Tankless Water Heaters
vs. Tank Type Water Heaters
When you buy a water heater, you’ve got lots of options to choose from. At Water Heater Experts, we want to make that choice a little simpler. Tank water heaters or tankless, what’s the best option for you? The answer may seem clear cut, but there’s a lot more to the problem then first meets the eye.
WHAT EVEN IS A TANKLESS WATER HEATER?
A tankless water heater is just what it says on the box. As opposed to a traditional water heater that uses a large tank to store hot water, a tankless water heater instantly heats water that passes through it, avoiding the energy waste and messiness of keeping a large volume of water hot. This poses a few interesting differences between a tankless and tank water heater, the first of which is that instead of volume, you’re choosing based on flow rate, and how this changes the way you need to look at your hot water usage.
As opposed to a tank water heater, which can supply up to a certain amount of hot water until it needs to refill, no matter how many appliances are using the water, a tankless water heater can provide theoretically infinite hot water without needing to refill, but can only support so many appliances at one time, based on the flow rate of the model.
When it comes to energy efficiency, tankless water heaters are the clear winner in the debate with 24-34% energy savings in homes that use a typical amount of hot water. That said, the matter gets more complicated when it comes to gas vs. electric tankless water heaters. With many gas models, the cost of keeping the pilot light lit will outweigh no longer needing to keep a large tank of water warm, although some models have “Intermittent Ignition Devices” (IIDs**, which don’t keep a pilot light lit and instead light whenever they’re needed, but these models can often be more expensive.
There’s also the additional advantage of tankless water heaters having much longer lifespans than tank water heaters, typically 20-30 years in comparison to the 10-15 years of most tank water heaters.
Tankless water heaters sound great so far, so why doesn’t every home have one?
There are many reasons why a tankless water heater might not work for your home.
The most restrictive reason is, of course, price. While tankless water heaters will often pay for themselves over the course of their lives, the fact remains that the upfront cost is many times that of a tank model, with tankless water heaters often costing $2000-4500 as opposed to the affordable-in-comparison $500-800 cost of a tank water heater.
If your home uses a much larger amount of water than most, or if you have multiple showers, etc. that you expect to be running at the same time, many models of tankless water heater may not keep up with your demand. Additionally, if you’re upgrading from a tank water heater, it’ll often cost you to retrofit your home to support a tankless water heater. This can sometimes completely negate the money saved on your bills from using a more efficient water heater.
COMPARISON BETWEEN TANKLESS AND TANK WATER HEATERS
Tankless Water Heaters
1. Significant energy savings over time.
2. Size — tankless water heaters are much smaller than the alternative
3. Hot water on demand, no more running out, no more waiting on your water to heat up.
4. Significantly longer lifespan than tank water heaters.
1. Higher initial cost, typically $2000-4500 as opposed to $500-800.
2. Retrofitting a home to support a tankless water heater can sometimes be costly.
3. Depending on your home, may be unable to provide enough water for multiple appliances.
Tank-Type Water Haters
1. Lower initial cost of purchasing a unit.
2. Parts are often easier to replace due to simpler design
1. Higher utility bills due to lower energy efficiency.
2. Much larger than tankless alternatives.
3. It’s possible to just run out of water in the tank, if too much is used in a short time.
3. Tank water heaters tend to have a shorter lifespan than tankless ones, typically as little as half.
A tankless water heater might be the right option for you — if you can afford the prohibitive up-front cost. It’ll save you money over time and has many benefits in day-to-day life. That said, a tank water heater often may suit your home (or your budget) much better, and still isn’t a bad option. There are many energy efficient options for tank water heaters that are much more affordable.
Whatever you choose
at Water Heater Experts, we’re here to help you with all of your water heater troubles, decisions, and needs. If you need more information or would like to work with us to reach a decision, give us a call at 704-413-7777 and we can help you with any water heater-related inquiries.