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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.

Pros:
  • 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.
Cons:
  • 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.

Pros:
  • 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.
Cons:
  • 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.

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