A Traditional Water Heater stores and preheats 30-50 gallons of water in a tank. That preheated water is used whenever someone showers, does the laundry or washes dishes. The tank then refills to be reheated once again.
A Tankless Water Heater uses a heat source (electric or gas) to warm up cool water on-demand whenever you need it rather than storing hot water in a tank.
Pros and cons of traditional water heaters
- Lower initial cost – A traditional water heater installation can be half as much as a tankless water heater.
- Easy and inexpensive to replace – Less installation complications means that there’s less that can go wrong.
- Higher utility bill – They heat and reheat water at a pre-set temperature regardless of your water needs. This increases your utility bill—especially during the winter.
- Bigger and harder to place – They occupy more room and can’t be placed outside.
- Can run out of hot water – Ever been the last in your family to get the shower? It’s a chilling experience. This problem can be avoided by purchasing a larger tank (although that will be more in energy costs, as well.)
- Shorter life – Lasts 10-15 years. This means there’s more turnover and therefore you have to buy them twice as often as a tankless water heater.
Pros and cons of tankless water heaters
- Saves money in the long run – According to Energy.gov, “For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand (or tankless) water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”
- Doesn’t take up much space – They are small and can be installed in more places—even outside on a wall.
- Lives longer – Lasts 20+ years. Almost double a traditional water heater’s life.
- Delivers hot water on demand – Provides two to three gallons of hot water per minute on demand.
- Higher initial cost – Costs $2800 to $4500 installed (depends on the model and who you get it from).
- Retrofitting adds to upfront cost – Replacing a traditional water heater with a tankless system is more complicated. So that increases the installation cost even further.
Which water heater should I choose?
Pick the water heater that best fits your water usage, lifestyle situation, and budget.
According to Energy.gov, an Energy Star tankless water heaters can save you about $100 annually.
So if you can handle the high initial costs, you can save more money in the long run by switching to tankless. Tankless can also be a good choice for large families because you have more people consistently using more hot water.
However, a traditional water heater may make more sense if you are on a limited income and need a quick replacement.
If you have any questions, please give us a call – 208-246-9716.