Whether you are replacing your water heater or also planning a more extensive home remodel, there are many decisions to make. Choosing between a traditional tank water heater and smaller, more efficient tankless water heater may be one of them. Each type has its advantages and drawbacks. Continue reading to learn more about how each hot water heater works and what its pros and cons are.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
Using gas burners or electric heating elements, tankless water heaters are often considered more energy efficient than traditional tank models. They provide hot water on demand rather than store and continuously heat it in a tank. Once the water faucet is on, a heat exchanger rapidly heats water as it passes through.
Pros and Cons of a Tankless Water Heater
The pros of having an on-demand water heater include:
- Near Instant Hot Water: Once cold water is flushed out of the pipes, you’ll get anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute, depending on the model.
- Longer Lifespan: A tankless model may last about twice as long as a storage tank water heater, meaning you can go as long as two decades without replacing your water heater.
- Takes Up Less Space: Tankless units, which average about 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall, are often installed on a wall in the basement or storage closet.
- May help reduce energy costs over time: The cost of reheating 50 gallons of water repeatedly is eliminated. If each hot water outlet in your home is served by a demand water heater, energy savings can reach as high as 50%.
Despite their benefits, a tankless water heaters have the following disadvantages:
- Higher Upfront Cost: The installation process is more complex, so you’ll pay more for labor. The purchasing price of a tankless water heater is higher as well.
- Inconsistent Water Temperature: The temperature of incoming water may affect whether the heater provides output water at the desired heat. Gas models tend to be more consistent than electric units.
- Limited supply of hot water: Many tankless water heaters are unable to serve multiple outlets, so you might not get the same water temperature for a shower, laundry, and dishwasher simultaneously.
What Is a Tank Water Heater?
The most commonly used system in American homes, a standard, or storage tank water heater, continuously heats and reheats water inside a 30-to-60-gallon tank (50 gallons is the most common size). An insulated tank can be 5 feet or taller in height and at least 2 feet wide. Traditional water heaters may be powered by natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Tank Water Heater
The benefits of having a tank water heater include:
- Low Initial Installation Cost: Tank water heaters cost less to install. Replacing an old storage tank with a similar one is generally a simple plumbing job.
- Lower Maintenance/Repair Costs: Tankless models are prone to mineral and sediment buildup, requiring extra service. Also, tank systems use familiar technology, making repair costs more reasonable.
However, tank systems have these drawbacks:
- Occupy More Space: A comparatively large area is required for the heater, which can be problematic in a small basement or apartment.
- Shorter Lifespan: A tank water heater lasts about 10 to 15 years, so a homeowner may need to replace it more often.
- Higher Utility Bills: The water heater fires up to keep water warm, even if you’re not home, so the utility bills may be higher.
Choosing Between a Tank and Tankless Water Heater
The best choice depends on your budget, preferences, and requirements of your home. For example, if you have hard water, the system may need to be flushed more frequently, increasing cost of ownership. By researching your options, you can weigh the pros and cons and select the most convenient and cost-effective option for you.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Sky Heating & Air Conditioning remains open during the coronavirus pandemic to provide professional plumbing service in Portland, The Dalles, and Gresham. We are adhering to all recommended social distancing and sanitizing procedures. Call for service and our experienced plumber will provide the water heater repair and tankless water heater installation you need. We’ll also help choose the right water heater for your home. Call 503-235-9083 today or schedule your service appointment online now.