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Tankless Water Heaters Vs. Tank: Your Complete Guide to Getting Easy Hot Water

hot water from faucet

Trying to decide on whether to get a tankless water heater or a tank water heater? Lots of factors can affect your decision, but to get what's best for you, see your complete guide to getting easy hot water. 

The difference in the types of water heaters:  

Tank Water Heaters: 

Standard water heaters have a tank where heated water is stored. The most common size is 50 gallons, but they come as small as 30 gallons and go up. A rule of thumb is that for 1-4 people, you need a minimum of a 40-gallon tank. For 4-6 people, you need at least a 50-gallon tank. The price of a tank-style water heater is based on the number of gallons of water it will continuously keep hot. 

Water heaters with tanks heat up the water, even when you're not using it. The hot water is stored in the storage tank. Because it's always working to keep hot water on hand, it uses more energy than the tankless system.

Tankless Water Heaters: 

Tankless water heaters are an "on-demand" system. They "flash" heat water when it's needed. Tankless systems are designed to produce 3-4 gallons of hot water per minute. When tankless water heaters were first introduced, you might have had to wait a few minutes, but not now. New technology makes hot water in tankless systems instantaneous. 

Decisions, decisions.  Tankless Water Heater vs Tank?

To make a good decision on the right kind of water heater for you, look at these factors: 

  • How much space do you have? 

  • What's your budget?

  • How long do you intend to be in your home?

The Amount of Space You Have

Tankless systems are much smaller than tank water heaters. 

Think about a large backpack. 

A large backpack is about the size of a tankless water heater which runs slightly over 2' x 1' and can be mounted to a wall. 

A tank/storage water heater is about 5 ft. tall and 2-3 feet wide. The newer ones are slightly bigger because codes require them to have more insulation, so they take up more room and require floor space. 

The amount of space you have is one factor that might influence your decision on whether to buy a tankless water heater vs a tank water heater. 

Your Budget

Standard storage-tank-style water heaters are less expensive than tankless ones. However, they last half as long. The lifespan of a tank water heater is 10-12 years. They deteriorate faster than the tankless ones because of the constant work to heat and store the water. A frequent problem with tank water heaters is that minerals from the water build-up. 

Tankless water heaters cost almost twice as much as a tank one, however, they last two times longer, usually at least 18-20 years and longer. 

Your budget will also determine where you want to save. Tankless water heaters save you money each month in lowered utility costs, but the installation and purchase cost is significantly more. 

The Length of Time You Expect to Be In Your Home

Because tankless systems are more expensive, it doesn't make sense to invest in them if you know you won't be staying in your house very long.  However, if you are a long-term owner, the investment in a tankless water heater will pay off in energy savings. 

The Department of Energy estimates that gas-fired tankless water heaters save $108 each year over the tank style. Electric tankless water heaters save $50 annually.

Warranties of tankless water heaters vs. tank-style vary, too. Tankless water heaters usually have warranties of 10 years or more, while tank heaters are usually warrantied for six years.  

Can You Switch from a Storage Tank System to a Tankless Water Heater?

The answer is yes. If you're interested in space-saving, energy-efficient, long-term reliability, the tankless system is for you if your budget allows. 

Be aware that switching from a tank to a tankless system might require more labor during the installation process. Tankless systems might require more electrical service.  Gas-fired tankless systems might need additional ductwork. 

No matter which type of water heating system you're installing, do it with certified, licensed professionals, like the plumbers at ServiceOne. 

Call us at 407-499-8333 and we can help you pick out the water heating system perfect for you, your home, your family, and your wallet.   

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