Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless

Traditional water heater vs. tankless

Friday, March 4, 2016

Which type of water heater is right for you?

If you have a traditional tank water heater and need a new one, you may be looking at a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters provide a few benefits but their initial costs are higher. There are a few pros and cons to consider.

But first, what is the difference between a tankless and traditional tank water heater?

Traditional tank water heater
A traditional tank water heater stores water then heats it in a tank. Tank sizes vary but most homes have tanks ranging in size from 30 gallon to 50 gallon. Larger families tend to have larger water heaters for high demand times. When the hot water is used the preheated water leaves the tank. Cool water refills the tank to be heated up for the next use. When heated, water in the tank is insulated to stay warm, but if the temperature drops, water is reheated.

A traditional water heater is less expensive to purchase and is less expensive to install, because it is going into an existing space. But a traditional water heater uses energy even when water is not being used. That is why energy bills are higher. They also take up more space, and can run out of hot water. Finally, traditional tanks do not last as long as tankless.

Tankless water heater
A tankless water heater uses gas or electricity to heat up cold-water on-demand. There is no storage and no reheating of water. Endless hot water, lower energy costs and additional storage are the three major benefits to getting a tankless water heater.

It is estimated that a gas-fired tankless water heater will save at least $100 in energy costs annually, while an electric tankless will save around $45 per year. Tankless technology requires less space and can be installed in more places in a home, including an outside wall. They also have longer lifespans.

Some estimate that tankless water heaters can cost up to three times as much due to installation costs. For example, a plumber may need to do some retrofits, such as moving pipes, or an electrician may need to upgrade the electrical system. The cost differences may not be that great. Tankless systems have come down in price, and rebates and tax credits are also available.

Another factor to consider if choosing a tankless water heater is how many gallons of hot water per minute will it provide. For higher demand times such as when a faucet, shower and washing machine are being used simultaneously, you need to have a tankless that can deliver.

If you need a new water heater, or are going through a remodel and a water heater is part of the plan, think about contacting us and we’ll refer you to a plumbing professional who will outline the costs for both options. You may be surprised to discover which is best for you.

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