Tank vs. Tankless Water Heater
When it comes to water heaters, there are two main types: tankless, and what’s considered a more traditional style that comes with a water tanks. While both traditional water heaters and tankless water heaters do the same thing – provide your home with hot water for bathing and washing – they go about this quite differently. Here’s what you need to know about tankless and tank water heaters, their cost, how they work, and how to choose the right one for your home.
The Basics of Traditional Water Heaters
First things first: what is a water heater? It’s relatively straightforward – a water heater is an appliance that connects to your main water line as it comes into the house and then heats that water so you can have both hot and cold running water in your home. How these appliances heat your water can differ; some use electric heating coils to warm the water, while others might use natural gas or even solar power.
Traditional water heaters don’t just heat the water that comes into them – they also store it for later. This means they have a large storage tank that the heated water flows into and stays in until it’s needed. As long as you have hot water in that tank, you’ll have hot water when you turn on your faucet or your shower. Once it runs out, though, a traditional water heater can’t warm the water coming into it fast enough to be hot when it comes out the other end. This means that once that water runs out, you’ll be taking cold showers until that tank can re-fill.
How Tankless Water Heaters Work
Tankless and tank water heaters do the same thing in that they provide you with warm water for your home. However, they go about it in two very different ways. For example, tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water as it is needed. These heaters do this by monitoring the flow of water through the water heater to determine when hot water is needed.
This process works in one of two ways. In gas-powered units, once flow is detected with a sensor, the gas burner is activated. The water is then heated as it passes through the unit. There are also electric tankless heaters, which use either one or multiple powerful heating elements to increase the temperature of the water as it passes through. In a gas-powered unit, the flow is detected with a sensor, the burner is turned on and water is heated as it passes through the unit. Electric units utilize either one or multiple heating elements to heat the water.
The Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters vs Tanks
Pros and Cons: Traditional Water Heaters
Traditional water heaters work similarly to the way a tankless heater does, but with one very important (and obvious) difference: these heaters have storage tanks to hold heated water within them until that water is used. This means they are much larger and take up additional space within the home. They also tend to be less energy efficient, since these types of water heaters have to expend energy to keep the water stored within them at a constant temperature.
However, traditional water heaters remain quite popular. One of the primary reasons for this is that to purchase and install astorage tank water heater usually costs less than a tankless water heater. Storage tank water heaters are more suitable for homes with lower water pressures and can be sized accordingly for larger homes that have higher water needs. They also tend to be quieter than tankless heaters and often require less maintenance.
Pros and Cons: Tankless Water Heaters
In many ways, tankless water heaters are the opposite of traditional ones. They offer much more energy efficiency as they only turn on when they’re needed, which means you’re likely to save money on your energy bills. They can provide “endless” hot water, which means you don’t have the same possibility of running your hot water heater tank empty with heavy use. They’re more environmentally friendly, they’re smaller and take up less space than traditional heaters, and are often more durable as well.
Yet all of these advantages come with their fair share of drawbacks. When comparing the cost of tankless vs tank water heaters, tankless water heaters are typically more expensive to purchase and install than storage tank water heaters, because of the technology that goes into tankless. They’re also not ideal for homes with low water pressure or larger homes with multiple bathrooms. Some tankless water heaters can also be noisier than traditional ones. Additionally, because the technology used in them is newer, they may require more maintenance than traditional water heaters.
Which Type of Water Heater is Right for You?
The best type of water heater for you will depend on any number of factors. The size of your home and the number of bathrooms you have are major determining factors, as traditional water heaters are often a better choice if you have high water consumption needs. It’s also going to be a more appropriate choice if you have low water pressure or if you’re on a budget.
Conversely, if you’re able to afford the up-front cost of a tankless water heater, you can benefit from lower heating bills over time because of its increased efficiency. If your home is on the smaller side or if you don’t have the space for a large water heater complete with a tank, then tankless water heaters are also an excellent option.
Ultimately, however, the best way to decide between a tankless water heater or tank is to do your research and rely on the experts. Consult with a qualified professional who is familiar with your home and its water needs to get a clearer answer on what would be the best option for you. Burns & McBride has been serving New Castle County for more than 70 years. We can answer any questions you might have about water heaters.