Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters

A water heater impacts your life in more ways than you think. Imagine being in the middle of a relaxing and warm shower, your hair covered in shampoo, and suddenly the water turns freezing cold. And if you have several roommates or a large family living under one roof, you may find yourself having to schedule your showers around the valuable hot water supply.

Since water heaters can be an expensive investment for homeowners, it is important to know when it’s time to replace your old water heater or change the type of model you use. You should consider the efficiency, cost, and longevity of a new water heater. Although traditional storage tank water heaters are still the most common type, tankless water heaters are becoming more popular.

Traditional Water Heaters

Standard water heaters store and heat water in a reservoir. Typically, the insulated tank has the capacity to hold between 30 and 50 gallons of water. The preheated water in the reservoir is used when someone showers, washes dishes, or does anything involving hot water. As the hot water is used up, the storage tank refills and is reheated again.

Pros of Traditional Water Heaters

  • A storage tank water heater operates more simply compared to a tankless water heater which means its installation and repair costs are often less than that of a tankless heater.

Cons of Traditional Water Heaters

  • Traditional water heaters are bigger, bulkier, and harder to place than their tankless counterparts.
  • These heaters often have a shorter useful life compared to tankless ones. They typically last for 8-12 years. As a result, they may have to be replaced nearly twice as often as tankless heaters.
  • With a traditional heater, the capacity is limited and, as a result, you run the risk of having hot water run out while you’re using it.
  • Storage tank heaters repeatedly heat and reheat water at a pre-defined temperature regardless of your water usage. This can increase your utility bill—particularly during the winter.

Tankless Water Heaters

As the name suggests, a tankless, or on-demand, water heater does not store water in a tank. They heat the water on demand using gas or electric coils as the water passes through the unit. This feature eliminates the standby energy losses that you incur with a storage tank.

Pros of Tankless Water Heaters

  • Perhaps the greatest benefit of using a tankless water heater is they are extremely energy efficient and require little to no upkeep which often means lower utility bills and maintenance costs.
  • They are smaller and can be easily installed in tight spaces or on the exterior walls of your house.
  • Theyare capable of providing 2 to 3 gallons of on demand hot water each minute.
  • If maintained properly, tankless heaters can last for 20 to 30 years, nearly twice the life of most storage tank heaters.
  • They can provide unlimited hot water so long as they are operating within their normal capacity.
  • Tankless water heaters often offer longer warranties.

Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

  • The upfront costs for tankless heaters are higher than those of traditional heaters but, as a result of their energy efficiency, save you money over time.
  • If you are simultaneously running too many appliances that use hot water, there is a chance the heater will fail to meet your hot water demands for every device.

Prime Plumbing has the tools and knowledge to work on all heating systems, including tankless water heaters. We carry tankless heaters from leading brands Navien and Rinnai, giving you options and the ability to find the heater that’s right for you. Your friendly neighborhood plumber, we can tackle all your plumbing needs quickly, efficiently, and professionally. Call today to install, repair, or replace your water heater. Don’t get left out in the cold!

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