Tankless Water Heaters or Tank Type Water Heaters
Do you know what type of water heater is right for your home? If you are in the market for a water heater, then it is time to weigh the pros and cons of tank type vs. tankless water heaters. Known primarily for their small size and energy savings, the tankless water heater is rapidly gaining popularity. But does that make them the right fit for you?
Types of Water Heaters
Tank type and tankless water heaters come with various pros and cons. While tanks have been the standard for the last 100 years, tankless isn’t as new as you might think. Yes, they are the latest trend, but there is also something to be said about the type that has withstood the test of time. Just because something is brand new and stylish doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best option to meet your needs.
Let’s break each one down to see which is best for you.
Here’s why you might want a tankless
- Energy-efficient - Tankless eliminates heat loss inherent in storage tanks and eliminates the continuous pilot required to ignite the gas.
- Saves space - Uses about one-fourth the space of a traditional tank.
- Unlimited hot water - Sized appropriately, a tankless can provide an endless supply of hot water without fear of running out.
Is there a downside to a tankless water heater?
- Cost - Tankless cost 2-3 times more than a tank type.
- Expensive to maintain - Most manufacturers require water pre-filters and annual servicing in hard water areas. This more than eats up the potential energy cost savings.
- Expensive to install - Replacing a tank with a tankless is costly. An electric outlet will need to be supplied as well as a larger gas line for most installations. Exception: small capacity heaters, ideal for one bath homes, can use the existing gas line.
- Minimum flow rate - Tankless requires a minimum flow rate to keep the water heating. Trickling hot water into the bathtub to keep the water hot is not possible with tankless.
- Wasted water - Tankless requires a minimum of three seconds of minimum water flow before it starts heating the water. This is in addition to the time it takes to get the water to the faucet.
- Typically, cannot be circulated - A circulation pump to provide instant hot water to most fixtures is not possible in all but the most expensive units designed with this feature.
- Electricity required - Lose electricity for any reason you’ve lost hot water.
Why you might want to stick to the standard tank type
- Cost - Typically less than half the price of a tankless.
- Convenience - Little of no maintenance is required.
- Saves water - When fitted with a circulating pump providing instant hot water to most fixtures, it can save approximately 1500 gallons of water per year for the average family by not having to waste water waiting for it to get hot.
- No electricity required - Provides hot water without electricity.
- No minimum flow rate - Allows trickling hot water as needed to keep the bathwater hot.
Of course, the tank type has a few cons too
- Space - Requires much more space than a tankless.
- Limited hot water - Hot water is limited to the tank size plus recovery rate.
- Inefficient - Because hot water is being stored, there is some loss of heat through the vent. There is also a standing pilot that is continuously using gas.
What is the best hot water heater?
Every household is different. At the end of the day, it comes down to the type of fuel your home runs on, the amount of hot water you need, and the space you can allot for the heater. I hope these points help clarify your decision. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like a quote on any of the options cited. You can email us at [email protected], or give us a call at 562-595-1448.