM). The higher the GPM, the more heated water the unit can provide. A higher GPM is a decent indicator that the water heater unit can comfortably provide hot water for bigger families with multiple washrooms.

Energy efficiency

Another important deciding factor when choosing a water heater for your household is its energy effectiveness. An energy-efficient water heater can bring down your power bill and help to decrease your carbon footprint. The higher the “energy factor” (EF) on your gas-and oil-fuelled water heater (both tank and tankless), the more efficient the water heater is.

Water heaters with an ENERGY STAR mark (https://www.rheem.com/innovations/energy-star/) have been professionally assessed to adhere to strict guidelines. Thus, if you are looking for a water heater that is more energy-efficient, this mark is something to look out for.

There are many tankless water heaters that run on either natural petrol or power as their source of power. Natural petrol stockpiling tank water radiators utilize approximately 50% less energy, as compared to electric water heaters, thus this helps to save on operational costs as these water heaters are more energy-efficient.

When looking for a suitable appliance, energy efficiency should always be a top priority. Since a water heater consumes a significant amount of energy in the home, efficiency is crucial. You may save that ringgit per year by upgrading to a more energy-efficient heater. If you are looking for an energy-efficient water heater, you can consider a tankless water heater as they only operate and heat the water as needed.


In general, a tankless instant water heater has a lifespan of approximately 20 years if maintained well. In contrast, a storage water heater is expected to last for approximately 10 to 15 years if maintained well.

As technology and appliances experience constant improvements and advancements, newer and more advanced tankless instant water heater models are introduced in the market providing users with more reliability and durability. These water heaters are equipped with more high-quality and replaceable parts that help to extend the water heating unit’s lifespan as it is easier to repair or replace the faulty feature.

If you’re looking for something to last you a long time, a tankless water heater is something to consider for your household.

However, despite the new features that modern and more advanced water heaters are equipped with to help extend the lifespan of the appliance, it is still important to schedule frequent maintenance checks to ensure that the water heating unit is still functioning optimally and that any issues that need to be fixed are brought to attention before it snowballs.



A water heater is an investment that will last a significant amount of time. When deciding which type of water heater to equip your household with, it is worthwhile to take the above points into consideration.

In general, a rule of thumb when purchasing household appliances is to invest in one that is of high quality and from reputable, trustworthy and established brands so that you are guaranteed more value for your money. If you are looking to purchase a new water heater or replace your existing one, why not consider Rheem?

Rheem has almost 100 years of experience in the water heating industry. Through our years in the water heating market, we have continuously made innovative advancements to our water heating solutions to provide our customers with more reliable, durable, and high-quality water heaters. Browse our extensive range of water heaters available and find one that suits your needs.

Learn more about our water heating solution here:



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