Are Tankless Gas Water Heaters Dangerous?
We have all heard the stories of an apartment being destroyed in a fire due to an explosion caused by a faulty hot water heater. It's both heart wrenching and completely avoidable. How significant a threat are these tankless gas water heaters under the same conditions is an important question.
With a conventional tank-type water heater there are many things that can and do go wrong, the least of which is the pilot light being extinguished for no apparent reason. If there is a fault in the pilot ignition system, then there is a risk of serious damage if the gas leaks into the room that houses the heater.
If there is a similar problem with an electric tank-type water heater, no such explosion can occur. The safety of electricity and the building codes over the past 50 years have always erred on the side of safety. If there is a fault in the electric wiring, a safety breaker will prevent any further damage. There are however, other causes of electric problems with water heater that may cause fires, but these are extremely rare and caused by significant neglect.
Tankless gas water heaters on the other hand do not have the same type of ignition system as conventional types. A small electric spark that ignites the gas usually starts the units, little cause for alarm.
Venting for these units are more elaborate and controlled than with a conventional tank-type heater. Most direct vent units bring in fresh air from the outside and exhaust it through an adjent venting system, so there is never any buildup of fumes as in the case of a standard heating system.
Overall, the tankless gas water heaters are not as dangerous to life as the comparable standard tank-type units, although nothing is ever 100% assured. The fact that it costs significantly more to purchase and install is the only danger preventing everyone from enjoying the energy efficiency of a tankless gas water heater.
There are other serious considerations before purchasing or installing a system in your home. Find out as much as possible from the available information in order to consider a tankless gas water heater; the time and effort will be worth it.