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Tankless vs Traditional Water Heater

Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heater. Which is Best For You?

When it comes time to replace your water heater, you should consider some new options. You can replace it with another traditional style water heater or in some cases, switch to a tankless system.

Which one is the better choice?

Like any other major purchase, you need to weight the pros and cons of each to see what works best for your home. There is no one size fits all here, so if you still have questions after reading make sure you reach out to a certified technician who can help you out.

The traditional hot water heater…

…works by holding and heating water in a large tank.

  • Price – traditional water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase and because they are easy to install, labor costs are also very reasonable.
  • Easy install – aside from keeping the installation cost low, it also means your new water heater can be installed the same day… quite helpful if yours just failed.
  • No hassle
  • No planning, researching, etc. – Simply tell us the size of your current unit and you’re set.
  • Hot water is still available the power goes out – The water is heated ahead of time and delivered hot. No power, no problem. You’ll still have hot water, unless the power is out for an extended period of time.
  • Takes up a lot of space or requires a smaller unit to fit the space available.
  • Always heating – The tank is designed to maintain the right temperature. This can add to your utility costs.
  • Warranty is 6-12 years
  • Not many parts can be replaced – generally the whole thing has to go when it fails.
  • If it fails due to a leak in the tank, up to the entire 50 gallons it holds can end up on your floor.
  • You have to wait for the hot water. Unless the heater is very close to your faucet or shower, you’ll have to run the water for a few moments BEFORE you get hot water – meaning increased water consumption.
  • Running out of hot water is not fun if you’re the one in the shower when it happens
  • Rust and sediment can build up in the tank and that goes into your potable water.
The tankless water heater…

…works as an on demand system. When the hot water is turned on, cold water flows into the unit and is heated.

  • Unlimited hot water. No matter how long you run the water, it is always hot.
  • Can install fancier, full body showers now if you would like (but see related con below).
  • Life span is up to 25 years.
  • Saves space as it is much smaller than a tank-type water heater.
  • Saves up to 25% on your gas bill – if you continue to use hot water as you currently do since water is only heated when needed.
  • Most parts are easily replaceable.
  • Price – they are generally at least 2 to 3 times the price of a tank-type water heater.
  • The installation to convert to a tankless water heater can be more of a construction project than most people think, due to moving water lines, gas lines, exhaust pipes, etc. This can include work inside and outside the home or building.
  • Installation could mean a day or two depending on your situation.
  • You can spend a lot of money upsizing gas piping throughout the house to get the right amount of gas to your new heater and still adequately supply your gas range / stove, gas dryer, etc. – especially problematic if those things are not located near each other.
  • Many older homes are not equipped to handle the demands of a tankless system.
  • If you have an old, undersized gas meter, you may have to work with your gas company to get a new upsized gas meter installed.
  • You need 120V power and gas to the tankless water heater possibly requiring electrical upgrades as well.
  • No power, no hot water. Period.
  • Limitation of gallons available per minute – remember your fancy full body shower? It may take 2 tankless heaters to fully supply those fixtures.

Which system you choose is ultimately up to you and depends on your specific circumstances. If you have an immediate need or are considering a change, please let us know so we can help you make an educated decision for your home. Let us analyze your home, budget, and demand for hot water and professionally install that new water heater.

You Think You Have A Leak?

Graham-Simon Plumbing - finding a leak
Graham-Simon Plumbing - finding a leak

So, you see a puddle of water on the floor or a stain on your ceiling. Maybe it’s obvious, perhaps it’s not quite clear. Let’s look at the steps you can take to identify whether you really have a leak!

One indication of a leak can be disturbed dust patterns that look like a dirty care after the rain has dried. Whether that water was from an open window, a leaking supply line, or a spill from your kids last meal can be a little tougher to tell.

Water always follows the path of least resistance. There is a good chance that if you found evidence of a leak and it has not been repaired, that the water will travel to that spot again. One trick to help identify the source of the leak uses a paper towel or paper bag. Place the paper towel or paper bag under the source of the drip. If a drip falls it will leave a spot which can confirm that you’ve found the source of the issue. You could also make an ink grid on the paper with a non-permanent market to make drips more apparent.

If there are supply lines or appliances near the suspected leak, be sure to check them carefully for rips or splits, unsecured hoses, or any other issue that could cause a leak. If these items appear to be clear, turn on the water or the appliance. Make sure that you can turn the water or appliance off again quickly just in case. Once the water is on, check for leaks and turn everything back off. If you see drips on your paper, place a bowl or bucket in the area to catch the water. Trace the drip back to the exact spot where the water is originating.

If after these efforts, you still see no evidence of an active leak, it could be a slow leak. Check on the area daily or as needed to see if a drip falls when you are not looking. If there are no drips after about a week, then it may have been another issue. There are also scenarios where water only appears after it rains. There are many instances of different causes of a leak, and many that are difficult to identify and repair. Make sure that you contact a licensed professional if the problem proves to be a little more trouble than you up for tackling.

Graham-Simon Plumbing - leak on water line

Please keep in mind that just because you cannot identify a leak yourself, doesn’t always mean you don’t have one. Listen to your gut and look at the evidence. If you feel something isn’t right, your water bill suddenly shoots up, your water meter seems to be running a marathon, or you hear running water when nothing is on and can’t find the reason, don’t wait, call your trusted local plumber right away! Not all leaks are easily visible, or leave obvious clues. Some leaks, like ones under a home, may manifest as a warm spot under your feet that hasn’t been there before, or a yard that suddenly has squishy places (possibly broken sprinkler pipe, but also a potential septic issue). These sorts of leaks require a licensed plumber quickly!

Regular Maintenance

One way to prevent costly repairs to your home is regular maintenance. Because many issues with your pipes sneak up on you, an inspection by a licensed technician is the key to catching small problems before they grow. Hidden leaks in sink drains or below water heaters are more than just a nuisance; over time, they can cause structural damage.

Many routine maintenance tasks are simple do-it-yourself jobs. An inspection is the foundation of any maintenance schedule. You may use your sinks and tubs daily, but you might not notice minor concerns unless you set aside time for an inspection. Go through your home and take a look at your plumbing. Examine all exposed pipes, including under sinks and behind toilet tanks, for any signs of moisture. On a humid day, some condensation on a cold metal pipe is normal, so note any dampness and check the pipes again when the home is cooler. Check for signs of corrosion on brass or copper fittings; corrosion occurs more rapidly on damp metal, so corroded connections could reveal a slow leak.

Turn on water faucets in sinks, showers and tubs to monitor water pressure. Some variation between different faucet styles and purposes is normal, but all of them should have a steady flow. Note how quickly the water drains after you test the faucet, too; slow drains could mean a clog waiting to happen. While you’re making your rounds, flush toilets to ensure they don’t run or leak at the base, a sign of a faulty wax seal.

Inspections from a certified Clarksburg, WV, plumber give you a more in-depth look at your home’s pipes and drains. The technician will check the water heater, garbage disposal and every area of your home’s plumbing system. More thorough assessments might include remote video inspection of pipes, and filter system inspection.

Schedule an appointment with a certified plumber today.