While I would not change your water heater just yet since it is fine and working, something to keep in mind is how your venting situation would change if you went tankless. Keep in mind that because of the extreme heat that comes out of these special double walled vent piping is required or you need to mount the tankless unit outside so that it vents directly outside. If you can't do the exterior install, the cost of changing the vent pipes inside your home to outside may make it too expensive of an endeavor.
Some things to think about when changing to tankless are if there are long runs of piping since this is where your going to leave the water you just paid to heat to cool off. A place that has cold water temperature in the winter has to heat the water a higher amount and so this might require a higher BTU tankless thus using more energy. Often the tankless needs more gas and a larger flue pipe. Also the plumbing needs to be reconfigured and possible even an electrical outlet installed. All this could add allot to the expense and lower your return on investment.
Above is a link which explains about tankless water heaters vs. conventional water heaters to help you with your decision. I personally have a tankless water heater and have experienced it taking a couple of minutes to warm up sometimes but other than that have not had any issues. We switched when our old water heater broke.
Your current water heater is working however, how old is it and what's its recommended operational life?
Broker Associate, Paragon Real Estate Group CA DRE 01844627
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With a standard water heating system, you always run the risk of running low on hot water especially when drawing from multiple sources such as washer, shower, and dishwasher being used at the same time. With a tankless system, this does not happen. A tankless system will also create additional floor space.
Hope this helps,
I agree with others, if it works dont fix it unless you are remodelling and it makes sencse to regain the space.
I also agree with Mike about the water reserve in the case of an earthquake. Not only did this aid some friends who were here in the last quake but ti was a savior for a good friend in NZ the other year when the second large quake hit his home near Christchurch.
If you go tankless make sure you have extra water in your emergency kit just in case.
Water Heaters rot from the inside-out: You may not see any problems, but they may be out of sight:
How old is your water heater?
If it is 7-8 years old, (or def older), you should replace it:
You will see minerals in your water, and maybe the taste has changed.
You could have a water tech come out and test your water, but why?
Now, if you are going to change it; I would recommend the tankless, for all the reasons.
And that bit about having water if there is an earthquake is laughable; why not build your concrete bunker too? If you are that paranoid, you shouldn't be living in S.F.
Good luck and may God bless
Keep the old water heater... I'm an old geezer (55) who grew up in the SF Bay Area. In the event of an earthquake - you will have a source of 40 - 50 gallons of drinkable water that a tankless will never have.
If it's for space reasons or energy efficiency - so be it - but my two water heaters (two units) are my insurance to clean clear drinkable water in case the Hetch Hetchy busts for a couple days.
Back to the old saying 'If it ain't broke, why fix it.'
All our best,
Zephyr Real Estate - We're all about San Francisco!
If you're not having any problems with your traditional water heater keep it until you do and then go tankless. Additionally, I can't tell you how many times I've been standing in my shower under hot and cold running water with my new tankless. That's my 3 cents worth (adjusted for inflation).