Should You Choose a Conventional or Tankless Water Heater?

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Most people don’t give much thought to their hot water heater on a daily basis.

But paying attention to this all-important yet often-overlooked appliance can save you big money on utilities and boost the value of your home.

Did you know that heating hot water eats up 25% of annual energy spending for the average American home? For most people it’s the second highest energy cost after heating and cooling.

When selecting a hot water heater for a new home or remodel, your basic choices are a tankless or traditional tank model. Although tankless models have grown in popularity in recent years, they are not necessarily the best choice for everyone.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you make the best decision for your hot water needs and your budget.

Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters give you hot water on demand using gas or electric coils, and gas units tend to heat water faster than electric models. They typically take up less space than a tank heater, and some are small enough to mount on the wall.  

Tankless heaters can have a lifespan of up to 20 years, and the price varies dramatically depending on the brand, size of the home, amount of water needed and other factors.

Here are some of the potential advantages of tankless hot water heaters:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Takes up less space
  • Long lifespan
  • Long warranties available

On the other hand, here are some of the potential drawbacks of choosing a tankless heater:

  • Cost more to install
  • More difficult to install: may require modifications to allow for venting and other requirements
  • Limited flow rate compared to traditional tank heater
  • May not heat water fast enough for hot-water intensive uses

Pros and Cons of Conventional Tank Water Heaters

The familiar tank heater stores hot water in an insulated tank that ranges from about 20 to 80 gallons in size. Hot water typically exits from the top of the tank and is replenished with fresh cold water from the bottom. Conventional hot water heaters may be powered by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity.

Tank heaters are generally easy to install but must be located indoors, most often in inconspicuous locations such as garages or dedicated closets. As with tankless water heaters, the price varies according to type, size and specific features.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing a tank storage water heater:

  • More affordable up front
  • Easier to install
  • More familiar to most homeowners
  • Fresh water supply always on hand for emergencies
  • Installation doesn’t require major changes to home electrical system
  • No expensive additional equipment to buy

Here are a few disadvantages to consider before purchasing a tank water heater:

  • Energy loss from keeping a tank of water heated at all times
  • Potentially shorter lifespan
  • Risk of water leaking
  • Must wait for more hot water when tank is empty

One way to improve efficiency with tank water heaters is to buy a well-insulated unit that requires less energy to maintain the desired water temperature.

Do you have questions about choosing the best hot water heater for your home? Contact Elite Renovations and we’ll help you select and install a model that meets your needs.