The Tank and Tankless Water Heater Comparison

The Tank and Tankless Water Heater Comparison

When in need of hot water, there are generally two types of equipment to pick from: tank or tankless water heaters. Right off the bat it should be stated that there isn't one choice that is 100% correct for everyone- different homes and other variables such as affordability can affect the efficiency of a tank or tankless water heater. Moving on we will now dive into the specifics for each type of equipment in order to give you a better understanding of which one is better suited for you.

The standard water heater type that most homeowners are used to is the tank water heater. It has been used in houses for decades and is sometimes called a traditional or conventional water heater. This model heats up water and stores it in a tank for later usage. The tank typically ranges from 30 to 50 gallons, depending on the size of your house and how much water you use. These usually operate off of gas fuel or electricity since a flame needs to be generated to heat up the water. A downside to the tank water heater is that it needs a good amount of space to be installed. Seeing that they are usually located in the garage, basement, or utility closet, very small houses may not have room for one.

On the other hand, we have the tankless water heater. This newer model was created to serve as a more energy-efficient alternative. Instead of holding pre-heated water in a tank, the water is heated only when your faucet, showerhead, and other appliances call for it. Thus, there is no tank since no water is stored. Compared to the tank water heater, the tankless version takes up much less space, and is usually installed on a wall in a utility room.

Seeing as the tankless water heater seems to be simpler and more environment friendly, it also comes at a greater cost. The tank water heater will usually only set you back $1000 or less, while tankless water heaters can cost a couple thousand dollars not including installation fees. The price jumps up even higher if you are switching from a tank to a tankless heater since pipes will have to be reallocated and fuel types may have to be changed between gas and electric. Some expert plumbers state that although tankless water heaters result in energy savings, the savings generated will only pay you back for the purchase you made after up to 20 years later. Tankless water heaters also have a longer lifespan of 20 to 30 years compared to tank water heaters with a 10 to 15 year lifespan.

In houses that run more than one hot water appliance at a time (big families), tank water heaters are recommended since it's all being drawn from a large, single source. Of course this means a tankless water heater would work just fine in households where only one hot water application is running at a time. You should take the time to look at your cost range, house size, amount of hot water needed, and any other outstanding factors to make the right water heater choice for your home.


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Mary Governale
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