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Tankless vs Tank Water Heater: Pros and Cons

tankless vs tank water heater

You can divide water heaters into two broad categories: tank and tankless. Both types of units work to perform the same function, providing hot water to your home. 

However, there are some large differences when comparing tankless vs. tank water heaters. If you know what the differences are, you can choose the best type of water heater for your home. 

Keep reading to learn more about these water heaters to decide which is best for your home. 

Comparing Tankless vs. Tank Water Heaters

As their name would suggest, the significant difference between tankless and tank water heaters is the use of a storage tank for hot water. Tankless units heat water on demand as you turn your taps on. 

In contrast, tank units will heat and reheat water within a tank, and that tank will slowly drain as you turn your taps on. These distinct methods of generating hot water give each type of unit a unique set of pros and cons. 

Advantages of Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters have long been the standard appliance on the market. This means that there are more available, at different price points, and that they tend to be relatively affordable. This can help you upgrade or install a new water heater on a budget. 

Tank water heaters are also very good at providing water to several faucets or appliances all at once. This is good for larger homes, though you will have to choose a larger unit as a result. 

Tank water heaters, by virtue of being cheaper to buy, are also cheaper to maintain and repair. This may help keep your long run maintenance costs low. 

Disadvantages of Tank Water Heaters

However, tank water heaters are lacking in a few areas. Their utility costs can be quite high, as they are not very energy efficient. Your unit will work throughout the day to keep the water in the tank heated, even when no one is home and using it. 

Furthermore, tank water heaters will need more maintenance and cleaning than tankless water heaters will, even if that maintenance is cheaper. This is because the tank itself can become damaged, fill with sediment, or rust away. This means that you need regular cleaning to remove that sediment – and failing to do so can reduce the effectiveness and lifespan of your water heater. 

Additionally, tank water heaters have a hard limit on how much water they can provide. This means that while you may be able to run several showers with hot water at once, eventually your water will run cold. 

When this happens, you will have to wait until your tank fills back up to get more hot water. Depending on your unit, this can take a few minutes to several hours before your unit is able to heat the water back up. 

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, by not having a tank, take up much less room than their traditional counterparts. This means that they can be easily installed in small apartments and homes. In fact, you may be able to install a tankless water heater right in your bathroom. 

Since they do not heat and reheat water throughout the day, regardless of if you are using hot water, tankless units use much less energy. This will reduce your utility bills each month – and if you have a large home, the savings can be significant. Natural Resources Canada estimates that an ENERGY STAR tankless unit can reduce energy use by up to 30 percent compared to a tank water heater, while also reducing your carbon footprint. Great for your wallet and the environment! 

Another large advantage of choosing a tankless unit is that they provide hot water immediately. This means that you don’t have to wait before you get into the shower. Their lack of a tank means that you will also never experience a sudden rush of cold water when your hot water runs out. 

Tankless water heaters also tend to have a longer lifespan than tank water heaters. This is because they need less maintenance and fewer repairs, due to their lack of a storage tank. There is no sediment to flush or rust spots to remove that could cause a leak to develop.

Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters

However, there are a few downsides of a tankless water heater. The largest is that they have a limited capacity, so it’s important to ensure you get a correctly-sized unit for your needs. While you will never run out of hot water, you may find that the temperature does not stay stable if you are running multiple faucets or appliances at once.

You can address this by buying a larger, higher capacity unit. The larger your home, the more powerful a tankless water heater you will need (or even have more than one heater installed). Of course, this will come at a higher cost.

You should also note that tankless water heaters are significantly more expensive than storage tank units. This can be prohibitive if you are operating under a tight budget. The installation cost can increase if your plumbing is older as well, as you will have to retrofit new connections onto the pipes. 

That being said, these can be a good investment if this type of water heater suits your family’s needs and budget!

Get a Free Quote Today on a New Water Heater

Now that you know the pros and cons of each type of water heater, you can make an educated decision between choosing a tankless vs tank water heater.

For any questions that you may have about your water heater or your home’s heating & cooling needs in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.  Our team of experienced plumbing professionals can address any issues you may have and can give advice based off of years of service in the industry. 

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