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Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

As a homeowner, water heaters can be a costly investment. Therefore, you’ll want a system to serve you efficiently and stand the test of time. That’s why when replacing your old water heater or furnishing your new home, you consider the longevity, cost, and efficiency of your water heater.

Most homeowners usually have a hard time deciding whether to settle for tankless or traditional water heaters. Well, your choice will depend upon several factors specific to your hot water needs and household. Read on to learn more about traditional versus tankless water heaters.

What’s a Tankless Water Heater?

Also known as the on-demand water heaters, tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat water as it passes through the heat exchanger. It then delivers the hot water directly to your shower or kitchen faucets. Here, you won’t need a tank to store the heated water.

Tankless water heaters are called on-demand heaters because instead of pre-heating water for storage, they heat water only when you need to use it. These tankless water heaters usually depend on gas or electricity to function. Tankless water heaters are rapidly gaining popularity in the market because of their energy efficiency.

In a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, it was discovered that tankless water heaters are 22% more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters. Since you won’t be using a hot water storage tank, this type of water heater leaves a small footprint. Therefore, it’ll need less space for installation. A professional technician typically installs it on a wall within a garage, basement, or utility room.

Traditional Water Heaters

Storage tank water heaters are the most commonly used water heaters. They’ve been around for years, and most homeowners tend to have them in their homes. They have an insulated tank that can hold up to 50 gallons of water.

Unlike tankless water heaters, traditional heaters heat and store water until it’s needed. Traditional water heaters have a pipe on the top of the tank to deliver the heated water to its destination. Generally, these heaters can run either by natural gas or electricity.

Natural gas traditional water heaters use approximately 50% less energy and are less costly to operate. However, their purchasing cost is a bit more than electric ones. They have a pressure and temperature-release valve that opens when the temperature or pressure exceeds the preset levels.

Comparison of Tankless Water Heaters

Now that you know how the two types of water heaters function, look at how each one performs in the vital areas of your home. Keep reading to see how each one compares to the other one.

Initial Cost

Tankless water heaters often cost more to install than traditional water heaters. Traditional water heaters can cost you around $1,000 for both equipment and installation, while tankless water heaters typically cost more for just the equipment alone.

Gas water heaters usually cost more than electric heaters. Of course, the prices vary depending on your heating needs and living space. If you initially had a tank water heater and decided to install the tankless model, it becomes more involved.

This is called a retrofit. Here, your plumber has extra work to do to install the tankless water heater. This includes relocating the piping system, installing gas lines if you switch from fuel types, and much more. This includes relocating the piping system, installing gas lines if you switch from fuel types, and much more. All in all, tankless water heaters cost more upfront than tank models.

Operating Costs and Energy Savings

Although tankless water heaters cost more upfront, they’re favorable for most homeowners because they’re energy efficient. Therefore, you can always have peace of mind knowing you’ll recoup the up-front cost by the savings you get in the long run.

Water heaters are among the highest energy consumers in an average home. However, you’ll be saving approximately $100 yearly on energy bills when you convert to a tankless water heater.

This isn’t to say that traditional water heaters can’t be energy efficient. Since natural gas prices are lower, it’s less expensive to operate the gas models than electric ones. An energy-efficient tank water heater uses up to 8% less energy.

It achieves this through better insulation and many other efficient components. However, In the end, having a tankless water heater saves you more energy, and it’s also less costly to operate.

Equipment Life

Traditional water heaters have a lifespan ranging between 10 to 15 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters can last up to 30 years. Before deciding, it’s wise to keep in mind that factors such as water hardness and maintenance affect the longevity of water heating equipment.

A tank water heater can come with a high damage risk if there’s an equipment failure. Because it holds a large volume of water in the tank, equipment failure can easily lead to possible flooding which can cause damage to your home.

In most cases, homeowners install new water heaters because of equipment failure. When a traditional water heater fails, you’ll often only have one option which is to replace the old one. This is because most times water heaters fail at inopportune times and you need a quick fix. However, because tankless water heaters are often installed outside of the home, your damage of risk is decreased.

Installation Restrictions

Because tank water heaters require storage tanks, they’ll need much more space for installation than the tankless models. Therefore, you’ll end up losing valuable square footage that you could have used for something else.

Tankless water heaters are the best alternative, especially when you have limited space. Since they’re small and you can install them on the walls, they can easily fit in tight spaces, an advantage if you reside in a small house.

Hot Water Usage

Availability of hot water is one of the most important factors most homeowners look for in water heaters. With the help of the storage tanks, tank water heaters can reserve hot water. This means that no matter how big your tank is, you’ll only get the amount of hot water that the tank holds at one time.

When the heated water runs out, you’ll have to wait for the heater to heat the water and reserve it in the tank. You can remedy such a problem by purchasing a larger water heater. However, this comes with more expenses in installation services and operating costs.

The advantage is that more than two people can draw the heated water at the same time. You can also run the showers while still using the washing machine or dishwasher.

Because tankless water heaters only heat water on demand, it becomes quite challenging for multiple home appliances to draw water from them. If you open two showers at the same time, one might receive hotter water than the other.

Rely on the Experts

Whichever water heater you settle for, Rift Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing has the tools and experience needed to offer reliable installation services in Tucson. We’re well-known for providing a wide range of heating, cooling, and plumbing services.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you stay comfortable all year long.